Hello everyone. I've posted a couple of question within the past week or two, but I wanted to "officially" introduce myself to the group. I started a 50g planted tank last November. My prior tank was way back over 20 years ago when I was 10, so I had (and still have) a lot to learn.
I had been thinking about setting up the tank when I wandered into a LFS that was closing and had everything on sale, so I went a bit nuts. Rather than doing the usual obsessive-compulsive research, I bought stuff based on their recommendations, but anyway...here's my set up:
(two more pics linked below)
Magnum 350 Canister filter (just using the sponge in the canister - no other media currently) with modified spray bar return (ugly white PVC)
4x36watt CF lighting, 6500k (about) for a little less than 3wpg - I'm using the Helios unit - anyone familiar with that?
Pressurized CO2 injection at about 20bpm (started two weeks ago)
Substrate = the gravel that they already had in the tank when I bought it used, well cleaned of course but nothing fancy
Water source = tap water from neighborhood well, not chlorinated, treated with home water softener.
My pH was 7.4ish before CO2, now it's 6.8-6.9 .
KH about 3, GH = ? (I've never been able to get an interpretable reading on this - doesn't seem to change to the color it's supposed to)
I've never had any measurable ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates, though I haven't checked in a while (1-2 weeks). Thought that was good until I read some posts about people's nitrates being too low?
Fertilization - very unscientific - I added Flourish and Flourish Trace following the directions on the label. Also CO2 as above.
Plants - some Wisteria, Moneywort, Amazon Swords (the bigger one in front is the daughter (son?) of the one behind), crypts, java fern, ludwigia, a couple of vallisneria, and an algae bell - sort of a random assortment!
Fish / Inverts - 3 panda cory's, 4 white clouds, 1 krib, 2 kuhli loaches, 3(?) oto's, 4-6 amano shrimp, 1 singapore shrimp, and 9 SAE's.
So, anyway, here I am. After looking at all the info on this page and other sites, there are DEFINITELY some things I'd do differently (e.g. use Eco-comple).
I welcome any advice people have for improving the biological balance / functioning of the system or improving the aesthetics! Thanks in advance.