Hi everyone! I am having some kind of problem in my 6.6 gallon bookshelf tank, and I'm not sure if it's nutrients, lighting, or what. A little help from you fine, knowledgable people would be GREAT!
Here's the set up...
6.6 gallon Petco bookshelf tank
ZooMed 501 (filled with Aquaclear sponges and biomedia; this tank was cycled with material from my other established tank)
Black sand with O+ tabs
Finnex Stingray 24" (about 9-9.5" above the substrate)
7am-10am and 7pm-11pm
Crypt Wendtii 'Tropica', S Repens (both added on 4/26/15) and Rotala Rotifunda, Hydrocoytle sp Japan, and water sprite (added on 5/9/15)
3 cardinal tetra, 4 hasborus cory, 2 white cloud mountain minnow, 2 ramshorn snails (the tetra and cory will be moving to my new 15 gallon; more questions on that one coming in a different thread)
I feed the whole tank once a day (at night; mix of crushed flakes and pellets from kensfish.com) and a couple times a week I'll drop in a Hikari wafer (with spirulina, silkworm, and krill) for the cory cats but everyone nibbles on it
The problem I'm having is not knowing how much light this little tank is getting. At least, that's my guess as to the source of the problem. I think it's probably medium light? Maybe low light? I'm not sure, but I think the plants look pretty sad and there's algae everywhere, which suddenly showed up a day or two after I added the second batch of plants. So, at the beginning of this week when I did a 50% water change, I started dosing ferts and Excel. That, in itself, is a mess too!
EI dosing seems pretty straight forward, but it got really confusing between EI Standard, EI Daily, and EI low light/weekly. What I'm trying to go for is Sudeep's Low Tech Excel based aquarium for this setup using dry ferts (NHO3 and KH2PO4), Flourish Comprehensive for micros/trace, and Excel. Here's what I did this week and plan to do unless someone says I'm doing it wrong:
-50% water change
-Added 3mL Excel (a little under 0.5 mL/gallon like the bottle says after water change, which I know now is not good to do; I read and learn every day)
-"Pinch" of macros (I was being rushed so I literally just took my planting tweezers and pinched a teeny bit each of KNO3 and KH2PO4 and dropped it in front of the filter output, lol)
-Added 0.55 mL Flourish Comp per the bottle's instructions (5 mL/60 gallon=0.08 mL/gallon * 6.6 gallons = 0.55 mL)
-Added 0.66 mL Excel (0.1 mL/gallon daily like the bottle says but now I know 0.2 mL/gallon daily regardless of water change is the best option)
-Added macros according to FertsCalc app; 0.61 g KNO3 and 0.05 g KH2PO4
-Added 0.66 mL Excel
-Added 0.55 mL Flourish Comp
-Added 1.32 mL Excel (0.2 mL/gallon)
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
-I plan to only add 0.2 mL/gallon of Excel until the next water change.
Starting next week I plan to adjust the macros according to Zorfox's dry dosing plan
(KNO3 at 46.3 mg/gallon * 6.6 gallons = 0.3 g; and KH2PO4 at 7 mg/gallon * 6.6 gallons = 0.04 g) and keep dosing macros and micros 2x/week on alternating days and Excel every day. I'm thinking I'll make a solution of macros once I figure out the proper dosing; I just don't want to waste it making wrong solutions in the meantime because I don't have very much on hand.
So how does this look? Am I doing something grossly wrong? Here are pics of my tank:
Fuzzy areas are brown algae on the tank walls
Brown algae on the wall and petosky stone and dark green algae on various plant leaves
Hydrocoytle isn't really doing much, not really growing and not really dying
Sad rotala, only the tops are green/slowly growing. The green tops have doubled in length/size this week. (Sorry for the sideways pics; tinypic doesn't have an option for me to rotate it)
Water sprite isn't doing much either; new shoots/growth happening but there's also fuzzy stuff growing on it too
Saw this long string of algae while I was taking pics