I didn't know which sub-forum would be best considering the range of problems I'm seeing. Oh boy.
After a strong start I've noticed that the original plants I put in the tank have significantly slowed or stopped growing. There was excellent growth for about 3 weeks, then everything stopped and now a little BBA & staghorn algae has started to creep in. This has been going on for about a week now.
Around that same time I started to see my cherry shrimp die off, a couple every day. They were brought in the same time as the plants. Could be coincidence. Fish are doing fine.
Tank: 40 breeder
Light: Finnex Planted +, 2 bulb T-5NO, both running 7 hr/day
Substrate: Eco-complete capped with pool filter sand, driftwood decor
Plants: wisteria, crypt, java fern, anubias, dwarf sag, staurogyne repens, ludwigia repens, flame moss
Dosing: Excel daily, Flourish weekly, potassium chloride dosed to 10 ppm weekly, Po4 whenever it tests <1
Routine: ~3 gallons tap water top off weekly, no water changes yet as I was shooting for a low maintenance setup
PH = 8.2
KH = 16
GH = 20 (360 ppm)
Po4 = 1 ppm
No3 = 20-40 ppm (tough to tell with API kit)
I knew our water was hard, but I didn't know it was that bad. Wow. The tap tests at around 30 ppm No3, so I guess that's why I've never had to dose it.
My plan over the next few weeks is water changes with RO that I can get in town, and top off with RO during the week. I can understand the shrimp deaths now, given my horrible water conditions, but is there anything that explains the stunted plant growth?
Thanks for reading through this mess.
I can take criticism, so give it to me straight.