Hi all! I started my very first planted tank about a month ago. I've had some great results, but also some casualties...
Azoo Mignon Filter 360 HOB
6W LED lamp
Varzea CO2 Beginner Set
Substrate (I'm not sure which brand I bought)
Monte carlo carpet
Micro sword grass
1 blue velvet shrimp
1 crystal red shrimp
3 endler guppies
2 round tail guppies
30% water change weekly
TetraMin flakes 1-2 times a day
Light 12 hours a day
CO2: 1 bubble per 2-3 seconds
I planted my monte carlo and waited 1 week before stocking my tank (just after a water change). My blue velvet shrimp (much smaller than my crystal red) got stuck in the filter that night and didn't make it. Even with a stocking on the filter!
At the end of the second week, my filter was just trickling water. I saw signs of green algae so I removed the stocking and set my filter to the lowest flow possible. My two smallest endler guppies died in the filter that night! I immediately put back the stocking. I also had to trim my red cabomba already. They grew so quickly! They had beautiful purple flowers when I bought them, which eventually withered away, but I hope they'll be back.
Green algae bloomed very quickly during the third week. It wasn't out of control, but I didn't have anything to clean the walls of the tank yet. I kept the lamp and CO2 off for three days days until I got tools in the mail. My apartment has a lot of bright light during the day, but my tank is kept away from direct sun. I cut back feeding to just once a day. I also replaced the stocking with a trimmed piece of pre-filter sponge, which allows for a lot more water flow. It was at this time my monte carlo finally covered the tank floor like a real carpet! But by the end of the week, my crystal red shrimp started behaving strangely--slow and uncoordinated at times. He/she died and I don't know why!
I tested my water the day after my second shrimp died. GH=30-60, KH=40-80, pH=6.0 (though my test strip cannot measure below 6.0), Nitrite=0, Nitrate=0=20. I think these results are relatively average? I then did some deep cleaning--scrubbed my rock, trimmed my monte carlo, scraped the walled of algae, and did a 50% water change. My filter sponge is brown now and I will be changing it very soon.
My remaining guppies seem happy! They are very active and love foraging on the monte carlo carpet. I noticed one of my guppies got hangry when I cut down of feeding. He/she would push around the other guppies during feeding. Is there any chance this behavior can escalate to hurting the other fish?
I'm also wondering if there are any red flags to address before I try raising more shrimp? Would love to know your thoughts! I was advised I didn't have to provide any shrimp pellets, but I can't help but wonder if I starved my shrimp??