I'm not really a beginner, but I don't know that much either so I posted in the beginner section.
My setup is as follows:
30 gallon glass
Rena Filstar X2 Canister Filter - 75 gallon
Black Gravel, Artificial plants/ornaments
25-30 Neon Tetras, 10 Black Phantoms, 3 Corys
First off I used to have a 10 gallon and used a mix of reverse osmosis and tap water to the right proportions and never had algae. Now I use just filtered tap water due to cost, and have algae blooms which is easily cleaned. Is this due to using tap water? I fill using a python and add conditioner and bacteria.
Next whenever I do a water change I tend to do a lot of vacuuming since I have a good 2 inches of gravel and there's lots of stuff in there. I sometimes end up with a 50% water change which is lots. So I'm thinking of just doing a quick 25% water change. Then to vacuum the rocks I'd put some polyfill in my canister filter, and hook up a vacuum to the inlet and vacuum away and jsut cycle the water to collect all the crap. Then throw out the polyfill in the canister and put the regular media back in.
Also the first filter on the canister, the large one get lots of crap in it which will not wash out under running water. It seems to be stuck in there pretty good. Do I jsut do as good as I can or should I replace this filter more often which would get expensive?
Next, I find it a pain to bury the air hoses and air stones under the gravel. I have an air stone under 2 rock ornaments for a neat effect, and an air curtain along the back wall. The reason my gravel is so deep is too cover the hoses and air stones. Any advice or ideas. Is it alright to have such big bubbles or should I just leave an air stone hang in the corner for a fizzy effect. When buried you get huge bubbles.
Next I find I have little plant coverage compared to all the photos I see on the net. Should I add more plants?
AS far as water testing goes I used to test the water hardness and PH and mix RO
water with tap water to get the exact formula I wanted. The fish did well and I had no algae. I also never test for amonia, nitrates, etc... I've never had a problem in 2 years. Is it something I should get into and start doing?
I got a little baby guppy the other day for free...it was hiding in the tetra tank at the lfs
. Think it'll survive on its own without any other guppies?
Overall I'm jsut trying to perfect my skills on a basic artificial fresh water tank with cheap Neons and Black Phantoms before I venture over to live plants with sand and then to salt water. I want to learn as much as I can here first.
Any tips or advice on my setup would be welcome. Thanks a lot guys for such a great site.