Need help revamping my tank
I'm spicing up my tank and i have a lot of question that need answering :)
So i've had this 20 gallon tank from a couple years now and its seen its fair share of fish although recently its only been occupied by a couple. I've decided that i want to make it look very nice with plants an all but i have no experience with that.
My current tank setup is just a regular old 20 gallon tank with a marineland pengiun 150 and a 15 watt tank-long bulb in the cover above.
So if i plant this with, lets say a bunch of dwarf hairgrass in the front of the tank, how much light would it need? I figure i'd have to put my light on a 10-hour timer so that the plants get enough light. But all that lights means lots of algae, right?
Well I figured if get 2 otocinclus that should probably be able to keep the algae under control, plus otocinclus like having friends :)
For nutrients, I'm hoping that the fish excrement (i'm gonna get more fish) and waste food will be enough to sustain the dwarf hairgrass, as i don't really want to worry about remembering nutrient supplements and stuff.
Right now, the only fish I have are 5 red minor tetras. I was thinking of getting a small group of cardinal or neon tetras. Other than that I'm completely lost on what fish to get. Any suggestions on a nice centerpiece fish that won't pick on any of the smaller fish? I should have a fully stocked tank if I hope to feed my plants that way.
Any ideas, suggestions, and answers are welcome :D thanks for your time!
What kind of light is it? As in the kelvin rating. It should be on the bulb. It needs to be between 5000k and 7000k (preferably 6500k or 6700k).
If it isn't, or you can't find the rating, I recommend the Life-Glo bulb.
I'd caution against dwarf hairgrass, because it generally needs a higher light (looking at either T5s or LEDs) with CO2, which seems to be more high-tech than you're looking to go. I'd recommend starting out with simpler plants, such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Crypts, and Anacharis.
This also brings me to nutrients. Some plants can survive on fish waste alone (Java Fern, Java Moss, Anubias), but for good, reliable growth, it's best to fertilize. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement is a very good fertilizer, it's liquid, and you just dose once a week. It's super easy.
Lights don't necessarily mean algae. Algae CAN be caused by excess light, but it can also be caused by excess nutrients. Most members do not agree with buying fish only for algae control...especially otos. Otos are wild-caught, sensitive fish that need a lot of algae, that a newly set-up tank simply cannot provide. This means that otos have a very high fatality rate. They're also recommended to be kept in groups of 5+.
I wouldn't bother with an 'algae eating' fish. It's not necessary in a properly balanced tank. If you're really worried about algae, get Nerite snails.
We can't safely suggest fish until we know your water parameters - GH, KH, and Ph. These can be found on your cities water supply website. If you can't make heads or tails of the document, you can link the page here and a member can decipher it for you.
Also, I worry about the comment 'waste food'. No food should be allowed to rot in the tank, it can cause an ammonia spike.
What Jen said... although this is the first time I've seen anyone mentioning LEDs provide higher light levels.... What's up with that?:shock:
Snails for algae control are a better idea than any fish, but prevention is even better.
It's all about balance and sometimes the trick is to find the balance that your tank needs. Liquid comprehensive fertilizer once per week is a good place to start and tinker with the light period from there.
EDIT: That's not to say all LEDs are high light. Stock LEDs are still very low light, but there are 'high output' LEDs comparable or even better than T5s.
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Aside from what the previous posts have mentioned, I would just give a caution on intended fish species. In a 20g tank, if you intend the so-called Red Minor Tetra, which are Serpae T, you will have a ful tank with a decent sized group of just this species. Read more in the profile
The issue of water parameters raised by another member also has to be ansered, as fish like cardinals would have quite specific needs.
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