Troubleshooting plants and nutrient balance
I am new to The Planted Tank and I did not see any specific place to post asking for help on figuring out a planted tank so please excuse me if this is in the wrong place.
I've had my tank up an running over for a little over a year now and I have pretty much been struggling with my plants from day one and I can't figure out if I'm missing something, if my lighting is wrong, or what the deal is.
I'm going to start from May of this year when I decided to change my substrate from Eco Complete to Caribsea Tahitian Moon Sand. I bought a couple new plants (the Amazon swords and Jungle Val) to go with my new set up.
As of now I have Java Fern, Anubias, Echinodorus Vesuvius, Bacopa, Ludwigia Repens, Amazon Sword, and Jungle Val in my tank.
As you can see from the pictures the amazon sword has a lot of browning and transparency on it's leaves, the jungle val keeps turning brown at it's edges and I can't determine if it's from a deficiency or the Seachem Excel. My Vesuvius has suffered since I changed the substrate (It's not a vibrant as it once was and it's not growing anymore). There was even yellowing of a couple leaves on my anubias which never happened before. While most of my plants have stopped turning brown/transparent they are now doing nothing, they're not dying, they're not growing, they're not rooting, they're kind of just there. I did have an outbreak of brown algae so I did a Hydrogen Peroxide treatment (without the fish in the tank) and then did a 75% water change almost a week ago.
I have a 10 gallon divided tank.
The temperature of my tank is around 75F
The pH of my tank is 8.4
Ammonia is 0ppm
Nitrite is 0ppm
Nitrate is 10ppm
I don't have a test kit for GH or KH but we have serious calcium and lime buildup on our faucets so I'm assuming I have pretty hard water.
I have a Finnex planted plus 24/7 that is on 8am-12 and 5-8pm.
I have two sponge filters on either side of my divided tank.
For fertilizers I have Seachem Prime, Excel, Potassium, Trace, Flourish, Nitrogen, and Iron
I dose excel everyday, and follow the directions for the other chemicals. I usually alternate Potassium and Trace on opposite days of Iron, and I haven't really used the Nitrogen since the Nitrate is a little high, nor have I used Flourish since it would be redundant. The only macro I don't have is Phosphate, nor do I have a way to test my phosphate levels.
I do have osmocote root tabs for the root feeding plants, but I haven't noticed a difference.
The only time I ever see oxygen bubbles on the plants is right after a water change.
I have been doing a water change once a week due to high nitrates, but once the Nitrates are back to 0ppm then I could go weeks without a change and still have everything be 0ppm. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.
I'm not sure what to do to get my plants healthy. Are the two filters too much for the plants to compete with? Should I change when my lights are on? Is my light strong enough or too strong? Should I get GH, KH, and Phosphorus test kits? Other test kits for things like co2?
I'm so lost, how can I figure out what I'm missing?
I'll probably have to throw out the amazon swords or see if I can salvage it with new growth. I'm hoping to get new growth on all of the plants so I can toss the older plants and start over with the new ones.