Originally Posted by dfbiggs
Light= 30" T-8 Life-GLO 6700 Kelvin, 130 LUX, 20 Watt. Also alot of natural sunlight
Ferts= This is what I used to use and it wasn't making a different..Total Pellets (aquariumplants.com there own brand) Aqueon Plant food once a week. Then I got Flourish comprehensive and used it once but I read the label and said to buy there 5 other products to use with it and haven't don't the research to find out why I need each one of them. (like nitrogen and etc) For some plants its obvious that they are high iron but can't find good info on these.
Substrate= ActiveFlora Planted Aquarium Substrate
I assume this is the 37g in your log photos. Light is OK. Ferts is where you are missing stuff.
First, there has to be a balance; plants need 17 nutrients, and in certain proportions to each other. When this or that is too much, plants can react negatively by shutting down assimilation of other nutrients. Won't get into all the science, but the end result is that a balance of nutrients is needed to balance the light (lots of balance acts going on).
Now, your log says you have CO2 diffusion; is this true? If you do, then understand that your light and all other nutrients must be increased proportionally. I allow the fish and bacterial processes in my tanks to provide the CO2 (and it is amazing how much there is from these), thus I can minimize the light and other nutrients to keep it balanced.
Flourish Comprehensive is a stand alone liquid fertilizer intended for low-tech or natural setups. All required nutrients are included [this is the only brand I know that does have everything in it] and in proportion to the needs of the plants. It is a stand-alone fertilizer. Once or twice a week is all you dose. This would balance your light. But your CO2 is raising the level.
I would suggest removing the CO2; from what you have in this tank, you don't need it in my view. Unless it is there for lowering the pH? If you do remove it, Flourish Comp will suffice, nothing else. [By the way, the other brands mentioned are not as good. Other members here have tried some of them, not had good plant growth, switched for Flourish and the plants improved dramatically.]
If you retain the CO2, then the other nutrients will need to be increased. This is where you get into all the other products, or as many high-tech planted tank aquarists do, use powdered nutrients. This takes some experimenting to balance, in order to avoid too much of this and insufficient of that, because that will not allow plants to grow. That balance again is critical. I am not a fan of this method, I think it is dangerous and unnecessary, so I am not the one to advise further.
We all know Takashi Amano's tanks. High-tech indeed. CO2 and mega light. And to balance, significant fertilization every day with all sorts of concoctions (he has his own brands). Very expensive and high maintenance, because major water changes are needed to flush out the excess nutrients. I am not a fan of this method for obvious reasons.
Last comment, I do not recommend dosing with iron on its own; this is a toxic metal, lethal to fish and plants. Same with copper, manganese, nickel, etc. Flourish has these nutrients obviously but in minimal quantity sufficient in balance. Adding more of any one of them is not recommended by me. And their aim to sell their products and encouraging you to use the other individual nutrients is geared to high-tech. It should never be used in other setups.