My name is Todd, my wife and I got an aquarium just over 2 weeks ago, and we could definitely use some advice. Our aquarium is a 10-gallon tank full of tapwater with a Whisper carbon filter. We have a rock bottom and a couple of plastic plants and a plastic rock formation. We have an angel fish (silver angel, I think?), a dalmation lyretail molly, 4 gold barbs, a yellow male guppy, and a Chinese algae eater.
Everything was going fine until, 5 days ago, algae appeared out of nowhere. A lot of it. Our tank is filthy, as you can see in the photos. Yes, we used to leave the light on day and night, and the Chinese algae eater is a newer addition to the tank (actually, right when the algae appeared).
We got some advice from Petco (where we get our fish) and have put it into action: No More Algae fizz tablets, no light, cover the tank with a blanket. Yesterday I siphoned 25% of the water, replaced it with tap water, removed the old carbon filter, put in a no-more-algae fizz tablet, and waited half an hour before putting in the new carbon filter. Our plan is to keep the fish in the dark day and night via the blanket for a week and monitor the algae growth (or decline, hopefully).
We keep the water temperature at a pretty steady 79 degrees F, if that matters, and we feed the fish in the morning and at night with TetraMin tropical flakes, just enough for them to gobble up in a few minutes. I had wanted to buy a pleco but the Petco guy had advised against it, saying they grow really large. I still wish I had gotten one; I've been watching the Chinese algae eater a lot and I don't think he eats much algae. I don't think he's taken to the tank very well.
It could be fun to participate in Reality Aquarium, we could definitely use the advice. The only stipulation we would put on advice is that it has to be cheap -- we are on a pretty tight budget as far as the aquarium goes. I know algae growth may not be the most exciting situation, but it's probably one of the most common ones.
Todd's situation is so real-life that I had to include it in Reality Aquarium. I'd bet my paycheck that his situation is very similar to that of many new fish owners, right down to the equipment he's chosen and advice he's been given. The condition of his tank is also very common in a new tank, so he shouldn't feel like the Lone Ranger. I have a number of observations and comments to make about Todd's tank, but since he started a course of action a couple of days ago, I'll wait until he's a checked the tank and let me know what's happened. Then we can discuss what has been going on (lest any of you worry, even though I am not publishing my comments now, I am in contact with Todd to alert him to any urgent problems).