Newbie with 75g needs direction : ) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 13 Old 12-29-2009, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Newbie with 75g needs direction : )

Back in my 20's I was a fish guy , jump ahead 22 years and i don't have a clue how to set up a tank anymore.
I have a 75 gallon tank , I'm building the stand myself .

It will be a general population tank . Although I did have great luck with Discus way back when . For now tetras , zebras etc....

PLEASE help me out and point me in the right direction .
I do not want to go nuts on costs , but I prefer to buy the best and buy it once.

Filter ( Fluval 405 ) ? that's about the only thing I think I'm correct with unless there's a better option .
Heater ? one or two for a tank that size ? A clip on the back type or fully submersible ?
I will do live plants ( nothing crazy ), I've always had great success . What type of light ?
Air pump ?
Gravel ( i know it should be small dense stone to allow the plants to take root )

What's missing here ?

Do I buy online ( and from who ) most LFS have since closed and now we have Petco . Not a huge fan of the big box store .

I was one of those guys who NEVER tested the water and had a very happy tank. I'm going to try to be the guy that tests on a regular basis , but I'm not sure what that is , once a week ?
What sort of test kit should I get ?

I saw mention of a product called " Prime " what is it ?

Thank You in advance for you thoughts , opinion and future guidance.

stocky is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 13 Old 12-29-2009, 10:30 PM
Angel079's Avatar
Hi Mike & Welcome to the Forum!!!

I pers only used Fluval one's, ditched it and replaced with Eheim, had it since love it, no sounds, next to no maintenance, super quality and fair in price, find the canisters I'm talking bout here EHEIM Classic External Canister - Filtration & Circulation - Fish - PetSmart

You can do 1 300w heater on a 75g, BUT that depends where you'll be setting it up eg warm living room or totally cool basement? If you have 2x200w it does allow you for a back up heater in case whatever may happen to the first one, so that's my choice on larger tanks is having 2 heaters. Here's the one's I use in ALL my tanks, love them cause it allows you on a scale to chose the temp Cascade Heaters, Heaters | Pet Solutions

If you're doing live plants do NOT use air stone, that will drive your CO2 right out of the tank and you do not want that (apart from some 20 nutrition the plants also need CO2 to thrive).
Yup get some smaller gravel, that'll be perfect. Or play sand from the home store if you like sand.

If you want some ideas, check out the tap to the left under my name called 'aquariums' you'll see all but 1 of my tanks uploaded there, all are planted (and some with play sand, some with black sand, some with light & with dark colored gravels)

Missing for start up and regular maintenance: A liquid test kit, is a must have for keeping live fish. Not only to determine up front what water you have and what fish will thrive in it, but also during and after cycling to see any trace of Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia (so you want these 3 in the kit and pH and kH, API sells a all in 1 test kit for this).
During cycling the first few days/ maybe week you'll test daily to see a Ammonia and Nitrate peak, thereafter you'll test if fish 'act weird' or if you have alage issues or any other 'odd' situations in the tank

For setting up the tank and regular weekly water changes, you will need a conditioner. These are sold by various different companies, pers I use Tetra. Prime is also a water conditioner and also removed ammonia (which is toxic to fish) from you tap water (which some folks have this problem, luckily I do not)

Pers I buy online (due to lack of stores here), here's the 2 links I get my supplies and plants:
Pet Solutions
Sweet Aquatics

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
Angel079 is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 12-30-2009, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Angel079, thanks for the direction . I like that the Ehiem is also half the price of the Fluval.

I've seen a lot of people using Black gravel ( i think you have it on a tank or two ) , suggestions for a style as far as something that's small and will be good with the plants roots etc... I also like the idea of a black background , I wonder if this will make the tank too dark ?

How about thermometers ? floating, the stick to the outside of the glass type ?

What about hood/lights . I'm not sure if I'm going to build a canopy to match the stand I build. My opening looks like it allows for two seperate 24 " hoods . There is a divider across the top from front to back .

So NO bubbles at all if I'm going to plant ?

Do people still cycle their tank with cheap goldfish ?
stocky is offline  
post #4 of 13 Old 12-30-2009, 02:10 PM
Angel079's Avatar
Yea lol I ordered mine online too due to the pricing there vs store
I have some black gravel, some black sand and mostly was dark brown gravel.
In a 75g I'd pers go for a dark colored (brown or black) fine gravel. And a solid black backround (either the posters from the LSF or simple dark window tint from Walmart). And no absolutely not dark, for one with the 2 dark sides in the tanks its MUCH more natural to most fish out there and two your plants and your fish color will stick out MUCH MUCH more over dark ground, while light colord gravel makes them always look more pale.

The sticker type thermometers are junk (excuse my french) just pick one up at your LFS that is attached to a lil suction cup and plug it on the corner half way down in your tank somwhere.

No bubbels that's correct lol.

Pers I cycle mine fishless, set everything up and 'feed it' with 1-2 flakes every day till Ammonia and NO2 peak up and fall back down then I add 1 group of fish per week after that.
You can also cycle WITH fish (any fish you want in there almost) however then you're set to possible daily water exchanges (possible could be 50g at one time for you) and chances are even then your fish may not make it....I pers never took this route, find it too much hassle, too complicated

Gimme a min for stand/ hood brb with pictures...

