Planning a 75 gallon community, tons of questions
I've done several weeks worth of research, and now I need some opinions and advice on what I am planning specifically.
Would these fish be compatible?
10 Harlequin Rasboras
11 Neon Tetras
8 Panda Cories
10 Marble Hatchetfish
I may add more individuals for each species, but I think my main aim will be to get those numbers first (gradually, of course) and see how those do, then adjust accordingly.
I haven't started up the tank yet, but once I do and get it cycled and all the nitrites etc. in proper levels, this is what I'm going to try to aim for as far as water goes:
74-78 degrees (23.3-25.5 Celsius)
4-10 water hardness. Anyone know of the best way to get this level? My water is slightly harder than what I am aiming for.
6.0-7.2 pH (should be very easy for me to get, judging by my other tanks)
Do these sound like good conditions for the fish I'm planning?
I also have a lot of questions for the filter. I don't know much about filtering this large of a tank. What kind of filter should I get (excluding the undergravel, which I can't get cause of the Cories)? I want some current for the Hatchetfish too. I'm also concerned that one of the Neons or Harlequins might get into the filter somehow, any ways to prevent this?
Also, what should I get to heat it?
I'm planning to feed flake food (any recommendations?)
Sinking cory cat food
and live food, probably a mix of brine shrimp, blood worms, and daphnia.
And does anyone know where I can get some dark sand or dark fine gravel for cheap? Or what kinds I should be looking for?
I'm going for dim to medium light, as I understand that some of the species don't like bright lights.
My plants will be fake (I just don't want to mess with live), and for furniture I'm planning some floating plants, then plenty of plants to the sides and back, with an open space in the front/middle for swimming, and some aquarium furniture that looks like wood and caves.
This will be my first community tank, and my first large one.
That fish line up sounds okay to me.
This appears to be the start of a very fine aquarium, so now some answers to your questions.
The fish are certainly compatible. Live plants would not only be aesthetically pleasing but would help in maintaining good water quality for these fish, and the fish all come from waters with considerable vegetation so they would feel at home. Planted tanks are not at all difficult, but we can go into that later if you're interested. Have a look at the photos of my aquaria, especially the 70g which is similar in size to yours, for what is possible with a real minimum of effort and expense.
You have quite a range in hardness and pH; what is the hardness and pH of your tap water? I or others may have suggestions for altering the hardness or pH if it is necessary.
For a 75g I would highly recommend two 150w or 200w heaters, one at either end. Two are more reliable (in case one fails) since they work less when there are two of them. Also, buy the best you can afford. I am of the opinion that the heater is the most important piece of equipment; if it fails either way (cooking or freezing your fish) it can be game over. It does not pay to go cheap on heaters. And a higher wattage tends to work better.
In filters I would suggest a canister filter. I use Eheims and have for 12+ years, but Fluval has a good reputation. I remember previous threads on this forum about filters, and Eheim was a favourite of several aquarists. One advantage of a canister is that you can use different media (peat, dolomite, etc to maintain water quality) and they are reliable and easy to maintain. You do not want a lot of current with the fish you name. I know that some books mention that hatchetfish like to stand in a strong current, but in my experience they do not. I have maintained all the species in the genus Carniegella (C. marthae, C. myersi, C. strigata strigata and C. strigata fasciata) for many years, and when I had surface movement (and it was not excessive) they constantly avoided the direct current and tended to stay near corners or along the sides where the current was minimal; without currents, they spread out over the surface and chase one another in play and spawning. Also, if you do decide on plants, less current is preferable. And with a canister there is no danger of fish getting into it (unless the filter intake grill/screen comes off).
For the substrate, I suggest sand or small-grain gravel. The type/colour is up to you, but avoid any gravel that is calcium based as this raises hardness and pH. Inert aquarium gravel or sand in a dark or natural shade is my preference, it looks realistic and brings out the best colour in the fish. I have always used the smallest-grain gravel I could get. In sand, several on here recommend play sand from Home Depot.
Bogwood is a perfect decoration for the fish you intend to keep. As for light, a fixture with two fluorescent tubes would be adequate, with or without plants. Full spectrum lighting is the most natural for fish colours and plant growth.
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