Hello and tank description


This is my first post to the list; I've been subscribed for about a month.
I got interested in planted tanks about 18 months ago.  The Booth's series 
of articles in AFM really gave me the bug :)  At first I didn't see how
I could set up a plant tank within a reasonable budget, but then I found
net-wisdom.  I have a 75 gallon tank that has been going for about a year.
The tank uses a DIY/net/DUPLA set-up.  I've enjoyed seeing how other people
have there tanks set-up so I'll go over mine.

-100w dupla cables, homemade power supply, runs on timer 30min on 30 off
-2 110w VHO daylight bulbs, ICECAP balast, on 10-hours continuous
    the use of 2 VHO bulbs allows for a more compact light fixture, I have
    the lights hung from the ceiling, this makes it easy to comtrol the
    light intesity and to get the lights out of the way for tank cleaning.
    Also the tank top is mostly open.
-bio-wheel 60 filter run from power head
-magnum filter canister filter packed with EHEIM effisubstrat and filter floss
    I had the filter on a different tank, its a bit of a pain to clean but
    I'll keep it until it dies.  Getting rid of the paper cartridge helped,
    since it clogged so quickly.  Now I just change the filter floss weekly
    and clean the effisubstrat every several weeks.
-5lb CO2 tank, dual guage regulator($45!) and a cheap "ball-seat" valve,
   CO2 is bubbled into canister filter at about 1.5 bubbles/sec.  I 
    started with a yeast setup, but it wasn't reliable and was a hassle
    in a big tank.

-daily Dupla fertilizer (when I remember)
-change about 10 gallons of water once a week, add dupla fertilizer tablets
    I can really see the correlation between water changes and algae.
    The more I change the less algae I see.  If I'm lazy or away from 
    home for a while the algae can get bad.  
-vacuum top layer of gravel weekly
-trim plants :)

-I use 100% RO water since my tap water is icky,
-6.5-7 ph
-12ppm CO2
-5-6 degrees hardness for both KH and GH from tetra tests
-temp 80 degrees

-echinodorus major, only about 8" tall, looks nice
-echinodorus bleheri, one is 18+" a second is about 10", both are continuously
    growing a new leaf, the old leaves generally develope some fur algae
-nice reddish sword plant, 18+", also always growing a new leaf 
    and prone to algae
-anubias nana, placed in shade below swords
-java fern and african fern on driftwood
-aponogeton crispus, 4 plants, all lost leaves in january, I didn't remove
    the bulbs from the tank so it has taken a while for them to get the
    leaves back, they are now growing quickly
-giant val. grows and reproduces quickly
-cryptocoryne I'm not sure which variety is doing well
-red hygrophila grows quickly
-pygmy chain sword, didn't do much for several months, recently has been 
    growing and reproducing fast
-various bunch plants, some do well some don't
-tiger lotus, this plant is now dead, it was doing really well, I think
    I let it grow to big, eventually it started to growth floating leaves
    and lost all the submerged ones, then it lost the floating ones!  I should
    have pruned it more.

-2 adult angels, I had these angels in a previous tank, when I put them 
    into this tank with soft and warm water they decided to spawn.  I raised
    up the first batch of eggs and got about 100 angels.  These fish still
    spawn fairly regularly.
-6 smaller angels, from the two fish above
-2 corys
-1 red finned shark
-6 "chinese algae eaters", they have sucker mouths, they do ok on the 
    tank walls but don't touch the fur algae on the swords
-6 black mollies, don't eat much algae
-some neons

If anybody has seen SAE's near Chicago please speak up.  Does anybody
know of a good shop for plants near Chicago?  

I've got a few questions, but I'll post them seperately.

I'd like to thank the people who have contributed to the plant tank info on
the net.  It really is the best source of info for our style of fish keeping :)
The tank is in my living room and looks pretty impressive.  The water is clear,
the plants fill the tank, and the algae is really only noticable up-close.
Oh yeah, the fish are happy :)