I just tested my tank today, because things are looking a bit ucky in there, and it came out with perfect params. 0 everything... (it's perfect... too perfect) I think my api liquid testing kit is broken
The plants aren't doing so well anymore, and are starting to dye without nutrients (I guess Tux and Kaimar aren't enough), and I'm having issues keeping diatoms under control... so I'm guessing I'll have to buy some fertilizers to add so the plants will grow and overcome the algae. What brand of fertilizers would you recommend?
I use the Seachem range of fertilisers as well as a more concentrated brand produced by a company here in Australia. I have Flourish, Trace, Iron, Potassium, Nitrogen and Excel (which I rarely dose), but my plants also receive mostly indirect sunlight rather than a fixed fluorescent so they don't require too much dosing.
Root tabs also make a big difference if you don't have nutrient rich substrate. Hardly any of my crypts melted when I had root tabs crushed up in the sand near their roots. Also things like Amazon Swords, Lotuses and other root feeders aren't going to get the necessary nutrients from the water column no matter how much you dose. They really need something in the substrate to grow at their best.
SeaChem Flourish does come in gravel tabs, if you're interested in that. It says just to plant them in the substrate close to the plant itself.
I've not used the liquid Flourish though, so I can't help you in that regard.
Right now I have 2 aponogeton bulbs, 1 java fern, 4-7 stalks of wisteria, and too many moneywort stalks to count. Since adding the money wort a few weeks ago, things have gone down hill, and the plants are all looking just a bit droopy. The moneywort themselves are dropping leaves faster than I can pick them up, and slowing growing new ones (and taking an eternity to grow roots)
I have 2 10 watt fluorecent light bulbs, they are maybe a year old now. I have no idea about wattage, they came with the tank... Along with that, the tank gets a lot of indirect sunlight from the window it is near. I turn the tank lights on at 8 in the morning, and off after 12 hours, but it'll continute to get dim sunlight/out of tank light for another couple of hours. To try and cut down on excess light, I put a blanket over the tank around 10 (lights in the house stay on for a long time)
Also, when I post the pic, don't think I neglect my tank (I clean it with my weekly water changes)....The tank will be due for another one water change/wall scrubbing pretty soon
It sounds like the plants are suffering from the wrong lights more than fert related....The bulbs need replaced every 6mo to 1 yr especially on a 12h photo period....this could be part of the diatom problem...dropping leaves usually mean not enough light...look for a daylight 6500-6700k bulb...make sure the plastic/glass section on the hood is clean or remove it all together....this is to get better light penetration to the plants....I would let all the indirect light in that you can as long as it is not causing too much algae.....its a balance......gotta get good plant growth to out-compete the algae.......
Oh, I just checked, my lights have 5100 kelvin. I keep the shades open all the time, so the tank gets a lot of indirect sunlight :) I've been looking online at petsmart.com for better lights that'll fit into my hood, be fluorecent, and have the required kelvins as well. Do you know where I could search to find lights that meet all requirements?
For the reg two pin lights...I go to wal mart lighting section and buy GE brand daylight 6500k bulbs for all my tanks....much cheaper too when you are on 12pp and have to change out over 20 bulbs every 6 mo...lol.....