I am a total newbie and I am still trying to learn which fertilizers to put into the tank. I've just finally got over my algae problem, I had too much light, I run half of my lights now for 12 hours a day, and put all four 65w bulbs on for just a few hours a day now, and have almost zero algae. I've read I need to purchase enema cream to get phosphate or nitrate but I'm too embarassed to go to the drug store and ask for it!
My selection of fish is totally off, but I'm housing the zebras because my professor at school had them in our research tanks (fish gonadectomies) and we needed the room but instead of sacrificing them or giving them away I just took them :) (bonus charity points?) I started with the glowlight tetras because I thought they would look nice, but a tinge in my heart from childhood made me purchase the neons and then I saw how brilliant they looked in the bright fluorescent light and it made me want to stock more of them. I keep the guppies because I think they are beautiful as well, and its a boon that they seem to pick at algae. I've recently read that I could get picked on by the judges for having colorful guppies in a colorful tank. But,, I can't just get rid of them, so please be gentle with me.
I'm a newb, and I know that my tank isn't of the quality to do well at this competition, but I would just like the constructive criticism of the judges so that I can make adjustments to my tank and have a peacful, eye-pleasing display in my apartment.