Woohoo i might finally get some foreground plants to thrive
If you don't enjoy reading about plants you should maybe skip this post. Not a fish will be mentioned.
For a while now i have struggled to make foreground plants do any more than die off slowly in my tanks. Narrow leaf chain sword (NLCS) is the only foreground plant that has ever done anything, but it was not growing like a foreground plant should more like a tall midground plant under T8 lights. My latest tank is giving me positive signs though. I have a normal output T5 over a 14' tall tank and it's showing signs that it will grow me a nice foreground. The NLCS i put into the tank has so far stayed about 5cm tall and the runners are growing new plantlets about 2cm from the mother plants (as opposed to 12cm between runner and mother under T8's). I tore the remnants of my Pygmy chain sword out of the 20g where it has gradually died off to see what it does under this lighting. No runners yet but the two plantlets i had left have become fairly bushy in a week and i am confident it will give me some runners after 9 months of gradually dieing in my tanks.
I also have some dwarf hair grass in a Betta tank that is filling in since i upgraded the light bulb last month (from 12w to 20w CFL). Maybe i can start transferring some elsewhere soon. It's possibly a little bright for the 5g tank though since i'm getting a lot of green hair algae too. I will start dosing fertilizer in this tank soon.
I am in the process of acquiring soluble dry ferts i can mix to add to my tanks since my background plants are growing dense rather than tall. In Australia this is a much more arduous task than just ordering a pack from Green leaf industries (who won't ship to Aus as far as i know). We have 5 nurseries and garden centres where i live and after visiting each of them i found i was still not able to find soluble KNO3, or KH2PO4. I found the KNO3 on ebay but am still searching for a source of KH2PO4. Hopefully i can sort all this out soon and get my background to grow a bit quicker. I think nutrients are the limiting factor for the stem plants at the moment.