My plant/fish/equipment specs are included at the bottom of this post for your reference.
I have a fish tank that was fishless cycled correctly and have had plants and fish in it for the last 6 weeks. This is my first planted tank. I have tried to go "low tech" with the appropriate plants. Water Parameters for the last 4 weeks have been pretty consistent at pH 7.5-7.6, Ammonia 0-0.3, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, with a 5 gallon water change once per week. I am running my Finnex 24/7 light in the 24 hour day cycle simulation mode.
The fish all seem super healthy. I have two problems: the plant growth appears to have slowed quite a bit and algae has started taking over.
The plants all seemed fine within the first approximately two weeks. The Bacopa and Pennywort were both growing pretty fast and needed trimmings once a week and the wisteria quickly lost most of its leaves and grew them back (apparently normal as it adapts to the new water conditions). The Bacopa and Wisteria have pretty much stopped growing completely; the pennywort still grows, just slower and it has some poor looking leaves that get trimmed.
I have been dosing fertilizers at the following rate:
Flourish Comprehensive 1.5 mL once a week (bottle recommends 2.5 mL weekly)
Flourish Excel 1.5 mL every 3 days (bottle recommends 5 mL twice weekly)
Flourish Potassium 1 mL once a week (bottle recommends 2.9 mL every other day) (because the pennywort was getting multiple leaves with a lot of little dots)
As shown in the following pictures, within the last 3 or so weeks the algae has really taken off. The biggest problem is this short hairlike algae creating a fuzzy look that covers a lot of my plant leaves and stems, driftwood, and the background. It is by far thickest within the top 5-6 inches of the tank. I also have this really long single strand type of algae that grows up to like 5+ inches long before I manually pull it out. Those single strands are also relatively strong.
I have a couple theories that may be causing or contributing to the problem, but I would defer to more experienced input.
1. Nitrates are 0 so I am worried my plants are missing nitrogen.
2. Since algae is much worse at the top 6-inches, there might be too strong of light.
3. Fish stocking is too low for the tank.
4. My water filter is not quite powerful enough. The box says it is good for 20-50 gallons and I have a 29 gallon tank. There doesnt seem to be very much of a current on the left side of the tank (the java moss barely moves on that side).
How do you recommend I get my plants growing and the algae reduced?
Thanks for the help!
6 X-ray Tetra
7 Neon Tetra
3 Peppered Cory
1 Amano Shrimp
29 Gallon Rectangular Tank (18-inches high)
Finnex 24/7 Light
Gravel Substrate (finer grain than average gravel) @ 2-3.5-inches deep
Aquaclear 50 (HOB
) Filter (no carbon)
Hard Water (I don't know the numbers, but it is hard for sure)