Looking for a little guidance. I have a 72g bowfront that I am trying to achieve a dutch style scape, but I can't grow reed plants for the life of me. AR mini doesn't grow and is a pale red, but it doesn't die either. Ludwigia red which is "one of the easiest to grow red plants" is nearly green. Even plants that can turn red with little effort, will not even show a hint of red.
Some background on myself and my other tanks:
This tank is at college with me, but I have 10 other tanks back home, one of which is also "high tech" but only gets dosed once every 2 weeks and still gets better reds than this tank. I have no growth issues in any of my other tanks back home, most share the same plants between them.
A little about my setup:
Filtration: 2 Eheim pro II 2028's
Lighting: Hamilton Technologies 4 Bulb T5 HO, with 2 Coralife 6700k and 2 Current TrueLumen Flora, on for 8 hours a day
The light sits directly on the glass lids of the tank.
Substrate: 1.5" Black Diamond blasting sand cap, over about .5" of dirt
CO2: Concoa 2 stage regulator, swagelock metering valve, flowing into one of the intakes of the pro II's at what I would consider a very high rate (fish are not gasping, nor showing any signs of stress)
Dosing: EI method per the concentrations on the nilocg website, here
, using the 15mL per 75g chart, plus a .15ppm dosage of dtpa iron.
Dosing Schedule: Macros and dtpa on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Micros on Tuesday and Thursday
Fish: Currently only have 5 Sterbai Cories, still deciding on what else to keep
Plants: Due to my issues I'm still using some basic stems
Cabomba: grows tall and fast, does show some red/purple tint when about 4" or less from the water's surface, nodes are very far apart though (about 1")
Bacopa Carolinia: growth is slow, but healthy and color is normal
Rotala Rotundifolia: Growth is again slow, it shows no signs of being red, but its almost yellow
Limnophilia Aromatica: Growth, height wise is slow, but the growth is very bushy, but again it looks yellow
Ludwigia: Good growth, broad leaves, mostly a greenish color
Hygrophila Polysperma (yes I know its a weed, I am careful about disposal (composted for future tank dirt)): Growth is surprisingly slow and its not invasive like it normally is, growth is short but color is good
Dwarf Sag: growth is good, color is normal, runners are a bit slow though
Dwarf Hair Grass: growth is slow (to be expected), but it is spreading and doing exceptable
AR Mini and Rosefolia: very pale color, growth is none existant, the mini is doing better than the rosefolia
Ludwigia Red: barely still alive, growth is nearly green
Onto some questions/ideas:
1. Does ph effect red plant growth? Like I said I have tanks back home, their ph is 7.6, here at school I have liquid rock (ph maxes out a high range API test kit at 8.8)
2. Should I add even more ferts? I do not get any algae growth on the plants, only the glass after about 2 weeks of neglect. I have added and removed fert days with no change.
3. Should I try different bulbs/ more bulbs? What I have now I've seen others grown red plants no problem.
4. I know someone used to do water testing to find out exactly what is in your water. Does this person still do testing? If so what does it cost?
I have seen these plants turn red and growth improve for a day or 2. Why, I have no clue, I didn't make any changes that should have induced the change.
I have read countless other threads about peoples dosing and experimentation, burr in particular. I have tried some of what has worked for them but didn't get any results of my own.
When I describe plants as yellow or greenish, the best way to describe it is the color plants become before turning red. Back home I would get plants that would be about the same color but then the next day they would turn red.
I am basically out of ideas, any advice would be appreciated. I can post pictures if that would help, but they will be phone pictures, so they won't be great.