I updated my previous post with a pic of the tank.
I'll get my hands on some carbon and toss those in a for a few weeks and see if it helps.
I do try to prune back what I can when I see it. I'm assuming any dead plant matter doesn't help out much?
Fish load is 2 angelfish, 10 ornate tetras, 5 sterbai cory cats, 3 otos, 1 bristlenose pleco. I feed every other day at night.
No, the substrate does not get stirred up either.
I've heard that the drop checker really isn't that accurate, it just gives you a rough idea.
Now, lets say I do have low CO2 in the tank, how would I be able to tell from my plants that I have low CO2? That's the part that I'm stumped on. Watch the plants, I understand, but what am I looking for exactly? I'm assuming better and more luscious growth, right?
I've already pushed my CO2 to where my fish were gasping for air, so I turned it down a little bit and have left it there since.
pearling is one of the things i look for.
but not every plant will pearl significantly.
the best thing is the growth, but that takes time to see a difference, and its not always easy to notice. if you have any red plants, they get less red if CO2 gets worse (all other things being equal).
since your CO2 is high (if your fish are gasping), then perhaps its a distribution problem. any low-flow spots in the tank?