I guess I'll start off saying I lived in CO for a few years, and had planted-ish tanks there. It was mostly just a betta tank with t5 lights, and I growing rotala like a weed. I also had a 30 gallon tank with cpo, cherry shrimp, and white clouds that grew stuff pretty well, with t5ho lights, no ferts, barely any water changes, and no co2. I moved to my home state of FL last year, though, and have not been able to grow anything to save my life here =/
I know the water is horrifically toxic, I'm getting 2.0 ammonia out of the tap(which I learned after my inverts all died on me
) and so I ended up getting ro from a lfs and adding some tap with conditioner to make up for the mineral loss. Usually about a gallon of tap to 5 of ro since I know the water here is hard(not scientific, I know.) Also, since my old t5hos were the throw away sort of fixtures, I replaced them with a satellite+ that the store recommended, since my bulbs were old. I still can't grow anything.
My amazon sword is growing, but not looking great, my other swords seem to be stunted, my rotala is doing nothing(I have rotundifolia and I think my mystery red plant is a rotala? Stays nice and red, but isn't growing at all either), my wisteria is alive and seems to be doing something, but not much, and any other stem plants I've tried have just sort of sat there before rotting away, same with the tiger lotus. Even my crypt wendtiis and water sprite are just kind of "there." My anubias has put on a couple new leaves, and the java moss(which was supposed to be willow.) is growing a bit, hornwort grew like a weed for a few weeks then sort of fizzled out. I've tried root tabs near the swords and the crypts, but it hasn't done anything to help.
I know my nitrates are a touch on the higher side, at about 20, which I am assuming is due to the stems not growing, but I am wondering why I can't keep anything else.
Right now I am looking into redoing it entirely, I've got half sand/half fluorite, and I'm going to be rinsing the sand out and putting some eco-complete in there in case the sand is making it harder for the roots, but what else can I try? I'm also considering upgrading to a 40 breeder(same tank size, only a bit wider) since I've got some store credit, but I'm not sure on that yet. I know if I did upgrade I'd be likely to need a second satellite for the tank(which I'm fine with) but before I spend that much money(especially if a second sat+ on the 40 wouldn't be enough) I'd like to see if I can get any input here. Any ideas that might help me determine what I'm doing wrong here that I wasn't before?