60g planted West African tank
I recently acquired a 60g flat-back hex from my uncle and decided I want to do a planted West African tank. Ill get into the finer details in a bit. First off I'd like to say that I have a planted 10g and its not doing so great. First I tried no ferts and no CO2 and the plants were stunted no growth at all. Then I started adding NPK trace and iron, the plants grew a little bit but I had 3 different algae blooms (diatoms then black hair then green hair...still battling that one) I started dosing excel at 2X as an algacide, it did kill off some algae but also killed my female pelvicachromis Pulcher. The other fish are still recovering. So in this tank I won't be doing ANY ferts or CO2. So lets start from the ground up.
Everything I list is what I'd like to use so please chime in if there's a better product or cheaper (I'm not very handy at DIY so please omit those) for the substrate I'm planning on using miracle-gro organic choice potting mix, about an inch and a half capped with fluorite about another inch. Around the edges where the light won't hit well I'm gonna use some pool filter sand as filler. The tank is acrylic and thusly the opening on the top doesn't cover the whole tank just the center so I'm not going to plant the front or sides. I haven't decided what I'm going to plant yet because I don't know what's endemic to that area other than Anubias. But to keep costs down I'm going to purchase all my plants thru the HAP auctions at my club. So might he quite a variety. The hard scape will be mostly stone with some driftwood (limited in size since the tank has quite a wide cris brace built in) my lighting will be a 36" dual bulb T5HO fixture, unsure of the PAR value but I'm shooting for medium light. I'm going to have the lights on 10 hours a day with a 4 hour "siesta" in between. Hopefully this will significantly cut back on algae. My filtration so far wil be 2 hydro-sponge IV's both rated at 40g each so hopefully that's enough. I'm trying the walstad method or NPT So idk if I really need filtration if powerheads would be useful for circulation please someone speak up lol. I don't have her book yet but will get it soon hopefully. I want to read it a few times before I start. My immediate plans for stocking are 2 kribensis, 2 African butterfly cichlids OR pelvicachromis taeinatus (sp?) and 12 congo tetras OR African red eye tetras as well as 3 synodontis nigriventris. My water at home has a PH OF 7.6, GH of 10, and KH OF 7. Since its gonna be a little while before this is fully setup ill be posting as I receive and install equipment. I hope to get it all said and done for less than $400. Any questions concerns and comments are welcome