Hi Planted Tank members!
This is my first time on this forum - I have an issue with my tank that is niggling at me so I thought I'd come here for some advice.
Both myself and my brother keep aquarium tanks - I have concerntrated on discus with great success, and he has been more into plants, also to great success.
In the last couple of months I converted my tank to be more plant-friendly. Previously it had sand for substrate and low lighting. But after helping my brother with his tank and seeing how well his plants were growing (like seriously rapid!) I figured I could do the same. So I opted for the same fertilised substrate as he used - Tetra CompleteSubstrate - with the same sort of thickness, and a similar gravel over the top.
In terms of lighting, our tanks differ. He is using 2 x T5 daylights (about 6mnths old) in a Juwel Rio 180. I am on 2 x T8 30W Daylight + UV light (I think it's UV, its a reddish colour) (about 3wks old).
As for tank sizes, his is 180L, mine is 200L. Although mine goes deeper than his.
We both use RO water from the same system, but we add our chemicals slightly differently, mine is:
Tropic Marin Pro-Discus minerals & Trace elements (for gH)
API proper pH 8.2 (don't freak out - only a small amount to raise kH to 2-3!)
JBL Ferropol weekly fertiliser
JBL Ferropol 24 daily fertiliser
I also run a CO2 injection system on a timer
My pH is 6.5, kH 2-3, gH 10, Nitrates <15ppm, temp 27degC
He is using:
Tropic Marins Re-Mineral Tropic
Also has a CO2 injection system, not on a timer
His pH is 7, not sure on kH & gH but i'd guess slightly higher kH than mine, Nitrates will also be low, temp 25-26degC
Some other information that might be relevant - we both run our lights for about 10hrs, I run 2 x external filters, he has just 1, both use air pumps, both have similar plants (half of mine came from his tank!)...we do most things the same really, we just vary slightly on equipment and water softness.
So my question to you guys/girls is - how is it that his plants are growing like crazy, but mine barely get by?
Like seriously, every couple of weeks he throws/gives away clumps of cabomba's and valis, he has a meaty amazon sword that has grown the height and depth of the tank, and his plants are all ridiculously green -it's almost blinding!
In contrast - my cabomba's look thin and are a yellowy/lighter green in comparison, the valis leaves are going transparent, and some of the longer leaves that stretch across the top of the tank are a dark brown/red colour. Any new plants I introduce seem to go from a nice green to a pale, week green. I exaggerate a bit, they're not quite as bad as it sounds, and they do have some growth, particularly on the roots. But in comparison to his tank its pretty crap.
Do you think I should change my lights to T5's? Or is it maybe to do with my pH/kH? FYI I can't really change these.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!