OK, so my planted tank is causing me frustration, I thought I'd ask here about it...
I have a 30 gal community tank. It's planted with 1 medium sized amazon sword, a big clump of java fern tied to driftwood, a couple water sprites, and a big clump of java moss tied to a plastic decoration.
Hardware is as follows: Aquaclear 50 Power Filter. Cheapo hood DIY modified with an AH supply kit and a 55W GE 9325K bulb as per Rex's guide. Medium-sized plain gravel substrate. Tank temperature kept ~78 degrees. I dose weekly with a liquid fertilizer called "Leaf Zone." I was running lights 10hrs each day but I turned it down to 9hrs because algae was taking over. No direct sunlight.
Fish are 2 pearl gouramis, 3 green swordtails, 2 bosmani rainbows, 6 otos. Fish are all very well established, gouramis have been in there since October, Swordtails were born in the tank an are now about full grown, everybody is getting along nicely. Water quality is good.
My plants, however, refuse to thrive. All of them have mostly died off, with algae growing on most of the browning leaves. All of them do have fresh sprouts that have grown a few inches, but those tend to die off and be replaced with new small sprouts. My Java moss is doing ok, but even it has a bit of brown in places.
What am I missing here? All of the plants have been in the tank at least 4 months. Am I not using the correct type/quantity of fertilizer? I've heard of "fertilizer tabs" that go in the substrate, but I've never found them in a LFS. And those won't help my java fern on the driftwood. Should I do something about the substrate, maybe buy some eco-complete? I'm moving in a couple of weeks, so if I'm going to do a substrate change now is the time.
Any advice is appreciated.