Newbie with questions about plants / Snails
Hey guys, new member here so first up's a little info about myself.
Recently started getting back into aquariums for the first time since I was young. Did some research and found (to my amusement) that it's much more than add water, dump in fish and viola.
I have a 20 Gallon tank right now, that I put in a couple tetras to start. One died during the cycling, but now a few months later everything's pretty stable. Finally got a real test kit yesterday (Instead of the strips) and happily I say it's got 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and about 20ish mg/L nitrates.
So now, on to the next part and the questions.
I decided instead of just the fake plants, I wanted to have some real ones in there too. I bought three anubias from the LFS, and they're doing great. They've grown a bit, seem to have taken root in the gravel. The only problem is they seem to have had some snails in them. At first I thought it was kind of neat, but now they've muliplied like crazy and are all over.
Will the snails be hazardous to the tank at all? They seem to love sucking any little bits of algae off the walls of the tank, so its nice and clean without needing any scrubbing, but there are so many of them its a little irritating. BTW they're long-ish conical shaped. Kinda like tiny ice-cream cones. I'll post a picture if I can figure out where I left my camera.
The second thing is nitrates: Is a water change the only way to reduce the nitrates? I'd been doing water changes w/o a gravel vac (don't ask why, I don't know) and finally got one and vaccumed out all the random gunk that was sitting in the gravel. I don't know if the nitrates are part of that or not, but the practically black water I ended up with in my bucket seems like it's good to not have in the tank :)
Third would be plants: I'd love to get more plants, to add more decor to the aquarium, and maybe be able to aquascape it a bit, instead of having a little bit of rock and three random plants in there. MOre places for the fish to swim through, hide, etc. I know I'd need more lighting, but i've also read about C02 injection. When do you know if that's needed, and how does one set it up for a small tank such as mine?
The other thing is the benefit from plants. Are there any? Obviously since they use CO2 and make oxygen it'll keep the fish happily breathing, but do they suck out any bad parts from the water? Or just look real nice? :)
Sorry for the long post and probably silly questions, but this seemed like a good place to come.
1. Plants reduce nitrates
2. You should clean your tank once a week
3. Do you want a fish to take care of the snails
4. Yes that black gunk causes nitrate
1) the snails are great cleaners but i do agree with you they will breed like mad i have mystery snail and they clean most of the crap(anything) on the bottom of my tanks,
2) yes the only way to decrease nitrates is by weekly water changes, useing the vac is a good idea, this will help get rid of it all
3) i dont know much about co2 hopefully someone elae can give you a hand on this one, i have plants in my tanks and dont use co2 just the external filter and a good light is all i use,
no worries to the length the more info the better we can help you
Originally Posted by OscarFan
I know I :should: clean the tank once a week, and i've been doing it now. Till I got the gravel vac I was just changing out the water. Bad idea I know, but i'm fixing it now :-P
And yes, if there's a fish that would eat up them snails, that would be pretty cool. Right now I have a 2 bleeding heart tetras, another that I can't remember the specific name of, and a litte freshwater crab. The basic beginner fish I guess haha. So something that could help w/ the snails but not attack the rest of my fish would be awesome.
another question about plants: does gravel work ok for most plants? My anubias are doing fine in it, but I dont want to try to add more plants if the gravel isn't a good base for it. Do I need some actual substrate soil stuff? And if so, how's that effect cleaning the gravel?
1. Theirs a lot of fish that eat snails. I reccomend A small loach of some sort
2. I think gravel is fine except with moss