Looking for some advice on Nitrates
I have recently relaunched my 50G aquarium to be a planted tank but it is not going as well as I had hoped.
I upgraded my lighting to 4 t5 fluorescents and have been using my DIY CO2 setup for about 2 weeks now. The results in my plants, however, have been less than stellar. My amazon swords seem to be growing much slower than before I changed the lighting and seem to be suffering from a bad case of black beard algae. My java fern and java moss seem to be doing decent, they have new green shoots coming up but progress is very slow. The wisteria seems to be pretty much dead and my vallisneria appears idle. I have tried growing dwarf hairgrass but it is hard to keep rooted and only 2-3 new shoots have appeared on each clump. The only thing growing is the anacharis, which I attribute to anacharis being able to grow in raw sewage.
I am just now getting into the whole fertilizer game, though I have used flourish and flourish excel in the past with few results. Reading around on online forums, I found some promising posts that might suggest that excess phosphates were the culprit. I promptly bought a phosphate test kit and phos-fix or something similar but my phosphates were only about 1 ppm. I have ordered potassium sulfate from the internet but it is yet to arrive.
I am hoping that the only macro I will need to dose is potassium as I have a pretty high fish load and my nitrates rocketed to 20 ppm in 13 days without fertilizers. Will the fish in my tank be enough to sustain reasonable phosphate and nitrate levels? Any thoughts?
Also, if you have any other suggestions to help me out they would be much appreciated. If this potassium thing doesn't work out I'm afraid that I'm almost out of ideas.
Thanks in advance,