I finally have water in my tank...

> From: Mike Bateman <vandi at well_com>
> I have recently completed my initial planting on my new 75g tank.  I've
> been working on this thing for 3 months.  I want to thank everyone on
> the list for their input and assistance.

Congratulations, Mike.  Sounds like the kind of tank I would like to
set up :-).

> I have not added anymore of the daily fertilizer because the iron test
> still shows plenty of iron in the water and I don't want to risk
> overdosing.

Monitor the iron carefully since the tank will use a lot as the plants
and nitrifying bacteria are establishing themselves.

> Since I have not been able to convince any of my local shops to order
> SAEs for me (yet), I have 4 Black Mollys, 3 Ottos and a dozen ghost
> shrimp.  I'm looking for a few more Ottos but the 4 Mollys seem to be
> active enough to do the job.

Let us know how the ghost shrimp work.  I would like to try some in
one of our tanks sometime. 

> The tank has been planted for about a week.  I noticed yesterday that I
> was getting my first bit of Algae on the walls of the tank.  I cleaned
> it off since I didn't want to look at it.

A farlowella will do a great job on that kind of algae. 

> Q: The new E. cordifolius leaves are a reddish color.  Is this normal?
> They look perfectly healthy otherwise, they just aren't the same bright
> green as the other leaves are.  The plants were raised emersed, would
> this have anything to do with it?

With good light and proper iron levels, quite a few plants will get a
reddish color to them.  I see this as a good sign, but if you don't
like it, you might reduce the light a bit.  As the bulbs age, this
will happen "automatically". 

> Q: Should I limit the lighting period at all on a new tank to help
> prevent algae until the plants have grown and filled in a bit?  I know
> Dennerle suggests a darker rest period although I'm not clear if this is
> expressely for algae control.

No, let the plants get a good start and use algae eaters to control
algae.  You will have various types of algae appear as the tank
settles in over a period of months. A variety of algae will cope
nicely with this.  If you do implement a dark period, try a "reduced
light" scheme (half the bulbs off) instead of total darkness.  

> Q: How is my plant selection?  I don't know anything about some of these
> plants and some aren't listed in any of my books.  I suspect a few of
> them may not be true aquarium plants.  Are there any recommendations or
> comments?

You have the right idea - try everything you can find to see what
likes your conditions.  You might avoid crypts until the tank has
settled down, perhaps 6 months.

> Q: Algae eaters ... what type of fish is good for keeping the glass free
> from algae?  My tank is acrylic so I don't want a fish with hard
> rasping teeth that could scratch the walls.

Get a farlowella or two.  Don't worry about their rasping teeth.

It sounds like you have an excellent start.

George in Northern Colorado