I'm new to fishkeeping and am attempting to start a planted tank in an Eclipse 12 system (12g). Unfortunately if I could do this over again, I would not have gone with an Eclipse 12 because the integrated filter/lighting/hood and unusual shape of the tank (acrylic) is not at all flexible and has restricted my lighting options. The stock light is a 13W PC (5300K). I have been trying to supplement the lighting from the top side using a 23W PC desk lamp (6500k), but I don't think much light is getting added to the tank this way. I have the lights on a 11 hr cycle.
My other tank stats so far:
Substrate: 20 lbs of Eco-complete (unfortunately only about 1.5 inches of coverage)
Ammonia = 0 ppm, Nitrites = 0 ppm, Nitrates ~ 5 ppm. ~ 7.0 pH. TDS ~ 150 ppm. Temp = ~80F.
4 Zebra Danios, 1 Clown pleco, 1 Blue Ram Cichlid.
A few Anubius Nana, a couple of Anubius swords, Wisteria, and the rest are unkonwn from Petco.
I am beginning to dose with Flourish. I use DI water conditioned with R/O right. I have started using DIY yeast CO2 with a Hagen bubble counter (pic below).
Here is my freshly planted tank set up. I'm having a little trouble keeping plates in the substrate.
Here is an unfortunately blurry shot of my bubble counter (lots of slowly rolling bubbles!):
And because for me it is the fish that matter most. Here is a pic of my Blue Ram.
My first question is about my substrate depth. I am just beginning to realize that many people suggest up to 3" while I just have half that. If I were to increase my substrate depth, is there something cheaper than Eco-complete that I can add without disturbing the current tank set up? Or should I just add more EC?
Has anyone seen a light retro-fit that works with this small system? I have emailed AHsupply.com and they do not have a solution.
I am open to any suggestions for improvements. Fish seem to be OK, but this is my first aquarium so I am still learning.