PotatoPig's 75 Gallon Learning-By-Doing Experience



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Jan 7, 2023
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Hello All!

So, I'm somewhat new to this and have been setting up a 75 gallon FOWLR tank and populating it at a painfully slow pace ovre the last couple of months. This is my first venture into aquariums at all, let alone the world of tropical saltwater fish, so has been a learning experience...


75 gallon rimmed tank I got on a Petco half price sale, thinking that was the main item out of the way so the whole project would be a lot more economical...:rolling-on-the-floor-laughing::rolling-on-the-floor-laughing::rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
20 gallon long DIY sump with filter socks, 2 heaters and return pump, along with approx 10 gallon refugium
Lifereef HOB overflow
2 heaters in sump
Inkbird Heater Controller (Got these just before thanksgiving and they saved the aquarium at Thanksgiving as was out of town but got alarms the heaters couldn't keep up with the house heat turned way down so got a neighbor to turn the house heat back up)
Eshopps hang-on filter sock holder
2 powerheads, they're at about the minimum so I need to upgrade these.
Basic soft plumbing
Sump backs onto furnace room, so all power is hooked up to outlets on the rear of the wall behind.
The power sockets are you see are a lot further from the water than they look....

DIY Stand, modeled heavily after the RocketEngineer stand, with a butcher block top.
Note 1: Butcher Block "Workbenches" are about 1/4 the price of similarly sized butcher block "Countertops", you just have to put the "Husky" logo facing the wall.
Note 2: The plastic sheeting in the base forms a double bagged waterproof basin. This saved me recarpeting my basement when I learned that the return line will siphon down water until it hits air. The overflow capacity here was almost maxed out, but not a drop spilled.

Tank Innards:
Basic dry rock start, with bottle bac, with spare dry rock dumped in the sump.
Aragonite sand base (rock rests on glass, sand added after)
The left rock pile has a network of caves to provide shelter and hiding places, the right rock pile has two "cave" pieces also set up at the base to provide similar.
As you'll note the kids also got to make architectural choices



Tank Inhabitants:
Currently very low:
2 clowns. Dark Nemo is the dominant one, presumed female, and lives in the HoboNem, while the orange one diligently patrols in front 24/7 except when they're feeding.
Three hermit crabs.
Six snails (I forget which types)

Next planned additions:
2 x Mandarin Dragonets, partly to have a male/female pair, partly as shipping is apparently waived above a certain spend, so the second one isn't nearly as expensive as the first. I have a copepod farm spanning six parallel cultures in the furnace room to support these should they not live up to the promised acceptance of pellet foods.
2-3 Zebra Barred Dartfish
Coral Beauty / Flame Angel (undecided which one)
Goby (unsure of type yet, would like a couple different types if possible)
2-3 Sunset Anthias
Starfish (unsure of type yet)


What size was your first aquarium?

  • 10 gallons or less

    Votes: 92 21.6%
  • 11-29 gallons

    Votes: 124 29.1%
  • 30-54 gallons

    Votes: 87 20.4%
  • 55-90 gallons

    Votes: 86 20.2%
  • 91-149 gallons

    Votes: 22 5.2%
  • 150-299 gallons

    Votes: 15 3.5%
  • 300 gallons or more

    Votes: 0 0.0%