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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the great position of having a decent budget to fix up, repair, rescape my existing 75 gallon tank.

The Past


Here's how it looked like in Oct 2018.



This is the peak of the tank. I'd love to have this again. The crypt on the left is lush and full. I've started eradicating the val. Notice the big reddish sword right rear. And the really nice red and green crypts up front.

Then it starting going bad, here we are in Feb 2019.



Notice how every thing is starting to die back some. I think that's the same sword, but no longer red. The foreground crypts are stunted.

And here's the tank last week.



You can see there's been a horrible decline. The sword eventually died and I replaced it with another Petco sword. That was about 6 months ago. It constantly shoots our new leaves that eventually turn brittle and get eaten.

From talking with another planted tank enthusiast it seems that I'm suffering from extreme nutrition deficiency. I just started weekly dosing with Thrive and did put some partial Jobes Fern sticks under the root feeders. The crypts on the left and starting to recover already.

The Future

And thanks to Christmas, I have a $500 budget to make the tank wonderful again. Oh, I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from Old Tank Syndrome also. I've been working months now to get the mulm out, that's floss only box filter I made with a power head. That fills up in under a week.

I can completely redo it, or just parts of it. The goal is to return to Oct 2018 or make a new Jungle Style aquascape. I do want to move the large front center crypts. Getting a carpet of something easy would be nice even though that goes against want some people say a Jungle Style should have. I absolutely want to tear it all down to remove 100% of the Pellia, that stuff just gets everywhere. My narrow leaf Java fern can stay or go, it fits in with a Junglescape but I've been looking at it for a few years now. I'd like to see my driftwood and the Java Fern just covers it.

The Equipment

The substrate is a mixture of 20 year old flourite, a bag or two of Eco Complete, and very likely some random gravel. I actually like the appearance, it isn't uniform which can sometimes look unnatural. There's about 4,000 lumens of LED and a Eheim Pro 3 2075.

The Plans

Plan A - Remove the fish, stir the gravel up to release all the mulm and make certain I don't have anaerobic areas. Insert root tabs (probably Thrive). Get a pressurized CO2 system with a reactor. Build a DIY dosing system. (I like DIY). The rest of the budget is for plants.

Plan A.1 - Same as Plan A but use an inexpensive organic potting soil, like Miracle Grow. Maybe mix my existing flourite in? I don't know if this will cause an ammonia spike. I don't want to layer gravel or sand on top because I have Malaysian Trumpets and they will mix it all up.

Plan A.2 - Just like Plan A but don't remove the fish and don't stir the gravel. I'd remove all the wood and plants to a holding tank to eradicate the Pellia. Odds are good much would die, but that might happen anyhow with any of the substrate changes.

Plan A.3 - Just like A.2 but use traction sand, which is available locally, it's nice and coarse and really cheap with heavy root tabs. This would be done just for looks. The problem is I like darker. I'm not sure I'm sold on the blasting sand yet.

Plan B - ADA Aquasoil, maybe ADA Powersand underneath. This and plants blows the budget. CO2 probably can't show up until Summer. Use EI dosing with homebrew ferts. The advantage of this is that I can add lights and add CO2 later without a rescape. Supposedly the Tropica soil leeches less ammonia. Disadvantage, I need to have the fish storage tank setup for a long time. I'll keep the eheim on that tank and I guess run powerheads in the 75 for circulation.

Plan C - New lights! I don't see how this would help. I would need CO2 before I need lights.

Plan D - I don't have a Plan D, am I missing something?
 

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If it were me I would use all the same equipment but add co2. I would pull all the plants and fish, take out the substrate and put it in 5 gallon buckets and then wash it like its new substrate with a hose to get rid of all the buildup from the past several years. Then put it back. This will blow all the bacteria in the substrate so you will likely need to keep on top of water tests and be ready to do emergency water changes when your tank goes through a mini cycle. When you add everything back in pick out what you don't like. Allow yourself plenty of time for this (meaning put your filter on whatever temp bucket/tank the fish go into). This is a 1 to 2 day process so clear your calendar appropriately. When you add co2 I would go very low on dosing levels because with that light you simply won't need more. 1 bubble a second will be plenty for that tank with use of a diy co2 reactor.
 

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If you want to restore the tank in its peak as in the top picture and also enjoy DIY save your money ( get a PS5/ Xbox maybe) and go the dirted route.

Crypts do not require co2 to look lush. a dirted tank achieves the same results as uou would with ADA amazonia or Tropica soil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I won't call it yet but a CO2 system and the existing substrate seems to be a clear winner so far. Thanks everybody!

Bump:
If you want to restore the tank in its peak as in the top picture and also enjoy DIY save your money ( get a PS5/ Xbox maybe) and go the dirted route.

Crypts do not require co2 to look lush. a dirted tank achieves the same results as uou would with ADA amazonia or Tropica soil.
LOL, I guess it isn't a landslide!
 

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As others said above, CO2 will make every single other thing easier. It will also allow you to start adding some stems if you choose to.

The thing I would focus on is regular maintenance. The most recent pic of your tank shows what happens when someone neglects a tank. CO2 plus good maintenance and you can surpass your previous peak health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The thing I would focus on is regular maintenance. The most recent pic of your tank shows what happens when someone neglects a tank. CO2 plus good maintenance and you can surpass your previous peak health.
Guilty as changed.

The good news is that I've done water changes 3 weeks in a row now! I timed today's. The 75 took only 36 minutes plus about 5 more to put the gear away (I used it on another tank so I didn't count that.)
 

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Guilty as changed.

The good news is that I've done water changes 3 weeks in a row now! I timed today's. The 75 took only 36 minutes plus about 5 more to put the gear away (I used it on another tank so I didn't count that.)
Are you using a python or similar water change system? You can probably cut down your water change time a bit with one of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are you using a python or similar water change system? You can probably cut down your water change time a bit with one of those.
Yes and no. I'm using a Python hose. LOL. That attached to a decent but not huge powerhead. So I pump the water into the sink. I have a bigger powerhead but it needs a new impeller. After the tank is about 40-50% down I turn off the power, attach it to the sink, give the hot a tiny turn and the cold a big turn. Then dose the tank for 100% water change. I can probably fill it quicker, we have great water pressure, but then it gets harder to regulate the temperature.

Hmm, if I used the python valve I could just run the cold full steam, adjust the hot, and the give it a turn. I'll try than next Saturday. Well, maybe, next Saturday is in the middle of tear down the tank long weekend!

I built a stand from cider blocks for the 65 holding tank, leveled it, and yes, put another lolly column in the basement under it. (Our house was build in the mid 1860s so modern building codes didn't exist.) I'll get the 65 on it tomorrow and I might even transfer the fish and eheim. I do have to work the next week though.
 
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