Total newbie vs. old (planted ]:) tank syndrome in my 10g
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:35 PM   #1
p0ssum
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Default Total newbie vs. old (planted ]:) tank syndrome in my 10g

After months of reading this forum off and on (mostly during the honeymoon stage of the tank - AFTER buying it, plants, fish, NOT CYCLING, etc.) I decided to see if you lovely folks could help give me a place to start on rebooting my poor pitiful tank.

This is my first tank that contained something other than goldfish and gravel. I am scientifically challenged, but I can learn - slowly. So instead of completely giving up this poor tank, I'm going to try this again to as a kind of practical science experiment - but I have no clue where to start other than lots of water changes for now and lighting. I am young and broke for the most part, but I don't mind buying the right stuff for the tank after I am 100% sure it's the best product/value etc.

Okay. I'm working with:

10 gal tank with stock filter
Marineland Visi Therm Heater - 50w
2 6" 10w Coralife Colormax bulbs in hood
Eco-complete Substrate
3 slowly dying, unidentified plants (boyfriend bought & forgot names)
3 awful ugly guppies - one female & two fry

We ignored this tank for months, and now I'm doing 25-50% water changes with gravel vac every other day and being more reliable about keeping the light on for about 10 hr a day. I want to stabilize the water and current plants and although the tank has been set up for over a year, it was way overpopulated, neglected, etc and I'm not sure if it has okay levels of nitrifying bacteria. Should I ditch the fish to cycle? And as far as lighting goes, is fancy looking LED lighting worth it, or should I just try better bulbs in the hood? I wan't to keep it low-tech but I want plants to actually grow!

Yikes. That's a lot. Any starting points are appreciated.
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