New 75g - so many questions...

  • #1
My case of MTS has led to the new 75 gallon sitting empty in my living room. My plan is to do a dirted tank using Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Soil (the brown bag) with a gravel cap and then plant the bejesus out of it. I am planning a driftwood centerpiece as well. I have a ton of questions which if anyone can shed light on, that would be awesome.

1) I am planning to use gravel. My choices are an extra-fine aquarium gravel (Geosystems Aquarium Substrate is the brand and I believe it is a Hagen product) - black, about 1-3mm substrate - or white river gravel, about 5-8mm size. Is the 5-8mm gravel too large for my bristlenose and clown plecos and red cherry shrimps to forage in? (Not sure if shrimp only like to sift through sand...)

2) I was hoping to do a decorative white sand patch around the driftwood, but read that sand is too fine to allow water to circulate under into the soil and may cause toxic gas bubbles to build up and potentially massacre the fish - anyone heard of this and know if there is truth to it?

3) If I do use sand, the only sand I can find in the pet store is "desert sand" for terrariums and "Caribsea live sand" which seems to be for saltware setups. Can either of these be used in freshwater aquariums? (What IS live sand anyway??)

4) If I use a gravel that is 5-8mm instead of 1-3mm, is this too large a gravel for my bristlenose and clown plecos to thrive?

5) Will plants grow through any kind of gravel? i.e. is 5-8mm too large a gravel size for planted tanks?

6) My tank came with a light strip. It is called "Perfecto Perfect-a-Strip T12 48" Double Bright Aquarium Reflector" and comes with 2 40W Daylight Eclipse bulbs. Is this enough light for a low-light tank? (I read it should be between 1-2 watts per gallon and that would give 80W of light for a 75 gallon tank...)

7) I have never done a planted tank before - any suggestions on low-light carpeting plants?

8) I would like some feedback on stocking ideas. I plan to cycle the tank with plants and driftwood only plus fish food for at least a month. I have done some research on stocking and want some ideas/feedback for the stocking:

13 neon tetras (have 6 at present)
13 black neon tetras (have 4 at present)
1 bristlenose pleco (from 20g)
1 clown pleco (from 20g)

The above are definite species for the tank as I already have them, just going to expand the 2 schools of tetras. However I need some ideas on a centerpiece fish. I was also thinking of adding hatchetfish (? how many? How big do they grow?) and may put in some red cherry shrimp as well.

I would love some suggestions as to centerpiece fish. Right now the frontrunner is an angelfish (can I have 2 or will they be super aggressive? Will they eat my tetras?) Any other fish besides angelfish that make a cool centerpiece fish appropriate for 75g?

Any and all ideas welcome!

P.S. Here is the setup for the tank as planned:

75g low-light, low-tech dirted tank
Rena XP3 filter
Via-Aqua 200W titanium heater
Driftwoods: Malaysian, birch, manzanita
  • #2
1. My gravel is roughly that large, and my pleco was fine with it (she's in a tank with slightly smaller gravel now). My RCS actually climb down in between pebbles, so I don't think they would mind it, either. I have not kept clown plecos, but I imagine it would be the same for them.

2. Many people use sand in their aquariums. I believe you are supposedly supposed to (not redundant at all) poke it occasionally to let possibly built-up gases escape. I've not used sand though, so I'll let someone else elaborate on that.

3. Live sand is used in saltwater tanks; it has bacteria in it but I seem to recall people saying to not bother with it, because bacteria will grow in regular sand on its own. Anyway, not for freshwater tanks. I can't comment on the other types of sand, though.

4. I don't believe it should pose a problem; mine was fine for a few months in larger gravel. But, I would hate for something to happen to them on my account, so I would wait for further advice.

5. Some plants prefer to not be planted in gravel (such as java fern), and I know there are some that prefer dirt, but I don't think there are any that CANNOT be planted in gravel. I am only familiar with species that I have researched though, so there very well may be some that do not thrive in gravel.

6. Unfortunately, lighting is definitely not my area of expertise in the slightest.

7. In my rather inexperienced opinion, that seems just fine to me. For a 75, you may even be able to add a few more, but it definitely doesn't seem overstocked. RCS don't really add to the bioload at all so they should not factor in when making a stocking plan. Angels are only aggressive while spawning, and they claim a territory in the tank. If the tank is large enough, then the other fish will simply leave the spawning pair alone. (As you may have guessed, I would advise against getting three angels; I've read that it can cause trouble.) They may eat neons though; I've read that cardinals get bigger (and are also hardier) so you may wish to consider them. If not, there are many types of tetras that get larger and would not be at risk of being eaten. As for other centerpiece fish, there are various types of cichlids (peacocks, etc), rams (I like GBRs), and possibly gouramis (pearls, etc) that you may wish to look into.

Hope this helps a little! Upon re-reading what I wrote, I seem to say "...but I'm not really sure" or something to that effect a lot...
  • #3
To answer some questions angelfish would be fine I have a 75 gallon with angels and neons and they are fine. When getting angels always keep an even number.

As for bulbs make sure they are 6700k or higher I believe coralife bulbs are better but I'm not completely sure I use 6700k bulbs in my 75 but I only have 5 plants
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks, kinezumI and luke

A few questions in response to your answers: I know I shouldn't have 3 angelfish or other odd numbers, but are angelfish happy as solitary beings such that I could just have one? And are they top dwellers for the most part or top-to-middle? Wondering if hatchetfish as top dwellers would get along with angelfish.

Also my bulbs are 5200K (40W x 2) - can I use these? What is the difference between a higher "K"? I know it has something to do with light spectrum but can low-light pants do okay with the 5200K bulbs or will I have to toss them for new ones?
  • #5
I used to have another tank that had very low lighting and this plant did well

however I am not really good with plants hopefull another member will chime in

As for angelfish they are meant to be kept in pairs keeping a single one is possible but I don't know how it would react
  • #6
Angels do well as single fish.

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