Newbie is in Over Her Head!
Hello! I'm a long time fish keeper, who has always drooled over planted tanks. I recently decided to take the plunge and convert my 15g tall to a low tech planted tank! ... And I think I'm failing. I will try to include as much info as possible below and I am open to suggestions and gentle criticism.
Tank: 15g Tall. Has been up and running for over a year with current inhabitants, gravel substrate and plastic plants. Switched up lighting, and added Fluval sub and plants two weeks ago.
Substrate: 50% standard gravel, 50% Fluval Plant and Shrimp Substrate. Unfortunately in a small town this is all I could get. If the plants are a lost cause I will tear down and do 100% Fluval in the future.
Light: Aqueon 20" LED fixture with 1 day white tube and 1 colourmax tube. (Question #1 - Is this too much light?).
- Vallisneria. Arrived slightly melted and currently melted away to nothing.
- Bacopa "compact" and regular. Arrived nice. Melted within 5 days, and now very dead. Mostly stuck to the filter. (now removed).
- Cryptocoryne wendtii. Melted as expected. Leaves totally gone, no regrowth yet.
- Micro Sword. Some melt, but already showing new growth and looks good.
- "Growers Choice" grass. I can't quite ID this one, but it is looking good.
- Marimo moss ball. This has been around for a while living in a glass jar in my window. Move it to the tank. Looks ok.
- Taxiphyllum 'Spiky'. Seems to be losing it's colour.
- Algae. I have been neglecting scrubbing it so as not to disturb the sad melting plants.
Fish: Pair of angelfish and 3 columbian tetras.
Tank Chemistry: See photo. NO3 has increased since the last test and I suspect it is due to decaying plant matter. Ammonia is close to 0.
Photos: First photo is the tank this morning (*cue sad music*). Second photo is about 48h after planting. Last photo is chemistry from this morning.
Plan: My vision was to have a curtain of Vals in the background, with a few bacopa and crypts in the mid ground and nice "lawn" in the front right corner. I am a great terrestrial gardener, so I know it might require patience, but I feel like this is WAY MORE melt than I expected. I am not opposed to CO2 supplementation, but I was hoping to avoid it. I have Seachem Flourish and root tabs, they just arrived today, and I will give those a shot if anyone thinks the current plants have a chance at regrowth.
So, experts, please let me know what you think. Am I just impatient? Did I miss something? Totally crazy? I'm still totally new at this and between work, small business ownership, a screaming toddler, and a husband who thinks "fish are for eating," I am not finding the time to research as much as I would like!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!