First post on here. I've had my 29 gallon tank for about a year now and have been loving growing plants but always struggled with algae and carpeting plants. I recently moved and decided it would be best to clean out the tank and start over with the move instead of trying to fight the algae. So far my new set up seems much better balanced than what I had before. It has been about a month now with the new set up and it is going great other one things I cannot seem to figure out:
Carpeting plants - Every carpeting plant I have tried (Dwarf Hair Grass, Monte Carlo, Repens) has ended with the plant dying and me giving up on carpet plants for a few months until I try again with the same result. I have a drop checker showing a good color and light for 7 hours a day (1 6500k light LINK REMOVED).
I gave dwarf hairgrass another try and it doesn't seem to be going well as the plant is turning yellowish orange about 3 weeks in as seen below and some of them are fully dying off.
My water parameters are as follows:
Temp - 78 F
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 60 ppm (Is not usually this high recent spike in the last 2 days)
Hardness - 300ppm (Trying to lower this. Tap water is very hard in Southern California)
KH - 120ppm
PH - about 7
Can anyone help me see something wrong with what I am doing or any adjustments I should make.
Also bonus points if you can help me identify the tiny fish in the second picture. 4 of them snuck in on a plant when they were tiny and I don't know what they are.