How Do I Lots Of Questions.

Brian Knowles

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Alright so I acquired a 75 gallon tanks for little of nothing from a friend. I have a 125 cichlid tank well established and doing well, and even have a few youngsters we recently found that are doing surprisingly well. I have a 45 that we "planted" several months ago with just your basic novice plants, and it is doing very well. Very "low tech", So with this tank I wanted to do something all together different. My plans are to do CO2 and some sort of plant substrate. Being an absolute novice, I have researched for days, and the more I look I realize the reviews or comments ALL have some bad and good things said about them. It gets very confusing to me and leaves me with a less than comfortable feeling of my potential choices. Some say such things such as eco complete or Amazonia is not necessary, and even go as far as to say some are even marketing robbery. Some say just gravel works, others sand.:nailbiting:
At the end of the day I want a high tech tank that works. Budget is certainly not endless, but is fairly generous

So far the one thing I do know is I am going to use a 5lb CO2 Cylinder (I am a manager of 2 high pressure CO2 plants, so CO2 is an endless supply, as we make literally 1000 tons a day.)

1.
2.
Comments/suggestion on these items, are certainly welcome. I'm thick skinned, criticism is a form of learning.

First question,
Reactor or atomizer....necessary? If so, one or both? If only one which is better.
Diffusor....location in tank for most dispersion?

Substrate: If I ended up using something like eco complete will a sand cap work? I prefer sand, but worry over time it will "migrate into the sand, or is gravel better?
I know this is a LOT of open ended questions, feel free to educate me on the things I don't know.

My dad told me one time..."a man just don't know what a man doesn't know"......how true!!!!!!!!
 

Fahn

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Substrate:
For a high tech setup I recommend a nutrient rich substrate, especially if you want carpeting plants. Aquasoils or a soil layer capped with sand is your best bet. In a high tech tank, plants are more demanding of nutrients as their growth is accelerated by CO2 and higher lighting. ADA Amazonia, UNS Controsoil, and Brightwell Rio Cafe are all good choices.

CO2 Reactor:
A reactor is going to be a better option on a larger tank. This allows for a more efficient dispersion of CO2 throughout a large volume and also creates a much finer mist of CO2 than a standard ceramic diffuser disc. Hook a reactor up to the outflow of a powerful canister filter or a powerhead. You want to do this in a larger volume so the CO2 is circulated more evenly throughout the tank.

Fertilizer:
Unless you feel like EI dosing dry fertilizers daily, I suggest NilocG Thrive. It is a very concentrated, comprehensive fertilizer that contains all the macro and trace nutrients plants need. On a high tech tank you'd need to dose 3x a week on alternating days.

However, in your case dry dosing would be much more cost effective!

Regulator:
The one you linked looks very similar to my own. Almost all of the cheaper ones on Amazon are of similar build quality, if you're willing to spend the money Aquatek is a well recognized brand.

This is a much smaller tank than yours at only 9 gallons, but you can see the effects of CO2 (diffuser placed near my canister outflow), UNS controsoil, and NilocG Thrive 3x per week:

photo_2019-06-12_21-36-47.jpg
 
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Brian Knowles

Brian Knowles

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WOW Lots of great information. On the reactor, I am thinking of using a FX4? I am certainly not opposed to adding an additional powerhead if needed. The regulator I have to admit I did not research much on brands. I will definitely look into the Aquatech. Not opposed on spending a little extra for better quality. I'm glad to hear sand will work as a cap, just not a fan of gravel for aesthetic reasons. I appreciate all the info, should help me narrow my search. And by the way, beautiful tank!!!!!!! Feel free to offer any more info you may have..... My lighting choice will be next.
 

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Brian Knowles said:
WOW Lots of great information. On the reactor, I am thinking of using a FX4? I am certainly not opposed to adding an additional powerhead if needed. The regulator I have to admit I did not research much on brands. I will definitely look into the Aquatech. Not opposed on spending a little extra for better quality. I'm glad to hear sand will work as a cap, just not a fan of gravel for aesthetic reasons. I appreciate all the info, should help me narrow my search. And by the way, beautiful tank!!!!!!! Feel free to offer any more info you may have..... My lighting choice will be next.
I'd either go with an FX6 or devote a pump specifically for a reactor. In my experience running a reactor on a canister that is under-powered results in weak flow and uneven dispersion of CO2. The tank was a 46 gallon bowfront with a canister running 525 GPH.

As for lighting I used a 48" Finnex Ray2, which is a very bright, very powerful LED. Even at a depth of 24" it has a PAR rating of 64, which is high enough to grow anything you want. With lighting that intense heavy planting, fertilizers, and injected CO2 isn't an option... without those, all those lights will do is grow algae at a supercharged rate.

The light is the equivalent of using 3 T5HO bulbs.

The downside to the light was that it's intensity is not adjustable unless you have the ability to raise or to lower it to alter the PAR (I did not). Something like a Finnex Planted+ or Fluval 3.0 are much more modular and customizable with their output and even color temperature.

Regardless of the lighting you choose, start your lighting period off at 6 hours. CO2 on an hour before lights are on and an hour off before they turn off. Put as much of your hardware on timers as you can.
 
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Brian Knowles

Brian Knowles

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Fahn said:
I'd either go with an FX6 or devote a pump specifically for a reactor. In my experience running a reactor on a canister that is under-powered results in weak flow and uneven dispersion of CO2. The tank was a 46 gallon bowfront with a canister running 525 GPH.

As for lighting I used a 48" Finnex Ray2, which is a very bright, very powerful LED. Even at a depth of 24" it has a PAR rating of 64, which is high enough to grow anything you want. With lighting that intense heavy planting, fertilizers, and injected CO2 isn't an option... without those, all those lights will do is grow algae at a supercharged rate.

The light is the equivalent of using 3 T5HO bulbs.

The downside to the light was that it's intensity is not adjustable unless you have the ability to raise or to lower it to alter the PAR (I did not). Something like a Finnex Planted+ or Fluval 3.0 are much more modular and customizable with their output and even color temperature.

Regardless of the lighting you choose, start your lighting period off at 6 hours. CO2 on an hour before lights are on and an hour off before they turn off. Put as much of your hardware on timers as you can.
You answered a lot for me on the lighting. I had looked at the Finnex, impressive, but having the ability to customize is important to me. I assume a powerhead be used for the reactor?
 

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Brian Knowles said:
You answered a lot for me on the lighting. I had looked at the Finnex, impressive, but having the ability to customize is important to me. I assume a powerhead be used for the reactor?
Yes, by having its own dedicated pump, there is no media to obstruct water flow, so the reactor can perform more efficiently and disperse CO2 with better circulation.

If you go with a powerful enough canister filter this isn't necessary.
 
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Brian Knowles

Brian Knowles

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Fahn said:
Yes, by having its own dedicated pump, there is no media to obstruct water flow, so the reactor can perform more efficiently and disperse CO2 with better circulation.

If you go with a powerful enough canister filter this isn't necessary.
This?

How deep on base layer?
 
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Brian Knowles

Brian Knowles

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So here's what I bought for the planted 75 build.
Took days to research, lot's of info for a planted newbie.
X2

X3
 

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