My 75G Journal

  • #1
Hello Everyone

As I have promised, I am starting up a journal on my 75 gallon planted tank. I have not yet set it up. I have just ordered all the supplies/equipment that I will need, and after I have received them, I will set everything up. (I already have the tank, stand, glass cover, and substrate.) This will be a fully planted and low-tech/low-light tank. The tank will be planted once I have received all supplies and have placed the substrate inside the tank. I hope that those interested in setting up a similar tank someday, will learn something from this journal. Thank all of you who are interested in my tank and are following up

For now, this is a general description of the 75 gallon tank:

Tank                    48" long x 18" wide x 20" tall (All-Glass Aquarium)
Oak Stand             48" long x 18" wide (AGA)
Glass Cover            48" long x 18" wide (AGA's Versa Top)
Filtration                Rena Filstar XP3 canister filter
Water Circulation    Eheim Aquaball Powerhead
Heating                 2 x 150W Visi-Therm Stealth submersible heaters
Substrate              7 bags of Eco-Complete substrate (Carib-Sea) - they will give me a 3" depth of the substrate
Lighting                48" Compact Fluorescent fixture (Coralife) - 2 x 65W  6,700K bulbs (this will give me 1.73 wpg of light), + moonlights
Timer                   Coralife Power Center (to control powerhead / airpump as well as lighting)

Plants / Aquascape:

The plants will range from low- to medium-light species. I'll write down the list of plants' names once I've ordered or bought them (they may not have all the plants I want as of now). Additionally, I'll have 3 pieces of Malaysian self-sinking driftwood, and possibly some petrified wood (which is a fossilized wood that looks like a brownish rock). The driftwood is currently being soaked and I boil it after every soaking. This ensures that all the tannins will be leached out and that the pH of the tank will not be affected. In the beginning, I will use Seachem's Flourish as a plant fertilizer, but once the tank gets established and once the substrate has accumulated fish wastes, I will stop using any fertilizers (unless the plants start dying). I will also use Seachem's Prime to dechlorinate the water (I've been told on Plant Geek that Prime is OK for dechlorinating water for planted aquaria - hope it's true!).

Planning to have the following fish:

2 or 4 Angelfish
3 Blue Rams
6 Harlequin Rasboras
6 Cherry Barbs
6 Zebra Danios
+ some Diamond Tetras
(* this list is not final and it may change with regard to fish numbers and fish species)

This is all for now. I'll make more notes as the supplies arrive (I'll probably have lots of questions as well). Pictures will start coming when l start planting and aquascaping

  • #2
You say powerhead, I'v seen that some people use protein skimmers to remove the protein build up in their still tanks to helpl keep co2 in?

Think you can give me a link to where they say that on plantgeek so I can ask if the tetra stuff is bad because that's what I use and I don't see any problems.

Sounds good

  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Atm, I'm sorry but I don't know anything about protein skimmers, nor do I know what they're used for, and if they're necessary in a planted tank. I just want to keep my tank very simple. I don't know which link on Plant Geek you're talking about?

Besides, I've ordered all of my aquarium supplies on Big Al's Online yesterday night, and as I checked the tracking link today, I saw that they're already shipped to my local post office. LOL, that was quick! It's probably because Big Al's is located in NY as well. I'm glad I didn't have to wait long, especially that I ordered everything via UPS Ground (well, if my post office does a lousy job, then I'll have to wait). Though I'm hoping I'm going to have the delivery tomorrow.
Golden Fish
  • #4
OOO! Can't wait to see some pics and hear how it's going Isabella. I have been wanting to try that Rena XP3. I have heard a ton of praise on this unit. I use a Fluval 205 I love it! The only complaint is the ridded hose that they use. It gets kind of nasty and needs to be cleaned out almost once a month. I need to just buy new intake and return tubing and replumb it. Keep us posted on how you like it!
HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!! ;D
  • #5
Protein skimmers are mostly used for saltwater aquariums. Wow. A lot of people are getting blogs now. Wish you good luck!
  • #6
Ya I'm pretty sure they remove protein and other buildup on the surface of the water.

You're so lucky your near a big al's have you ever gone there, I'v heard it's great.


