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The first thing you should is decide what you want this tank to be. You've got some low light slow growers like swords/crypts/ferns that need very, very little light (or anything else). Then you have some stem plants that would like more of everything.......light, CO2, nutrients. They likely won't do well with zero NO3 and no CO2, and just dosing micros with Flourish is not helping them much at all. If I were you I would take some to learn more about macro nutrients and why plants need them.

As to light it's hard to say what kind of PAR you have there. Both too much and too little light in relation to plant needs can be a problem. The low light plants will not do well in too high of light, and the stem plants will do poorly with too little light. So again you really need to decide what it is you want out of this tank then set things up to accomplish that goal.

In general if you are going to want to grow more stems then CO2 is well worth the investment. If you are going to stick with beginner plants like the crypts/swords/ferts you don't need it. Your filter and aquasoil are not your problem, and adding SAE's won't cure them.

Have you seen tanks that are successful in a style that you have in mind? If not, seek some out. Studying the methods of those who demonstrate success is easily the fastest way to a healthy happy tank.

And for goodness sakes doing nothing is not a good option. What you are doing is not working. Those stems aren't going to suddenly get super healthy because you ignored them. A healthy balanced tank should not have a hair algae problem like that, and waiting and hoping it gets better is not much of a strategy.

It seems like you want to improve, but keep in mind there is a learning curve in this hobby. It takes time to fully understand how to keep a balanced tank.

A good place to start might be to spend some time on the 2hr Aquarist website. It will help build your foundation of knowledge which will help you grow in the hobby. Good luck to you and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.

2hr Aquarist
 

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People are really doubling down on this notion that I said 'do nothing' lol.

Interestingly if you do follow the 2hr aquarist. Read the article on 'Algae and Tank maturity'.
Where it is said that "Green dust algae and filamentous algae are also common in immature tanks." and
"The first step is to not panic and do dramatic changes that will shake up the system any more."

I think its pretty clear that I never said 'do nothing' and my comments pretty much echo that of the 2hr aquarist blog.

I'm gonna step aside anyway. All this straw man getting thrown around is giving me hay fever. 馃槃

Take care all.
I understand some of what you are saying. Yes tank stability is important. I am a huge advocate for that. Plants do not like sudden change. And yes tank maturity is important as well. No way to get there other than time.

However if things are really going poorly, then something is clearly off. If stems are starving for CO2 and macro nutrients, waiting it out is not likely to bring better results. Same if maintenance is lacking, or if light levels are well off for the mix of plants.

In this case the OP is a beginner. He really needs to take a step back, reassess things, gain more knowledge, then set out to implement a plan that is likely to provide good results. I know the 2hr Aquarist pretty well, and have discussed all of these topics with him many times over the years. I can't speak for Xiaozhuang, but I highly doubt he would advise to keep starving plants and hope for the best.

And it does seem like you are walking it back a bit. Earlier you said......

In my absolutely honest opinion, just go with this. Keep up with maintenance, keep up with a holistic approach to algae control, remove as much as possible with a tooth brush or something. Cut off leaves or remove plants that are dying. Find ideal light intensity/cycle. Etc etc. Eventually the tank will balance itself.
In all fairness, saying "Just go with this" seems very much to imply that he shouldn't change anything. Just cut off dying parts of plants and wait. The tank will balance itself.

In my opinion that is very unlikely to work. More likely is months and years of frustration. Just having a mature tank is not enough for success. You also need to provide what the plants need for optimal growth. And to do so means gaining knowledge and understanding of what makes successful tanks successful. It's well worth taking the time to learn more.
 

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Thanks all for the replies! Someone said that i need to decide what i want out of the tank and I've been thinking about that a bit. Given that there's spot algae on the anubias meaning there's too much light for it, I'm thinking about going back to the stock light from the beginner kit and just trying to starve the algae of light, and seeing what plants survive and going from there. I want a nice tank, but if I'm honest i don't want a huge big project, and if i can have a nice low tech low light setup with anubias, Java fern, and some crypts (and no algae), I'd be happy. When i set the tank up i thought i needed a better light to grow any plants at all so i bought the one I'm using now but i think it might just be way over kill for what I'm capable of at the minute.

Again thanks to all for the input
Probably a good choice. The Anubia/Ferns/Crypts need very, very little light. Growth will be slow but clean. When you start adding stems everything changes and it does become more of a big project. And it's not for everyone. Takes a good deal of time, thought, and dedication.

Good luck and I hope things go better for you now.
 
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