Need equipment advice for 75 gallon tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-25-2011, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Need equipment advice for 75 gallon tank

Hello all… I am new to the hobby and need some advice in choosing equipment for my 75 gallon tank.
Basically I work at a Pet supply store and though we mostly deal in dog, cat and small animal supplies we do sell limited fish supplies as well. I do have access to my discount and am restricted only to brands my distributor carries.
While I acquire my tank components I have set up a temporary 12 gallon tank that seems to be doing well. My plan is to transfer the inhabitants of this smaller tank into the larger 75 gallon tank. The residents of this 12 gallon include (all juvinille); 1 Moonlight Gourami, 3 Balloon Mollies, 2 Cherry Barbs, 1 Zebra Shrimp and 1 Twig Catfish. They all seem to be doing well and I want to make the setup of the new tank the best possible for them to coexist in.
This is what I have so far.
1 75 Gallon Tank
1 Tank stand
1 Marineland C-530 Canister Filter
I still need a canopy and a lighting unit. I would like to get a nice lighting fixture that has a timer AND live plant capabilities as well as a night/moon light. I looked online for reviews but have found nothing. This is where I need the most advice as I want to buy something superior and I don’t want to make a poor choice. I have Coralife, Current-USA, Deep Blue, Marineland, Wavepoint & Zoo Med as available brands to chose from.
What kind of Air pump would I need for a 75 gallon - how many airstones? I heard that Twig Catfish like currents – how would I establish this?
I would also like to have both gravel and sand… Is this commonly done?
Any other advice would be much appreciated!

Last edited by AuraBoyX; 02-25-2011 at 10:20 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-26-2011, 06:16 AM
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Zero airstones if you want plants and I dont think night lights are good.
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-26-2011, 03:23 PM
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Agree with Grimmjow on both points. A timer for the lights is good, either built in or one you can purchase at a hardware store. Fish and plants need total darkness, that means no room lights either, for their rest period which should be 8-10 hours daily (or nightly I guess). Over a 75g, presumably a 4-foot tank, I would suggest a dual tube T8 fixture. T5 HO with two tubes will be far too intense [unless you are going high-tech planted, a very different issue]. Dual T8 tubes will allow you the option of combining two different tubes for good plant light and good colour rendition.

Which "Twig" is it? The one in our profiles [click on shaded names to see profiles, example Twig Catfish] is Farlowella vittata, the smaller species. As noted in the profile, under "Origin," currents are not necessary, beyond normal water movement in a 75g with a canister filter. I have this species and even spawned them.

The nice thing about canisters is being able to direct the outflow against the end wall via spigot or a spraybar, and thus create a weaker current down and through the tank.

On the substrate, mixing gravel and sand is not in my view a good idea. If you want to have areas of just gravel and other areas of just sand, you will need some form of divider, and water movement and fish actions tend to dislodge these unless they are somehow permanently attached (siliconed to the glass). If you mean mixing together gravel and sand, also not good because the sand being smaller will drop to the bottom, and the danger here is that it will not bet moved about enough and compact. For planted tanks the best substrate is either small-grain gravel (each grain 1-3 mm) in a dark shade (black, dark brown, buff mixed, or dark gray mix) or an enriched substrate like Flourite or Eco-complete.

The above is general to get you started thinking, we can elaborate on points. And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the kind advice… I figured I would give an update as we zero in on my final 75 gallon tank…

When posting my original post we had (all residing in a 12 Gallon Eclipse tank):

1 Moonlight Gourami named Wendyl

3 Balloon Molllies (Black, White & Orange) named Cookie, Cream & Peaches

2 Cherry Barbs named Bleep (female, I think) and Bloop (male, I think)

1 Farowella Twig Catfish named appropriately Twig

And 1 EXTREMELY reclusive (I keep thinking he’s dead but he keeps reappearing) Zebra Shrimp named Houdini-Hoo

Since my original post we have added an extra 10 Gallon Tetra Whisper filter (10i) to help with the fish load. On the top of the hood is the filter that came with the Eclipse system. They are working in concert together.
I have added AquaClear ammonia remover in the main filter as well as a layer of Ceramic Bio cylinders I purchased. On top of that I have added (under advisement from a local fish store in the area) a weeks round of Seachem Stability to get the bio process going (I now know we added to many fish to soon).

Just prior to my first post Cookie the black Molly had babies – we collected 13 small fry into their own net/tank insert. I am not sure if she was pregnant when we got her or if it happened here… But they are doing well. One of the fry was deformed and had white spot on it. We were unsure if he had fungus on him or if the White Balloon Molly cream was the father and this was some odd deformed fry between white and black parents (all the remaining fry are solid black). He was swimming erratically and was always at the top/surface… In fear that he DID have fungus we removed him from the tank and (since we had no backup tank) froze him in the freezer then flushed him the day after. I hope we did the right thing.

There has also been one death of the main fish. The white Balloon Molly named Cream was found under an airstone when we were doing a water change (which we have been doing 20% daily). He was still alive but was at the bottom of the tank swimming upside down. We tried to nurse him back to health and feed him peas but he died upon coming back from the store with the actual peas. (CONT IN NEXT POST - 10733 CHARACTER TEXT LIMIT)...
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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When he was down at the bottom one of the fish in the tank attacked him (or I guess, someone COULD have originally attacked him in the first place). We know this because some of his fins had bits removed… I wish I had seen what had happened…

Could it have been Wendyl the Moonlight Gourami that originally did him in? Was it the Orange Molly (also a male as the white one was) that contested him? Or was it plainly attacked because it got trapped in the current under an airstone and was weak? I would really like to hear everyone’s comments on what could have led to his demise as he seemed VERY robust just hours before. (Since his demise I only keep the airstone on when I am home and able to monitor the tank).

