First to give you a little back ground, I've had a 10gal and 36gal bow front for over 6 years now. I'm now upgrading to a 75gal. I have the tank and stand, just need some other advice.
Fish first: I'm moving all my fish out of the 36gal into the 75gal. They include the following, Knife Fish, 2 Balla Sharks, Yellow Gourami, Figure 8 Puffer Fish, Kuhil Loach, and a Cory Catfish. I've had everyone in the 36gal for 2 years now and no fusses, everyone has gotten along great. However they all need a bigger home.
Second Substrate: I'm going to go with some kind of sand, and I will be putting in live plants. I'm not sure what type of plants yet and not looking for any suggestions right now. I would like suggestions on sand though, and maybe if anyone knows a place to order 75 pounds of sand online? I'm not sure if there is a certain type of sand that I should get for any of the fish that will be in the tank.
Third Filtration: This is what I really can't decide on. First off, is it necessary to have a canister filtration system, for a 75 gal. tank? I have been running HOB's on my 10gal. and 36gal. for the last 6 years. I do have to clean them twice a month, which isn't a big deal to me. The only thing that bothers me is, the amount of evaporation of water that comes with using them.
So my first thought was to have 2 HOB's and a couple air stones as well. Does anyone like this idea and does anyone have any suggestions on HOB's and aerators for a 75gal.?
Second thought was to go with a canister system, which I'm intimidated by only because I don't know how they fully work. I understand the taking apart and changing the media, but is there a lot of water all over the place when you change the media? Do you need to take them apart to clean them? I have read that they are quite and there is less water evaporation. Also if I go with a canister, what else do I need? Besides a spray bar, of course. Will I still need a HOB or aerator?