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Just getting back to basics, I notice you mention that you dont want to maintain lots of stem plants.
I know there are some god like folk on here who have mastered the art of avoiding algae & display their amazing tanks on this very forum.
Personally I have never reached this status however I do maintain more average (realistic) tanks that give me huge pleasure & even impress friends!
I find two T5 light the length of the tank will supply more than enough light to grow most plants at a reasonable rate :thumbsup:
I have found you really need to distribute C02 throughout the tank very thoroughly, I use four small powerheads in my 3' tank plus the main pumps that supply the gas.
The most important aspect though is planting lots & lots of stems!
As your tank matures you can start to remove the the stems but in the beginning I would really recommend heavy planting with fast growing stem plants.
If you do this I feel it achieves several goals - first you will actually see some growth in a couple of days. This is a great start for a first time plant grower!
Second the fast plants will use up spare nutrients that algae might other benefit from.
Thirdly the stems will shade the slower growing plants that are like magnets collecting algae, the shading at this stage is a plus in my opinion.
I have found if you remove the stems to soon you simply get an algae outbreak or even an explosion!!
My lounge display is 5 months old & I have just about removed all the stems.
I just feel you have to be practical & realise it is not always possible to maintain perfect conditions or carry out 70 gal water changes every week...
Easy on a 10 gal tank but yours is pretty big.
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