I am very new to the world of planted tanks and just started my first 'high tech' planted tank last week.
I have a 29 gal low tech aquarium for a while now so I thought I gonna try something new.
My new setup is a 10 gal Penn Plax with a 20 inch Finnex FugRay Plated+ LED Light, a Fluval 206 canister filter, CO2 injection (regulator + Paintball tank) and I also got one of those fancy TwinStar M3 anti algae device because I read it helps a beginner to control algae.
I filled the tank with ADA power sand and 2/3 ADA Aqual Soil and 1/2 Pecto Aquarium Sand.
For plants I planted mostly Hairgrass and some other plants I cannot recall (I think some sort of sword and a rotala) + I tied some moss to the stones.
This is the setup:
Now here are my questions:
I always read about WattsPerGallon, but I cannot find good information about how to apply this to LED's? I assume the Finnex LED should be ok for my tank but it's more a guess than knowing for sure. Would be great to get some hint how to choose a fitting LED for a new planted tank. Also I am unsure how long I should have the light running. My timer will arrive tomorrow and I plan to set it to 8 hours, but I wonder if I could go higher to fasten the hairgrass build a carpet
When I started this hobby with my 29 gal tank I read everything about cycling and my new tank 'behave' exactly as described: Started with low Ammonia, this would start raising and then eventually nitrite would build up and ammonia would go down. At some point the nitrite started to disappear and nitrate build up. Like this:
Now with my new tank in the hope to speed things up a little bit I put some of the filter material of my 29 gal (also Fluval filter) into the new filter and I used 50% treated tap water + 50% aquarium water of the established tank for the new tank.
Now my Ammonia levels are very high in the new tank (>8ppm - using API master kit), zero Nitrite and 20-30 ppm nitrate. Is the high ammonia due to the aqua soil? And is it the kind of ammonia I need to build the bacteria or is it ammonium in the aquasoil that does not help building bacteria at all? Even right after 50% water change with water from my other tank (0 ammonia) its reads >8ppm.
3. Water changes.
I am not sure if I should do them or just wait until the tank cycled? Also should I continue to use Aquarium water from my other tank or should I use treated tap water. My 'idea' was to use aquarium water to provide the fish waste needed for proper cycling as I don't have any fauna in the new tank (beside one single babysnail that must have sneaked with some of the plants), but now with the very high ammonia readings I am not sure if tap water might be better?
4. Drop checker
The description of that drop checker told me to use aquarium water but I read to use it properly I need to use 4 dKH water. Since I don't know where to get this I just checked some bottle water I had around which actually tested for 4 dKH so I used that. Is this ok for the readings or do I need to get some distilled water and mix with baking soda to get a proper 4 dKH solution?
My bubble counter is set to ~2 BPS and the drop checker always shows more yellow than green so I wonder if this is too much CO2 - if there is such a thing as too much as there are no fish in it yet. The snail mentioned earlier does fine tho.
I think the 206 is rated for up to 45 gal and I run it at 100%. is that too much water flow (I use a glass lily pipe so the current is not that strong)
I use tap water in my 29 gal (treated with Aqueon water conditioner) and I am using the same treated tap water for the new tank. It's LA tap water (around 8.2 ph with 4-5 dKH and around 7 dGH) but my LFS guy told me I should use his water (25cent per gallon). Is tap water really that bad or does the guy just want to sell me his water? I am ok to spend some bucks on good hardware and healthy plants, but the idea to drive to the LFS (even if close by) to get water for water changes annoys me - I do water changes once a week on my 'old' tank and plan to do them regularly on the new tank as well.
The hairgrass was very long when I got it and I did not trimmed it. The goal tho is that I want a nice trimmed 1 1/2 inch 'grass carpet'. Also I read that trimming speeds up horizontal growth. But I don't want to 'stess' the plant before it settled (I guess). So when should/can I start trimming?
The tank is setup since 5 days and I think I can already see some hair grass runners (jay) but the sword plant seems to melt (nooo). So I am not sure if the setup is ok. Also when I first filled the aquarium the hair grass was pearling a lot, but if I look into the tank now it does not perl as much anymore (but might be just my subjective view?).
That's why I hope to get some tips/help for the setup and other general beginner tips.