Need a little help w/ alot of little things


Junior Poster
Feb 17, 2009

First off, great site w/ lots of info. My 10 gallon has been running for 4 months now, kind of looks like crap, and I have all the parts in place that I want/need.
Eheim 2213
Coralife 28watt fixture w/addl 20 cfl
Pressurized co2
External Inline DIY Reactor
Eco-Complete substrate

Only bio load is 15-20 shrimp and snails
Plant mass is probably considered low
Dwarf Hairgrass - 35% coverage- planted 2 weeks ago
4 stems of Echinodorus Angustifolia var. Vesuvius
Pogostemon Helferi

My water is crap, Its city-well water, and we have a softener because its so hard(gh of 30, kh 14) with the softener its gh-3, kh-14. So I know Im losing out on Ca and Mg if I understand how softeners work. I am currently dosing KNP and using Flourish Comprehensive for my micros. I do have some CaCl2+2H2O that I have been adding for a little help there.

My biggest struggle is w/ algae (diatoms, string algae, cladophora-not sure about this one)and my first guess is co2/lighting problems. I would like to build a hood for a cleaner look to the tank. I was initially thinking of doing an odno setup w/ 2 15 watt lamps, but now Im not so sure thats necessary.

1. Am I better off just going w/ 2 15 watt lamps and running them normal?
2. Do I need to look into doing something different w/ water supply? - I can use unsoftened water from outside tap.
3. Do I need to look into dosing ca and mg? anything else?

ANY info or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 15, 2009
Do you have a drop checker to see what your CO2 levels are? Going from my small tank w/18 watts of CFL, I'm not sure that you really need the extra 20 CFL. You might consider leaving that off for a bit or just shutting it down completely to see what happens.


Junior Poster
Feb 17, 2009
You read my mind! I just unscrewed it last night before lights out. I think I was blasting too much light, w/ fluctuating co2. I do have a drop checker that is mostly green yellow. Can definitely see it turning darker as the day progresses.

I wish I had come across that article about growing out the tank before filling it-great idea.


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
Sacramento, CA
It will be much better to use unsoftened water. The water softener is removing beneficial calcium and magnesium and adding non-beneficial sodium. For a 10 gallon tank, diluting tap water with distilled water isn't terribly expensive. You could reduce the hardness by half by using 5 gallons of distilled water. That would be better for the plants, and they would still have the calcium and magnesium they need.