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
Angel079 is offline  
post #5 of 13 Old 12-30-2009, 02:22 PM
Angel079's Avatar
Here's the Hood & Stand I built since I couldn't find nothing at the store that I liked. Very simple set up (cause it was my first wood-working exp) simple 2x4ft florescent under there and the top is simply attached with piano hinges, all super basic like I said and vapor barrier under the lid to keep the evaporation next to 0. And then a pic what the tank looks like today.....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Picture1.jpg (25.6 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg Picture2.jpg (17.7 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg Picture3.jpg (32.4 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg Picture4.jpg (42.1 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg Picture5.jpg (87.6 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg 55g dec 30-5.jpg (94.7 KB, 43 views)

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
Angel079 is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 12-30-2009, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
New Member
I'm a furniture refinisher . I know what these store bought stands are made of and they they are just crap. I'm going to copy something I had seen on one of the websites , basically two drawers across the top and two doors matching below with a shelf inside .
I'll build it out of birch plywood , stain it black and finish with a satin lacquer. The supplies will cost less than a store bought piece , but my time and labor is where the loss is. It's my time, my shop and it will come out 100 times better than anything I could buy.
My thought is the stand and tank should both almost disappear when the tank light is on.
stocky is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 12-30-2009, 06:07 PM
Angel079's Avatar
THANK YOU! Cheap crap is what I thought when I search for mine....

Sounds like a nice idea and you being the expert on this kinda stuff I'm very sure you can come up with something looking a 1,000 times nicer then mine (like I said first wood project ever for me)

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
Angel079 is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 12-31-2009, 01:04 PM
Byron's Avatar
I'll just add a couple things along the same lines as Angel's previous suggestions.

From your info you're looking at a planted aquarium with forest fish as I call them, tetras, rasbora, danios, etc. Design the aquascape for these fish and they will be less stressed which means healthier.

These fish mainly come from dimly-lit quiet forest streams and flooded forest (half the year). This means, dark substrate, dark background to not only make them feel "comfortable" but show their best colours (fish and plants). Gravel works fine, the smallest grain size (1-2mm) allows plants to root easily and is easier to maintain (preventing compaction, etc).

Filtration should be minimal, so a good canister; Eheim do make what many feel ar the best (most reliable, efficient, last for years...). I have two Ehemins, also one Rena. The less water movement and almost no surface disturbance, the better for fish and plants.

Light, as you are building the canopy use two regular fluorescents. One watt per gallon is sufficient light for the majority of plants and creates lesws brightness for the fish. Full spectrum combined with a cool blue has been shown to provide the best aquatic plant growth.

We can expand more on any of this, but these are my general suggestions. You may want to check out the photos of my aquariums to see what results from this approach. And Angel's tanks, and others.


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]
Byron is offline  
post #9 of 13 Old 12-31-2009, 09:42 PM
New Member
Stocky, I'm about 6 weeks ahead of you and pretty much the same scenario. I've been in the hobby and out a few times, the last time being around 12 years ago. Things have changed a bit with less emphasis on under gravel filters (UG), no air pumps (isn't that a nice thought) to drive air stones or UG's. I too just recently bought a 75 gallon - December 26 to be exact. I also want a planted tank with fish to lend support to the plants. This time I don't want to add a lot of fish.

Shrimp are new to the hobby for you I suspect and they are suppose to be great at eating algae. I've just brought the tank home with stand and filter and light now I'm going through the angst of deciding on substrate with plants in mind. Also the testing of water with "kits" for ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and hardness are more relied upon than in the past; matching fish to PH and hardness is stressed. And water changes are stressed more, though of course they were encouraged in past years, now its recognized as pretty much a requirement - you can't rely on visually clear water as their might be elements in the water detrimental to your fish.

Anyways, I wish you and I luck in setting up our tanks and hopefully it will be a relatively smooth journey.
rsn48 is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 01-01-2010, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
New Member
I'm amazed at the concern of matching up fish with plants and tank style. I used to put a few stalks of Anakaras ( did I spell that right ) it would grow like wildfire . I'd break of a piece when it got to the top of the tank , replant and repeat .
I put whatever fish in that I wanted to for the most part.... I'm really amazed at the price of what used to be the less the a buck for a fish back when ......
I need to decide if it's gonna be a community tank or I'm gonna go the discus route again . I need to dig up my old discus pix I took .... stunning if I do say so myself : )
If I go the Discus route ...... single species tank ? can I toss in a few tetras and something else ?

I hated the whole unde rgravel filter thingy , what a PITA .

Someone please tell me about the whole shrimp thing , other than the delicious ones I had with cocktail sauce last night.

Also , assuming the fish type has a little to do with the levels I'm looking to achieve , but is there a sort of baseline that I'm looking to shoot for when I'm testing the water .... PH , Amonia , Nitrites etc......

Last edited by stocky; 01-01-2010 at 08:20 AM.
stocky is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
sick fish with no direction lillshy1 Freshwater and Tropical Fish 12 08-04-2009 09:38 AM
Can some one point me in the right direction RogueGypsy Cichlids 3 06-28-2009 10:45 AM
New direction TrashmanNYC Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 3 12-09-2007 08:07 AM
need a little direction :-) rocksout4cheese Fish Breeding 6 11-18-2007 02:33 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome