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I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. Attached is photo of my 45 gal that went 7 years after setup in 2001. I recently had to dismantle it, only because the tank was threatening-- after 20 years of use-- to leak. It killed me to have to take it down.

If your plants are regressing, it could be that you are:
    • not feeding your fish enough (fishfood will replenish nutrients removed from soil by plants)
    • doing too much cleaning (i.e., changing water, etc)
    • have plants that need lots of CO2
    • your light bulbs need changing
In any case, my calculations ( my book, p. 88 ) suggest that nitrogen is a nutrient that is in excess and should not be limiting plant growth.

Yes, plant growth will slow down after the first year, but you should be able to get acceptable plant growth after that.
 

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