  • Thread Starter
  • #7
HI everyone,

I've received part of the order today: the heaters. the XP3 (canister filter), and the timer. There were supposed to be a total of 3 packages. I don't want to sound angry but the UPS guy must have been **** or something. I was working today so I wasn't able to be home for the delivery, but fortunately my mom was home. So the delivery came, she opened the door, and signed the receipt upon delivery of one package. A few minutes later, she hears a doorbell again (she was in the bathroom at that moment). She went to open the door, but there was no one, only a note posted on our door: from the UPS guy, of course. (The note was about the other two packages to be delivered on Monday since "no one was home" when he rang the bell!) She told me she opened the door less than a minute after the doorbell rang. The retard (I'm sorry to be using this word, but he really was ****!) must have waited only 30 seconds. And he rang the bell ONLY once. I don't understand those people. They ring the doorbell only once, leave after a few seconds, and then they wonder why "no one opened the door" ... man, lol. So now I have to wait until MONDAY to get the other two packages (that include the lighting, the powerhead, dechlorinator, plant fertilizer, and test kits). The UPS guy is going to come to us again on MONDAY ... which will be a waste for time for him, as he could have waited 10 more seconds and he wouldn't have to deliver TWICE. I also thought I was going to have the time this weekend to set everything up, but I have to work Saturday I want some break on Sunday to relax and spend some time with my family. I'll probably set everything up during the week or next weekend. This will cause me to order the plants one week later than I've originally planned. And everything because of one little UPS guy > !

Anyway ... I've taken a good look at the XP3 filter, and it surprised me how BIG it is! It's at least 2 gallons in volume. And I was wondering about the XP4 ... lol, now I am glad I ordered XP3. XP4 would be WAY too large! I hope this filter will provide good enough filtration for a 75 gallon tank. And I ... am actually having second thoughs as to this filter as well. I know that most of the people who have this filter are very satisfied with it. But when I looked inside the filter box ... so many compartments for filter media ... all of this looks like MUCH MUCH more work than with my beloved Aqua Clear. You need to take the whole filter apart to clean it. Literally. Plus, don't so many plastic compartments inside actually slow down the water flow? They have to. Now I am thinking that if I don't like the XP3, I'll just buy 2 large Aqua Clears, one for each end of the tank, and that's it. Besides, the XP3 manual says there are supposed to be ceramic cubes (or "Bio-Chem" stars which are also like the ceramic cubes) included with the filter. But I haven't found them anywhere. I found the foams (sponges) and "Bio-Chem Zorb" (something like activated carbon), but no ceramic media. Do the XP3s come without the ceramic media? Or should I call them to send me the ceramic media? What do I do? My Aqua Clear came with the foam, the activated carbon, and the bio-cubes - it came with everything it needed. Lastly, here is a BIG BIG shocker to me. Look what it says in the XP3 manual:

"Warning: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm."

WOOOWWW !!! That's a very comforting piece of info, isn't it !!!??? They don't even tell you WHAT chemical it is !!! They don't give any specific info about this really. Perhaps because they don't want to lose business? Hmm ... This is scary. I do not want to be in contact on a daily basis with a product that is KNOWN to cause cancer. What do you folks think? :-\

I am actually going to post this particular piece of info on the General Discussion board for everyone to see.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Never mind the bio-cubes (the ceramic media). I've found out they're not supposed to come with the filter. I'll have to make a separate order. And I'll have to wait again ... :-\ But ... that's OK, because if I order them this weekend from Big Al's, I'll have them by the end of the week. Of course, unless the same UPS guy delivers them to me ... LOL
Golden Fish
  • #9
WOOOWWW !!! That's a very comforting piece of info, isn't it !!!??? They don't even tell you WHAT chemical it is !!! They don't give any specific info about this really. Perhaps because they don't want to lose business? Hmm ... This is scary. I do not want to be in contact on a daily basis with a product that is KNOWN to cause cancer. What do you folks think? :-\

I am actually going to post this particular piece of info on the General Discussion board for everyone to see.
BTW I forgot to mention this in my post on the general discussion board. If you are that worried about the cancer thing, with you living in New York you are probably exposed to worse stuff from the pollution than in the Bio-Zorb. :-\ Same thing with most household cleaners and stuff. I work on cars and get covered in grease and oil all the time ;D So I often wonder how much things like that really effects us. I really doesn't matter for me sense I smoked for 10 years. Plus you won't be in contact with it on a daily basis I don't think.
  • #10
A lot of things have that warning, it's kinda weird.


