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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey Everyone! I just purchased a used 75 gallon aquarium and stand for $150! along with that I also purchased a used fluval 404 canister filter for $50. I have come to this forum for guidance. This is going to be set up in the living room of our house and I CAN'T look like a science project haha. I was hoping that you guys could help me acheive this goal :)

P.S. I plan to make this a Discus tank eventually and I also want to do dwarf hairgrass in the foreground does anyone have any experience?

Here is a rundown of the specs

Lighting
170 watts 2x65 odyssea(I know thats not great but i'm on a student budget here)
and 2x20 watts power glow florescent tubes
(I can add more later if needed but I would rather not)

Substrate
soilmaster select charcoal
possibly a beach area with sand (undecided still planning scape)

Co2
DIY baby!! I have a 3 bottle rig in the works
The guy at my LFS is very encouraging on my plans
for DIY co2 b/c he says with pressurized you set it up
and forget it, whereas with DIY you become more in
tune with your tank because you have to be working on
it all the time.

Filtration
404 fluval canister

Here are some pics im cleaning everything tomorrow and will update from there
Thankyou in advance for any help or advice, You don't know how much It will be
appreciated!! :)
 

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You got a nice deal there:) Have fun setting it up!
 

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awesome deal on the tank.

as for co2, i went pressurized because i got tired of changing out bottles.
i did diy for about a year before i said screw it, and bought all the stuff for pressurized co2.
 

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Hey, Joe, first off, welcome to apc. Here's some great referecence info for starting out, in case you haven't seen them:
http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/index.html
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...ums/14684-new-tank-setup-guide-parts-1-a.html
http://www.rexgrigg.com/

The total wattage you have for lighting should be enough, but the harder part will be to try to have it illuminate your tank evenly, so you don't have 'dark/dead' spots. In regards to CO2 - good luck with the diy. On a tank that size, it is recommended you go pressurized. I question your lfs's advice. You do set it up and forget it with pressurized - that means stability in the tank, which is what you want, not CO2 fluctuations. I predict you will also quickly tire of having to make up a new sugar/yeast batch every 2 weeks. Having said all that, go for it, and give it a shot. If nothing else, it will be a learning experience. :)

Again, welcome to apc!
 

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Start a little fund for pressurized CO2 RIGHT NOW!!! I got sick of DIY on a 29. I can't imagine it on a tank your size without going batty. I'm a student, too, so I understand your pain. In fact, I think that you would be happier with less expensive (and easier!) fish and pressurized than a discus tank with DIY CO2. Inconsistant CO2 levels are an invitation to algae. It's also easy to have CO2 spikes with DIY CO2. (Just think of gasping discus that cost you 50 bucks each. Yikes!)

I use the soilmaster and I think that it is a very good substrate. You will find it light and annoying, at first. After a few weeks, it becomes saturated with water and mulm and holds plants like a dream.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Greetings from Lexington!
I have been busy cleaning and setting up tonight. I have had mouthfuls of bleach water trying to clean out my filter who's primer button does not work, mini floods and gravel in my carpet haha. but I have gotten a good amount of the initial setup completed.

I as you can see from the photos plan to place a sandy beach corner in the right hand side of the aquarium what do you think about it? should I keep it or just fill it in with SMS. And if any of you have any experience on how to keep the SMS out of the sand please let me know. currently my only plan is to
place rocks covered in Java Moss around it.

Anyways tomorrow my light comes in and I will also be picking up some odds and ends. If everything goes according to plan My Tank will be filled by tomorrow night.

Anyways I am very excited to start cycling the tank. I will keep you posted

Please keep up the great comments:D

-John
 

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Glad to see that you are getting started. And your teeth are now so white!

I have heard that the easiest way to keep your sand groomed is to gently siphon a small amount of the top layer off every now and then and then carefully add a bit of fresh sand back. It is a good idea to keep extra sand on hand for this purpose. The moss covered rocks will also help.

Do you plan to keep lots of fast growers? It's a good idea in a new tank and will really help you out-compete the algae. You want to really stuff the tank full of them. This will also eliminate the evidence of a cycle. The growing plants will utilize the ammonia directly. (In case you didn't already realise it, people here at APC sell excellent plants!)

What plants and fish are you planning on, for now?
 

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Ay! I agree with many of the above people: Get a pressurized system for CO2! You are going to have enough to do without adding DIY CO2 on top of that! YIKES! Especially for someone who is just getting into the hobby. Pressurized CO2, in general, is a lot more dependable and efficient than DIY. However, DIY CO2 WILL work fine, but it is a bit messy and tedious.....may not be worth the hassel and time. Just an opinion.

Tank and substrate looks great......are you sure your future discus won't mess up your "beach" area by digging for leftovers? Just something to think about.

Good luck!!! Keep us posted!
 

