07-26-2011, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
| | Re: Mikes' Aquarium
Yeah, start with leveling the substrate. There are 2 best ways to use a credit card and that is one of them. (The other one is to scrub algae off the glass.)
It is best if you make a slope. Meaning less substrate toward the front and more on the back. But having in mind that you have a lot of gravel maybe you can just leave it flat because the thick side may develop bad anaerobic situation (smells like rotten eggs and kills fish, plants, everything).
It would be best if your lights are closer to the front glass. Because when the non-refundable plants start to grow they will turn toward the light. And if it happens to be toward the front glass it all looks very nice.
Consider getting 2 Ikea timers ($5 for both, grounded too). One for each light you have. That way you can blast the plants with all the light you have for a few hours somewhere in the middle of the day. Before and after - lower light (the original light strip). Such light periodization goes a long way against the algae.
And algae you will most likely have if you start dumping fertilizers in the water. That is the main method by which we all run our planted tanks. It is not right but it makes for gorgeous looking tanks. Except when algae strikes we don't have good answers how to handle them. So at least be ready to play with the light because it really helps against the algae.
There is more - filtration, flow, water change schedule. When time comes we'll talk about all that. For now - do not rush to add fertilizers in your water. See what the non-refundable plants will say about your tank first.