New to fish keeping, just want starting tips!

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
May 10, 2022
Hello! Firstly I'd like to start with what I have :

A halfmoon betta, 2 danios, 2 cory cats, 1 baby platy , 1 mystery snail, 1 baby rabbit snail and 1 baby horned nerite snail , in a 10 gallon w some bacopa plants.

Initially I only wanted the 10 gallon solely for my betta, Kisame! But he liked hanging in one side so I added the danios and then rhe rest for "clean up crew". I realize this is a very tight fit especially with the baby fish and snails. I am saving for a 45 gallon set up

My questions!! My gravel is brown, was do I fix this ?

I gravel vac and change my water weekly about 10% and do about 40% roughly at the end of the month. I've had my set up for about 2 months now and the gravel started turning brown, idk how to get it clean ..

This is my very first tank and I just want to give my new fish friends a good life.
Is there any tips you can pass a newbie apart from the absolute bare basics ? I feel like I'm missing things ☹️

So sorry for long winded message as well
This is probably diatoms, sometimes called brown algae. This is a normal stage of a newly established tank settling down and typically goes away on its own after a few months as the nutrients that the diatoms feed on (generally silicates) run out and green algae starts to establish and outcompete the brown algae.

It can easily be manually be cleaned up if its on the glass and decorations, more difficult to clean substrate. Some fish and snails will eat diatoms. Turning up the lights or leaving them on longer will promote green algae which will outcompete brown algae. Green algae is easier to manage.

But, just leave things alone and it normally goes away on its own after a few months. Its harmless, just looks unsightly for a while.

Up the water changes to 25 to 50% per week to remove excess nutrients.
My tips are to do a fishless cycle on your 45 gallon before adding your fish, get a school for the danios and Cory who are happiest in schools of at least 6. Keep in mind that schooling fish are happiest w others of the exact same type as them so don't get like 5 more different kinds of Cory for ex if you want them to feel their best. The platy may appreciate a couple of friends too but I believe they are shoaling not schooling fish so they shouldn't require as many or care as much if you get the same type of platy or not. Make sure you get a tank with a lid on it because elephant snails are known to climb out of tanks and sometimes nerites will too. Finally I have to recommend Amano shrimp as they happen to widely be considered the best for tank maintenance/algae control. (Nerite snails are awesome too). They are hardy and easy to care for with minimal bioload, and I think they are pretty too :)

Though in regards to algae I've found so long as you limit waste in the water (tbh if I were you I'd be doing at least 25% biweekly changes on that tank with how many fish you have in it and some of them have heavier bioloads), limit your daily light to 8-12 hours (less is better but some plants do thrive better with more light) and ensure your plants are healthy and happy (stressed/sick plants leads to algae growth and any decaying leaves contribute to waste that also promotes algae thus make sure you prune & remove these leaves as you see them) you really should not have algae problems. I have utilized these methods and have never had an algae problem with a tank.
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