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If you decide to use DIY CO2, be sure to set up at least two bottles, with the start dates staggered, so both bottles never run out at the same time. That will help a lot in keeping the amount of CO2 in the water more constant, which will help prevent algae blooms. Pressurized CO2 is definitely much better, but things that cost more usually are much better - perhaps that's why they cost more?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Greetings everyone,
I have been up late yet again setting up my diy co2 rig which I think is pretty good (pic below) I have also decided to take out the sand beach for more planting room. i have also decided to put discus on the back burner for a while so I can get into the swing of things with my new tank.

I got my jebo/odyssea light today, It seems fairly well built with a decent reflector. The thing is with the stand legs there is no way to make it fit on my aquarium. has anyone had this problem? I had to take the legs off and lay it flat on the glass will it overheat??

anyways I got a visitherm stealth heater reg. $40 but with the petsmart price match I got it for $18 that was a good thing becuase judging by the hollow *clank* coming from my piggy bank I think its about empty ;)

well I hope to have some plants in here in a few days but I wont bore you with any more posts containing unexciting pictures of my horrible mess and co2 haha, but for this last post I am going to bore you with pictures of my horrible mess and co2 (and light). Hang in there and don't abandon me my next post will be more exciting i promise haha

as always suggestions/comments are greatly appreciated see you in a few days :D

-John
 

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I have a suggestion: Looking at your CO2 bottles, I see you are using silicone to seal where the tube goes thru the bottle cap. At least it looks that way. I haven't had much luck doing that. It seals for awhile, but since most of those caps are made of materials silicone doesn't adhere well to, the seal soon starts leaking. The better way to do this is to drill a hole smaller than the tube O.D. then poke/pull the tube thru the hole. That makes the hole grip the tube so tightly it seals mechanically. Better to change that now rather than after a week wondering why no CO2 gets to the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hey yea I did poke a hole through the cap smaller than the tube and pulled it through (near impossible w/o fingernails haha, neways i just put the silicone as a extra precaution
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hey everyone!
I'm very excited because i just got some of the initial planting completed! I was a little concerned because my water took almost a day to clear up and still I dont think it is fully clean, Soilmaster is really messy, has anyone else had this problem? how do i get it to fully clear up? I didn't wash it because everyone here said it was a waste of time. This is where I am going to really start need everyone's help. set-up was easy but getting these plants to stay nice while keeping alge down will be hard so please stay with me

Here are the plants I have purchased


Quillwort (behind driftwood)
Java moss (on driftwood)
Cabomba (in middle)
Onion plant (back right)
a few shoots of dwarf sag (foreground)
mystery plant just to the right of driftwood i have no idea what it is

I am having trouble getting my co2 to work but i will figure that out later

I also would greatly appreciate some aquascaping help i am getting more plants in a day or two but i dont know what or where to put it.

Thanks in advance
-John
 

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You are off to a great start! Don't worry about the Soilmaster select. Just let your filter run. In a couple of days the dust will have settled and then things will be pretty clear. Just give it time. I don't rinse mine and it takes about two days to clear up.

Do you have a plan for fertilization, yet? I suggest either EI or PPS Pro. Dry ferts from rexgrigg.com are great!

Do not worry about aquascaping yet, either. I would however stuff some more plants in there. Lots of plant mass is the key.
 

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Very cool man, but like Kelly said, give it more plants. Don't even give the algae a chance.

Ive had great success with stem plants like hygrophila difformis and hygrophila polysperma. These things grow fast, especially the polysperma. If given enough light it will grow on a horizontal path in its apparent quest to dominate the tank.

I would do something different with the wood (just a thought) if I were you. Maybe lay them down instead of having them sticking up..?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
going to buy some new plants friday because my LFS is getting a huge shipment in, I will post pics a after I get everything setup. anyways sorry i haven't given an update in a while.

I got my diy co2 working finally running about 1bps, I just made a bunch of stupid mistakes haha. I now have all new bulbs in my fixtures so that will help alot i'm sure.

i had a question, some of the leaves on my cabomba are getting pale how do i fix this?

Also what is the best way to diffuse my co2 into the water, i am thinking about using the upside down bottle method where you catch the co2 in it and give it time to dissolve

Anyways here is the tank cleared up it looks much better
 

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I used the hagen ladder when I was running a DIY setup. Now, I use a limewood air stone on my pressurized system. The ladder is cheap enough at 10 bucks and the limewood is only $3 for a two pack.

Maybe you could build a reactor and run the gas inline with the cannister filters exhaust..
 

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Hey Really Like Yer setup.... I REALLY like how you have yer driftwood upright, really cool. no one does it. i have one small piece in mine i wanna get a few and have kinda upright too. and another question to those pro's out there what is this "limewood" i'm hearing about ?
 
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