Java Ferns continue to struggle
Over the past year and half I've really had a difficult time with plants in my aquarium. For the first year my plants did very well, and then things gradually got worse. Just over a year ago I posted this:
By last summer all of my swords have died along with the Anubias. I only have the Java Fern left, although I do have Water Sprite that does well.
I use about 2mL of Flourish comprehensive once a week.
I used a 6500K bulb up until maybe 7 months ago. I could not stop algae with that bulb, so I'm using an Aqua-Glo 18000K bulb. Just to be clear: for the first year of my tank I used this same bulb without noticeable problems. Switching to the 6500K bulb in my tank seemed to offer no benefit in plant growth but significant difficulty in controlling algae. As we know though, controlled experiments are difficult.
One modification I did try last year was adding some potash (potassium) to the tank. I didn't notice any difference. (However a few weeks after I used potash, all of my MTS mysteriously died within a few days - I'll leave that for a different story and hopefully not related to this discussion).
So I'm close to not being left any plants, with only the struggling JF left. I wouldn't say they have prodigious roots and I haven't seen any new leaves/stems for a few months.
Is there anything else worth trying, other than using the Flourish twice a week?
Water testing seems OK
KH 90 ppm
GH 107 ppm
The light should have helped the algae because the Aqua-Glo is almost half the intensity of the Daylight tubes (like Life-Glo) which are what I use. However, the down side is that it will not be sufficient for the other plants like the swords. And from your post, this seems to be the case.
If memory serves me, when we were talking several months back you were using or intended using Equilibrium. As your GH is around 6 dGH and knowing our tap water here (Vancouver area) is near zero GH, I assume you are using this?
I have experimented with Florish Comprehensive over a 3-year period and found that with our soft water a twice weekly dose is necessary. This too is probably part of your problem. I even went to three doses each week for a few months, and that made a difference, but I started having brush algae so I cut back to twice weekly. Balancing with the light is essential.
The other thing that concerns me in Van is the water now that they are adding soda ash (= sodium carbonate) and now calcium hydroxide [lime] and carbon dioxide. The soda ash has been going in since 2001 and that didn't seem to have any effect on fish or plants. But since the lime began last year, I have been noticing changes and just wonder if this may be related. I have to pursue this with some botanists.
That's right, I had forgotten about the Equilibrium. I did buy some and use it. It took very little to raise the dKH and dGH to 6. I only used it a couple of times and the hardness has been fine since. I measured it again just last week.
I didn't swap out the light until the swords were gone. But while I was using the daylight bulb, I had to knock the ON time down to about 8 hrs. Even then I was getting algae so eventually I swapped out for the aqua-glo. The JF were reaching the top of the water, so that the tops were getting way too much light intensity (intensity vs distance squared). I guess a nutrient imbalance also plays a part but there's only so much we can do.
I'll ramp up the Flourish.
Vancouver water is weird. My neighbour has an aquarium and her tap water has a pH of around 6. Mine is 7.2. I'm not sure why we see a difference, other than if our testing kits are off.
Edit: It occurred to me overnight that a house filter might cause this too.
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