New to the game
I have a 55 aquarium that I kept a long finned tiger oscar in for years. He died about a year and a half ago. I was sad to lose him, but excited at the prospect of being able to add plants to the aquarium. Fido, as we called him, would tear up anything that we tried to put in the tank with him. In fact, my filter intake tube still has his bite marks on it. A few months later, i added a amazon sword plant to the tank. I didnt do much else with the tank after that for about a year. I didnt do anything with the plant, it didnt grow much, but, it did divide into the five small swords I have now. About 8 weeks ago, I was shopping for plants for the yard at the local nursery and found that they had aquatic plants for ponds. I purchased a small bunch of cobumba (carolina fanwort) for two dollars. I also found that the lfs had livebearers on sale for a dollar a piece for the month and decided it would be a good time to start to try to do something with the aquarium and started adding a couple of fish a week for a few weeks. I added some dwarf hair grass about 4 weeks ago, and then found a large argentine sword for what I thought was a deal at seven dollars a couple of weeks ago. I have been trying to research caring for plants, and this site kept coming up in my web searches. I decided having some people to talk about my experience with would be helpful, since my wife seems to be bored of me talking about it. I have had some problems. Our local tap water is very hard and basic. I have been trying to gradually adjust it by using ro water for water changes, but it has been a slow process. I looked at co2 sytems, but they are very expensive. I am trying to use seachem excel organic carbon instead. I have thought about trying to make a homemade co2 reactor, but dont know if it would be effective in a tank this size. I have considered adding an iron supplement, but haven't purchased one yet. the "snail free" argentine sword wasnt and I have a fast growing snail and three more tiny ones. Not sure if they will be beneficial or detrimental to the plants, or what to do to prevent an infestation. I have had issues with algae growing on the amazon sword, but the nitrate has stayed under 40 ppm, so i may just be leaving the light on too long in my anxiousness to make the plants grow. I have trouble cleaning it off without accidentally tearing some of the leaves off. I picked up some Ich with my last purchase, some guppies. I have never had to treat it without chemicals or salt. I adjusted the tempature to 86 degrees and plan on leaving it there for ten days, and that seems to be working. I've decided a quarantine tank will be necesary before anymore fish purchases. Anyway, any tips on keeping aquatic plants, getting the most out of this site, or encouragement would be welcome and greatly appreciated.