Stocking a 55g South American Community Tank
I'm in the process of setting up a South American themed community tank. Sorry for the long post, but I have a few questions I'd like to ask about the setup.
To start, the 55g is moderately planted and cycled. Before planting, I had gone through a complete nitrogen cycle for learning purposes and to get bacteria for the soon to come qt's. Since it's planted now, I have been adding about 1ppm of ammo a few times a day to keep it going. My reasoning for doing so, is that I would like to add quite a few fish into the tank at once.
The tank has 2 - 150w heaters, one on each side of the tank and it has Black Diamond Blasting Sand as the substrate. I have an Eheim 2215 canister filter, an AC50, and a Penguin 100 Biowheel for filtration, the last two are more so to start tanks in the future. The Eheim intake is on the right side of the tank and the spray bar is on the left side. I've contemplated getting a second 2215 and setting it up opposite of the other, would that be a good idea?
For lighting, I have 2 - 2 bulb 24" T5's over the top of it, one over each side of the tank. Each bulb is 24w a piece coming out to 96w total. I compared my lights with the Hagen 24" 2 bulb line of the chart in Hoppy's PAR thread and with it about 19" above the substrate and going through a glass canopy, I'm guessing anywhere between 30 - 40 PAR at the substrate. At the moment, I have the lights on 8 hours a day and I plan on doing no CO2 or Excel. Is 8 hours on a good place to start for the light schedule? I was only using root tabs and Seachem Flourish for ferts at the beginning but after more research, it appears that method is imbalanced. So, I plan on dosing KNO3, KH2PO4, Seachem Equilibrium and Seachem Flourish for nutrition. Will this be enough lighting for a non co2/excel tank if I make sure to have plenty of balanced nutrients without any bottoming out??
There is a fairly large piece of driftwood in the tank. As for plants, it has an Amazon Sword(that put out 13 babies), 3 Amazon Sword "Compacta", a TON of some specie of Val (probably getting moved to a different tank in the future) a Red Melon Sword, Anacharis, Brazilian Pennywort, Bacopa Australis, Dwarf Sag and Green Cabomba. The first 4 were planted in the beginning of April, the next 5 were planted two days ago and the last was planted yesterday. I plan on getting more stem plants within the next few days and filling in anywhere else that I can, though, there really isn't much space to put them. May just leave some as floaters.
The fish I'm interested in getting are a big group of corydoras, a big group of some kind of tetra, a few otos, a smaller pleco or two (Bristlenose, Clown, etc) and some rams (Bolivian or German, haven't decided yet) At the moment, I have 3 qt's cycled and ready for fish. I've read with it being a planted tank, I should add algae eaters first. So I was thinking adding otos to one qt, pleco's into another and a big group of corydoras into the last. Keep them in qt for a month or two and add them to the 55. Then, I was thinking recycle the qt's and getting a big group of tetras and some rams to put into qt and add later. So with these fish in mind, about how many of each would work well in this tank while keeping it slightly under stocked?
I have an Eheim 2215 for filtration, intake on right of tank, spray bar on left, should I get a second one and set it up opposite of the other?
My goal is non CO2/excel. I have 2 - 24" 2 bulb T5's, 96w total over the tank about 19" from the substrate, per chart, around 30-40 PAR at substrate. If I dose KNO3, KH2PO4, Seachem Equilibrium and Seachem Flourish, will this be enough lighting for non C02/excel if I can keep ferts from bottoming out? Is 8 hours on a good place to start for the light schedule?
I have 3 qt's ready for fish. I'm interested in Corydoras, Tetras, Otos, Rams and small plecos. The corys, otos and plecos are going in first. What would be the max amount of each type of fish I could have, while keeping the tank slightly under stocked?
I appreciate all advice and am excited to get into the hobby. Thank you.