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My planted Fluval Spec V levels are: pH:6.5, Ammonia,NO2-,NO3- 0ppm. KH=1dKH, GH=2dGH, water temp 76F.
These values practically match my tap water levels; pH is a touch lower in the tank. Fluval plant stratum. Plants (cabomba, anubias and some micro swords) added a little over 4 weeks ago. A few bladder snails that came with the plants. Introduced a male betta 2 weeks ago.
I don't know what my CO2 levels are; I don't have a CO2 setup and I'm not dosing. I was doing 8 hour photo cycles but reduced to 4-6 hours a week ago (I have a hair algae). Base of cabombas are yellowing a little, micro swords don't look super healthy. I spotted new growth on the anubias (attached to driftwood) so they are fine I guess. Light is a 20" fugeray planted+. 20% water change bi-weekly.

Couple questions:

  1. Are my KH/GH levels too low? Do I need to do anything about it?
  2. Can I keep on going without CO2?
  3. I want to add 3-4 oto's for algae cleaning etc. Can I add them now or do I need to wait for more cycling? I didn't notice any spikes in NO2/NO3 levels doing weekly tests.
  4. What about some cleanup crew shrimp? Will they survive the tank conditions? Will they survive the betta?
  5. Should I be doing something else to eliminate algae growth other than adding algae eaters?
Here is a photo from few days ago when the algae bloomed real fast over a few days. I have since manually removed the algae as best as I can; uprooting cabombas, cleaning then replanting and the tank looks better for now.

 

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GH and KH are sure at the low end of OK, great for soft water fish!
Otos should work. They eat the flat, stuck-on sorts of algae, not stringy algae.
You will have to research shrimp, find out which ones are OK with that soft water. Some Bettas are quite predatory and will eliminate all the shrimp. You might get a few of the cheapest to see if he is OK with them.

I would be concerned about zero NO3.
The plants are using all the nitrogen you are adding. Or else the test is not working.
 
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