Made the switch - Low tech to High Tech - Reassurance needed
Ok. I think I just need some hand holding more than anything else.
I finally made the jump to high tech on my 20 gallon long. Previously I was running with a Finnex Stingray9" above susbstrate, 8 hour photo period, EI dosing, cutting out nitrogen, and Excel every other day. I now have a Finnex 24/7 CC 11" above substrate, and pressurized co2. Fluval 206 cannister with purigen and crushed coral, and lots of biomedia.
For plant stock, I have Water Sprite and Nymphoides Taiwan, both of which are growing like gangbusters. I have slow but steady growing Java Fern. I just introduced some Ludwiga sp Red. For fish, I have two nerite snails, a full grown flash pleco at 4.5 inches long, and a guppy infestation which has been self sustaining for five years now.
Water parameters have been rock solid at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, but high nitrates at 160, stable pH of 6.8.
While things have been pretty stable in this aquarium for quite a while, I personally struggled with the routine involved with things like missing excel doses, irregular water changes etc. This led to issues with BBA outbreaks, and general ups and dows where the aquarium would look great for a while, then look like crap for a while. I decided to go high tech to help force myself to stabilize some of these things.
My list of questions is as follows...
With increasing the lgihting and adding co2, I am thinking that should help with naturally lowering the nitrates since there is no available ammonia to take first? I know that regular water changes are necessary to help with that as well.
With the 24/7 CC light, since it has that awkward three hour chunk timer, I am way over thinking exactly how I want to set it up. I really like the sunsets and how the tank looks, so I want to keep using the 24/7 feature, but with the ramp up and down going over three hours, going from dark to max light, at what point does the light actually become usable? 50% intensity? 75% intensity? I am thinking that if I ramp up, six hours of max, then ramp down, that would give a total of 8 hours of 66% to max light. Or should I go with nine hours max, that would give 11 hour over 66%?