10-27-2012, 08:18 PM
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Greg, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
Your questions have mainly been answered, so I'll just add my two cents. Starting with the filter/heater. If the cost is not over your budget, my suggestion would be an Eheim Pro 2 or 3 filter (the size rated for the 75g) with an internal heating unit. I got one of these, a Pro 2 for my 70g and have had it running since 1997 with never an issue, and the temperature in this tank [now on my 90g actually] never varies by more than .1 of a degree up or down from the set temperature, which is something not possible with standing heaters. It also means no heaters hanging in the tank. I also have a Rena XP3 on my 115g, and I have no complaints on the filter. Time will tell if it is as durable for less cost however.
I suggest the play sand for the substrate, the Quikrete brand at HD is very close in appearance to the sands in the Amazon. Also concur on the dual T8 tubes in Daylight, HD caries Phillips Daylight Deluxe 6500K (Sylvania and GE also make these) and two 48-in tubes will be sufficient.
With your fish selection, note the temperature ranges for the tetra. Rams like warmth, around 80-82F, and many of the tetra and catfish will not appreciate this. We have fish an plant profiles, under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. f the name is used identically in a post as in the profile, it will shade, forming a link to the profile, example Blue Ram or Mikrogeophagus ramirezi.