Some info on my setup..
Filter: Marineland Penguin Filter 200B
Temp: 78-80 degrees
Stock: 4 guppy, 1 molly, 1 cory catfish
Tank age: almost 2 weeks old
So, I'm a super noob. I've never owned fish and lets just say I put the cart before the horse and didn't do as much research as I should have done. I didn't know there was a fishless cycle otherwise I would have done things that way. Needless to say I'm in love with the few fish I have and so far am not able to find a baby sitter with a cycled tank to watch them for me.
So far I've been doing around 25-50% water changes twice a day to keep my ammonia levels under .50. My fish seem pretty active and happy. I didn't find out until two days ago that my catfish wasn't a great idea to get until my tank was cycled but I'm hoping he makes it though.
So my questions... I have been reading that bright gravel can stress out your fish. Is there truth to that? If so how far would it set me back to change my gravel?
I would really like to have some plants added to my tank. I wish I would have read more about it before I started but I've made some mistakes and I'm pretty frustrated with myself for it.
So, if I do or do not change my gravel can I add plants?
If so, what plants should I start off with and how many for my size tank?
I have read that you shouldn't use the type of filter I have if you have a planted tank? I just got this thing and my husband will kill me if I tell him I can't use it. So is there a way I can use this filter with a planted tank? Take out the carbon? Information would be very helpful about this.
I am taking my Molly back to the store because I don't think he will make it though this cycle. I mixed the Molly up with the Platy while at the store. Molly, Guppy, Platy, oh my! :)
Also, I'm L.E.D. moonlighting my tank but I've read you shouldn't do that all night with a planted tank. Is that correct? I also have air stones and I've read mixed information about them with a planted tank.. but in all honesty I love the air bubbles and so does my cat fish. He enjoys riding on them up to the top and comes back down to do it again. So I would prefer to keep them.
Again.. It seems I'm going about this a little backwards I wish I would have been able to start the correct way but I would really like some help to correct my mistakes.
Also, the amount of fish I have for my cycle.. Should I get two more or just keep the number as is once mister molly goes back to the store?
Thank you for your time and help. I'm very grateful
ps. I've been reading all the sticky posts about planted tanks and new tanks etc so I've got a basic idea but someone to help walk me though this that could answer some questions would rock!