Beginner looking to start planting
Hello everyone. I am new to this site and recently started getting more involved in things relating to my fish tank. I have so many questions about different things but i'll just start with some.
Just to give you guys a little bit of info, I have a 20 gallon established aquarium that I have had for about a year. I have an aquaclear 70 filter housing with an aquaclear 50 impeller which brings it down to 200gph. I do have my 70 impeller which would boost it to 300gph but not sure if that would be too much? I just wanted to have larger filter media and more gph since i have a lot of fish. I have 15 fish (which I know is a lot for my 20 gallon). The fish I have are as follows:
3 zebra danios
3 gold twin bar platys
3 cherry barbs
3 white fin rose tetras
2 mollies (one white sailfin i think its called, one regular black)
1 rainbow shark
I check my water levels weekly and change about 30-40% of my water and vacuum gravel every three weeks. I use four medias in my filter aquaclear sponge, marineland carbon, api ammo chips, and aquaclear biomax. I changed them every two months scattered. My water is always clear and levels always within specs. I don't get any algae (at least not that I can see). My thought has been that even though I have a lot of fish for a 20gal, I maintain my water regularly and they havent eaten each other. One of my questions is, should I take some out even though I keep my water clean and they have survived all this time?
Now, to the live plant issue. I recently bought a National Geographic led light for my tank and started thinking to myself that I would like to add plants to my aquarium. I have never used live plants and after looking into some beginner plants I like the amazon sword, java fern, and anubias nana. I wanted to place the amazon sword in the background and the other two in the front. Not sure if I am going in the right direction with these choices so I wanted to ask some more experienced people their opinion and some questions. (Some info on the natgeo light. It says on the box 7000-10000k for color temperature for white and 20000k for blue. It has a total of 54 white leds (18/tube) and 9 blue leds(3/tube). It says .18watts for white and .18 for blue, not sure if this is per led or the whole thing) The picture I posted is with a flourescent colormax T8 18" as I have not set up my new light.
I have regular blue color gravel. Will that be ok if I put that stuff that goes below the gravel so that the roots can grab (not sure of the name but i guess something like soil?). Would it be better to switch to sand (I do think i would like the look of black sand in my tank)? Will I need a co2 system? Will introducing plants to my tank cause me to have algae? If so, is there a fish that will keep the plants clean, or do i have to manually clean them? Also in the pictures, these plant didn't look droopy. I don't want droopy plants. Not sure if thats the word to describe what i want.
Hope i didn't bore you guys with all my questions. I am just really enjoying the hobby more since i have more time due to losing job. Thank you all in advance for your time and replies and have a great day.