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Discussion Starter #1
I am setting up a 24"x12"x18" tank as a guppy only tank. I am using mostly stuff that I already have, limiting cost. I want to achieve a simple clean look that I have found so often here. I want a rich substrate to grow plants like swords, aponogeton and crypts.
I am trying to use a few tricks I have learnt here. Like putting a strip of top gravel all around the visible edges.

I have used Tetra Plant Initial Stick at the bottom, covered by a mixture of Initial Stick and Fondo Vivo substrate. I have put an inch of aquaclay that I have removed from another tank. That would help to seed with bacteria. Then, after hardscaping and planting, I topped everything with 1.5" of white gravel as my final layer. I added water from another tank and setup the power filter, which has been running in another tank for a few weeks.

I added a bunch of hornwort and floating plant to help with initial algae problems. I will remove them later.

Any advice and suggestions are most welcome.
 

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It looks very nice and it seems like you have everything under control for a good start to the tank.

Are you going to be breeding the guppies?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, I want to breed guppies. I used to have a lot of fries before but I never cared for them and they ended up being eaten. Now I'll keep a guppy only tank and I intend to sell them to the lfs. It will pay for fish food at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
UPDATE:

I have been able to keep the hair algae in check up to now and I'm quite happy with most plants. But the white gravel is turning brown and I think its algae growing on the the gravel. How to I control this? The light is on for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening, with a 3 hour gap. I do 50% water change twice a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've got some MTS in the main tank. I just have to wait for them to come out of the gravel at night.

In the meantime I've got a very cloudy water after yesterday's water change. Can one do too many water changes? I am doing one every 2 to 3 days, at least 50% each time. It turned from crystal clear to this overnight.
 

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