Advice Needed - 75g Freshwater Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by Adam Pacio, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Adam PacioNew MemberMember

    I'm recently moved to NYC and re-starting my 75 gallon tank. I have some specific asks in mind from my tank which I'll list below, and I'll also list out where I'm starting from.

    First, the tank equipment as it currently stands:
    • ADA Aquasoil and Aquasolum pH lowering substrate - 2.5 years old from prior tank keeping angelfish.
    • 2x Hagen Fluval 305 canister filtration, I get about 600gph filtration reliably.
    • CO2 injection
    • Finnex 24/7 LED light strip plus a Finnex LED light strip so medium to high lighting conditions
    • 48"L x 18"D x 22"H tank dimensions, glass.
    NYC tapwater qualities: Neutral pH, 6-8 deg GH, 1-3 deg KH

    My desires:
    • Heavily planted tank, minimal hardscape. I'm considering a show tank loosely based on Dutch aquascaping aesthetics, if not hitting all the technicalities. Fish still come first in the tank, but no reason for them not to be in a gorgeous aquatic garden setting.
    • Hero species preferred, but there's some wiggle room on this one. I've done community tanks all my life, I'd like to just house one main species with perhaps one or two other 'supporting roles' in the tank as needed
    • Maintenance weekly. (So no discus, been seriously considering it and I just don't want to commit to the level of maintenance they deserve, as beautiful as they are)
    • Minimal in-tank drama. I've kept angelfish for years, and while 'semi-aggressive' species can certainly work and often are the more interesting fish personality-wise, I'd like to avoid it or minimize this aspect of it as much as possible. I work in the world of Manhattan advertising, I need a relaxation focal point in my tank, not a worry that I'll come home to find the tank ganged up arbitrarily on someone and killed one of the pack as the angelfish would do periodically despite every trick to minimize the "semi" aggression there.
    • Individual identity fish. I've kept the tetra tanks before and yes, the shoaling fish are very nice to look at... but they blend together from across the room so you only really see the amorphous blob in the tank of where the school happens to be, not really much 'personality' to the individual fish. Since that's sort of the evolutionary point of shoaling, I can't really fault them for that.
    • Not 'quite' stocked, but more than just 1 or 2 fish. I want to be on the understocked side of any equation to give the fish a bit more room, as well as allow for more dense visual from the plants. While still being about the fish. (LOL, I know. Almost a decade into the hobby and I still seek the Holy Grail)
    Where I was originally thinking/considered in the past:
    • Rainbowfish. I've kept them before, I love that they school but they're also large enough to be individuals. But I've looked at videos posted online of folks with 75 gallon tanks like mine and the larger rainbow species I'd prefer (Boesmani, Axelrodi, Milleniums) look far more cramped than comfortable at adult size in a 48" long tank. Right now looking into red laser or, if I go back to a neutral pH range, Lake Kamaka.
    • Betta sorority. It would flip the focus to the plants more than ideal, but the jeweled colors of the bettas even in the females moving through the foliage could be a nice touch. However, I've heard conflicting reports about the aggression levels and long-term success of betta sororities, and there are also conflicting reports about how many female betta would work well together in a densely planted 75 gallon tank.
    • Gourami. Again, the idea of the 'garden tenders' like the Betta plan, the problem is that gourami tend to have conspecific aggressive tendencies and need to be kept in lower populations than would make that idea work for me. So,probably not on this one.
    Failing all of that, I can always keep the existing substrate, focus on my plants, and just keep another tetra tank but pick some of the larger tetras for the schools, like Emperors or Congos. But that's really my last preferred option (though if I go that route I can add a solitary angel to the tank. Just have to stick with the larger tetras).

    Ideas? Thanks!
  2. Magicpenny75Well Known MemberMember

    I am interested to see what people suggest. Sorry my comment is more commiseration than help. I had this dilemma recently after switching from saltwater back to fresh. I wound up with a hodgepodge of rainbows, including two red irians that I agree look a little cramped in a 75, a bunch of diamond tetras that pictures do no justice for. They are stunning to watch because of their color and sparkle, but I agree with you on the whole blob-of-fish thing. And I have a pair of angelfish, that were originally supposed to be the stars, but have been upstaged by the rainbows.
    Gold severums are referred to sometimes as the poor man's discus. I thought of that route, but I feel like they get too big for a 75 as well. I think if I were going to do it again, I would do angels and diamond tetras and just do more of each. I feel like a couple of species looks better than a few of many different types.
  3. Donovan JonesValued MemberMember

    How small is too small is my first counter question. Its always been a dream of mine to add my heterandria Formosa to a huge planted tank. The tank may not look active from a distance but it's fascinating up close watching them, and the fry are gorgeous. Maybe throw in a few shrimp for color, and add a few cories, as they are harmless to both, and then some australe killifish as a centerpiece, or try some female Bettas, but the fry may be at risk. The heterandria take a while to overrun a tank because they reproduce slower, but they look stunning in a planted tank. Maybe some sparkling gourami instead for centerpiece? They'll have some truly fascinating behavior. Sry about how jumbled that was, but that's what I'd do.
  4. Adam PacioNew MemberMember

    Well... two inches/5cm would be 'small' in my reckoning, so I'm going to pass on the Least Killis. :happy: But I do thank you for the suggestion! I was looking at killifish for some color, but actually have been looking with curiosity into Apistos since they like the softer water ranges I get.

    I suppose pulling the substrate so that I stop getting pH in the 6.0-6.2 range is going to be a necessity unless I go Discus after all. And I'd rather just replace the substrate once vs. Discus care, even given advances in hardiness among tank-bred discus.

    The notion of invert colonies among the plants is one I hadn't considered. More research!