I have a 90G tank that’s been set up for 4-5 months now. I have several plants and the following fish in it:
9 Rainbows (8 are medium size, one is larger, but none are at their max size yet)
1 German Blue Ram
3 Hightail Swordfish
3 Pearl Gourami
4 Amano Shrimp
5 Nerite Snails
(I know I need more Otos, Amanos and potentially Blue Rams. But this post in NOT about that)
My issue is how dirty the tank gets … it needs a thorough cleaning every week because of all the brown poop that collects on my white sand substrate.
I am using an Eheim 2217 filter with this configuration:
- Top layer (near the outlet): Purigen (that I regen every month)
- 2nd layer from top: Filter floss
- 3rd layer from top: Eheim Substrat in mesh bag
- 4th layer from top: Blue coarse filter pad
- 5th layer from top (this is the bottom layer, near the water inlet): Eheim Mech in mesh bag
I have it set up such that the intake to the filer is at the left end of the aquarium and the spray bar is at that right end. I find that the poop collects more near the spray bar end than near the intake end (that's to be expected, I guess...)
I feed sparingly - only once a day and the food is gobbled up in 60-90 seconds.
I dose Thrive twice a week and my plants are doing well. No big algae problems either.
I have a Finnex 24/7 cc light that provides a photo period of 6-8 hours.
My water parameters are good: 0 ammonia, 0 Nitrites, Nitrates get to 10-20 ppm
every week and I do a 60-70% water change every week when I clean the tank. I currently clean my filter once a month and the water I get coming out of the cleaning is dark brown - filthy.
This just feels like a lot of care taking for the tank. I am happy to do it, but I've read in several forums that a planted tank is relatively low maintenance and this tank doesn't feel like it right now. What could I be doing differently ?
Thanks in advance for your advice!