New to planted tanks and clueless...
I was wondering if someone could take a look at what I'm doing and see if it's sufficient, not even close, hit or miss, etc.
29 Gallon tank
Am running 2 filters until the new one gets a colony - Penguin 150B (the old one) and the new one is a Cascade 200.
I am just now trying my first attempt at planting a tank. The tank has been running for about 4 months with fish in it. I started with a T8 Floramax bulb. I also put Caribsea midnight flormax under my blue gravel.
Today I switched to a glasstop, and I added the Aqueon 30" T5 with the 6700k and Colormax bulbs. I have seen conflicting info on watts needed. On one forum about planted tanks everyone was saying that watts per gallon only applied to T12 bulbs, and in others, it doesn't seem to matter what bulbs they are using for watts per gallon to apply.
I am using Seachem Fourish Excel daily for my carbon since I want to see if I can keep basic plants alive before I go all out (and my husband would kill me if I spent that kinda money after everything else I've spent). I also use Aqueon Aquarium PLant Food and the other day I added the Seachem Flourish Tabs to my substrate just to make sure they had enough yummy plant goodness to grow. I was going to return the T5's that I bought before I set them up and get the T5 HO, but noticed that although some of my plants were getting a bit brown on the edges, I several had definite new growth. I have some umbrella plants, a windelov java fern, a plant that looks like very long blades of grass, and another unknown plant that is a bunch of long stems with a long skinny triangle shape leaf with wavy edges on the end of each stem. That one had a bunch of roots that were not attached to each other, so I broke it up and planted in 4 different locations. It wasn't doing well until I did that. Some of the leaves look a bit sad, but I am happy to report that 3 of the 4 have new growth.
So my question is, with the new lights I added, should I keep the T8 Floramax too, or is that overkill? I do have 2 bubblers that my 4 year old is very attached too. If I add the carbon can I keep them? One uses a small airstone, the other just puts a row of tiny bubbles up, and doesn't cause too much agitation. If I want the bubblers, should I add extra Excel, or just use the dosage recommended (I'm adding 1/2 tsp daily, cause I have about 25 gallons of actual water in the tank after substrate and decor have been added.
Also, if I just say screw it and pull out all of the artifical plants at once and go plant crazy and plant more, will that affect my biological bacteria? I do have a very large (15") arifical plant that is the "focal piece" of my tank right now. I want to obviously replace this with a large real plant of a similar size (my fake one is very bushy, and is about 6" diameter at the widest point) so my fishies have a very nice bush to hide in. What would you recommend that gets biggish that would work with my current parameters and chemicals?
In the tank, I have 4 Cherry Barbs, 5 Glofish, one Red Rainbow, a Paradise Fish (I female, we think) and a Golden Dojo Loach.
Any thoughts would be great!