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hello and welcome.
okiedokie now...
live plants are always a good thing in an aquarium.fish will pick at most !
i used a sun glo light in my tank at the moment(small tank)
don't know why the fish would lose their red caps sorry.
the only thing you should need to add to the new water you put
in the tank is a water conditioner,which removes chlorine,and chloramine.
gravel is fine,nothing wrong with that,although if the salt and pepper catfish
are corydora ? then a sanded area would benefit,as gravel can wear away
their barbels.
what temperature is the tank at? gold fish are unheated.
the plec is tropical though,so he'll appreciate warmth.
what are your readings for water chemistry ?
white crusty stuff,is calcium,you can remove safely by using a razor blade.
yes,bacteria grow in the filter,which is why it's a good idea to not clean the filter
too often,and when you do,only clean lightly,and in tank water you have removed on water change day.
i hope this has helped a bit,....by the way i would say no to the glass cats,unless you get rid of the gold fish,and have the tank solely Tropical.
 
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