Help Perk up my plants... TLDR... 56K....
Alright so I am not completely thrilled with the health of my plants in my 75 gallon currently. I have experienced issues with diatoms in this tank since shortly after day 1. The tank is about a year and a half old at this point. The Diatoms have slowed a bit but they don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Mostly I am concerned with the look of the plants and their overall health. Some of the plants exhibit browning of edges and slower growth than I would like. I am getting really sick of wiping diatoms off of everything I can live with green algae as it really doesn't bother me that much. Although I would prefer not to have green water.
This is a Planted Mbuna tank so some of the traditional methods of diatom control through selective stocking are not available to me. The reason I decided to go with a planted Mbuna tank is that I kept seeing people say it wasn't viable so I wanted to see if it could be done. This is my second planted Mbuna tank the first was much lower light with mostly low light plants. This time I have a wider variety of low to higher light plants.
Here are the specs to hopefully assist with the problems I am experiencing
PH currently 6.8 (which is lower than normal. Usually its 7.4-7.6 not sure whats caused the recent drop not too worried about it.)
Nitrates (haven't tested these in a few months my kit went bad probably ought to buy a new one at some point. They were around 15 ppm a a few months ago.)
Fauna: 12 Various Mbuna Species, 2 Synodontus Eupterus.
Flora: Amazon Swords, Hygrophilia Difformis, Hygrophilia Corymbosa Stricta, Hornwort, Crypt Wendtii Green, Various Anubias, Eleocharis parvula, Christmas Moss, Java fern, Red Cabomba, Amazon Frogbit, E. tennellus, onion plant, red tiger lotus, dwarf Sag, Apongeton and Bacopa. I think I probably forgot something I have a bit of collectoritis.
Water changes: Approximately 30 gallons per week.
Filtration: 1 x AC 110 and 1 sun-sun 302
Lighting: Aquaticlife 2x54 T5HO fixture suspended 27 inches above the substrate 1 10k bulb and 1 450NM bulb (considering changing out this bulb for something else). The fixture was previously suspended approximately 32 inches above the substrate however I was experiencing more diatoms and lots of light spillage so I lowered the lighting a bit as I have heard that increasing lighting can have an impact on diatoms.
Substrate: Play sand.
Dosing: EI light for tanks without CO2 (reduced dosing schedule of 1-2 times per week max to accommodate the fact that there is no CO2 supplementation.
Here are some pics of the tank sorry for the ugly rubber bands (trying to attach some Xmas moss at the moment) and the bad photography. The colors are also skewed as the walls are a yellowish green and the colors on the camera were set to a yellow I didn't bother fixing it before taking these pictures. In reality the tank water looks much clearer and much less yellow/green.
Overall as you can see there is a clear diatom issue, my Dwarf Sag and Red Cabomba are really not doing well and my Anubias have brown edges around the leaves as well.
Are brown leaf edges likely being caused by the diatoms or is it possible there is a deficiency somewhere? Does anyone have any suggestions around some of the variables I might be able to work on to try to fix some of the problems I am having. Am I cooking my plants?
Thanks for any help everyone can provide.