Hi folks, I'm a newbie to planted tanks and have some questions about my setup.
I wanted to do a semi-biotype aquarium with lake tanganyika in mind. I have all predatory fish from that lake, along with synodontis catfish. Only a single herbivore in the tank. I have a 4" 75g tank.
Anyway, my substrate is african rift lake mix, which is crushed lace rock mixed with a few shells. I added in a bag of Laterite in the areas that are planted, and also added root tablets (plus iron) to the areas with vals. Right now I seem to be rebounding from an initial Val die-off, but was curious whether I have too much light, and not enough carbon.
I've been using Seachem Excel carbon substitute, as well as their Florish iron supplement. I also use Kent marine Proplant in the reccomended doses. As for lighting, I have a 48" triple florescent strip light with T8 bulbs, and a quad power compact with 65w bulbs. Right now two of those are actinic, so perhaps not contributing much to photosynthesis.
I am very hesitant to go the CO2 route because of the high-PH requirements of these fish. I generally have the PH in the 8.2-8.5 range.
I have a number of lace java fern, which appear to be doing well, though there is a bit of algae on the leaves. These are rooted on lace rock in the tank. My vals died off pretty badly at the outset, but the addition of root-tabs seems to have made them much happier. I have some round-leaved amazon swords, which have already started shooting long stalks to the surface, with root-bearing segments on them. I detatched and planted these, and they're taking hold. I also have some anubis and crypts in the tank, which have grown a number of new small leaves, and look like they're doing OK overall.
I'd love any advice or "duh, noob" observations.