75 gallon set up from scratch

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Oldspartan

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Good Morning

We are acquiring a 75-gallon tank shortly, or if necessary, a 90-gallon tank, and as people here know Linda and I are beginners in the fish adventure. We have worked with tanks from 5-gallon betta to 37-gallon community with a 29 two 20's and a 10 in the mix 6 tanks total. Generally speaking, after some early trials all is going well. We are comfortable with getting a cycle established, although I will admit that may be false confidence.

The tank will be viewable from all sides but predominately the two long sides.

So, what is our question? Actually several.

First the tank will have a blood parrot. Second, we want a smallish community that is generally peaceful. So far, subject to the common sense that will be shared by all of you, we are leaning toward a Dwarf Gouramis shoal of perhaps 8, a BN Pleco, and a second shoal of 8 Emperor Tetra.

So, question one --- Is this a reasonable mix of fish critters for the tank.

We want a planted tank with "drift" wood, a large rock formation that looks like a rockslide, and a cave for the pleco. The driftwood will be a 28: piece if Oak burl that I will soon lop off a tree in our backwoods. It is arch shaped with the burl at the top.

So, Question two --- Oak is loaded with tannins. Should I remove all or just some of them? Is oak even suitable for my purpose?

Rocks are heavy. We envision a large central one that might measure perhaps 8 inches in length, 5 inches in width, and maybe 7 inches tall. Surrounding it a tumble of various smaller stones extending outward perhaps 8 inches. This configuration would end up being about half the tanks length. Would also like some plants cropping out among the rockslide so that it looks aged.

So, Question three/four --- Is the weight of these rocks a problem for the tank bottom? Should I fit a plastic egg crate to the bottom to spread the weight somewhat?

The main hard aquascape will be centered in the width of the tank. Will want tallish plants at the top of the rock pile, perhaps 12" if a 75-gallon tank, or 15 inches if a 90-gallon tank. Smaller plants stepped down the rockslides.

So, Question five is obvious -- Plant suggestions?

For filtration I am leaning toward an HOB on one of the 18" ends and sponge filters at the other end. We want a gentle current if feasible that predominately flows across the length of the tank.

So, Question six would be what is the best filtration design and choice that accomplishes the desired gentle current.

Question seven --- Lighting

This tank is a decorative centerpiece to the room. We want to do it absolutely right and will be patient with whatever time it takes to develop it in a rational order. Also open to ALL suggestions. The entire dining room changing to fish room will aesthetically revolve around this set up. If I am missing something, and I probably am, please feel free to point it out. I am taking notes.

If you got this far THANK YOU!

EDIT ---- I should note, water parameters will be adjusted according to needs.
 
Dwarf gouramis (Colisa lalius) and all its colour forms regularly carry the Gourami Iridovirus and or Fish Tuberculosis (TB), neither of which can be treated. So avoid dwarf gouramis.

Most gouramis are territorial and will fight if you have too many in too small a space. Males are much more likely to fight than females.

Oak is fine and the wood eventually stops leaching tannins but it can take a while. Just do big water changes if the tannins make it too hard to see the fish.

Try an avoid big rocks because they don't always look good and can break the base of the tank if you aren't careful. The fish you listed don't occur around rocks and prefer driftwood and plants (including floating plants).

What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?
This will filter and lights.
 
48 by 18 inches …. The 75 is 21 inches tall, the 90 24 inches tall.

We are not against a potential change of livestock. We do want the rocks.

I do have concerns about the tannins.
 
Just place some egg crate under the rocks and the rocks will not be an issue. Fish couldn't care less about your decorations, so long as the cave dwellers have a place to go to. Forget the HOB. Go with canister filters (filled with foam or K1), a sump, or UGF. I personally prefer the latter.
 
I also have concern about the rocks. Will eggcrate be helpful?
Egg crate can help and a lot of people that have big reef tanks use it under the sand.

If you plan on having big rocks in the tank, you can get the tank built with a thicker base and that will also reduce the chance of it cracking. However, a thicker base will cost more and if you drop the rock on the glass, it will still break. :)

--------------------

48 by 18 inches …. The 75 is 21 inches tall, the 90 24 inches tall.
I don't like tanks that are significantly taller than they are wide because they aren't as stable. I would prefer the 4ft x 18in wide x 21 inch high over a 4ft x 18in x 24 inch high. If you got a 4x2x2ft that would be fine but they are heavier.

The 4x18x24 should be made of 10mm thick glass, while the smaller tank should be made of 8mm thick glass (possibly thicker if it doesn't have support straps on the top).

Tanks that are 24 inches high can be difficult to get into to clean if you are short.

