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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

Starting my first journal here, with my second tank ever and my first foray into the planted sector of freshwater aquaria. My goal with this is to be a relatively low-maintenance tank without sacrificing on the beauty.

  • 75 Gallon Aqueon tank from LFS
  • Black pine stand from LFS
  • 2x API Fillstar XPL's
  • Hydor 300W inline heater
  • 48" Lithonia lighting shop light (running one bulb for low light according to the PAR charts)
  • 8 bags of Eco Complete as substrate

  • Anacharis
  • Anubias (nana, "petite", "coffeefolia")
  • Crypts (wendtii, undulata, parva)
  • Hygro (giant and compact)
  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss
  • Italian Vals
  • Nothing (yet)
  • 5x Bolivian Ram (planned)
  • ??x Cardinal Tetra (planned)
  • ??x Rummynose Tetra (planned)
  • 3-4x Bristlenose (planned)
  • 6-12x Otocinclus (planned)
  • ??x Corydoras (maybe?)

So, here we go! First, the pretty stuff.

The order arrives!

I bought them all online and was surprised at the quality I got. Will definitely do it again in the future should I need more plants.

Getting them in the tank (using RODI water for the tank and the system isn't yet set up at this point):

Filling it up:

All planted! lol

Hardscape arrangement:

Getting ready to plant!

Bucket o' plants:

First planted plant!

The final product:


Closer to the wood. I'm hoping these Anubias attach... they are fairly loose.

Right side:

Left side:

Crypt. parva:

Crypt. wendtii "red":

View from the back:

The whole set, if you're interested:[email protected]/sets/72157631224930540/

Now, the update stuff.

Wood still wanted to float despite being soaked for several weeks, so I had to tie it to tupperware lids with fishing line and bury the lids in the gravel. Easy, effective, and inexpensive. And non-permanent, which is a plus.

Just got the filters and the heater running (@ ~79F) yesterday. Media is set up as follows (excuse the crude ASCII drawing) in both filters:

polishing pad
purigen + bio stars
fine foam
ehfisubstrat pro
more ehfisubstrat pro

Beginning to fishless cycle the tank now, after finally finding some clear ammonia at a Walgreens (everything else has surfactants in it). Bumped the Ammonia to ~4ppm and waiting for it to fall.

I've remineralized the RODI water with GLA's GH Booster and added some buffering capacity with some baking soda, but it appears I overshot my target:

Wanted: 1-2 dGH, 1-2 dKH, pH ~6.5
Got: 3 dGH, 4 dKH, pH ~7.6

So I'll have to play chemist some more to figure out exactly how much of each I need to add since I clearly overshot (I think it didn't dissolve right away so I didn't see the new reading and overdid things). Oh well---iirc the cycling goes more smoothly at higher pH anyway.

And there you have it: a newbie planted tank journey, starting now!
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