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Trying not to mess this up...


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Hi all! I had terrible luck with my first planted tank (I did not do a great job planning from the start and take full blame 😂) - lots of algae blooms, terrible plant growth, snail deaths etc. 

I am planning on moving my two fantails to this 40gal breeder this weekend and I have been attempting to get started on the right foot here. I feel like I did everything right with the set up but I have such a hard time with ferts/high goldfish bioload/poor plant growth/hair algae. I do like some some algae, but I don't want it to out compete my plants or for them to grow sickly, which is what happened in my last tank.

About the tank:

  • 1 month old so far and seems to be pretty well cycled because I used sponge filters and media from the previous cycled tank. The plants seem to be settling nicely, but still "declaring" themselves with dead leaves here and there, tough to say if I see new growth besides the duckweed.
    • ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates < 20
    • pH 7.2-7.4
    • phos 0 
    • GH 6, KH 5 -- i just added a huge cuttle bone for my snails so this should hopefully go up
    • Temp 75-77F (room temp)
  • Filtration: two medium sponge filters and a HOB that I had on my 20gal originally and has bio media and sponges, no carbon
  • Substrate: Fluorite dark mixed with ecocomplete + root tabs + sand cap (not very deep)
  • Flora: mostly slow growers and low/med light plants (pothos, anubias, amazon swords, crypts, val, java moss), red root floaters, soon to be eaten duck weed
  • Fauna: two 3inch fantails, 2 mystery snails, 2-3 large rams horns, many many rams horns/bladders all still baby size that my goldfish will definitely eat when added in
    • Any other suggests for clean up crew would be welcome!! Maybe a few ottos?????

My problem to you: I want to keep this tank as low maintenance as possible. I do not care about thick/fast plant growth, I just want the plants to be healthy. The tank is in front of a window but I have the back and sides of the tank blacked out and I have a light 5inches above the water currently on 10 hours/day. I have easy green, easy iron, and excel but I have NOT dosed anything yet. I would love to not dose any fertilizers at all, but I'm worried the algae will still out compete the plants because I'll lack micronutrients. Any advice on how to get started slowly with ferts or how long can I safely wait before adding any in? What signs should I look for before adding fertilizer?

Thanks!

PXL_20210721_054436882.jpg

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Looks like a good start!  I would try to plant it heavily from the start here, as healthy plants in every corner of the tank give algae nowhere to call home.

For cleanup crew (ordered most to least important): 1 amano shrimp per 5 liters, 1 oto per 20 liters, 1 nerite snail per 5 liters (if you can tolerate little white eggs being laid), and just 1 SAE if you're feeling frisky.

What light are you using? 

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Nice tank! Love the plants you have.

My main concern would be that window, I know you've blacked out 3 sides, any chance you can black out the top with full on canopy? 

My fully planted tank was all blacked out on 3 sides like yours, there was one corner on the top, maybe 10% that allowed light in from a nearby window, low and behold algae sprouted from that corner, I cleaned and cleaned.. snails shrimp all nogo w/in 2 weeks of blacking out the top, it was all under control. 

This is just my experience though. I'm sure our tanks are night and day so, grain of salt 🙂

Looks great! You want some bully discus? 

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On 7/26/2021 at 9:48 AM, SanFranPsychoAquatics said:

Looks like a good start!  I would try to plant it heavily from the start here, as healthy plants in every corner of the tank give algae nowhere to call home.

For cleanup crew (ordered most to least important): 1 amano shrimp per 5 liters, 1 oto per 20 liters, 1 nerite snail per 5 liters (if you can tolerate little white eggs being laid), and just 1 SAE if you're feeling frisky.

What light are you using? 

I was thinking an SAE! I'm worried the goldfish will eat the shrimp, but I think it's worth a shot. The light is aquaneat blue and white LED (specs in the pic). 

Screenshot_20210726-155225.png

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On 7/26/2021 at 10:19 AM, Spicy Reef said:

Nice tank! Love the plants you have.

My main concern would be that window, I know you've blacked out 3 sides, any chance you can black out the top with full on canopy? 

My fully planted tank was all blacked out on 3 sides like yours, there was one corner on the top, maybe 10% that allowed light in from a nearby window, low and behold algae sprouted from that corner, I cleaned and cleaned.. snails shrimp all nogo w/in 2 weeks of blacking out the top, it was all under control. 

This is just my experience though. I'm sure our tanks are night and day so, grain of salt 🙂

Looks great! You want some bully discus? 

Thank you! I'm really liking the look. I think your advice may be correct that I need to black the top. I was hoping to avoid that... unfortunately there is just not an alternative spot to move the tank to right now. 

Not sure I'm ready for discus 😂

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