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Discussion Starter #1
This is my lighting set-up for a 38 Gallon tank (3' Long, 1'deep, and 19.5' high).


  • Nova Extreme HO T5 lighting (2 x 39w) + Basic fixture that came w/tank (1 x 25w) = 103w (2.7 w/g)

I have a Red Sea Co2 set up, similar to DIY. Until yesterday, I've only used
Sera Florena liquid fert (mostly for iron). I have a Flourite substrate.

Most of plants either stay the same size or slowly get smaller. They don't just die, but they almost never grow, or if they grow, they grow VERY slowly. I have a moderate algea problem that seems to have stabilized and isn't getting much worse. I just started adding Excel yesterday.

I'd like to see some plant growth in my tank and am planning to upgrade my plantscape. Someone suggested I have too much light, while I've been concerned that perhaps I don't have enough for a tank almost 20" deep.

Do you think that I have too much or too little lighting for this tank?
Or do you think I should be looking at CO2, substrate, or Ferts as the cause of my inability to generate any growth in the tank.

More info on my set-up here.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Do you think that I have too much or too little lighting for this tank?
.......
More info on my set-up here.
The more I read on this site, the more inclined I am to believe that I've got too much light. Lacking alternative advice, I think I'll try and turn down my lighting a noch (turn off the 25w fixture).
 

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I have slow growth and algae problems..... I increased c02 and changed fert as plants showed defficientcy signs. I think your lights are okay but you should look up on ferts. With higher light amount of nutrients required increases. Needs to look up on all Macro, Micro nutrients and trace elements, etc..

I am not sure if i am entirely right but i hope this helps:red_mouth
 

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To grow plants you need light and nutrients. You have plenty, if not too much light. But, you don't have a complete menu of nutrients. You need to be dosing nitrates, phosphates, potassium and trace elements, but you are apparently only dosing trace elements. You also need to provide an adequate supply of carbon, the single most important nutrient. DIY or RedSea CO2 will not be adequate for that size tank, with that much light, nor will Excel be adequate. You need a pressurized CO2 system, and a good method for diffusing the CO2 into the water.

I suggest you start by looking for a pressurized CO2 system that you can afford. You can get a very good one by buying a used regulator from Ebay, and assembling your own system. Or, you can often find a used system at a good price either in the swap n shop forum here, or on Craigslist. And, you can get by with a cheap Milwaukee, Azoo, or JBJ system. Look for the CO2 tank at a local place where you will be getting the tank refilled.

Then, read up on the Estimative Index method for fertilizing in the fertilizing forum here.

Finally, consider raising the 2 x 39 watt light fixture about 4-6 inches above the tank to reduce the light intensity, so the plants won't need as much CO2 and nutrients to grow well.
 

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Now that you've started dosing Excel things should improve. But CO2 would definitely help get the tank more stable.

You've got too much light to not add extra carbon (Excel and/or CO2) to the tank, which is why you're getting more algae than plant growth.

Excel is not only a carbon source but also pretty effective at inhibiting/outright killing many algaes.
 
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