Let me start by saying I had been aquarist for a long time, but I never had planted aquariums before. Last year I decided to give it a try and my first planted aquarium that I did was a 15 G tank. It surprisingly did very well for over an year. The plants grew extremely well - I had glosso , baby tears and dwarf hairgrass. I had to trim them weekly because they were growing a lot. Until one moment when everything started withering. I even got a lot of algae ! All types. I was doing E.I with high light setup and CO2. For me the reason was the substrate, but I might be totally wrong. I was using really cheap substrate and because of the high growth I thought the substrate couldn't provide any more nutrients after certain time. I removed everything from the tank and decided to start it again but this time with slightly moderate light, dirt and ADA amazonian substrate. 2 months ago I started it with dirt on the bottom of the tank, a little substrate layer from my previous aquarium (to introduce bacteria ) and ADA amazonian on top of that. I planted the same plants again. Let me start by saying what my tap water is. For some weird reason it has PH of 4-5 and KH and GH of 1! I live in White Plains New York, and I don't have a clue why the water is so soft. For that reason, I am adding MgSo4 , CaCl2 and baking soda until I have a water that is around 4-5 GH and KH and around 6-7 PH. I am doing E.I again with the following measurements and parameters:
50% weekly water changes
1/4 Tsp-KN03 3x a week
1/16 Tsp-KH2P04 3x a week - I have a Hanna electronic Phosphate test which can not measure more than 2.5 ppm, and it is higher than that. I assume around 5 ppm ( but can't guarantee... it might be even more)
1/16 Tsp - Plantex CSM+B 3x a week.
I am adding half a cap of Flourish excell every morning just to introduce more CO2 in the water.
My CO2 is around 2 bubbles per second and I assume it should be good enough ( my drop checker is green to yellow sometimes )
Now onto my question
Everything is growing in the aquarium, but not too fast as my light is positioned much higher than what it used to be last year. My light setup is this light:
and these two strips of light:
It is positioned 12'' above the surface and last year I measured the PAR readings when it was much closer to the surface ( around 7 '') and it read around 120. Now I suppose it is much lower but I can't say as I don't have a PAR meter with me. Last year I had it on for 12 hours, now I only have it on for 9hours.
The thing is the plants are growing slow and the glosso is growing high and doesn't crawl. I decided to boost the light and the CO2 just so I can have the glosso start crawling and just for 2 days now I have algae on the glass. Easy to remove, probably a dust green algae, but nevertheless, it's visible and spreading fast if I don't brush it. My question is what might be wrong. Seems the light is not enough for the glosso and the plants as they are growing slow, but if I boost the light, the plants start growing faster, but I also introduce algae. I would be very grateful if you could give me a direction in what I need to look for. Would you like me to provide more information about my setup ?
Thank you in advance!