So I have been battling with my 55 gallon tank for 2 years now, and I'm finally at a point where I can invest some money and
time into it. For a long time it seemed that just about everything I tried with this tank backfired, and I just gave up. I also contracted a staph infection back in 2013, and I developed an aversion to digging around and moving things in the tank for a while. I had hopes for this tank. Now I'm ready to pursue them again.
I have in this tank:
1 Three Spot Gourami
3 Dwarf Gouramis
3 Harlequin Rasboras
1 Cherry Barb
1 Yoyo Loach
1 Kuhli Loach
I had more of each species, but haven't restocked.
Plants I may need help identifying.
The filtration is a Marineland Penguin 350 filter with Biowheels. I use Water Conditioner and pH down when I do water changes.
I know that the first thing I have to do is fix my Nitrates. My pH is 6.0, and my ammonia and nitrites read 0 ppm, but my nitrates read somewhere between 40 and 80 ppm (I can't tell, the colors on the chart are almost identical). I am in the middle of a water change right now.
In the mean time, I would appreciate some opinions/advice for some goals I have for this tank for after I fix the nitrates.
There is a coat of green algae that grows on my tank walls It needs to be scraped off every two weeks or so. This would be due to the high nitrates, correct? It's not really hurting anything, this is really my most minor of concerns. Unless it is, please tell me if it is.
I have three gorgeous pieces of Mopani that I want to reincorporate into the tank. Originally, they were in the tank, serving as a hangout for my loaches and CAE, but they stained the water so much that they inadvertently killed my plants. I boiled two of them, soaked the other, but now I have a pot big enough to boil the last one. I ordered Purigen to help filter out what the boiling doesn't get. Is this the best way of going about it?
I've had trouble with plants, too. Sometimes I bought plants that were mislabeled as aquatic, other times they would just melt. Or when I finally got some Hygrophila difformis to grow, hair algae grew with it. I used this treatment :
It worked very well. Afterwards I went for (what I think are) Moneywort, Pennywort, and Rotala macrandria. This is the first time in years that I've have plants thrive. Well, there are still some issues-- the moneywort has what appears to be a coat of dark green algae coating some of its leaves and roots. The Rotala is green on the top of the leaves and pink on the underside, and its growth is kind of ugly and gangly. Can I post pics for identification and not have this thread moved to plants?
I have everything under two ZooMed Flora Sun lights. I don't use any fertilizers, I have just been letting the plants grow. Is there anything I should be adding for the plants I have? I'm saving up for a big order of live plants, since there are no stores locally that sell healthy freshwater plants. I'm considering Green Temple, Cryptocorynes, Wisteria, other Rotalas. Could there be any care conflicts? What would I need for these plants?
Lastly, there are the fish. I have a problem with my town's water pH. I keep my tank at 6.0, and the water here is at 7.8. This is a huge difference, right? I feel like it's a huge difference. I just want to know the proper acclimation time for this specific aspect. Please note that I am NOT planning on buying any fish until my parameters are sorted out.
I appreciate any input!