Hi there, I am super new, and despite my best efforts all attempts to buy the Planted Tank Guide have left me eternally loading on the paypal page. I was hoping to get some advice on starting my tank.
I had a tank when I was a kid, and I really didn't have the resources/know-how to keep the plants in my tank alive, but now I'm going to try my best with this. I kept a lot of different snails, some cherry shrimp, and guppies.
I haven't even started cycling yet, this was sort of a Christmas present to myself and all the supplies haven't come in yet.
This is what I've ordered so far: LED lights, CO2 diffuser and regulator, all-in-one shrimp safe fertilizer, CO2 drop checker, heater, thermometer, water test kit, pre-filter sponges, net, hood, siphon, volcanic soil, gravel, cholla wood, dragon rocks, scrubber, food, HBO filter, and some of those tiny aquascaping tools. Literally the only thing I had was a 20x10 10g tank left over from when I kept mantises.
Now, this was a pretty big investment right off the bat, and I'm worried I kind of jumped the gun with all these purchases but hey, merry Christmas to me.
I would like to have a plant with dwarf baby tears, staurogyne repens, and cabomba. I want to put in some crystal red shrimp and ramshorns once I get everything set up.
This is my first real attempt to do a tank and I would really like it to be a success. I've read up (hopefully enough) on CO2, pH, hardness, and lighting. If I could get some general advice or warnings before everything gets here and I start cycling, that would be great. Or if you can see I've already messed something up...
I also have some specific questions, as I have found a lot of conflicting information:
- Should I do a full fishless cycle then add plants or just add plants and let things settle, or something else?
- I am getting conflicting info on whether I need to cap my soil with gravel. Some people say I have to, some say it's an aesthetic choice. I just don't want my whole tank to turn black every time I so much as think about touching the substrate.
- Are my plants going to work well together? I know I have two carpets and one background planned but those are the ones that I think look nice. Their water conditions overlap but I'm a little out of my depth here and maybe there's something I'm missing. My soil arrived and it seems like it's not very fine. Is that an issue.
- What is up with moss? How do I do that at all. I've seen a lot of different methods and I'm just at a loss with the moss. I've seen blenders, superglue and cotton string being used and I have no idea what is "right" or at my skill level.
I know that's...a lot of text. A huge thanks if anyone can give me any help here!