Hello fellow fish people, hope your day is well! I'm in dire need of advice, hope you can help me.
I'd like to start by explaining my tank, and what I know about it:
I inherited it as a fully planted and established tank a year ago.
it came as/with:
-16 gallons rimless
-soil substrate and rocky top layer
-a driftwood piece, two largish rocks
-an aqua clear pump and filter set up (polywool, ammonia filter and carbon filter)
-2 shrimps and about 5 neon tetras
When i acquired the tank, it was moved in to my place with the plants already in the substrate...when it was in the spot we wanted it to be we put the rocks back in and refilled with water/dumped the fish back in.
Everything was going great, and I bought a small ancistrus pleco (was told they are fine solo, his name is Lord Xenu), 3 guppies and a snail. I also jammed 5 lucky bamboo shoots at the back of the tank, with the foliage growing out of the water (they are still looking great).
I ended up moving apartments about 6 months ago, and it was a total stress bomb getting everything out. We moved the tank to the new place the same way it was moved into my place initially...put fish in a holding container...drained almost all the water, took out bigger rocks and wood, and the rest is a combo of moving slow with fingers crossed. I know this isn't recommended, but all that is behind us now.
When we finally had the tank where we wanted it, the ferns got pulled out of the substrate somehow (which I didn't notice) and the rocks and wood were put back in not in the best positions...everyone was tired and I could have been more careful, but i wasn't.
Everything was flourishing just fine...every once in a while I would trim the long hairy algae off the wood and rocks, and scrub minor hard algae off the tank. But then my light blew out, and it's discontinued (would have had to order the transformer thing from korea for a million dollars). So I just bought a new one, which I am using now.
New light: Fluval aqua sky LED
(Aquasky® LED | A3997 | Lighting | Fluval
Since the light change the algae has been a mess..and the java ferns look like crap (lots of brown spots and holes)..I have to scrape the glass with a razor every week or it becomes opaque with hard algae..and the hair algae is growing everywhere!! I've limited the light intake, even though it's weaker than the old light that blew out..guhhh
The worst is the rooty mess that is growing under the ferns that are sitting on top of the gravel. I've tried burying them into the substrate, but it just makes a mess and they won't stay put. I've tried pulling them out to trim them back and attach to an anchor..but the roots have grown everywhere and it just kicks up a huge black cloud of substrate...I feel like I have to make sure the soil stays under the gravel, and digging around in the tank freaks me out.
I'd like to pull everything and start from scratch, but I don't know how to do that with the fish that I have. I know keeping an ecosystem like this is complicated, but I inherited it without the experience. I feel pretty horrible for letting it get this far, and will feel like a let down if I allow this mess to make me complacent and...therefor give up. My fish are my buds and I want to give them a better environment.
I try and vacuum the gravel once a week, and rinse my fllters in tank water as I need. I have limited the food I give them to every other day or so, however I do forget the fert the plants..I am think the bamboo is stealing the nutrients, but also have no way of knowing.
I would attach pics, but I'm not sure how..please be gentle. And thanks again.