This is long but I have many questions and would really appreciate the help. You guys helped me set up my tank...it's been a while and I need more info/help. Alright, here it goes...I have a 36 gallon bowfront. I set it up and did the whole live fish cycle and kept very close watch on my 5 bloodfin tetras. Tank has been running for close to three months now and the population is now up to 23 fish. Mostly tetras and 4 cories and 1 dwarf pleco. To this day, INCLUDING the starter fish (bloodfins) I have lost zero fish. I am amazed too lol. Actually I have been monitoring my water and doing water changes once a month. Now here is where the concerns come...I'll give you eyes a break...
Lately I have been noticing my water to be less clear than normal. In the past I had this problem and had to leave for a week long newlywed cruise (yep jost got married last month yay). I did not have a timer for my light (flourescent that came with my aqueo/all-glass aquarium). I did have the fish food disks that you drop in. When I returned the water could not have been clearer.
Fast forward a few weeks and I started to notice the nitrates approaching the not so safe area. Did a water change but was stupid and did about a 50% water change. Fish were happy afterwards but since then...until today my water has never been as cleaqr as that one week I had been away with my light of. It seems as though my pH is around 6.4 ish. I don't know if that is good or bad for tetras but as mentioned I have not lost any yet and they apear healthy and lively.
I recently brought my concerns of the not so clear water to a local pet store. The fish guy informed me I should try adding some live bacteria. Prior to this visit, as in a couple nights prior, I did a 20% water change. This left my water clearer but still cloudy. This is where the fish guy advised me to add the live bacteria.
Today the water looks better but not like it did once before. I have tried to reduce the amount of food I feed my little friends as I feel I was overfeeding them before (feeding them once a day a good finger pinch of food which they all ate up) I do notice when they eat the flake food it seems to break apart into such small particles they don't see it or care to eat it. I am currently running an Emperor 280 by Marineland. I change out the filter when I did my 50% water change a while back which I don't think helped my situation. When I did my recent 20% I washed it in running water (should've used tank water but forgot until after I discarded the tank water).
I have a buddy...well actually two...one has a freshwater tank and the other a saltwater tank. Both have sumps...pretty sure they are both wet sumps. Basically I know you can never have too much filtration so I have decided to build a sump system. I have been researching how to build one, the equipment I need etc. I just can't seem to find concurring information. I don't want live plants and I want my water to be as crystal clear as my friends' tanks. I plan to buy a 20 gallon aquarium to sit below my tank and add a mag drive pump but read up on how to choose pump size but am still unsure. My tank currently sits on top of a 3 foot tall stand and the tank itself is about 2 feet tall. I also don't know how many separate barriers to put inside the sump and whether to build a wet/dry or just a wet sump system.
Arrrrggghhh...if you have read all this I so appreciate it. I have a lot of concerns and questions. Am I headed in the right direction? Any input, comments, concerns....please I'll take it all! ;D