It has been several years since I kept an aquarium, but I finally have enough time to do it again...hopefully the right way.
I have a 20L with a Finnex Stingray 30". The substrate is ADA Aquasoil Amazonia at about 3-4 inches deep. I built the hood and base myself. Once it is cycled and stable, it will be a heavily planted jungle style guppy tank.
The current plant stock is:
HYGROPHILA CORYMBOSA STRICTA
PINWHEELEchinodorus "PinWheel" Sword Plant
Anubias Barteri coffeefolia
CRYPTOCORYNE WENDTII RED
CRYPTOCORYNE WENDTII Green
Crytocoryne wendtii Bronze
Red Tiger Lotus
Microsorum pteropus Needleleaf
It has been up and running for about seven days right now, and several of the plants are already showing strong new growth. The first batch of crypts have melted, and new leaves are starting, the tiger lotus had a slight melt, but already has three new leaves. The hydrophylla is also putting out new leaves, and the wysteria has really strong crown growth.
I am running a 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 4 hours on then off photo period right now until the tank has cycled. I am half dosing Excel, and half dosing EI with micro's, again until the tank is established, all to try an inhibit algae growth.
All that said, I am already concerned about the parameters. I had done two 50% water changes since setup, and just ran my first battery of tests with the API Master kit this morning.
kH changed with one drop, so ~0
GH, 3 drops so about 53
For comparison, I also tested my tap water...
kH 3 drops so ~53
GH 6 drops so ~107
What this is telling me is that I have typical and decent tap water, but...
I have no bacteria growing, likely because the pH is so low. I really need to get the kH up to help buffer the pH, so aside from more water changes, what else do I need to do to get those params straight?