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Old 12-17-2004, 09:45 AM   #1
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Next Year's Project

Instead of buying another new tank with next year's tax returns, I want to upgrade my 75 gallon to make it a more natural habitat for my fish. I do not and cannot spend thousands of dollars on lighting fixtures and what not, but I would like to get all the plastic plants out of my 75 gallon and replace them with live. I would also like to get some driftwood to put into the tank.

So here's my questions and I'm always up for suggestions on how to do things.

My current setup:

75 gallon tank, Fluval canister filter, Penguin 330 HOB filter, two (I forget the watts) heaters, and I have a 48" hood with my flourescent bulbs in it. I do not remember the wattage off hand, but it was low. It was whatever came with the tank when I bought it earlier this year.

I need to test all my chemical and bacteria levels, but I'm not sure if that will alter greatly what I can and can't do with the tank!

What do I need to add equipment wise (I know probably better bulbs!)? I've read so much about all these CO2 things, and what not. But I'm going to be on a limited budget. Can you have plants thrive without that? I know I may need a new light hood to be able to get higher wattage bulbs than the standard issue one I currently have.

I also know I'll probably need some plant nutrients (liquid prefered for me). What kinds do you guys recommend?

Also, I have a problem with some plants in this tank in that my fish (I think my tetra) eat them! The Amazon sword that I currently have in there goes untouched, but the java fern I put in there (the babies from my large one in my 10 gal) get gobbled up faster than they were produced! I also tried Anacharis, and they seemed to leave that alone for the most part. So what kind of plants would guys recommend? I think it would be best for low maintenance & hardy plants on my part to start with.

I want my tank to provide some more hiding spots for my fish and give them a more natural feel. Any help would be greatly appreciated by me and the 16 fish and 1 snail of my tank.

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Old 12-17-2004, 10:22 AM   #2
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PS - Would something like this be good for a new lighting system?

http://www.jlaquatics.com/cgi-bin/sh...ail&catalogno=pc-alf48260
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Old 12-17-2004, 10:23 AM   #3
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Gah..the link messes up, so be sure to copy and paste it into browser instead of clicking on it.
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Old 12-17-2004, 10:25 AM   #4
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Also found here: http://www.fishstoretn.com/aqualights.html

I think someone from these boards runs that shop, no? It's been a while since I've been here. Forgive me. Gotta go to work now. ::sigh:: I'll read posts later! TIA for anyone that provides input!

Happy fish loving.
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Old 12-17-2004, 10:37 AM   #5
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Well, the light fixture will need to be upgraded, either through a retro fit, or a new fixture entirely. I suggest power compact lighting to get more lighting with less space used. You'll want at least 2x55 or 2x65 watt's over that size of tank, and even that's only gonna be at the lower end of lighting levels. $100-$200 for compact lighting.
Technically you could overdrive your current fixture, but it requires some experience, and a certain comfort level, with working with electrical wiring. And OD'ing bulbs makes them burn out faster...typically needing to be replaced after 4-6 months, rather than 9-12 months.

Once you hit 2 watts per gallon, especially with power compacts, you're going to need CO2 injection. A 5lb CO2 tank and a regulator will run you around $150-$180. Then you need to build or buy a reactor, so a max of $50 for that.

If you do inject CO2, you'll need to know your Kh levels. As long as you have 3degrees of Kh, you can inject CO2 safely. You'll also wanna lose the HOB filter, as it'l likely outgas some of your CO2.

The lighting levels you choose, along with CO2 injection, will determine the rate you'll need to dose ferts, as well as your plant selection.
On a tank your size, I will always recommend buying bulk, powdered ferts, from a place like www.gregwatson.com SeaChem and Kent are fine ferts, but much more expensive than their powdered counterparts.
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