The tank is approximately 18" wide and will be about 18" deep after I add substrate. I got an 18" 15W plant light with a crappy reflector with the tank :/ Im thinking ill probably need to upgrade. I like the strip lights that either hang from fixtures or have the little legs that stand on the edge of the tank. What are some cheap options I could look at?
Can't help alot with this one.
I would also like to get a cheap canister filter. I like them because they are quiet and clean looking. Suggestions?
I have a thread basically asking this question in the equipment section. You can read the feedback I got there. The primary suggestion was the SunSun/Perfecto.
Id like to scout for some rocks in the wild.. Any tips? I also really want to use black sand, but ive read its not good for plants. Thoughts?
This part of setting up a tank is one of my favorites. Go to trails that follow streams and rivers. Look around stormwater retention basins. Depends on the kind of rock you want where would be best to look. Personally I like quartz, which where I live is usually found around streams. I can get granite around culverts and stormwater ponds, most rip rap is granite. If I go the mountains about an hour from me I have alot more choices.
As far as preparing them, all I did was scrub them with a toothbrush and wash them off with a garden hose. I only used water, no soap. Then I took some pots and brought water to a boil and poured the boiling water over them rocks as they sat in the sink. Some people will use a bleach/water mix and rinse several times others will boil the rock actually in the pot.
How can I make this work as a planted tank while avoiding algae? I would like to avoid ferts and co2. I cant justify spending $400 on co2 at the moment.
The keys to avoiding algae is to plant heavily. Have the right amount of light and have it on for the right amount of time. Be careful not to overfeed the fish. Its all about finding the balance of all those things that is right for your tank. You can get algae eating fish/snails/shrimp that can combat algae if it becomes an issue.