first off, hello again!
I was out of the planted tank hobby for a while, but have set up a 20gal tall that has been going (somewhat) well for the last two months or so. I do have a few basic questions, but I also plan to post some specs/pics (eventually) just to make sure I am on the right track. So....
20 gallon tall
Fluval 205 canister filter
24" T5 light w/two bulbs (24w I think)
5 black neon tetras (A. anisitsi)
2 blood fin tetras (H. herbertaxelrodi)
2 emerald cory cats (B. splendens)
3 temple plants (H. corymbosa)
a somewhat large piece of driftwood and a few sm/med rocks make up the thrown-together aqua scaping
iron supplement (I do not remember the brand. small cheap bottle)
stress coat (added with new additions/water changes/filter mntc)
feeding is done on an almost daily basis and includes:
small pellet food
sinking wafers/sinking algae tablet
frozen brine shrimp
I try not to feed more than two days in a row to give a sense of variety, and to let certain fish have the advantage at different meals
a few quick concerns of mine...
given all of the above info/conditions, all fish seem to be happy and healthy... all that survive at least. I have had multiple oto cats die on me, yet the tank does have some algae and the algae tablets are used regularly. the most recent death prompted me to get a PH test kit. I figured that is something I should already have, and could possibly lead to me problems. well, as it turns out, my PH is extremely high... a whopping 7.8, possibly even 8.0
could the high PH be a reason why my oto's dont seem to last? what is an effective way to lower my PH? it is my tap that I have been feeding the tank with, and I do not miss my reef days of dealing with RO... is that my only option?
my three plants have done some rather impressive growing since I originally setup the tank. I chose these plants because I had good success with them in previous tanks, and I remember them growing quickly. they have even produced two mini plants that appeared after some time, which is a first for me
although they seem to be healthy, I have some brown spots developing on the leaves. I havent given it too much concern because the plants seem to be doing well otherwise.
should this be a concern? I realize this will be much easier to diagnose with pictures... which will be up soon
also, given everything listed above, could I try getting some shrimp? I always liked having shrimp in my SW tanks, and have had my eye on the amano shrimp for a while. would the cory cats harass them at all? the largest bloodfin is the self crowned king of the tank... will he be a problem?
a big thanks to all who read this and reply. for the most part, things seem to be going well. I just realized a have a rather high PH and, after correcting that, would like possibly try adding shrimp and a few other low-mntc plants
any and all feedback/suggestions are appreciated!