I have a very very low tech tank that I have had since the beginning of June.(~4 to 5 months). I am now wanting to upgrade the tank and revamp it quite a bit to be able to support a variety of plants.
Here is a brief info about the tank: It is a 46gallon bow, with stock lighting(i think its very much less than 1 WPG). I dose it once a week with Flourish(for Trace). My tap water is pretty hard with a pH of around 8. To whatever its worth, I have a 2L DIY bottle that is connected to a powerhead to get some CO2 in. The lights are on about 11hrs every day. The substrate is only gravel and i dont use any of the root tabs.
Here is a pic of the tank as of now:
There are a couple of plastic plants(which i intend to remove and add more real plants with). I havent removed them as it makes my tank look too bare(lol). These are some of the plants in the tank -- amazon sword, ludwigia, moneywort, jungle vals(the livebearers always eat these within a day of planting), temple, java moss. I'm not too sure that I can positively ID these plants. I did keep some cabomba and some hornwort but they always fell apart on me.(the hornwort was in pretty bad shape when i bought it). i'm thinking its because of the lights.
The current stocking list is 5 pristella tetras, 6 glowlight tetras, 3 ottos, 1 guppy, 3 swords, 3 platies, a female betta.
I intend to upgrade the lighting to PC(2 * 96W) to have about 4wpg and leave it on for about 8-9 hrs per day. If there are any other recommendations please feel free to suggest. What are some reputable vendors and sites that I can buy it for a good price from.
Do I need to replace some of the gravel with flourite or ecocomplete or will plain gravel do a excellent job.
I intend on dosing the tank with dry ferts to be more economical. I was recommended to dose it with KCl for potassium, K3PO4 for phosphates, FeSo4 for iron and continue with flourish to replace traces. However I was also mentioned to test for these levels and add the required ferts as needed. I cant seem to find a test kit that will measure the above. Can someone point me in the right direction please? Also are there any other ferts that I should be dosing with? Again what are some reputable vendors that I can get it for cheap from?
CO2 --> I will add another bottle to my DIY setup to increase the CO2 produced. I do not want to get pressurized CO2 at this point due to its high cost. Instead I'll also start dosing with Flourish excel. Any other suggestions on this part are very much welcomed.
Plants --> I have decided to spend about $50 - 60 on plants alone at this point. I am not going to buy them from my lfs due to their lack of choice and exorbitant pricing. What types of plants can i have in this tank(with my hard water) that will thrive? Please input your suggestions. Particularly the left background looks really empty and i was looking for some good background plants. Also will HC grow on gravel, if so some of the moss will go to another tank and will be replaced with this?
Thanks for reading and offering any suggestions!