My 10g community tank (with betta) is driving me insane. It has so many issues, I'm not sure where to start. I'm currently trying to make it into a planted tank so I have water wisteria, moneywort, and one lonely anubias in there. The filter is an AquaClear 20 and the substrate is play sand. Here are my questions and I apologize in advance for the super long post. Thanks for hanging in there till the end. :)
1) The water wisteria. It keeps sending out little roots from the stems, sometimes as high up as midway. Is there something I should do about these little white roots/shoots? I plucked them off a couple of times but they grow back so now I'm thinking they're supposed to be there. But the stems don't seem to be sending roots into the sand at all because the plants tend to float up during water changes. Also, should I have done something special before planting the wisteria, like trim the leaves off? Some of the leaves appear to be dying/rotting.
2) The moneywort. It seems to be going through "crypt melt" but I'm not sure it's a crypt. Again, should I have trimmed off the leaves before planting it?
3) Because of some of the rotting plant material in there, the water tends to look pretty murky. Plus, I have a cat hair problem even though I have a hood. I'm wondering if a better filter would take care of this. Is there such a thing as overfiltering? The AquaClear is rated for 10-20gs but I'm wondering if I need a stronger filter or a second filter. The cat hair, the cat hair! Aargh!
4) I'm beginning to think play sand is not a good plant substrate but I got it before I decided to use live plants (the plastic plants were getting serious algae). Is it possible to use a plant substrate on the bottom and cover that with the play sand? I'm not trying to have a tank where the substrate is covered in foreground plants (like Takashi Amano's tanks) so I'd like to have some decent substrate to look at. All the plants are at the back and sides.
What is the best substrate to use for plants? One of my LFS carries the ADA line so I could get some of that, or is there another kind I can use? And what's the best fertilizer? Will a liquid fertilizer harm panda cory cats?
Thanks again for any advice you can give me, I appreciate it. Fish I can do. Plants . . . enh, not so good with those.