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I don't have fancy lights, I have one of those daylight spectrum led floodlights on my 55 gallon.

I'm using Zorfox for my macros and micros and I dose 1x a week. I can't keep up with anymore than that.

I have 11 Serpae tetra, a male and female common bristlenose plecos, a male and female Guianacara stergoisi and one of their fry (1") and that's it.

Sand substrate with Malaysian trumpet snails. Osmocote plus capsules and PPS-Pro but calculated for a dose of 1x a week, as mentioned before.

No CO2. I'm not going to mess with any forms of it.

I have two Aquaclear 70's, 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and I do a 50% water change every couple of weeks.

What can I tweak?
 

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I would get 2 of those lights on a 55 galon, dose daily and doe 50% waterchange weekly.
Put in some fast growing stems in the back
 

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It sounds like you want a planted tank without all of the work that goes into a planted tank.

Your options are pretty limited... your easiest option would be to lower the amount of light on your tank, and change to very slow growing, undemanding plants. You can look at plants like Java Fern, most Crypt species, Buce, Anubias, and mosses. If you don't want to reduce your lighting, you can add floating plants to reduce the amount of light getting to your tank. Plants like Frogbit, Dwarf Water Lettuce, and Duckweed will work for you.

Just keep in mind that your lighting is like the gas pedal on your car. Assuming your car is running, the gas pedal will make it go faster. If you have crappy brakes (spotty fertilization), no power steering (no CO2), and blown shocks (sporadic water changes), then you should expect to crash your car. However, even with crappy brakes, no power steering, and blown shocks, you can make it from A to B without crashing if you drive slowly and pay attention to the road 😃.

The type of plants you're trying to grow is like the road you're trying to drive. Even a 14 year old can drive a crappy car in an abandoned parking lot, but give a Nascar driver a crappy car and tell him to drive at 120mph through city traffic, and he's probably going to wreck.
 

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Like a dearly departed friend of mine used to say, "Algae is like pimples on a teenager"

Doesn't matter what type of planted tank, you will have to deal with algae eventually. Since you do not want to use CO2, do 50% water changes every other day and increase aeration in the tank. Raise the light by 6-8 inches. keep up with the water changes till the algae disappears and then you can go back to weekly water changes.

Do not add any fertilizer till the algae is gone.
 

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There has been a lot of advice given already, some contradicting other but I want to touch on another subject and want to share my experience.

What I want to talk about is Osmocote. In the past I had my tank setup with sand alone and used to plug Osmocote into the sand once in a while. Like you I was constantly having algae issues and poor plant growth despite adding CO2 later. At some point I decided to rebuild the tank and make it dirted. After pulling all the plants I started removing the sand bed, and that's when I realized something. My sand bed was packed with Osmocote, there was a crazy amount of it. The problem is that since Osmocote is a very slow release fertilizer it is very easy to overdose it because Osmocote last 6+ months in your substrate.
 

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When someone mentions "algae issue", in my opinion the 1st question should be how many hours per day do you keep your light on? I saw someone mention amount of light but I think the key is "duration".

I initially had an algae issue in the beginning of setting my 30 gallon planted tank last year. Based on research, the solution was simple. I had my LED system ON too many hours / day. After reducing the duration of the LED lights to around 8-9 hours / day, I was able to get the algae under control without anything else.

I have low-tech plants including Anubias, Java Ferns, Taiwan Moss, Red Crypts and a few others that have begun to flourish these past few months.

So again, without trying anything else, first see if the duration of light is too long. I put my system on a timer for 8-9 hours / day max.


I use Seachem products for fertilization. I use Seachem Excel daily, Seachem Flourish and Flourish Advance twice per week.


Just a thought.

Take care.
 
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