--------------------

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website (Water Analysis Report) or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

If you have hard water and want rocks, perhaps look at Lake Tanganyikan or Lake Malawi cichlids. Fish like Aulonocara species from Lake Malawi have some spectacular colours and you can have a group of 8-10 males from different species. There are also some really nice Lake Tanganyikan cichlids (Ophthalmotilapia sp) that can look good when they mature. These fishes all live in rocky areas and a lot of people keep them because they resemble some marine fish but are cheaper and easier to keep.

Filter wise, it really depends on the fish you keep, but a large Fluval external canister filter (FX4 or something) should be adequate on either of those tanks. A smaller filter would do if you get tetras and gouramis. A trickle filter or sump as mentioned by Plebian would also work for any fish. You just order the tank and trickle filter and get them to drill a hole in the glass and install the fittings, then connect the 2 tanks with some hose.
 
you may find the Cichlid aggressive towards the tetras ( think if you can find more mature tetras??? I've added several lately, & they have all come in pretty tiny ) also there are several varieties of Emperors... interestingly with the Palmeri's, the males have blue eyes & the Females have green...

I've used large rocks before, & while placing them is a delicate procedure, in reality they aren't as much heavier than the same volume of water, so as long as care is taken when placing, I think you'll be fine... BTW, is the tank Plate or Tempered, or Acrylic ???

BTW #2, I have a couple tanks that are open on both long sides, in fact, one is viewable from 3 sides, & makes maintenance more challenging, so give a 2nd thought when aqua scaping, just to make you can do all the maintenance you'll need to do...

lighting has been a challenge, for me restarting 20 year old tanks that have been built into the walls... so many things changed in those 20 years I was out of the hobby... no question, that LED lighting is leaps and bounds better ( although programming gives me fits on the dawn to dusk programs, both in complexity, & the instruction print size... being super tiny font ) these are what I have been buying recently...


I find one full length light is a great amount of light for a normal depth tank... but I do like to use 2 of them, on extra deep tanks, like my 45 gallon talls, or my 65 gallon tank, which are all 24 inches deep...

and not to conflict with @Colin_T ... but I do love the bigger than life picture window look, of my 45 gallon talls... but they are, I'm sure more unstable... my 65 gallon, is the same as my 45 talls, but is extra wide at 18"... and seems much more stable... all my stands are "stable" though, & in all my years, I've never come close to having a stability issue with the 45's
 
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Just place some egg crate under the rocks and the rocks will not be an issue. Fish couldn't care less about your decorations, so long as the cave dwellers have a place to go to. Forget the HOB. Go with canister filters (filled with foam or K1), a sump, or UGF. I personally prefer the later.

Egg crate can help and a lot of people that have big reef tanks use it under the sand.

If you plan on having big rocks in the tank, you can get the tank built with a thicker base and that will also reduce the chance of it cracking. However, a thicker base will cost more and if you drop the rock on the glass, it will still break. :)

--------------------


I don't like tanks that are significantly taller than they are wide because they aren't as stable. I would prefer the 4ft x 18in wide x 21 inch high over a 4ft x 18in x 24 inch high. If you got a 4x2x2ft that would be fine but they are heavier.

The 4x18x24 should be made of 10mm thick glass, while the smaller tank should be made of 8mm thick glass (possibly thicker if it doesn't have support straps on the top).

Tanks that are 24 inches high can be difficult to get into to clean if you are short.

--------------------

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website (Water Analysis Report) or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

If you have hard water and want rocks, perhaps look at Lake Tanganyikan or Lake Malawi cichlids. Fish like Aulonocara species from Lake Malawi have some spectacular colours and you can have a group of 8-10 males from different species. There are also some really nice Lake Tanganyikan cichlids (Ophthalmotilapia sp) that can look good when they mature. These fishes all live in rocky areas and a lot of people keep them because they resemble some marine fish but are cheaper and easier to keep.

Filter wise, it really depends on the fish you keep, but a large Fluval external canister filter (FX4 or something) should be adequate on either of those tanks. A smaller filter would do if you get tetras and gouramis. A trickle filter or sump as mentioned by Plebian would also work for any fish. You just order the tank and trickle filter and get them to drill a hole in the glass and install the fittings, then connect the 2 tanks with some hose.
Linda likes the not so local fish store, and they have Seapora as a stock tank. We bought a 44 gallon Seapora from them, or I should say Linda did, and it is nice. She checked with them last week, the glass thickness on the 75 is 5/16 inch. The bottom is tempered. The 44 has been mothballed for now.

My water comes from a well. It has a GH at the tap of 257 and a KH of about 127. I also have a rain collection system that is used to soften the water for our Neons and Corys. I do not yet know how to harden water but can certainly learn if our species selection requires it.

I can get a pretty complete water test if necessary. My nephew is a Chem Professor at Marist and would be willing to do a complete analysis if that is required. He did one on my well a few years back for me when we were considering a filtration system. Do not think I kept it at the time.

