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Planted tank noob questions

4384 Views 25 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  rizkalladavid1
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.)

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  • How often should I be doing water changes in this tank?
  • at least once a week
  • How much of the water should be being changed at a time?
  • around 20% would be good. Somewhere around 2 gallons.
  • 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?
  • If you're using a bucket or jug, put the dechlorinator in the bucket for the amount of water in the bucket before adding it to the tank, otherwise if you add the water first you should add enough to treat the whole tank.
  • Am I overstocking, or can I add a few more things to the tank?
  • You can add a little bit more, but not a lot.
 
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