I'm not the most qualified to answer, but since no one else seems to be rushing to your aid, I will try my best
First thing that jumps out at me is how much t5ho? I use 65k and 10k on 55g, that's 2x54w. I've not dealt with a tank that large, but maybe
you need more light assuming there was co2.
I have 2x54w 65k &2x54w 10k Lights are about 4" from the water surface
Yellow leaves filled with holes you say? If I encountered that, I would turn up the co2 and start dosing extra potassium.
co2 was up pretty good/high
ferts: kn03, kh2p04, k2s04, csm+b, iron chelate 13%
I've read that dosing the water column also enriches the substrate and vice versa, so I've stopped worrying about root tabs as much as I used to, but having substrate enrichment can't hurt and gives some leeway if you forget to dose
I thought with the MTS under the sand it would help (and did in the beginning.
(Originally Posted by SlammedDC2 View Post
I stopped using the EI and co2 as I seemed to be wasting money on something that was not working.)
hmmm.....can't think of anything good that could come of that
.....my opinion of course
After 5 months of turning the co2 up and daily dosing wasn't doing anything as the plants continued to die off and show more holes/yellow so I got tired of having to refill the co2 tanks.
EI w/ dry ferts and pressurized (after the initial cost) are the cheapest parts of the equation and, imo you shouldn't skimp on either.
I'm not worried about the cost because they aren't that bad, the biggest headache is getting time to get the tank refilled but it's not impossible.
What type of fertilizers were you using?
One thing I learned the hard way, is that you can't just "set it and forget it" when it comes to co2. You say the plants put out 30-40+ new leaves, well that means they are going to need more co2 to sustain the additional plant mass, possibly more ferts too
When I first started the tank I had no co2 or ferts and had more growth from the lower tech plants then. When I added the co2/ferts they did so much better for a few months and then started to die off.
If you were dosing true ei style and had adequate co2 and still saw no benefit from using them I would suspect that something else was amiss .......flow or lighting maybe?
I mentioned about the lights above, as for flow there is a cpr cs 1200 overflow (full siphon) with a 29g sump 1200gph return (griggs reactor). return and drains are all 1" pvc. return is run the length of the tank with three dumps 1-2.5" below the surface evenly spaced.
It helps to seriously pack the tank with plant mass from the get-go.
A few days after initial planting
Here is one of the original pictures from about 4-5 months old
Here you can see where the swords took off
Still, starting over is fun, it's often easier to achieve a better scape the more experience you have.
I'm hoping that will work better, I'm also ready for a new scape so that will be nice too.
If you do start over and plan on adding driftwood, consider using some eggcrate for the foundation to keep the driftwood from floating....you must do this before the substrate goes in so that's why I mention it.
I've got a decent amount of mantazita and DW in there and might go with a little more.
I've done three tanks capped with floramax, I used dirt in two of those. I've no issue with floramax, it's cheap and looks nice imo, but you might consider paying the piper for some aquasoil, doubt you'd regret it.
Well that's about all I can easily think of. Best of luck to you!
I don't think I am going with dirt this time, just the gravels mentioned in the OP. But time will tell. I haven't completely decided to keep this tank.
I have been toying with the idea of tearing it down and moving my turtles in for a bigger place (they are still very small 1.5") But then there goes any chance of having any below water plants.
I guess this thread is my way of trying to keep it a full planted/fish tank and leave the turtles in the 55g for the next year until I get them into a pond.
I'll do my best to get some recent pics in tomorrow.