Hi, I am very new to planted tanks and could use some help. I have a 20g high tank that was once all plastic that I am trying to convert to a low tech planted tank. I wanted to start simple with low-light plants that do not require CO2
. Since the substrate is medium/large gravel, I am starting just with column feeders. The only light I had to start was what came with the tank (Marina 20g high LED
tank). I can't find any specs about how much light it provides, but suffice it say it is very little, for plants at least.
Approx 4-5 months ago, I added the following:
Java moss, tethered to driftwood
From Petsmart, TopFin tube plants:
Windlove Java fern
Malaysian Red Java fern
El Nino fern
African Water fern
Before adding to my main tank, I gave all a bleach dip and quarantined for ~4 weeks in my quarantine tank, without any light.
My java moss and Anubias nana were growing like gangbusters, but all the others not so much. So, I upgraded to a stronger light, Finnex Stringray 2, which at the base of the tank provides ~75 PAR. My poor Anubias starting turning yellow and wilting immediately, I moved it back to the quarantine tank to recover and appears to have gotten back on track there.
My Bacopa, as far as I can tell, hasn't done a thing. I tried it floating at first, then 3 weeks ago I planted it in the gravel with a root tab underneath.
All the other ferns, and this has been true since establishment, are propagating new plantlets like gangbusters but won't themselves grow. Once the new plantlets were big enough, I would detach and then glue to a rock, gravel, etc. These new plantlets are growing long roots but the stems and leaves aren't growing at all following detachment, as far as I can tell, or if so only at a glacial pace. So I've stopped at this point doing anything with them, and let them detach on their own and just float around the tank. All my plants also develop brown spots/patches, which do not at all look to be algae, and are too numerous to be new plantlets starting.
So I just switched back to the original tank light, thinking the Stingray might be too strong. I had spent the last 2 months tinkering with various amounts of light, by occluding the light with tape or parchment paper, with no discernible effect, giving each change at least a couple weeks I'd say.
I fertilize once a week with Flourish, right after my weekly PWE. I currently have the tank stocked with 6 neon tetras, 4 cory cats, and a honey gourami. Water parameters are always very stable, 0/0/5, pH 8, Temp 76F.
Any thoughts/suggestions would be welcomed.