Hi everyone, I have a 20 gallon planted aquarium that has been up and running for a little over 3 months. I have multiple species of plants in a fluorite substrate under a stock full spectrum fluorescent tube. Here is the tank (take note of the huge mass of algae collecting on the moneywort on the left of the filter piece): 20120427_182615.jpg
So far the only plants that seem to be doing OK are the moneywort and red ludwigia. By OK I mean that they are growing and propagating, albeit slowly. Doing most poorly is the water sprite and micro sword. Both started off looking like this: 20120129_222830.jpg
So both looked much, much better. In three months, the water sprite has almost entirely melted away while the micro sword has slowly disappeared as well. The other day during a water change I took a picture of the roots of the water sprite. New shoots do appear (you can see one here) however the roots are so dead they seem not to last very long. Here is the picture I took: 20120428_182629.jpg
You can see the brown nothingness that the roots have been reduced to. Why has this happened? Possibly because I do not add fertilizers to the water and they are not anchored? Then how would the lack of growth of the micro sword be explained? Insufficient lighting?
These are my main issues. I am wondering if kicking up the lighting would improve the situation. Possibly adding a non stock 6500K or 6700K tube. I have posted in other threads with much less detail and so wanted to elaborate here.
On a related note, I have had an algae bloom get pretty bad lately. There seems to be brown algae forming all over the plant leaves and green algae, including the stringy type, on the moneywort. I am wondering how this could be related. I do not dose ferts yet but I will start when I have access to a store. Something else that should be noted is the hardness of my water. Tap is 25 dGH but I was using an API water softening pillow to bring it around 10-15. Not sure if I continue using it and fluctuating the water or if I should let it go which may be harmful to the fish (7 serpaes, 2 otos).
Here is a picture of all the algae: 20120430_144830.jpg
It is worse on some of the moneywort. If brown algae hasn't covered a leaf, then thick green algae has. I have undertaken some measures to remove the algae from the plants like manually scraping and adding 3 Otocinclus' one of which can be seen in the background of the last picture. If you look to the top left of the picture, you can see some of the green algae on the moneywort.
Any suggestions, ideas or thoughts in general would be appreciated. Thank you.