*EDIT* had issues with getting pictures into the post so I had to just link to them*
I feel like my 55g is slipping away from me and I don't know what my issue is. To start here are tank specs..
Tank has been running since July 2017
55g 18" tall
lighting is 4 T8 fluorescent tubes, 2 are 32W 5000k and 2 are 32W 6500k
its a dirted tank capped with sand
Flourite root tabs spread throughout under root feeding plants
I dose Aquarium Co-op Easy green and Easy Iron once a week and Excel daily (capful)
parameters have been mostly self maintain for several months. I do partial water changes once a weekish just when I clean or trim
So now the problems. (incoming long post with pictures)
Approximately a month ago my Rotalla started growing horizontally across the substrate. I planted the Rotalla when I started the tank and it never really showed much growth, in fact I have only trimmed it one time and that was a couple months ago. I have done some research but it seems to be up in the air what causes this kind of growth. Although its kind of neat, my hope for the Rotalla was a thick background plant in the center of my tank. Here is a picture for reference.
The next problem I am having is with my Java Fern. The whole world talks about Java Fern being such an easy beginner plant that requires nothing, well within the last month or so I have started getting numerous leaves that just turn black and I trim them off assuming they are dead. I feel like I am losing leaves faster than they are growing. Any tips? I circled a black leaf and a leaf that is entirely yellow turning black.
Next I have some Jungle Val that is refusing to grow upwards! I planted this when I started the tank back in July. At first it all melted back which I expected but when it started growing again it stopped around 4 inches tall. It propagates well and has spread over a corner area of the tank but refuses to grow upwards.
Lastly as you can see in the pictures a lot of my plants are brown/black around the edges of the leaves. The new growth on all my plants looks healthy its just older leaves that look this way. When my city got its first cold spell I feel embarrassed to say I was not prepared. I did not have my heater in my tank because the temp was staying consistent with my house however when the outside temp dropped so fast I did not have my furnace on in the house and thus the tank temperature and the house temperature dropped approximately 10 degrees overnight. Would this be the cause of the leaves discoloration? It was that day I noticed the leaves were different and then realized the temperature in the tank was around 62 degrees.
Here is an overall of the tank, not sure whats up with the coloring of the photo.
I guess my questions would be are my problems related to too much light, not enough light, bad ferts, or anything else I am not thinking of? I am gonna take a few pieces of the Rotalla and Jugle Val and put them in my fry tank which has much less lighting and no liquid ferts to see if that makes any difference. Thanks for any tips or advice in advance.