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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a new 20 gal. tank that has been set up for about 2 months. I have not put in any special lighting - just the lights that came with the hood. I use Seachem Excel and Flourish for the plans. I have no interest in going high-tech at this point.

My plants look very healthy and everything is growing nicely. I am dosing the tank with 2 capsful of the Excel every day and a small amount of Flourish. (I just kept adjusting upward until I got good growth and no holes or soft spots in the leaves.

I have a lot of plants and would like to add a few more. I'm still working on the aquascaping. But I'm wondering how far I can go without adding CO2 or more lighting. I am careful not to add any plants that require high lighting or that are particularly hard to grow. Is there a limit to the amount of plants if I stick to relatively hardy species?

This is not the greatest picture, but it gives an idea about the number of plants.
 

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You can always add more plants, or if the ones you have are growing a little too well, you can trim the stems and replant.

The situation changes if some of the plants you have start shading out the lower/shorter ones that need higher light levels. Sometimes it's good to do little re-scapes to move, or add lower light loving plants to take advantage of the shading caused by the overhead plants.
 

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You can easily double the amount of plants you have now. Once your stem plants reach the surface, trim and replant.

2 caps (10ml) of Excel sounds like a lot. I belive Seachem's recommendation is 1ml per 10gl. But if it works for you, it work for you ☺
 

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I'd say add more plants. But you will need to add more ferts. Low light situations have never worked well for me. I always ended up with algae issues. Higher light makes your plants eat more ferts so the algae get's starved out more. Many low light plants grow fine in higher light. I wish there were a perfect formula; this amount of plants, to that amount of ferts and light = low algae growth and high plant growth. Unfortunately, everyone's tank is different. So you have to adjust as you go. Add more plants, maybe don't change ferts until you start to see them suffer a little, then add a little more ferts to green them up yet keep algae to a minimum. ADjust, adjust. More plants, more ferts, more light, is my motto. Even if the plants are low light plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I do have some stem plants that need to be trimmed and replanted. I also want to add more of the foreground plants.
The dosing on the excel is 5 ml per 10 gallons, so I'm going about double on that. But the plants look happier and the fish and shrimp seem none the worse for it. I'm going more than double on the flourish, but I went up very gradually based upon how the plants looked and were growing. I've been very lucky with the algae - no visible algae at all so far. (knock on wood) We'll see if that changes as I gradually add more plants.
I'll keep an eye on whether the taller plants start shading the lower ones. I hadn't been thinking about that as a potential problem. Not an issue now, but could become one.
 

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Flourish Comprehensive is mostly trace minerals. Fish and shrimp food has trace minerals. Definitely do not overdose. Traces are needed in very small amounts, and are toxic in larger amounts. I would use a potassium and iron supplement (Fish food is low in these minerals), perhaps Leaf Zone, if you want a liquid.

You could easily double the amount of mid-sized plants, triple the littlest ones. I would not add more Swords (the big one).
As suggested above, stem plants can be trimmed, and the trimmings replanted. This would work well in this tank.
Generally plants tend to look better in larger masses of one plant, rather than just a couple of stems each of a dozen species.
 

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This is a 20 long with a lot of plants, no dosing and a FugeRay LED. I used Fourish Excel and Flourish Comprehensive, along with a couple of root tabs when I first set it up about a year ago. I had major issues with some hair algae, which seemed to be concentrated on my cyperus helferi. So I stopped all dosing and ripped out most of the c. helferi (replaced it with hygro angustifolia) about 6-7 months ago. Have not dosed since and tank has done very well with no further algae issues. Substrate is Caribsea Instant Aquarium sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Beautiful! Thanks. This is exactly what I was wondering. I'm obviously at the beginning stages of figuring out how to arrange the plants. Clearly the answer to my question is that I can add a LOT more without going high tech. This morning, I took out one plant that did not fit with the others, grouped the crypts together and trimmed and replanted one of the stem plants. It's looking better.
 

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2 caps is 10ml of excel for 20 gallons. It is an overdose though I doubt it would do any harm (if you had sensitive plants like moss then you could get burns) but with the plants he has I think he fine.

I have a 30 UK Gallons (38 US gallon) tank where I use to dose 30 ml of excel a day. All the plants and shrimp were fine. Only my weeping moss was effected (though my Taiwan and Spiky moss had no issues).

Sent from my D2303 using Tapatalk
 

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2(5ml) caps on the First day after a water change, 1ml after until next water change. If you got the money to blow on Excel go for it by why overdose so heavily when it's not needed?

Again 2 caps is 10ml of excel for a 20 gallon the day after you do a water change. 1 cap after will treat up to 50 gallons.

Source: Seachem's Website
 
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