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Old 06-06-2008, 12:35 AM   #1
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Time for a change?

So I've been wanting to try something different for a while for my 75gal african cichlid tank, frankly I'm bored to tears of those fish. At first I was looking at reef stuff, but my god the cost is insane. lol. I've had a 29gal planted tank running for quite a while now, it's got a 65 watt PC bulb on it putting me at medium-medium high I believe.

So I was thinking of selling off my cichlids and my texas holy rock and my fancy cichlid sand and moving everything from my 29gal to my 75. I'm wanting to go with a high light setup...I may even try to get fancy and toy with pressurized CO2...I've been using a DIY yeast generator running into my cannister to disperse the co2.

For lighting I was looking at this guy here
Catalina Aquarium SOLAR HOOD POWER COMPACT-4 X 65W

It's a 260 watter, putting me at around 3.5wpg. This is considered high for a 75 correct? I've heard the WPG rule gets a little funky with tanks that are very large or very small.

Also, I understand with this tank size and light level DIY yeast generators will no longer cut it. I know very little about pressurized system, where's a good place to find one? (prefferably on the cheap, I'm a college kid after all.)

Umm, what else....ferts, yes. Would this kind of setup require dosing ferts? I currently have eco complete plant substrate in my 30gal. that stuff was crazy expensive so I'm probably going to put as much as I can and fill the rest with a less expensive sand. Would the eco complete cover me on trace elements? Knowing me I'll stock this thing pretty heavily, will I actually have to dose nitrates and such?

Anyway, if you are still reading, you have more patience than I do. Sorry for the novel. haha. thanks guys
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:27 AM   #2
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co2-canisters.com for co2 items, they were very competitive prices for regulators, and for tanks.

least expensive way to dose ferts is dry ferts that you mix yourself - rexgrigg.com is a place to buy them.

That should indeed be high light If you check around Ebay, you may find some resellers of Catalina's T5 fixtures for around the same price, and T5's are more efficient and run cooler. 4x54 will run just as much, if not more light than a 4x65. Catalina's black fixtures are better than the silver ones, in the T5's, just ahead's up.

I've had good success thus far with a mineralized soil substrate, it is far less expensive than the enriched commercial substrates and does just as well, but it is a little funky at first - green water is pretty much to be expected for a while at first without UV running.
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip on the CO2, that's considerably better in price than the kits of drfostersmith I was looking at. I'll look into the T-5's. But back to the CO2. Basically I need a regulator (I'm looking at the Milwaukee Ma957 with the needle valve and buble counter included btw) and I need some tubing, a tank, and of course some kind of reactor to disperse the CO2correct? About a year ago when I first started plants I saw a design for a DIY reactor...don't remember who posted it, but it was made out of pvc and run by a hobby pump. Let me know if I've forgotten anything on the CO2 system. Thanks!
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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For the lighting, I did find this.
48" T6 High Output Aquarium Compact Lighting 216W, > T5 - eBay (item 380034850157 end time Jun-12-08 16:51:32 PDT)

It doesn't say the brand, but it looks like a one of the catalina kits. It says T6 though instead of T5's. I've never even heard of T6's hah. I'm not ready to buy yet certainly, but that is a good bit cheaper than the PC kit I was looking at....Ugh, I hate the bulb color though. Actinics and 12000K daylight. Sounds like more of a reef light to me. I'm used to 6700k.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:37 PM   #5
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A 75 gallon aquarium is well within the area where the WPG "rule" work relatively well. Keep in mind that both T5 and Compact Fluorescents are more efficient than The T12 it was based on, so you could probably do with less light and still grow most anything you wanted.

If you do go with that much light, then CO2 and Fertilization are almost an absolute must. I'd also recommend going with dry ferts as they are much more economical that prepared ferts. I'd recommend going with Rex's combo pack since it has all the ferts you should need to get started (unless your water is low on Calcium or Magnesium - which would be generally indicated by a low GH).

Since money is a bit short, I'd recommend skipping the Eco Complete. Unless it makes up at least 50% of your substrate it's a waste of money. Both Pool Filter Sand and Turface are great alternatives that are very inexpensive. You could probably get enough of either to fill your aquarium for $15-$30 (very rough guess).
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:11 AM   #6
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Well I couldn't seem to find any turface for same online or in my area...plus I don't really like the colors it comes in. I'll probably go with the pool filter sand. Usually I like a dark substrate, but I'll be using a black background anyway, so contrast is nice.

As for the ferts, where would one purchase the rex's combo pack?
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:52 AM   #7
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On his website, which is a very good read.
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Old 06-07-2008, 05:51 PM   #8
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well that's pretty reasonable. I think that's about all the information I need for now. Now I just have to wait till I get some money built up...I suppose I also need to contact the local welding shop and see if they refill CO2 tanks...or if they sell them...I suppose i also need to look into selling off all my african cichlids. Anyway, thanks for the help. I'm sure in a few months I'll be back asking questions when I get it all set up and algae takes over. haha

Interesting read indeed. I like how he writes like the reader he or she is a child. Hilarious. haha
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Old 06-08-2008, 02:11 AM   #9
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Just FYI pool filter sand (the light colored stuff) shows every speck of poop, algae, and anything else you can imagine. I have it in about half my 55g and I'm regretting it now. It gets dirty looking on top....and I don't love it. It could be that I have alot of open areas that aren't planted (for my Cories) and maybe if I had more plants in that area I wouldn't notice it as much.....but, it drives me crazy.

I'm a fan of dark substrates too. If I were to do it over again, the cheap way, I'd try to find some Turface (not dark, but not white/beige either...its a reddish brown color I think) or Soilmaster Select (comes in charcoal, look at lesco.com). Or I'd just put some Flourite black on my credit card (I have a problem with that....). Good looking stuff and a tad cheaper than Eco at some online places.

Check the 3m.com website for Colorquartz sand as well. Do a search and it should come up. Its used to make pool floors.....and various places sell it. I think there is just one here where I live, but maybe you'll have one near you too. It comes in 50lb bags....and in black and is a little more than pool filter sand, but not as much as Eco.
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Old 06-08-2008, 05:29 PM   #10
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yeah, that would certainly be a downside. I dunno, I'll do some shopping around, see what I can find for substrate
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