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Welcome to Tropica's 90 days Startup-service. Following the instructions in this guide gives you guidance to ensuring success with your aquarium. Press "Start" to begin the 90 days service, where you will receive messages when it is time to take care of your aquarium. "List" gives you the full guide at once and allows you to scroll backwards and forwards through the messages, as it suits. Finally, you can press "Reset" if you wish to start from the beginning. We hope you enjoy this service and your aquarium!

Day 1:
You have followed our instructions on start-up and planting (read more here), and the aquarium is filled with water and the technique is connected.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work). We recommend that you start with only 6 hours light per day. If your lamp provides a lot of light, you should settle for 0,5 Watt per litre.

We recommend that you add CO2 to the aquarium, as this is the most important nourishment for the plants, and without the supply of co2, many aquarium plants do not grow sufficiently. Depending on which plants you have chosen, we recommend different solutions (see CO2 solutions here).

Fast-growing plants ensure a good start-up and prevent algae problems (see list of supporting plants here). If you have not already bought some of these plants, we recommend that you do so within the first couple of days.

Postpone the supply of fertilizer, as the plants have brought their own "lunch pack" for the first 2-4 weeks.

 

Day 3:
Change up to 50 % of the water (see guidance in water change).

Put shrimps and snails into the aquarium to prevent algae problems. We recommend 1 Amano shrimp per 5 litres of water in the start-up period. You might also add e.g. posthorn snails and other shrimps that also eat algae (see list of algae eaters here). Be aware that the legislation in your country perhaps prescribes that you cannot put animals in the aquarium until later after the start-up.

 

Day 7:
Change up to 50 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

Remove any old or damaged leaves. These leaves may further algae growth (see examples of old leaves here).

 

Day 10:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

It is now time to put algae-eating fish into the aquarium. The fish will eat other algae than the shrimps and snails, and in this way you will ensure an efficient prevention of algae problems (see list of algae-eaters here).

If the water is green and cloudy (see example of green water here), check that the filter is running and perhaps rinse the filter sponge (see more about filters here). You also ought to change up to 75 % of the water every second day until you have clear water again. If you still have green water, an efficient solution is to turn off the light for 2 days and change 75% of the water before and after. Reoccurring problems with floating algae are usually due to overfeeding.

 

Day 14:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

You might cut your supporting plants to prevent them from shading the other plants (see more about trimming here).

 

Day 17:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

If you are able to see thread algae (long thin threads), this is best removed with a rough woodstick (flowerstick), which is lead through the thread algae while rotating the stick (see examples of filamentous algae here). Add e.g. more algae eaters; Amano shrimps, the siamese algae eater (Crossocheilus siamensis) and odessabarber (Puntius padamya) are particularly good at removing thread algae (see list of algae eaters here). More supporting plants will prevent the thread algae from appearing again.

 

Day 21:
Change up to 30 % of the water. After 3 weeks, it is enough to change the water once per week, provided you see no signs of algae problems.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

It is now time to increase the light period to 8 hours per day.

It is also time for fertilization. We recommend that you start with a fertilizer that does not contain nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), e.g. Plant Growth Premium Fertiliser (read more about the Plant Care series here). Start with only ½ a dose, which means 5 mL per 100 L water per week. It is best to spread the fertilizer over the entire week instead of dosing all of it at once.

 

Day 28:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running) and rinse the filter sponge (see how).

Add the fertilizer; We still recommend ½ a dose.

Cut the supporting plants so that they do not shade the other plants (see more about trimming here).

If you are now able to see signs of coating algae (see here), this is removed mechanically with a brush or sponge (many people use a toothbrush). A heavy growth of coating algae can be due to excessive fertilization, or nourishment from dead plants or fish (see examples of old leaves here).

 

Day 35:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

Add the fertilizer; We still recommend only ½ a dose.

If you see no signs of algae problems, you can start removing the supporting plants to provide space and light to the other plants in the aquarium.

 

Day 42:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

Add fertilizer; We still recommend only ½ a dose.

It is now time to increase the light period from 8 to 10 hours per day. If you are able to adjust/turn up the light, you can now also give more than 0,5 Watt per litre. More than 10 hours light per day often results in increased algae growth. We recommend a total/coherent light period, i.e. avoid e.g. turning on the light for 2 hours in the morning and then 10 hours later in the day (see more about light over the aquarium here).

 

Day 49:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

Add fertilizer; We stil recommend only ½ a dose.

Depending on which kinds of plants you have in your aquarium, it is time for the first actual cutting (see more about trimming here). Generally, we recommend that you postpone the first cutting until the plant is big and has developed a good root net. Use frequent and less extensive cuttings to maintain the balance in the aquarium. The re-planting of stem plants is important in order to achieve the best result. Remember to remove cut off material with a net, which typically floats in the surface and shades as well as releases nourishment.

 

Day 56:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running) and rinse the filter sponge.

It is now time to increase the fertilization to a full dose, provided you see no signs of algae problems. It is also time to consider using a fertilizer that contains nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), especially if you have many plants in the aquarium (see examples of nutrient deficiency here). If you add N and P, we recommend that you again start with ½ a dose and follow the effect carefully.

 

Day 63:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

Add fertilizer.

Cut the plants as required (see more about trimming here).

 

Day 70:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technigue (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

Add fertilizer.

Cut the plants as required (see more about trimming here). Estimate the various elements in the aquarium; do they live up to the expectations? Many plants have now spread all over the aquarium and a more extensive cutting may be required, so that the individual groups still appear as one unit. You may also replace plants that do not thrive or fit your ideas in terms of the layout.

 

Day 77:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running).

Add fertilizer.

Cut the plants as required (see more about trimming here). The time has now come for you to estimate every week if there are plants that need cutting; remember that it is best to cut frequently in order to maintain the balance in the aquarium.

 

Day 84:
Change up to 30 % of the water.

Check the technique (is the pump running, does the switch on/off clock work, is the CO2 running) and rinse the filter sponge.

Add fertilizer.

Cut the plants as required (see more about trimming here).

 

Day 90:
The aquarium is now in full balance. If you have a foreground cover, this will be completely dense by now. The stem plants have been through several cuttings and re-plantings and are showing to the best advantage in terms of colour and shape. The water is completely clear. You have probably acquired the taste for it, so get some inspiration for how to proceed. Maybe you are very fond of the present layout and wish to keep it as long as possible, or maybe you just want to replace a couple of plants. Maybe you feel like trying something completely different and start up a completely new layout. You can get inspiration for new layouts (see here). Remember to enjoy and appreciate all the details in the aquarium, see here how inspiring this may be…

 

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