Originally Posted by johntroxel71
Ok, I will try to answer the questions:
The temp is higher because the info i read on cycling a tank says the bacteria grows faster if the temp is higher. I have already turned it back down to 75. I started the ammonia last Friday, so only 5 days ago. This is a fishless cycle (my first one). I have not noticed a drop in PH, if anything it has went from 7.5 to 7.7.
The lighting is 2 flourescent 18" bulbs. I just found a large problem. I ordered the wrong bulbs. These are both 18000k bulbs. I was almost sure I ordered the right ones, but I guess not. I will have to fix this right away. Can someone suggest the right bulbs? Maybe HO's
The water out of my faucet is 12 KH and GH. The water out of the water softener is 1 GH and KH. I am hoping to mix them to get it at least down to 8, maybe lower. I would like 8 Panda Bards and 12 neon tetras.
Here is a link to the plants I bought Aquatic Plants for Freshwater Aquariums: Aquarium Plant Pack - Standard
That assortment includes plants with quite opposite requirements light-wise, and thus nutrient-wise as the two are connected. Microsword is the one that may not work due to light, even when the tubes are replaced.
And on this, if the fixture is T8 you can only use T8 tubes. T5 tubes only work in T5 fixtures. HO only applies to T5. Two T8's will work fine, the micro sword is an "if" but otherwise OK. You want full spectrum/cool white tubes, with a Kelvin from 5000K to 7000K depending upon your preference in light. Lower K is warm white, higher K is cooler white. Plants tend to do well around 6500K on the cool side, and many "daylight" tubes are in this range. Tubes in fish stores such as the Life-Glo or ZooMed Ultra Sun are 6700K. If you want to save money, tubes by GE, Phillips, Sylvania with a 6500K are available in hardware-type stores. Only issue would be if these come in 18 inches, and I don't know that.
I really would not use water after the softener. If you read the article I linked previously, it will explain why. The TDS plus salt can make things worse even with a lower GH (which does not take into account TDS but only minerals like calcium and magnesium). This will affect the neons more than the corys. However, this depends upon how the softener works, something else i don't know.
What nutrient fertilizers are you using, if any? I know there is Flourite, but a liquid is also needed. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement [make sure it is this one, the Comprehensive] is fine, or Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. A small bottle will suffice, it takes very little of either. In a 30g, only 1/2 teaspoon once or at most twice a week.
When the plants are growing, i would use them to cycle. Fast-growing are best, and floating plants the absolute best. Ammonia is a toxin to plants, fish and bacteria, which is why i do not recommend adding it to plant tanks. Let the plants do the work for you, naturally.