  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Golden Fish, I DO KNOW that MOST of the products we use today (including foods) have carcinogenic chemicals in them. However, MOST of them do not tell you about this. You're using products that cause cancer and you're not even told about it. FDA lets this happen on a regular basis. If you want a real eye-opener, please read "Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About" by Kevin Trudeau (you won't regret reading this book). Make sure you read the first book, because this guy has another follow-up book as well. Both are good, however you should read the first one first.

Anyway ... so yes, it makes no difference if another product - aquarium filter in this case - contains a carcinogen. The difference, however, is that this products tells you about it, so you actually have a choice whether to use it or not. With other products, which DO contain carcinogens and do NOT tell you about it, you actually have no choice, as you don't even know they contain carcinogens.

But ... as I've said in the other thread, if it's only the Bio-Chem Zorb that contains the chemical, I'll keep the filter. I'll just have to call Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, that's all
  • #12
Don't know if you want this or not but htought I 'd let you know

I'v been talking to aquaspot because I'v been thinking of buying plants from them and this is what they said about pests:
[atmmachine816] 8:26 pm: so in other words they are pest free because they have to be to enter the US
[Aquaspot] 8:26 pm: well, we make every effort to clean them
[Aquaspot] 8:26 pm: USDA requires them to be free from soil and pests
[atmmachine816] 8:27 pm: so it's possible one or two snails might sneak in on accident then
[Aquaspot] 8:28 pm: not really
[Aquaspot] 8:28 pm: all the plants are kept in cold storage before shipping
[Aquaspot] 8:28 pm: to date, we have had no pests/soil/algae arrive together with the plants

He also said [Aquaspot] 8:30 pm: and I know that all the plants there from the local nurseries come with some sort of pests with
them because they are not regulated about why aquairum have pests on them

I was talking about shipping and this is it:
[Aquaspot] 8:35 pm: well, I sometimes have USPS telling me that they misroute some packages as well
    [atmmachine816] 8:36 pm: not sure, just here they don't treat stuff too well much
    [atmmachine816] 8:36 pm: though USPS and UPS are different correct
[Aquaspot] 8:37 pm: I was told that they performed rather similarly over there
[Aquaspot] 8:37 pm: but I personally don't use them
[Aquaspot] 8:38 pm: had really bad experience with DHL over the shipment of plants and since terminated their
[Aquaspot] 8:38 pm: these express carriers can't handle anything live, but are good for shipping plastic
    [atmmachine816] 8:38 pm: I'v shipped a tank with DHL and it was ok, and received something with USPS and it
was fine
    [atmmachine816] 8:39 pm: I think it a lot depends on who's working for the people not the company themselves
[Aquaspot] 8:39 pm: I'm talking about commercial shipments
    [atmmachine816] 8:39 pm: o well then I don't know
[Aquaspot] 8:39 pm: it's quite different from the regular shipments you get due to the paperworks involved
[Aquaspot] 8:40 pm: and yes, the folks working for them are very important as well
    [atmmachine816] 8:40 pm: o so what service do you use then
[Aquaspot] 8:40 pm: maybe it was just bad luck for me having to deal with over 10 bad staff from that company
[Aquaspot] 8:41 pm: we now utilize freight carriers direct from our airport to the destination airport
[Aquaspot] 8:41 pm: then our trans-shipper will take care of US Customs and USDA once the plants land
    [atmmachine816] 8:42 pm: o so do you use a company at all or is it on your own
[Aquaspot] 8:43 pm: yes, we work with another company here that handles the shipment
[Aquaspot] 8:43 pm: we would be bigger than Petsmart if we could do everything on our own
    [atmmachine816] 8:44 pm: lol so what company do you work with or is it not a big one
[Aquaspot] 8:44 pm: they are quite big
[Aquaspot] 8:45 pm: it's a freight forwarding company in Singapore that handles permits and shipping to
international destinations
    [atmmachine816] 8:46 pm: o I see, so what happens when it gets here in the US
[Aquaspot] 8:47 pm: it will be registered at US Customs, then it will be couriered to the nearest USDA facilities,
where they are filed for inspection and clearance
[Aquaspot] 8:47 pm: then our trans-shipper will get to them and resend the plants out from there
    [atmmachine816] 8:48 pm: then on to the destination then
[Aquaspot] 8:49 pm: yups, what's important for us is the speed with which everything is done
[Aquaspot] 8:49 pm: we are still working on trying to reduce the time frame every time we ship
[Aquaspot] 8:49 pm: well, every minute is critical for the plants
    [atmmachine816] 8:49 pm: ah so how long does it usually take to get the the east coast say NY
[Aquaspot] 8:50 pm: you mean from the point our US trans-shipper sends them out? It takes a day
    [atmmachine816] 8:51 pm: and total from your place to ours maybe three?
[Aquaspot] 8:52 pm: yes, 3 days to 7 days, depending on the shipping method the folks choose over there
[Aquaspot] 8:53 pm: some folks choose Priority to save money, they do fine on the tougher plants like Anubias,
Crypts, Bacopas and Mosses
[Aquaspot] 8:53 pm: but we always recommend using Express
    [atmmachine816] 8:54 pm: o so express is 3-4 days then usually, not bad
[Aquaspot] 8:56 pm: It's Overnight from the point the plants get shipped in USA
[Aquaspot] 8:56 pm: unless you are a store with the proper permits importing direct from us, then things will be
    [atmmachine816] 8:56 pm: o, who are your trans-shippers in the us
[Aquaspot] 8:57 pm: we utilize quite a few trans-shippers in USA, but we don't reveal any of these information to
protect their/our interests
    [atmmachine816] 8:58 pm: ok, when is the best time to buy plants from you guys or does it not matter as I
would like to once I get a new hood for my larger tank
[Aquaspot] 9:02 pm: I don't think it matters
    [atmmachine816] 9:03 pm: ok
[Aquaspot] 9:03 pm: we ship all year round
    [atmmachine816] 9:03 pm: ya I figured that, do you do anything to protect against extremem cold or heat
[Aquaspot] 9:06 pm: yes
[Aquaspot] 9:06 pm: cold packs are used in the hot weather
    [atmmachine816] 9:07 pm: thanks

