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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Just wanted to followup. It's been a tad under two weeks and here's how things stand. Firstly, the string algae has been stopped in it's tracks. The growth has been cut down dramatically and it looks like the fish and snails are slowly pruning it back further and further.

The plants haven't changed at all though. I put root tabs underneath both of them and I have dosed with liquid fertilizer but I have not noticed any new growth. I know being low light with no CO2 injection it's going to be slow, so I wasn't expecting anything to happen overnight or anything. But I would have at least thought there would be something showing by now.

Am I not giving it long enough? Or should I have seen some sign by now that they are improving? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Ah ok, and that's where the CO2 injection and high light comes into play.
 

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There are a few other things you can try: measure the GH and KH, GH to be sure you have some calcium and magnesium for the plants, and KH to see if you have any bicarbonates in the water, which would keep the pH up to around 7.0-7.6 instead of 6.0 - 6.5. None of those should prevent the plants from starting to grow, but maybe one is a problem. Also, measure the pH to see if that possibly shows something wrong with the water. And, you could use Seachem Prime to be sure you don't have chlorine or chloramine interfering with the plant growth.

Is your light fixture sitting on top of the tank? I'm assuming the tank is almost 24 inches high. If I'm right, and if the light is a foot above the tank, you might have too little light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Yes, tank is 24" deep. The light is actually about 6" above the surface of the water.
 

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Yes, tank is 24" deep. The light is actually about 6" above the surface of the water.
The distance from the water isn't important. It is the distance from the light to the lowest plants (the substrate surface) that determines the light intensity. Of course the intensity is highest at the water surface and lowest at the substrate surface, with the intensity decreasing proportional to the square of the distance from the light. That is why you can decrease the light intensity at lot by raising the light just a few inches above the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
The distance from the water isn't important. It is the distance from the light to the lowest plants (the substrate surface) that determines the light intensity. Of course the intensity is highest at the water surface and lowest at the substrate surface, with the intensity decreasing proportional to the square of the distance from the light. That is why you can decrease the light intensity at lot by raising the light just a few inches above the tank.
Ok in that case, yeah it's about 24".
 

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There are more than one Fluval LED lights that will work on that tank. The older one is probably not enough light, but the newer one may be enough. It is very hard to find good PAR data for that light. What model light do you have, and what is its wattage and/or its light output?
 

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I suspect this isn't bright enough for a 24 inch distance from the substrate, but I couldn't find data on PAR readings, so I'm not at all sure. Low light could cause just the problem you have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Well I do have the two focused 32w grow lights I bought because I thought I wasn't getting enough light to begin with. If I use those though, I risk the string algae going nuts again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Just wanted to give an update. One month in and things are looking great! I put the high powered lights back and started dosing with Flourish Excel. I'm also dosing with fertilizer and put some root tabs down under each of the plants. I removed any large amounts of string algae I found but let the fish take care of the rest. The anachris just took off and the other plant I had in there quickly put out a new leaf and there looks like a couple more growing as well. I bought a couple new plants and they seem to be doing ok so far. The string algae has stopped growing and what little that's left is being eaten. Getting a lot of algae on the walls of the tank now but that's much more preferable than the string stuff.

I'm really happy with the progress, my next step is to get some kind of carpet plant like a moss. Thanks all for your advice and help!

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