Originally Posted by Synthisis
Yea when I figure my 1" fish per gallon I figure in the fish's grown size... just so I dont overstock down the road.
Alright, the fixture says BONNIE on it... I think thats the QC tester lol.
30" 120v 20w 60hz
17w Aquarium Lamp
Made in Germany -.... ,..... CE
Now we've something to go from. Your fixture is a good one, in my view. I had to replace two 48-inch fixtures this year and I bought the All Glass ones, well made from what I can see. The tubes that come with them are less than ideal, although workable. I can see now why your tank is slightly bluish, the tube is probably their 8000K spectrum tube; the higher Kelvin number indicates an emphasis in the blue colour (a lower number is more red, with 6500K about equal to the mid-day sun). This tube will work, but like all tubes it will need replacing every 12 months; the intensity of light diminishes rapidly.
Going back through this thread, I'll pick out a few things. Light on for 11 hours is fine, you could increase it to 12 (if you have a timer that's great, it keeps the same daily schedule which is preferred). You do mention getting a new tube, so here are my recommendations. Hagen/Nutrafin's Life-Glo or Life-Glo 2 which is the same light but slightly less intensity (and therefore cheaper to buy if you're counting pennies). My personal choice on any tank with one tube is the Life-Glo. It has peaks in the blue and red but also green to provide natural appearance and it is considerably more intense (bright) light than what you now have. A comparable tube is Zoo Med's Ultra-Sun. Another is Phillips or Sylvania's Daylight Deluxe (the Sylvania has a different name, forgotten now). These latter you can buy at places like Home Depot for much less, although I don't know if they have every size. You will want the size that fits your fixture so that length (the tube) is all you need to know; the wattages are standard.
Fertilizers: Flourish root tabs are fine, one (only) next to each sword. While crypts do like root feeding, I wouldn't put one there because these are slow growing plants and thinking again of balance, the light and CO2 are probably not intense enough for root fertilization for the crypt.
API Leaf Zone I have not used myself, and in checking their website it doesn't tell me much except that it contains chelated iron and potassium. I'd like to know if other nutrients are included, because if not this is of little practical value. As evidence, the yellowing leaves on the sword is a sign of nutrient deficiency, and obviously not iron in this case, so something is missing. Going with what I have/do use and thus can recommend, I would use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. My second choice is Kent Freshwater Supplement. Both in my experience work very well. Once a week for liquid should be sufficient to balance the light; there is also the minerals (if any) in the tap water and fish food, so there is a bit of experimenting with this. There is no hard rule as to what works because there are so many variables from aquarium to aquarium.
CO2 from the fish will probably be sufficient with the above. I would stop using the Excel, and monitor the plant growth for 2-3 weeks. Don't hesitate to post a photo or two here for advice if you think the plants are not quite right.
Water changes were mentioned, and I agree, at a minimum 40% every week, 50% won't hurt. One can read that water changes are not so critical in planted aquaria and can be all but dispensed with, and there is some truth in that. But, it means very heavily planted tanks with fewer fish than any of us are likely to want in the tank. So keep up with the pwc, the fish will thank you.
If other questions occur to you, ask away.