After that I was just talking to him about recommending them to stores, said I would get extra plants if I got some stores to buy from them too, their main customers are private people at the moment. Don't know if you cared for that or not but thought I'd let you know
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Atm, YES, I do care about this very much! THANK YOU so much for posting it This is a very valuable piece of information to me. Hmm, seems like a good deal to me - shipping overnight and no snails, right? No matter where I order the plants from, I am ordering the fastest method possible because I want the plants to arrive alive and well. So why not use the website you recommend? Thanks once again Atm. I think if I am to order online, your website will be first before, as already 2 people on Fish Lore had gotten snails from them.
  • #14
Isabella, if they are using a transhipper then it will not be overnight from the time you order them as they will be coming in from overseas and have to clear customs and all. I know this because I have a fish coming in and he will get here Overnight from the transhipper but the whole trip will be a week. He leaves Thailand tomorrow and will get here on Wednesday. I bought him last Wednesday. He will arrive in Denver on Monday and spend the night and get fed well and then be packed and shipped out on Tuesday to arrive on Wednesday.

I am not saying not to do it as I think the "no snails" thing is very true. They would be turned back at customs if they contained snails or other problem types of things in them. I hope it all works out for you.



  • #15
Yes it's 3 days usually with express, little more expensive. If you recommend them to a store then they will send you lots of plants for less. I just recommended them a store by me and they are emailing them, he's going to tell me if they start selling plants to them. they only want smaller stores no petco petsmart etc. because they don't want to sell to those stores because they would rather keep the little mom and pop stores in buisness then large chains. I might order from them this summer and I think he'l give me free plants for recommending them.

Yup do whatever you feel comfortable with, you can talk to them on email or if you want I can tell you how to chat with him.
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Hmm, I don't know what to do anymore, where to buy the plants, and how to order / what method (since it seems none is really an overnight shipment). And it is so cold now. I am 99% sure any amount of time longer than 24 hours will cause the plants to die in these freezing temperatures. I just want to go to Aquarium Adventure and buy the plants there ... but they only have a few of the plants I want. And I want to have all the plants I want AT ONCE (for planting and aquascaping purposes). How I wish AA had all the plants I'll call them and ask them if maybe they could order the plants I want? What do you all think?
  • #17
They might just because you might be ordering such a large quantity. The cold isn't that much of a factor, sometimes the heat can be worse. they just send heat packs, plenty of people buy plants in the winter, maybe not in the dead of winter though but they do buy them in the winter.
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
All righty ... we'll see
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
I have finally decided that I will order the plants for next weekend, or the weekend after that, from From what I have learned on Plant Geek and on Fish Lore as well, aquarium plants is not worth ordering from. Look here:

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