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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-22-2019, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: New Jersey, USA
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Unhappy Can't figure out what's going wrong trying to get off the ground

Hi everyone, new to the forum and hoping to get some advice on getting my tank (back) up and running.

Tank: Fluval Spec V
Substrate: Fluval Shrimp & Plant Substrate with some gray rock (lace rock perhaps?)
Tech: Pressurized CO2

So I started the tank up about a month ago. I've used this tank for a planted tank recently and had success, but am starting over. After about 2 weeks, all my levels were at 0, so I moved a Java fern into the tank and waited another week. Everything continued to look good, so I added a few other plants (DHG, Monte Carlo, Anubias, Micro Swords and rotala rotundifolia). Some bladder snails as well. I started lightly dosing with ThriveS to get some Nitrates in there.

A week later, everything looks terrible. Most of the plants are either melting or just looking shabby with only the DHG showing any signs of growth (but also a little melting) and the Java Fern looks the same. Even the bladder snails died! My water parameters seem fine though:

pH 6.0
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

I also tested my water out of the tap and it's also all 0/0/0, but the pH is 8.2.

I've never tested TDS in my tap water or GH/KH (I just ordered a test kit though, so should have that info this weekend)

So I'm a little surprised that the Nitrate is 0 when I've been dosing it lightly. I've done a pair of 50% water changes this week, and that hasn't helped at all, maybe it's even made it worse. Is that because of the drastic difference in pH between my tap and the tank (caused by the substrate)?

I've thought maybe something in my water is causing problems and that maybe I should get a RODI kit and remineralize from there, but I really don't want to just throw money at it without understanding what problem I'm solving for.

I'm really at a loss about what to do here, any help would be appreciated!

Here's a shot of my tank and some of the plants from this morning:
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