There isnt an easy way to cultivate particular types of algae in a tank that I know of. If you have a suitable windowsill you can keep 'pet rocks'. Basically keep rocks in a shallow bowl of water and leave somewhere sunny so they grow algae. Then rotate with rocks in the tank.
I fought with slimy brown algae for months. I did everything thats been suggested in this thread and nothing seemed to work. Then one week it the growth noticably slowed and after that everything that was cleared stayed relatively clear. I can't say exactly what did it but I suspect it was the increased plant mass that tipped the balance. After that Ive been able to creep the photoperiod back up with no adverse effects.
I'm probably going to be hung out to dry for saying this: Even once this bloom has run its course I think you will need some kind of algae eaters to keep that substrate white. Keep on top of the cleaning and the critters (snails?) will tend to your broad-leafed plants and the nooks you miss.
PS. Thats an odd mix of fish you have
PPS. love the algae link, Ive had to go poke about my tanks to see how many I can spot. I think I have 6 out of 12 but its tricky to tell the fuzzy ones apart :D
Don't give up so soon! It can take a few weeks for a tank to settle in and longer for plants to mature and really start to look their best. I would try lowering the photo period to 6 hours and introduce a siesta if you don't already have one. It might be worth buying more plants as heavy planting seems to discourage algae. I'm not familiar with those ferts but if you are dosing according to the label I doubt reducing them will make any difference.
If the algae is really getting to you have a look at getting some snails. Nerites are good if your set up will support them.
ButterflyBoo wrote: I am aware the tank is small, however it is not practical nor do i have the room or money to house him anywhere else, so he will be staying in the tank im afraid.
Kev, it is a common goldfish, i assume single tail?
i changed 5 out of the 17 titres on Sunday, and will be changing water again this evening. is that about the right amount? and of course water conditioner. i do have water testing sticks and my Nitrates/Nitrites have always been a safe number. unfortunately the test sticks i got dont have ammonia on them.
He seemed to come out of his shell last night, so hopefully the medicine i gave him on sunday has worked (did state 3/4 days fish would feel better on box) he is happily swimming around today and not hiding, and having a good chomp through the gravel. so i am very pleased about that.
Would i be able to add any fish? maybe 2 of them tiny ones are they called Zebra's?
I sympathize with your awkward family situation but the effects of keeping a fish in a tiny uncycled are pretty awful. It would be very unkind an entirely unnecessary to put any more fish through that process. The water changes and getting your filter up and running are really just like plugging a leaky dam with your thumb. As Emma pointed out daily water changes would help but its just staving off the inevitable and TBH I'm not sure its worth it without any plans to improve his living conditions. We have seen goldfish on here that have lasted years in similar tanks but the damage is horrendous and the longer they survive the worse the deformities. I'm not sure if fishy euthanasia would be less unkind.
A single tail would be a common goldfish. If that is what you have perhaps he might be re-homed to a pond if he survives the next few months. A 17l tank would be perfect for triops and adequate for some colourful dwarf shrimp, perhaps one of those choices would appeal.
Unfortunately the best thing you could do for spongebob is to get him into a new home asap. That might be a foodsafe storage box, a friends tank, or back to the shop but he really does need more water volume. If that's not possible for family reasons he still would benefit from clean water. Aquarium filters are designed to foster beneficial bacteria that convert toxic fish waste into less harmful chemicals but yours hasn't had the chance to develop a big enough colony yet. If your Mum could give you a bit of sponge from her filter it would help. The old sponge needs to be moved over as quickly as possible and kept moist. Once you have it home, cut it to fit and you have a working filter. Regular water changes (bi-weekly if you can manage) would also help.
I'm using hydroton/hydroballs, its a hydroponic growing media. The balls are bigger than a pea so its easy to keep where you want it. You can also grow in sponge or rock wool or anything porous. The aquaponic/hydroponic principle is that the plants get everything they need (including oxygen) directly from the water column and the planting media gives the roots something to hold to.
Laterite or similar clay stuff would limit you to plants with roots that can tolerate boggy low oxygen conditions. Just think about what happens to a houseplant when you over water it.
Fishlady wrote: My vague notion at the moment is to have a (home made) 3D background and build it with an overhang at the top. Plants will be in that overhang, in pots, and probably surrounded by ceramic noodles or similar. I'll use an external canister for tank filtration, but have the return pipe run into this "overhang" compartment with a waterfall at the end to run it back into the tank.
Will this work or am I in error somewhere along the way with this?
Sounds very interesting. If you use pots it will stop the plants getting as many nutrients and oxygen from the water column. You could solve that by using baskets or you could fill the pots with soil, cap it with gravel and grow bog plants. If you want to do the second one google 'riparium' for inspiration and plant choices.
If this is under the hood it will let you grow plants that like high humidity, including swords and crypts but may not be as good for herbs etc. Both my set ups are low humidity so SO19Firearms may have more to add.
I'm thinking about redoing my HOB (again), when I do I'll take photos and do a step by step guide. I really want to have a go with basil and I've seen some stunning h.leucocephala that would cover the yicky sponge that I use as a water baffle.