I've been looking to fix up my family's freshwater tank since I moved back home. I want to be able to add more plants, some more livestock, and driftwood. But a lot of work needs to be done, and since the plants now aren't doing so well, I need to figure out what is wrong. Here is info on my tank and the parameters.
36 gallon bowfront
30-50 Nitrate. It's difficult to read the liquid tests but it is somewhere in this range.
Ph level is high too at about 7.4
I don't know kH, the liquid tests didn't include so I have to go out and buy one.
Inhabitants include 2 Blue Gouramis. 1 Pictus Cat. 1 Oto. 1 Blackskirt Tetra
No plants or livestock have been added in quite some time.
Lighting is a T5HO fixture. 36" 156 watts. Only 1 ballast is being used, since the other was burned out during a storm a while ago (the replacement ballast the sent me wasn't right but that is another story). The two bulbs are a 6700k and a I believe a 420nm Actinic (the pink colored one, colormax i believe). The bulbs are from coralife right now. The fixture also has a reflectors built into it.
The thing about the lights is I am unsure if it is too much or not enough. From my understanding the intensity is high, with the tank being about 18-20 inches in height and the fixture is about 2 inches from the top.
I also have no been dosing C02 yet. I believe this could be the main cause. I also don't think algae is too bad. For the lack of maintenance on the tank since it has been cycled, it feel like it would be worse.
I haven't been dosing anything either. The substrate is supposed to be some type of plant fertilizing substrate, but I don't think my family is sure what the name is, it was just recommended by the LFS.
So I'm attaching pictures (pre water change and other cleaning). If anyone can identify the problem and advise me on what steps to take, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.