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FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:49 pm
by greta b
OK, maybe not my ultimate dream tank, but certainly a big step up! I had great luck with a 29 gallon planted community and several smaller tanks.

After 2 years away from the hobby and a major life upheaval, I am finally settled enough and very eager to start up a 75 gallon that I purchased 3 years ago and was unable to set up. :D

Here's what I've got:
75 gallons
2 Eheim cannister classics 2217
Jager 200 W heater
2.5 watts per gallon lighting ( 2x96 ah supply lighting kits)

Ready to purchase:
CO2 regulator
substrate (leaning toward eco-complete)

This will be a heavily planted community tank featuring angels.

My tap water is making me nervous:
pH 7.2
GH less than 3 degrees
Kh 1 degree

Do I have the buffering capacity to handle CO2?? Do I need to add baking soda? Ugh, my old house had the perfect tap water. I hate to mess with my water.... :dismay:

Thanks in advance for your help!

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:58 pm
by freshfish
Hey that sounds awesome!

I think as long as you keep up with weekly water changes so that all the kH doesn't get stripped out by the plants you should be just fine with CO2; CO2-related pH changes seem to have little to no impact on fish, it is TDS levels that they are really more sensitive to. Also, EcoComplete has a decent buffering capacity. If you're really concerned about it, you could mix in some Seachem Onyx Sand/ Tidal Grey Coast (usually sold as a SW substrate) for some more buffering. Both are also excellent plant substrates (they're actually the same thing...)

I would run an airstone at night, though, just to make sure that the O2 levels in the tank don't bottom out at night.

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:18 pm
by greta b
freshfish wrote:I would run an airstone at night, though, just to make sure that the O2 levels in the tank don't bottom out at night.


I've never tired that before-- sounds like a good idea. Do you put them on a timer to come on after the lights go out?
I am good about my weekly water changes, so I am glad to know that willl help with buffering as well.

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:25 pm
by J.B.
Yes, a timer is the easiest way to control it. Set the air stone timer to come on shortly after the lights go out and turn off just before the lights are scheduled to come back on.

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:18 pm
by freshfish
There's a few places that make timers that will do that automatically; turn on one set of switches while turning off others; look for wavemaker timers. Coralife makes one...

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:48 pm
by greta b
That all seems simple enough! Still contmermplating substrate. FIrst thought was eco-complete, but now I am not so sure that I want to go that way. I'd like some cories and I hear conflicting reports on the suitability of eco-complete for cories.

I need to "dig in" to the substrate a little more and scan the forums for the latest conventional wisdom. What are your favorites these days?

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:14 pm
by freshfish
My favorite still is Flourite, especially the new black and black sand. I've got a mix of those two plus black Colorquartz in my 90gal and IMO it's doing very well.

I'm going to be trying out homemade "mineralized soil" very soon; it's cheap and supposed to be excellent plant substrate.

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:32 pm
by ram_guy
[quote]I'm going to be trying out homemade "mineralized soil" very soon; it's cheap and supposed to be excellent plant substrate./quote]

Let us know how it turns out. I've been thinking about mineralized soil, and so far have heard nothing but good things about it. :dontknow:

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:34 pm
by kb46
How do you think mineralized soil would work with diggers and sifters, say cories and loaches? Would there be nutrient cloud or dust issues?

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:06 pm
by freshfish
Depends on if, what, and how much you cap it. I'm going to cap mine with an inch of Colorquartz, so I don't think there will be digging issues.

Also, with the amount of clay you mix into the mineralized soil, this is supposed to help keep it from clouding the water down the road.

I'll also say that with all the rinsing I did in the preparation process, I don't think mine is going to cloud the tank at all... or at least, it will settle out really quickly (judging from the last rinse cycle).

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:25 pm
by kb46
freshfish wrote:(judging from the last rinse cycle).

have you been putting it through the washing machine :biglaugh: :biglaugh: :biglaugh:

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:52 pm
by freshfish
shhhhhhhh don't say things like that- my hubby might catch me!!! :rofl:

Actually, I've done almost the opposite "au natural" method- left it outside on my back porch, spread out on black garbage bags, totally exposed to the elements and neglected for 2 mos... :whistle:

So I finally sifted and rinsed it just this week... and now since it rained yesterday and today it's getting another "natural" rinse LOL

I'm really looking forward to giving it a try; I've seen some fabulous tanks, and the guy who developed the method said that his first mineralized soil tank is now going on 8 years! :thumb:

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:43 pm
by scroudt100
What is this homemade mineralized soil you guys speak off? :think: have any links for me?

Re: FINALLY setting up my dream tank

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:10 pm
by Crazygar
Here is a good link I that Freshfish posted on one of her threads; http://gwapa.org/wordpress/articles/mineralized-soil-substrate/

Gary