Originally Posted by ryann
I have the light on for 11 hours each day. I'm using flourish root tabs. The water was a little green but I think that is from when I changed gravel recently. When I stirred up the old gravel it turned the little bit of water left green and my nitrates sky rocketed. I just did a 50% water change and that cleared up mostly. I have some iron liquid fert as well that I have only used once.
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I would reduce the light duration, down to perhaps 9 hours. Also, you need some fertilizers to provide nutrients in the water column. Substrate tabs have limited benefit; they are great with substrate-rooted plants with extensive roots like swords, but stem plants benefit very little if at all since they use their leaves as well as roots, and many of them have roots in the water column anyway. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is one, another is Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. Whichever, make sure you get the product specified, as both manufacturers have several different products under their line names.
Do not use the iron fertilizer. Plants need 17 nutrients, and iron is only one of the micro-nutrients. In excess it can cause other issues for plants, and fish too, as it is a toxic heavy metal. There is sufficient iron in both products I named, and in balance with the other nutrients.
You should not have nitrates above 10ppm, and usually well below 5ppm, with plants. Do water changes to get this under control, reduce the light, add the liquid once a week the day following the water change, and you should be set.