I've been reading on this forum for a while as a non-member and finally decided to register as one. I've researched and researched but still don't quite understand how all the ferts, co2, and light fit together and how to find a good balance... I'm assuming that that comes with time, experience and trial and error like many things but I was really hoping maybe for now someone could help me put together a good regimine of ferts, photoperiod, and co2 that will help my tank find balance until I catch up on the learning curve?! I would really appreciate it!
Since i've read many threads where people want to help but are not given enough info by the person making the thread i am attempting to give as much detail as possible so i'm sorry for the lengthiness.. here goes...
My set up is a 25 gallon high, open top (removed the glass hood hoping to help gas exchange), the tank is only a little over 1 month old but seems to be completely cycled, I used almost all RO water when filling it and use RO for water changes and also treat it with peat to keep the water soft and acidic since my tap water has a ph in the 8s and is very hard too. My levels stay around as follows: ph 6.6-6.8 kh 3 gh 4 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 5-40 ppm ( I do a water changes once it gets to 40 which is usually every 1.5 or 2 weeks. My substrate is a 3.5" layer of a mixture of black flourite sand, caribsea black floramax, and a light dusting of peat moss. I distributed flourish tabs in this layer as well. On top of that is a .5"-1" layer of caribsea white sand. My filter is an aqueon HOB quietflow 30 that I also added some extra blue and white bonded filter pads to hopefully add surface area for the biological filter and mechanical filtration as well. It has a surface skimmer for the intake. I keep my tank at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. My lighting is 2 t5no duel fixtures made by aqueon. they both have one colormax bulb and one 6700k daylight bulb in them every bulb is 14 watts a piece so that is 28 watts colormax and 28 watts 6700k, 56 total. do you still count the wpg the same since half of them come from colormax? Also, I was wondering if you calculate using the entire volume of the tank or the amount of water that is in the tank once all the substrate and hardscape is added? If it matters it holds about 19.5 gallons of water once everything is added. I counted when starting my tank. My photo period is usually 8 hours per day. I dose with flourish comprehensive weekly and API CO2 booster daily and just recently purchased flourish iron and potassium. The tank is a little over stocked I think... I got a little over excited when I got the chance to stock it and didn't really consider overstocking when buying. I have 4 bolivian rams who actually get along quite well. I have one definitive pair in there who have spawned once thus far. I have 1 sterbai Cory, 1 Julii Cory, 2 Ottos, 2 amano shrimp, 1 golden ram (it's female counterpart did not make it) 6 endler livebearers, and one ivory mystery snail that is about golf ball sized. I feed them twice a day. Half a cube of frozen brine shrimp as soon as I turn on the lights and will add in a bottom feeder pellet once or twice a week that lasts about half an hour to an hour of corys and rams picking at it until the snail gets to it and sucks it straight down in a matter of seconds lol. Then right before turning off the lights I give them some cichlid pellets and tropical fish flakes crushed finely for the endlers. The meals are always eaten completely within 3-5 minutes with the exception of the bottom feeder pellets days. My plants are as follows, corkscrew Vals, amazon sword, crypt lucens, java fern, java moss, melon sword, anacharis, green tiger lotus, dwarf hair grass, anubias nana, banana plant, lobelia cardinalis, and the remnants of a failed attempt with hc. ( I'm also thinking about getting some ludwigia repens to add a little red to the back of the tank... good or bad idea?)
The only issues I've had with my plants so far is that the older leaves on my lotus and amazon sword seem to be yellowing and dying as well, but the new growth is a nice healthy green and both are creating new growth quite fast. I read that potassium deficiency might account for the yellowing old leaves so I put a few API root tabs under the sword and lotus since it has 1% potassium. Also almost all the hc died off. My dwarf hair grass does not seem to grow or propagate, nor do the cryps. Everything else seems extremely healthy and is growing and propagating like crazy!... Oh and also I've been seeing green hair algae and BBA... Which is the main reason I'm seeking advice on this. Right now it is not overwhelming, but I fear that if I don't do something about it it could take over. You can only see it if you are up close. It is not visible if your standing more than 2 or 3 feet away... That being said it HAS managed to make it to every plant in the tank even though it's a very small amount on each. I really help you guys are able (and have the desire) to help me find a good regimen and balance for my tank. Thanks in advance!