I'm new to the forum and was wondering if I can get some help on wether I have my setup correctly...
First some general info:
55g (48"Long, 12"Deep, 20"Tall)
Flourite (the black and red mix for plants) + Flourite Black (not the sand) + a layer of white sand on top. The total depth is about 3" on average.
2 x 18"/15 watt lights, so it's pretty low light. There is absolutely no other light since the tank is in the basement where it's dark. I have set the timer on the lights for almost 12 hrs.
Eheim Classic 2217 filter aka Eheim Classic 600.
Temperature is about 76-77.
No CO2, no fertilizer for the moment.
So I started from scratch over a month. At first I only had the Flourite in, then I added quite a bit of driftwood which released quite a bit of tannins. Then I added the white sand because it was very dark.
I have a fair amount of plants but not completely covered because i am waiting on them to grow. Some have been there for more than a few weeks, others I just added a week ago.
The plants I have so far are:
2 java fern
2 small java fern windelov
4 Anubias (one tall, one med and 2 nana)
4 stalks wisteria
1 water sprite
1 stalk cabomba
5-6 small sagittaria i just added
2 aponogenton bulbs that are growing nicely
1 lily bulb just starting to grow
1 clump of hornwort
2 Vallisneria - one tall one short
1 small clump of frill plant
1 narrow leaf sword or crypt (not sure)
a clump of dwarf hairgrass but it will probably die and one stem of some other grassy looking plant.
I would also like to add madagascar lace at some point...
1 Amano Shrimp
5 Dwarf shrimp (Cherries and others)
2 Ottos I just added 1 week ago
6 Guppies added also about a week ago.
From what I have measured I have no ammonia and nitrites and my pH seems to be about 7.2.
At first I had added a bit of salt but as I have performed small (no more than 20%) water changes - probably about 3-4 since the start I have not been adding any salt.
So this is sort of the history. The plants are growing, but I notice a lot of brownish dust-like stuff on them - especially on the mosses and hornwort toward the base. I have attached the hornwort to the bottom of the tank. I wonder if i'm supposed to "fluff" the plants like i read on some forum to get rid of that because it will always be there or if it will eventually go away once the plants start growing more.
I notice some of the driftwood is dropping small particles which is easy to see on the white sand. Also the water is pretty tan colored as i mentioned since i put my driftwood in. I read this could last for months, so i'm not too worried about it, however i wonder how much it hinders the already low light from reaching the bottom of the tank? To give you some idea, when i look from the side of the tank through it (lengthwise) it's somewhat hard to see the other end and it gets very reddish in color.
So anyway, i wonder if this all sounds normal to the experts out there.
With time I plan on adding the following:
4-5 corys (probably this weekend)
7 Harlequin rasboras
5 rummynose tetras
1 pair of Apistos
1 pair of curvicepts
maybe a pair of swordtails
I will wait for the cichlids for awhile but i also wonder if those two species are compatible.
I am not dead set on what tetras to get but i want something schooling and i read the rummynose seem to be the best choice, though i don't find them that attractive since they look like someone punched them in the face
Anyway, any advice or comments are appreciated.
Sorry this got so long.
I will try to post a pic.