03-09-2013, 02:19 PM
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Hardly a master... just reasonably well researched, slightly experienced with a well planted tank and willing to help. If you want to see my tank, check the aquarium tab under my screen name on the left.
That is a very nice looking setup and definitely well planted. If you decided to add fish, or when, you should have no concern about the typical nitrogen cycle whatsoever.
Are you going to add fish? If so, what are you planning? It makes a difference as to what you may want to be doing. Fish are a large source of CO2 and nitrogen (from ammonia) that the plants thrive on. I was assuming that there were going to be fish but I don't see any.
I can't be certain but the light looks like an under cabinet fluorescent fixture that you have used some foil as a reflector for... very economical. The only issue would be that the tube may not be the best light for plants.
A tube rated for 6,000 to 7,000 k (degrees kelvin) would be ideal for the plants, although if what you are using is producing good growth in the plants, it may be fine even if not ideal.
Fish or not, you should at least find out what your water hardness is, preferably in both GH (General Hardness) and KH (carbonic hardness or alkalinity). If on city water, the utility can give you this if you call them or it may be on their website. They might list the pH as well.
Covering the water doesn't typically seal the opening but it does reduce evaporation. With no fish you don't need to worry about fish getting out so it can be kept either way... it does keep you from dropping the light fixture in though.
Plant question: What are the two leafy plants? The large one that sort of looks like a sword but has very defined veins and the smaller version that looks similar? They don't strike me as being aquatic for some reason. Did you buy them from a store that kept them submerged?