Hello everyone! I have been silently reading the forums for a long time. I figured it was time to finally start posting as well
I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I am hoping that you might be able to help me with one of my tanks. I have had this tank for a little over a year now. I have always had issues with algae and plant growth. The plants have never grown in as lush and healthy as I would have liked them to. Generally, the tops look great, but the bottoms tend to become covered in algae and slowly begin to decay. I seem to have a lot of trouble getting certain species to take root. I used to think this was a light problem(that I did not have enough light), but now I'm thinking it is due to a nutrient imbalance.(I've included photos at the end)
My very first tank was a 10 gallon. All of the equipment was taken from it and used for my 29 gallon. Because of this, my current light fixture does not extend the full length of the tank--it's about 5 inches shy of the edge on both sides. I know it is not ideal, but I initially didn't want to buy a brand new light for the 29 gallon when I already had a light. However, I am reconsidering this now.
Tank: 29 gallons
Lighting: 96W, 6,700K compact flourescent coralife fixture. The lights are on 9 hours each day, though the tank recieves a lot of indirect sunlight.
Substrate: Mostly eco complete, with some flourite sand mixed in.
Plants: Ludwigia repens, Cryptocoryne Wendtii, rotala indica, christmas moss, hydrocotyle verticillata, water wisteria, and small form lobelia.
I dose flourish excel every day. I also just bought dry ferts but have not yet begun using them.
These are my questions:
1. Should I change my light fixture to something that extends the entire length of the tank? If so, what are your suggestions as far as wattage and type of light? Right now, the ballast in my light prevents me from using bulbs with different wattages(in other words, I can only ever have a 96W bulb. I can't change to a higher or lower wattage). I think it would be nice to have the option to be able to change bulbs if I decide to go higher tech later on.
2. Should I be using fertilizer when my only carbon source is flourish excel? I was planning to use the EI method of dosing, but I don't know if that is a good idea since I do not have pressurized CO2 right now...
3. Are there any other changes I can make to improve the health of my plants and have them grow in more healthy/lush?
Thank you for any help!