Overall since Cream left us the tank seems active and healthy… Under recommendation of the local fish store and stuff I have read in my newly subscribed TFH, we have been doing religious daily small water changes AND weekly 50% water changes. I am confident this is helping them because last night after doing a 50% water change the fish seem more active AND the water clouded back heavily after less then 6 hours (is the bacteria finally taking hold???)
The new 75 Gallon 48” x 18” x 20” is finally home on it’s stand. I have the Marineland C-530 canister filter in its box ready to go and this week I am purchasing a 48” Deep Blue duel T5 light(with moonlights – though I may not use them under people here seem to frown on their use). Next week I shall order my substrate so I can begin to fill and cycle the 75 Gallon tank.
After reading MANY online stuff on substrates, we have decided on ECO-COMPLETE. Unfortunately my distributor only carries certain types of ECO-COMPLETE. This is what the distributor from my job carries:

“Carib Sea - Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium 20 LB - 2/CS
UPC: 008479007704
Vendor: Carib Sea
Eco-Complete™ Planted Aquarium Substrate-The complete planted aquarium substrate! Mineralogically complete! Contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur plus over 25 other elements to nourish your aquatic plants. Eco-Complete™ Planted Aquarium Substrate contains all the mineral nutrients needed for luxuriant aquatic plant growth without nuisance algae! Iron rich Eco-Complete™ eliminates the need for laterite. Nitrate and carbonate free - will not increase pH or carbonate hardness in the long term. It's real! No artificial dyes, paints, or chemical coatings. Natural black substrate encourages the most vibrant coloration in fishes and reduces fish stress. Spherical grains for optimum diffusion performance. Supplies Calcium without raising pH. Lead free. Biologically Complete! Eco-Complete™ contains live Heterotrophic bacteria to rapidly convert fish waste into natural food for your aquatic plants. It establishes a natural biological balance which makes cycling a new aquarium faster and safer. Eco-Complete™ is packed in Liquid Amazon™ buffered "Black Water" solution for immediate organic water conditioning. Unsurpassed macroporosity for healthy roots and bacterial efficiency. You would have to buy 4 bags of ordinary gravel to equal the surface area of this one bag of Eco-Complete™ Planted Aquarium Substrate.”

UPC: 008479007711


Eco-Complete™ Planted - Mineralogically complete! Contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur plus over 25 other elements to nourish your aquatic plants. Eco-Complete™ Planted Aquarium Substrate contains all the mineral nutrients needed for luxuriant aquatic plant growth without nuisance algae! Iron rich Eco-Complete™ eliminates the need for laterite. No artificial dyes, paints, or chemical coatings. Highly porous spherical grains for optimum diffusion performance. Eco-Complete™ contains live Heterotrophic bacteria to rapidly convert fish waste into natural food for your aquatic plants. It establishes a natural biological balance; which makes cycling a new aquarium faster and safer.”


I believe one of the above substrates has bio properties and one doesn’t… Which should I get? I DO intend to have plants and an acquaintance has some he can give to me (not sure what types yet). My distributor also has some ECO-COMPLETE ciclid varieties… But I assume I do not need these… Am I correct in this assumption??? (CONT IN NEXT POST)...
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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All in all my current fish seem happy... I am (again, under advisement from the local fish store) not feeding my fish a lot… I am feeding them about once every two days with a VERY LIGHT snack the day in between. This, in conjunction with the Seachem Stability AND the water changes, has brought the Ammonia from a 4.0 down to a solid 1.0. This seems to be remaining solid/decreasing steadily. Have we made the right choices?
Also I believe I have purchased every type of food my store carries. I mix together a potpourri of them all and crush them up and feed them that in addition to frozen blood worms. This seems to ensure all fish in the tank go for the food – whereas before only certain fish were responding to certain foods.

Lastly the acquaintance that is offering the plants (who I do not know well) – also wants to get rid of a breeding pair of cichlids he has had for some time… Warning bells immediately went up because he said “I want them out of my tank”… But he ensures me they are tame cichlids and are one of the more peaceful varieties. I will further investigate the type of cichlids they are – as this all happened very recently. I will let you all know what they are and please let me know if it is a good idea. I really like Wendyl our Moonlight Gourami (who seems to be king of the tank – peacefully) and do not want to see him injured or killed.
I eventually want to find Wendyl a mate… Which Gouramis can safely breed with Moonlights? I believe I have a female due to its lack of any color.

Again thanks for all your help!!!

P.S. Many sites say that keeping a Twig (Farowella) Catfish is difficult… Yet ours seems active and content… Is this good news or is it just a matter of time before he dies? We am ensuring there is a current for him through an airstone which is on at least half of the day, we have supplied him with a nice piece if driftwood (which we boiled for 3 hours – changing water every 30 min), and have been making sure algae wafers are on the tank floor. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks again - Sorry for the long winded post - but I am new to this!!!

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post #7 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 01:45 AM
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why cant you have airstones and plants?
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 07:26 AM
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Airstones disturb the surface which speeds up the gas exchange, changing out CO2 for oxygen. The plants use the CO2 and airstones only drive it out.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 07:27 AM
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what do you like to put on your tank... I suggest you need some aquarium filter and some of the corals and canister filter
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 08:04 AM
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Im gonna say no to the coral in a freshwater tank.
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