Originally Posted by p0ssum
Thank you all so much!
-I don't think I'm ready to even think about CO2 yet. I'm sure I will eventually, once I get the hang of the basics.
-Uprooted the java fern! I had no idea what it was or what it needed. Hope that helps. Thanks for helping identify the plants! The names sound vaguely familiar from buying them at the LFS...
-Tested water at LFS. Near perfect.
-Added hornwort (temporarily?) and water sprite to fill in spots. And a banana plant, just for kicks.
-Forgot to pick up a timer, definitely need to keep the light on more/more regularly.
A couple more newbie questions -
1. Should I trim off brown areas on the java fern?
2. I don't have a very well-planted tank, or very many fish. Is fertilizer something I should be thinking about at all?
Hopefully stuff grows this time! Thank you all, I feel like this tank is way less... doomed...
If the tank has been up and running then your bacteria colony is probably fine. If/when you add more fish, just do it slowly so the bacteria have time to adjust. It is much easier for the colony to multiply than it is to get started, so you're in good shape.
The good news is the plants you have in the tank are virtually unkillable. If you want to see real growth though, the single most important thing is lighting. Your current plants do not need ferts or co2, just give them a steady amount of light per day and change the water occasionally. I don't know the exact kind of bulbs you have, but the kind you want are "Daylight" bulbs that you can find at almost any store. The bulbs in the range of 6500-6700K are the perfect color temperature. You're on the right track with the timer, it will make everything way easier.
The key is to be consistent. All your plants will be fine. Hornwort is a weed and will grow like crazy anywhere. Tie your java fern to a rock or a piece of sinking wood with fishing line and it will thank you. Then just add fish as you see fit. Fish are good for the plants and the plants are good for the fish, it's a beautiful thing.