I haven't updated this journal in a while, because there isn't much to update on. I don't have any spare change at the moment to put into this tank which has kept me in check. Still no fauna (except pond and ramshorn snails), and no new plants.
The hardness is finally starting to level out. Most of the crushed coral is disintegrated and I think the flourite has stopped leaching calcium (some that I used on this tank was in a hard water tank for a while). To help lower the KH further between water changes, I added an IAL. The tannins are apparent, but not horrible, and it seems to be doing the trick.
The change in the plants over the last couple of weeks has astounded me! They are finally starting to grow somewhat normally now and filling out. I'm still fighting a little with the rotalas, but they aren't stunting like they were before. All the stems are finally growing at a normal pace, the hygro thai being the most aggressive. The DHG has finally
started sending out runners. It took some serious trimming and the threat of being torn out when I had money to replace it
The marselia and vesuvias will need a good trimming and rearranging before too long. Also considering trimming up the blyxa a bit.
After I bumped up the amount of ferts to full EI, I had a spectacular algae explosion of fuzz and staghorn, to which I did next to nothing to remove it. I simply started harassing the fuzz by gently brushing it off the plants with a soft toothbrush. The fuzz algae seems to be dissipating on it's own with little more than that and some trimming of badly infected leaves. The staghorn on the other hand is still hanging around, mostly on dead or very old leaves. Next water change I'll be trying to knock it down a bit. I'm planning on spot treatments of Excel, removing the few dead leaves scattered around the tank, and pruning out all the infected leaves. Hoping that it was the poor health of the plants that sparked the algae bloom. The algae started to dissipate as the plants started growing more healthy, so I'm not inclined to cut back on the ferts.
The thing that has made the biggest impact in this tank, though, is the little addition of 1/4 tsp of Epsom salt after every water change. I may need to add a tiny bit more in, but after that everything seemed to fall into place nicely. When the plants starting growing nicely, I cut the co2 down to what I felt was "survivable" levels. The snails certainly appreciated it. Instead of spending the entire day at the surface, they are happily munching on fuzz algae. I did that two weeks ago, and the algae continues to dissipate and the plants are growing better than ever.
I broke my drop checker, so I'm SOL on that until I start getting my paychecks next month.
I'll post pictures soon