So after testing my water parameters, I can see that things are not quite where I want them to be. I also have some other problems I'm unsure what to do about! So let me first provide the basic information.
Tank: 10 Gallon
Filter: Aqueon HOB (came with the tank)
Light: LEDs (also came with the tank)
Substrate: Fluval stratum
Ammonia: 0.25 <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_sad.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Sad" >:-)</a>
Nitrite: 0.15 <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilies/icon_cry.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Icon Cry" >:-)</a>
Copper: 0 <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
1 Betta (Lord Byron)
6 Celestial Pearl Danios
??? Orange neos
1 surprise snail (unknown species)
So as I now know from reading, this is NOT GREAT. The shrimp are a question mark because I put about 13 in, but I don't usually see many. When I do see them, they look good, and I haven't found any deaths, but who knows if they are being cannibalized or anything like that... There are lots of places for them to hide to be fair. The snail hitched a ride in on a plant-- I know some people consider them pests, but I've also read they're good for the ecosystem so I've left it in for now. The betta is doing mostly pretty good. He's active, eats well (but not too much) and has even built a bubble nest. But, he has some white fuzz on one eye. I have dosed the tank with 5 ml of pimafix and 5ml of melafix (other meds I'm concerned will hurt the shrimp and/or plants). It has only been a day of the meds, so it's too soon to know if they're helping. The CPDs are perfect as far as I can tell. They swim around in their group, are active, eat voraciously, and have no visible problems. Concerning aggression: I have not seen the betta bother anyone unless they get too close to his nest. He will scare them off but does not give chase. The tank is heavily planted, and any plants that weren't doing well got removed.
My driftwood is DISGUSTING. It's covered in white fuzz. I've washed this thing so many times but it just comes back... I read that it's mostly harmless, but it seems to make the water pretty cloudy. The shrimp can be seen eating it, but they've hardly made a dent.
So, I've already messed up by jumping the gun on stocking this tank... but I'd like to do what I can to get the inhabitants through this. What can I do to improve their conditions? Would wondershell help raise the GH and KH for the inverts shells? Could that hurt the fish? Should I do lots of water changes until the ammonia and nitrite are down to 0 or proceed as normal? I have been doing weekly 30% water changes so far. How do I get rid of the nasty white stuff on the wood, or should I just leave it alone?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm new to this and I'm trying to do it right, but I definitely need practice.