Hello all -
Being a newbie to the whole planted tank thing, I did a lot of research and talked to people at the fish store, and I *thought* I had a good handle on a planted tank before starting one, but I've been running into TONS of issues with algae, phosphates, dosage rates, etc.
20 gallon high Marineland aquarium
AquaticLife's Edge 24" (spec sheet
) (I leave on for 8 hours a day)
Fluval C3 filter (with phosphate removal pad and purigen)
Marineland 100W(?) heater
UV Sterilzer with pump
2 panda corys
1 Dwarf Gourami
1 Pineapple Swordtail
1 Zebra Danio
1 Pearl Danio
SEVERAL apple snails (my parent snails decided to lay eggs and I didn't catch the eggs and now I have baby apple snails in my tank)
Fish: Was using flakes, but JUST switched to pellets. Frequency: Once a day.
Snails: Algae wafers. Frequency: 1-2 times a week.
Microsword (floats, my snails and gourami think its a great idea to uproot it whenever I put it in, so I don't bother replanting.)
I've been holding off on purchasing plants because I needed to get my algae issue under control and learn the proper dosing rates.
I use Seachem's line of products.
Excel, Flourish, potassium, nitrogen, iron, and phosphorus. I *had* a notecard with what I thought was the correct dosage, but honestly I'm not sure if that was even correct.
I've had this tank setup since the beginning of July, and I thought I had a good handle on things but some things have gotten out of hand.
Q1: My phosphates are WAY out of hand. My water naturally has 10+ppm. I know planted tanks are supposed to have phosphates, but not this much. Should I filter out the phosphates before a water change? Maybe this is the main issue to my algae issue?
Q2: Going off of my algae issue, I can't seem to get away from it. I tried reducing the light duration and that doesn't seem to help. Its also to the point where I am getting diatoms in the tank to turn my water green. I bought a UV sterilizer and a pump and it is clearing the green water. How would I prevent continual algae issues? I'm also getting hair algae in the tank in some spots.
Q3: What should my dosing rates be? Should I add more plants first THEN begin dosing, or begin dosing and slowly add plants? What should I be dosing with? Is there anything I'm missing chemical wise? Should I buy a doser from my local fish store to do the dosing for me? This is where I am the most lost and confused.
Q4: The Eco-Complete is VERY dirty. I heard that its actually good for plants and they like that. However, having so many snails that I can't get rid of because no one wants them and not cleaning it, would it be worth my time and money to replace the Eco-Complete?
On a side note, before my tank became all green and whatnot, my Jungle Val wasn't doing too well. When my tank became green, it began growing and healing and actually spread and sprouted 2 new stem things.
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!