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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this is my first attempt at putting live plants in an aquarium. I added the plants to an already cycled tank. This is about three weeks after initially planting them. They have melted quiet a bit since I originally planted them, I have been trimming them back to get rid of the translucent parts. I have had some new growth and the new growth looks good, but I think the melting is faster than the new growth, especially on the vals and the foreground plants. I'm also struggling with brown algae. It's growing on my substrate and plant leaves. I think my nitrates might be to low, i need to test and see what its at currently, but what target should i be shooting for? I'm not using any c02 or ferts currently.

Tank: 20 gal high
Light: Finnex planted 24/7, I've been running it at 50% for about 12 hrs a day.
Substrate: eco complete
Livestock: 2 shrimp, 2 glowlight tetras, 1 otocinclus

I'm trying to avoid setting up co2 for now, but other than that what are some changes I can make to help with the algae and make the plants grow better.
 

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I would

- run the fixture on 24/7 mode, or simply switch to 100% for 6-8 hours.

- add root tabs

- add more tetras and otos to form a proper school (need 6+)
 

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I run a Finnex 24/7 on my 40B. I found running the light at about 80% switching to a timer and doing 4 hours on 2 off 4 hours on to help with algae while not running co2. Adding root tabs and dosing liquid co2 should help the plants out compete the algae and grow better.
 

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You could dose excel until you get CO2 up and running. excel is a glutaraldehyde derivative, and thus will help contol algae and feeding plants. Also, you could try a few amano shrimp. They tear apart algae. Don't get too many, though, as they may run out of algae and start eating your plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I added two more otos on wednesday, they are really doing a good job with the algae, seeing them eat algae off of plant leaves is awesome.
Last night I added a school of 8 rummy nose tetras, I drip acclimated them for 2.5 hours. They went colorless when I added them, but by today they have full color back so I think they are doing well. I have started dosing Excel and have some liquid Flourish and Osmocote root tabs on the way. I checked my nitrates yesterday and they were at zero, even though i havnt been doing heavy water changes, I guess I have been starving the plants. I assumed that since i used a planted substrate, it had enough nutrients for the plants, I guess not. I also switched the light schedule to 100% power for 8 hrs a day.

Total livestock count is:

3 otos
8 rummy nose
2 glowlight tetras
1 amano shrimp
1 cherry shrimp
 
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