Filtration is a quandary to me. I just cannot seem to get the full process through my brain and the more I read the less I understand it. Likely it is one of those brain block things that will at any given moment be overcome with a wave of enlightenment. Wiring was once like that for me, then one day the whole process became clear. Funny how the brain works.
 
Angelfish, discus, most tetras, most barbs, Bettas, gouramis, rasbora, Corydoras and small species of suckermouth catfish all occur in soft water (GH below 150ppm) and a pH below 7.0.

Livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), rainbowfish and goldfish occur in medium hard water with a GH around 200-250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If you had harder water (GH above 300ppm) then look at African Rift Lake cichlids, or use rain, distilled or reverse osmosis water to reduce the GH and keep fishes from softer water, which is what you already do for the neons.

You can increase the GH, KH and pH by adding a Rift Lake water conditioner. It's basically mineral salts designed to raise the hardness and pH. You can buy it from most pet shops or online. Below is a link to the one I used to use. There are heaps of different brands and they all do the same thing.

--------------------

It's always worth getting well water checked once or twice a year just to make sure nothing bad is leaching into it. So if your nephew is willing to do a test on it, get it done.

Don't worry about the filter until you work out what fish you want.
 
you may find the Cichlid aggressive towards the tetras ( think if you can find more mature tetras??? I've added several lately, & they have all come in pretty tiny ) also there are several varieties of Emperors... interestingly with the Palmeri's, the males have blue eyes & the Females have green...

I've used large rocks before, & while placing them is a delicate procedure, in reality they aren't as much heavier than the same volume of water, so as long as care is taken when placing, I think you'll be fine... BTW, is the tank Plate or Tempered, or Acrylic ???

BTW #2, I have a couple tanks that are open on both long sides, in fact, one is viewable from 3 sides, & makes maintenance more challenging, so give a 2nd thought when aqua scaping, just to make you can do all the maintenance you'll need to do...

lighting has been a challenge, for me restarting 20 year old tanks that have been built into the walls... so many things changed in those 20 years I was out of the hobby... no question, that LED lighting is leaps and bounds better ( although programming gives me fits on the dawn to dusk programs, both in complexity, & the instruction print size... being super tiny font ) these are what I have been buying recently...


I find one full length light is a great amount of light for a normal depth tank... but I do like to use 2 of them, on extra deep tanks, like my 45 gallon talls, or my 65 gallon tank, which are all 24 inches deep...

and not to conflict with @Colin_T ... but I do love the bigger than life picture window look, of my 45 gallon talls... but they are, I'm sure more unstable... my 65 gallon, is the same as my 45 talls, but is extra wide at 18"... and seems much more stable... all my stands are "stable" though, & in all my years, I've never come close to having a stability issue with the 45's
I like the looks of a tall tank. Eighteen to twenty inches seems to be my comfort zone for cleaning, (the 37 is my only tank over 16 inches).
The tank bottom is tempered, the sides I do not believe to be on the 75 Linda looked at. I do not know about the 90 should we go with that.

I like the idea of a 4 foot because my perception is that it will be comfortable for fish, just a perception not based on any great knowledge. Plus, it nicely fills the pass through from side to side. I also like the wider tank because we want the stuff in the center so that we can see the critters from both rooms easily. Selfish I suppose.

Lighting is another quandary. We had a bad experience with stowaways the one time we tried actual plants, and I am still killing snails in the 37G. Sometimes a dozen at a clip. I am sure they have their place and have since learned there are ways to minimize them, but non the less I do not like dealing with them. Be that as it may we will have actual plants in the tank for a while before adding fish. Hopefully I can deal with any snails during that period. Linda is going to search the web for a book on the subject and I will combine what it says with what I can learn here.
 
Just place some egg crate under the rocks and the rocks will not be an issue. Fish couldn't care less about your decorations, so long as the cave dwellers have a place to go to. Forget the HOB. Go with canister filters (filled with foam or K1), a sump, or UGF. I personally prefer the latter.
I think HOB is a comfort thing. I am familiar with them. A cannister is a distinct possibility but I will need to learn a bit about them. I have recently began adding sponge filters in our other tanks and really like them, but have just stuck them without really knowing how they are doing. As I said, filtration is a mystery to me.
 
LED spotlights from a hardware would work. Get something with a 6500K globe, then you're good to go.
 
We had a bad experience with stowaways the one time we tried actual plants, and I am still killing snails in the 37G.
Can you source in vitro plants (tissue culture)? Those don't have any hitchhikers on them. However, the plants are usually small when bought.
 
Can you source in vitro plants (tissue culture)? Those don't have any hitchhikers on them. However, the plants are usually small when bought.
We did consider tissue culture but decided we wanted a more mature looking tank at the get go.
 

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