Well, it's been a journey over the past six months. My beloved Fluval Spec V, home to one betta and possibly(?) some surviving shrimplets, has become...a mess. Time to dive in. So to speak.
This is only my second tank ever, and I've been tinkering with it as I learn more and more about the hobby. Upon setup I made a few commonly-recommended mods based on Internet research and not reality. (e.g., I poked holes in the pump tube to reduce flow, which was never an issue for my betta but did drastically reduce the effectiveness of the filter! Electrical tape undid my mistake.) Plantwise, at first I did nothing but plunk in a few plants and change the water weekly. Then I learned about Excel. Then Flourish. Then root tabs. Then photo periods...then went out and bought a cheap Fluval CO2 system and nearly killed poor Peter.
The tank at its cleanest, a few months ago. Current pics below:
I had a hideous outbreak of some kind of brown dust algae, which thankfully went away and has been replaced with some kind of green hair algae. Many of my plants are looking worse for the wear and not helping with the algae issue. After hours of research, trial and error, and endless water changes, here's where I stand today:
I've moved the tank into a room that does not get as much ambient light from the window. I think that's been contributing to the algae issue.
I am looking at a cheap (NICREW maybe) LED light to replace the stock Fluval light. I am trying to adhere to a regular schedule of lights on at 8am and off six hours later, at least while I'm battling this algae outbreak.
I'll keep up with the Flourish root tabs, but have ditched Flourish in favor of EasyGreen All in One from Aquarium Co-op. Dosing once a week following water change.
I'm using pressurized CO2 with a bell diffuser. Not the most efficient, I know, but with the crappy system I picked up I couldn't control the gas flow at all and almost killed my betta. And since it's only a 5gal with modest ferts and lighting I *think* I can get by with a relatively low concentration. I'm also dosing Excel daily.
Nitrates: between 0 and 5 ppm (part of the problem?)
I'm hopeful that my current setup will be a success, but first I'd like to give the tank a good cleaning, remove as much algae as possible, remove any plants that aren't going to make it, and add some more healthy plants. I might also remove one of my large ornaments (rock & wood) to open it up a bit.
Here's what I have to work with:
- Christmas moss (this is the healthiest thing in the tank but has been touched by algae)
- Amazon sword (in bad shape - will probably toss)
- Staurogyene repens (alive and algae-free but not exactly thriving)
- Anacharis (I hate this plant but keep it because it's a fast grower)
- Rotala wallichii (new addition - growing well but touched by algae)
- Anubias nanas
- Some other anubias that I think is not long for this world
- Amazon frogbit
- Dwarf water lettuce
- Lysimachia nummularia/creeping jenny
- Echinodorus parviflorus/ rosette sword
- Lobelia Cardinalis 'Dwarf'
Plants I can swipe from other tanks:
- micranthemum monte carlo
- dwarf sag
- corkscrew vals
- random anubias
Some kind of zebra rock
Random river rocks
Note that I had to turn the tank around when I relocated it, so this is the "back view" from when I originally scaped it.
What would you do?