Hello everyone, newbie to the forums here (and newbie to planted tanks)...got a few questions I wanted to run by people with more experience than myself. I used to do saltwater predator tanks, but they are ungodly expensive to upkeep, so after a roughly 10 year hiatus, I've decided to rejoin the aquatic world but with a new challenge - planted tanks.
Just for some background, my current setup is a Fluval Flex 15 with all the included filter media in use (including the carbon) and some Fluval Stratum as the substrate. When I first started the tank, I put the chemicals in with just substrate, water, and Fritz 7 to start things off. Let it run for about 2 weeks, used an API Master Test Kit and found good parameters before I added driftwood (also soaked for 2 weeks and then boiled) and a few plants. I then let the tank sit for another week or so, checked parameters again...all fine, so I added 3 ember tetras as my "canary" fish (I have since fell in love with the tetras and want more now). I noticed my plants came with a bonus, a baby nerite snail so...that's fun to watch grow. After about another week or so, I checked the water again and everything still looking good...so I added in 3 cherry shrimp, a long fin pleco, and 3 peppered corys. It's been about a week and water parameters are still pretty much in check (ammonia is just barely starting to creep up at a color between 0 and 0.25 ppm). As for lights, I use the ones that come with the tank - white light goes on around 10am, with the blue light coming on around 10pm (for a few hours then I turn it off completely because it's in my room next to my bed and I like total darkness).
Tank looks healthy from what I can see, water is crystal clear, parameters are all pretty much still in check, and fish seem happy. But now I have some maintenance questions...
- How often should I be doing water changes in this tank?
- How much of the water should be being changed at a time?
- When adding de-chlorinator back in during the water change, do you only use enough for the amount of water you are adding back, or enough for the entire water of the tank?
- Am I overstocking, or can I add a few more things to the tank?
I've only ever done saltwater, so this is a little different to me (or at least I feel like it is). Any guidance is appreciated...few pictures of the tank below as reference.
(Note: The cherry shrimp picture was before I added the corys, they cleaned up the bottom spotless.)