I believe what has helped me succeed in my aquariums is learning how to keep them in balance. It doesn’t come easy or quickly.
But it can be learned.
A big part for me is looking at what I have going on naturally in the way of filtering. I know that plants help with the filtering of the water. It isn’t however a 1 plant per 1 fish ratio. Its probably more like 1 to 20 or 30 plants. But this 1 to 30 ratio works. (obviously, both plant and fish size have to be factored in, but stick with me)
It works beyond just keeping happy health fish. It works because your tank will not only be balanced to handle the waste of that one fish, but it will also look better.
Don’t read in too much about what kind of balance or ratio you have. It isn’t an exact number or science. It’s a feeling. (just like you shouldn’t be overly worried about your watts per gallon with your lights)
Balance is key. I recommend starting more on the heavily planted side. (or live rock if your in a salt tank and have the money) Start with a heavy plant load and a low fish load. Then slowly work your way into a higher plant load. Most people do the opposite.
I’d love to hear about your balanced tank, how many gallons, what type of fish/plants ect….