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Just one more tank...


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I live in Florida, so of course I'm mostly running tanks that require more acidic, softer water than my tap water can facilitate, because why should things be easy, right? Planted community tanks are really rewarding, and I like the challenges most of the time.

I decided to set up a new tank specifically because my little brother is getting married. My little brother lives 11 min from Aquarium Co-Op, and if I'm going all the way to Washington, it would be silly to come back without something from@Dean’s Fishroom. I honestly don't know when it will be, I could have a few months or a year at this point, it's fluid. I'm starting with a 75g, and I'd like to take suggestions from you guys from there. I am honestly hoping to get some of Dean's Dark Knight Rams, if he/Aquarium Co-Op has some of his available when I get there. 

let's pretend that we know for sure that this will be a Dark Knight Rams build, because that's what I want, but I will be honestly happy with anything that comes from Dean's Fishroom.

Because I'm in FL, I don't usually run a heater. My water tends to be around 78f in the daytime, and will sometimes get as low as 76f at night. For this build I will need a heater. I'll end up ordering one off of the Co-Op website.

For substrate I'm going for gravel until it gets a decent amount of mulm on/in it, then I'll be adding something finer as a top, because rams like to sift the substrate. I'll be populating the plants and the tankmates in preparation for the Big Day. I remember the heat and the substrate from a tank I setup for my daughter 14 years ago with Blue Rams, but there are some things I don't remember so well.

As for flow, would they do better with HOBs or Sponge filters? Would a couple large sponge filters stacked with a powerhead at each end of the tank make them happy, or would it be better to just use stacked sponge filters with airstones and use a powerhead just to keep the water moving?

For tankmates, I'll definitely appreciate some suggestions. I would love to keep it egg/fry "friendly" just in case they pair off and breed, That would be really awesome, but my end goal isn't breeding as much as giving them a happy, healthy home. My searches have pulled up a couple plecos that can deal with the heat, but not much as far as the fry friendly thing goes. I like Kuhli Loaches and Hillsream loaches, love Otto's but again, not sure about the heat thing. What do you guys suggest?

For plants, I have some favorites, I like cryps for the foreground, I like vallisneria and various larger swords in the background and some flavor of pogostemon, like Octopus or narrowleaf to hide sponge filters (and the heater for this build), and it also gives the littles a safe-space. I have a java fern that refuses to stop popping pups at the ends of its leaves, so the driftwood and rocks are getting some of that, but I may add anubias too. I have recently fallen in love with crinum calamistratum, so I plan on ordering a couple of those too.

Today the tank is bare, I'll update as I go. Probably gonna start with the substrate on Friday, if not, I'll start working on it after Christmas.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!


Edited by MostlyRock
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Sounds like you have a nice plan! 

As far as Rams go I have no experience, but here is an AC video interviewing Dean himself regarding Rams. Filters can be subjective to certain degrees. In this hobby, some might say HOB, Canister, sponge, or no filter at all even. Everyone’s mileage varies. I did observe in this video that Dean uses sponge filters and had one in the example tank he was setting up.

What’s key in this video is Dean doesn’t say you must do this or this is the only way to keep them…just what has worked for him in his “100 years” of experience lol. Just keep researching and let us know how it goes. 


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