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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently set up a 75gal aquarium to move my current 5 african cichlids to and add 6-10 more. I am worried that I am loosing control of my small tank and don't want to jump into the new larger one until I AM BACK IN CONTROL. Please advise on corrections to my novice skills and habits.

Here is a detailed list of everything I can think of that you may need to know.

I have a 35 gal. aquarium that has been planted for about 1 year.
--Java fern all planted in gravel, There is always some darker areas on some of the leaves.
--Crypt, some planted in homemade aqua soil, 2 in gravel. The leaves have recently started thinning.otherwise healthy.
--ACIOTIS ACUMINIFOLIA all planted in pots and homemade aqua soil. I regularly propagate and trim. They quickly outgrow the height of my small tank.

Since my little pleco died I have had algae or gunk on all of the leaves that I rub and "dust" off.

I add Flourish Excel organic carbon daily according to directions (maybe a little on the heavy side) and Flourish Comprehensive supplements/ nutrients according to directions (maybe a little heavy) 3-4x per week.

t8 24in bulb 14-16 hrs per day. 10,000um

I keep pH from 8.0-8.2, Nitrates, nitrites, ammonia are all controled.

I have:
1 Melonochromis Auratus
1 Yellow Lab
1 Desmasoni
1 Lombarodi
1 Metriaclima Esthera Ob.

I feed them floating pellets in the morning and shrimp cubes in the evening.

1- 4 inch Pleco that got fin rot and quickly deteriorated. He Never got any larger in the 10 months than when I got him from LFS. But I never had a BIT of algae :)

I have a canister Filstar Canister filter (mech. and Bio filters) rated for 75 gal and Cheap HOB filter (I use it more for bio filter and to break surface). I check/change water and clean filters every 2 weeks. Water has stayed very clear.

My new 75gal tank is now planted with Java Fern, and Crypt. I introduced Crypt twice and failed with large mature plants. I saved the roots in my main 35 gal tank and recently and SUCCESSFULLY replanted the roots, its growing well for now(also planted a small baby crypt that is also doing well). I would like to put some color in the tank by adding the Aciotis acuminifolia but each time the leaves die and I have to move the pot back to the main tank.

I have crushed coral to keep a good healthy pH of 8.2 for my future cichlids. I am wondering if the coral is keeping the water to hard or something.

I just put a 5 inch Pleco in the large 75gal tank and he looks like he may have ick or something.

Are there any plants that would flourish in this environment?
 

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Well, there are some things I would do diferent. For instance I would make a choise between either a fish-oriented aquarium or a plant-oriented one. These fish are from a habitat with lots of rocks and very few or no plants. So a more natural aquarium decoration would be a big pile of stones on one side and some open water on the other. To prevent debris from buildinmg up beneath the stones you need a serious filter which makes a visible water flow. Plants which fit in such a habitat would be for instanc vallisneria and hornworth.

With these fish and the nessesary rather heavy feeding I wouldn't dose any fertilizers at all. The fish-poo provides already much more than the plants can use and you need heavy water changes to keep up.

Cleaning filters so often means either that your filters are getting plugged way too soon or that a normal bacterial flora never has a chance to build up.

Java fern should not be rooted in the soil but bound to some rocks or roots.

The other plants I would plant directly in the gravel without any aquasoil whatshowever. Try with some trimmed of pieces if you like. The flower-pots look rather unnatural (although I have some in my aquaria as well for various reasons).

If you want a heavily planted aquarium, I would not suggest fish from a rocky habitat, but rather some small schooling fish which occur in heavily vegetated streams in nature. This is a rather different discipline ...

So to be honest I'd suggest some internet-time or a trip to the library for some aquarium books ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, there are some things I would do diferent. For instance I would make a choise between either a fish-oriented aquarium or a plant-oriented one. These fish are from a habitat with lots of rocks and very few or no plants. So a more natural aquarium decoration would be a big pile of stones on one side and some open water on the other. I may end up making the smaller one more plant oriented and the larger one for the rocky habitat and a few Crypt and Java Fern
They seem to be doing fine for now and I really like them both.

To prevent debris from buildinmg up beneath the stones you need a serious filter which makes a visible water flow. Plants which fit in such a habitat would be for instanc vallisneria and hornworth. In my larger 75 gal tank I have a Marineland C-360 and Fluval C-3. total gallons supported are 140. there is a visible water flow in BOTH tanks.

With these fish and the nessesary rather heavy feeding I wouldn't dose any fertilizers at all. The fish-poo provides already much more than the plants can use and you need heavy water changes to keep up. Cleaning filters so often means either that your filters are getting plugged way too soon or that a normal bacterial flora never has a chance to build up. I can step up the water changes to weekly while keeping the filter cleanings to every 2 weeks Should that be ok?

Java fern should not be rooted in the soil but bound to some rocks or roots.

The other plants I would plant directly in the gravel without any aquasoil whatshowever. Try with some trimmed of pieces if you like. The flower-pots look rather unnatural (although I have some in my aquaria as well for various reasons).

If you want a heavily planted aquarium, I would not suggest fish from a rocky habitat, but rather some small schooling fish which occur in heavily vegetated streams in nature. This is a rather different discipline ...

So to be honest I'd suggest some internet-time or a trip to the library for some aquarium books ...
Thanks for this great reply with much needed expert opinion! I plan on stopping by the LFS today to replace my past due filter pads. And to get some other nik-naks.
 

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The high GH and KH from the coral is not a bad thing. Many plants thrive in such water, so if yours are doing well, go for it.
Looks like they are doing well.
Even the Crypt has made it.
There are some plants that really demand soft acidic water. These would not grow well in this tank, so when you think you might want different species of plants make sure you are not getting the few that won't grow in hard water.

I would add more rocks to make more caves for the fish, but it is OK to mix them with pots for the plants. I like the broken pot arches as more caves. May not be natural, but it looks fine to me.
And with fish that dig, I think this is the only way you are going to get nice looking plants.
 

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I tend to clean the filter only when the flow slows down. Meaning once a month - or two- even once every three months goes. Some filters have a possibility to change only the first layer of material, which filters out course fish-poo. This you can do as often as you like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
This may seem like a silly question but...What signs do you look for to see if the flow is slowing down? Movement of plants?
 

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less water coming out? I always direct the outflow to the water surface. So when the surface starts moving less, it is a sign something needs to be done. Water movement at the surface increases diffusion of gasses into and out of the water. This is what you'd want in most aquaria, only in some heavily planted aquaria with CO2 addition you might want the opposite (to keep the CO2 in the water).
 
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