Plants not growing. Need advice.
I've been in the hobby for over 40 years, and african cichlids mostly for the last 20 or so. A little history on my planted tank experience, back in the mid 80s, I had a 30 long with plants and a 29 gallon. Both tanks just had natural aquarium gravel with some tetra brand red clay mixed with it and I also dosed the water column with some liquid tetra fertilizer. both tanks had glass covers with 2 cool white fluorescent tubes. My plants flourished. I had jungle val, swords, crypts, banana plants, maybe a few I can't recall but both tanks thrived. I had to cull the jungle val often. I used well water without any treatment other than liquid fertilizer.
Fast forward to last summer, different house but same general area. Using well water with PH about neutral, must have lots of calcium as there are white deposits around all my filters, africans thrive and breed in my water. I decided to start a plant tank again using a 29 gallon tank. I'm using seachem flourite as a substrate (Red), Beamswork DA 6500 plant LED (Had good reviews on Amazon from PLanted tank users). Tank is open, no cover. Just a small back filter with inert media. I'm currently on my second round of plants from Dustins, Jungle val, various supposedly grow in a toilet swords, elodea. I dose the water column per instructions with Dustins growth juice. Now to the problem, plant growth is almost non-existent. The vals died back and new growth is only 3". They send out runners but the baby plants open up and lay flat on the substrate and that's about it, 2" of flat vals. Sword plants start to send up new leaves and then quick growing entirely. elodea is the only plant growing ok. Everything is now covered in fury algae (For lack of a better term). I keep thinking this shouldn't be this hard since I had great results in the past. My nitrite reads zero, and so does my nitrate. Not sure how accurate the test kits are.
Two things come to mind, lighting seems much stronger than my old school setups. Maybe plants are nutrient deficient?
No glass cover allowing what minimum co2 I get in a low tech tank is escaping?
I'm at wits end with this tank but don't want to give up. Whatever the solution is I feel I should purchase another batch of plants since my seem in kind of sad shape right now. I was thinking of using a more comprehensive liquid fertilizer like thrive for low tech tanks. I also entertained removing substrate and adding a base of soil ala Walstad....
Let me know your thoughts please....