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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I got into the hobby almost 2 years ago I have always had some form of issue with my fish that I have kept.

Carding tetras - hiding constantly in the back
Loaches - jumping from open top aquarium
Sae's - jumpers as well
Otos - may as well not of been there as I never saw them
Pearl gouramis - male got sick and stopped eating for a while, recovered then became an angry bastard. Females always bullied the smaller one
Cherry barbs - constantly flashing (could never really figure out why.
Golden rams - die offs due to poor genetics, my opinion.
Angels - bent dorsal fins that I can't seem to look past, and clamping top dorsal fin, the odd rubbing on plants.

My peppered Cory's have spawned and been solid the whole time, the odd one flashes here and there but nothing serious.

Point is, that I feel I haven never really made my fish super happy. Always some fish that seems somewhat distressed. It really bothered me to see that and it fully consumes me. I drive myself crazy trying to resolve the issues.

I feel like maybe the focus being on the plants have led me to creating a less then ideal environment for my fish.

Currently debating how I want to proceed in this hobby of mine. To get full enjoyment I can't be stressing the way I do about the healthy of my fish.
Do I get rid of the dosing, co2, high demanding plants, thick substrate, bright lights, and go to a simpler path with a light stock tank that focuses on my fish. Or do I try and keep this higher tech setup that my fish can't seem to thrive in.

I am torn, on the one end I love my plants and enjoy adding to my crypt collection. But I am beginning to hate dosing, worrying about co2, flow issues and such.

I think the idea of a nice natural looking scape with only really low demanding plants like bolbitis, java fern, anubias. A thin sand substrate to make cleaning easy, low light to not bother the fish and not create much demand for plants, no dosing, no co2. Sorta sounds appealing to me.

I am worried I might regret getting rid of my plants though.

Has anyone gone through something similar?

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I can relate to what you are saying. For example my oto were constantly out and playing when they were the only fish in the tank. I put a school of espei in with them and now I seldom see them. I was scared they were dying on me. I think that goes with the territory with some fish.

I dont think I would enjoy the hobby as much if I went high tech. A low tech tank can be time consuming I cant imagine what high tech is like. I like to piddle with the tanks but I dont have time to monitor everything the way I would think is needed to have a truly successful high tech tank.

I hope you figure it out as aquariums should be enjoyable not mind maddening.
 

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Reducing the light will go a long way towards having the kind of set up you describe. Something like 25-30 PAR. Crypts will still grow fine. There'll be far less demand for nutrients and CO2, water changes, etc.

I'd definitely keep the CO2. It will help the plants thrive better under lower light levels. You should be able to reduce it a good bit though if you drop the lighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's just it I think I don't want to have to worry about plants at all. It may just be how I feeling right now but I think it's the direction I want to go.

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When one looks back, most things do run in cycles. Interest in a hobby is very prone to that. How many times have I got into tanks and then fallen off? Not even sure but one thing I do fully believe is that keeping it going when it is no longer fun is not the way I want to spend my life. I am currently not too interested in my plants and have backed way off. But that doesn't mean that one has to get rid of all the equipment that has collected. That can lay in storage without needing much help. The plants are actually a pretty low end expense for many. I never got that excited that I required expensive plants. that leaves me just letting the plants go as I would any other hobby item. As a hobby goes this one is pretty cheap. Look at bowling, fishing, tennis or golf to see what I mean? Getting rid of plants is very cheap compared to deciding whether to get rid of a boat!
If it's not fun, don't do it as you can change your mind later. Just keep the expensive, hard to acquire parts until certain which way the spirit will lead you! You may be back into it later or you may wind up buying a $1200 bicycle. Once you get a guy into Spandex riding shorts you can sell him anything!
 

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Think I'd slowly get rid of the CO2 , reduce light to what BURR740 mentioned , low light EI for ferts …. Your crypts should grow just fine in such a setup ; mine do . Everything happens a whole lot slower in a lower light , non-CO2 setup . There's no way I'd be able to keep up with my tanks if they were high tech , too much work , too much stress too much can go downhill real fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have some harder to grow crypts that I don't think will grow in low tech conditions.

I am going to sell off all my Cory's and just keep angels only. My tank is overstocked and I am sure some of my issues is because of this. Even with 40 Cory's, most times they hide out till late evening anyways.

Going back to ferns and anubias and more hardscape. Raise the light and keep things simple.
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The best thing I ever did with my tank was cutting the light and swapping out all of the fast growing stems for ferns, moss and other slower growing plants and adding more hardscape. It has made the tank much more relaxing and enjoyable. I kept CO2 and still add a bit of ferts. There's less farming involved now and I can just sit back and enjoy looking at it.

You might consider simplifying when it comes to fish also. A larger school of one easy species can be really nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I started low tech with stems and such. Moved to high co2 and ferts only to end up going with all rossette plants and finally now with crypts. So its no surprise that I am continuing down the road to low tech

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I started low tech with stems and such. Moved to high co2 and ferts only to end up going with all rossette plants and finally now with crypts. So its no surprise that I am continuing down the road to low tech

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Well, having only been high tech for about 1 year now, I don't see me changing any time soon. With that said, my 20 gallon grow out tank sitting on the floor in the living room probably has the healthiest looking plants in to of all my tanks. The Cabomba looks very happy and grows straight up. The Hygro took time to adjust, but now looks like Google pictures. The few crypts I have look good, but don't seem to ever get any bigger as opposed to the high tech tanks where I am constantly taking leaves out.

I guess there is something to be said for a non-co2 tank with reasonable lighting and I can see why some people really prefer that type of tank. As for the fish, some of it could be bad luck and some of it could be excessive co2. I think your angels look great! One of the fun fish in my tank are the albino corys - they just make me laugh most days. Not that you are looking for any recommendations on fish, but I find the rainbows that I have seem to like sitting out in the open, facing the circulation fan, and just basically saying look at me. Best of luck with what ever direction you end up going.
 
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