Last week saw that some of my barbs were often going to the surface- even when no food on offer. That they tended to just hang in the water. Filter needed cleaning again- seems to clog easy- I cut the last piece of filter material off the plastic backing to clean out old carbon particles, and just set it loose back in the box. Flows better now. But while doing that, turned on little sponge filter again. The fish immediately perked up. They've stayed active all this time, and I haven't noticed any negative effects on the plants so decided to keep it on. Until I learn otherwise.
I'm confused about iron supplement. Thought my Java Ferns look awful for lack of iron? Went off today and bought some Leaf Zone. But then realized the micros I give have iron in them- even more than the Leaf Zone does. So maybe the Javas are really just withdrawing from their old leaves and putting energy into new ones- because I see bright green baby leaves unfolding. I dread that soon they too will turn awful mottled colors but crossing my fingers they stay ok this time.
And learned recently I'm supposed to dose macros and micros on different days- because something in the macros makes iron less usable for the plants. That could be why my plants seem a bit deficient still? (the crypts once again lacking the lovely reddish color underneath). I think I'll try that this week- dose the micros on sat or sun. I thought this wouldn't matter since I'm doing low dose (1/3 the norm) for a low-tech tank (no CO2) but maybe I'm wrong
One thing I think I did do right- swapping the light back. I had low ferts doses with med light (because I mistakenly thought my light was low) and was told to up the ferts dose to match the growth light is triggering, or go proper low-tech (nutrient rich substrate, minimal to no ferts added) instead. I haven't been able to do that yet (the rich substrates can be expensive and I'm not sure which cheap option would be best- they all have pros and cons)- so I cut the light back and kept my dosing same. (Excuse if I'm repeating myself here- it's been a year with this tank and I'm still trying to figure it all out!)
I added root tabs today also (a day before maintenance, because they dissolve fast and then water surface looks dusty- figured the water change next day will clean some of that out after most has settled.)
Trying for pics of the good baby java leaves- this one is still looking more or less okay, and there's a new baby leaf bottom left corner:
More new leaves coming up on in rear of the log- so I took a pic from the back- angled thru short side of the tank- can see a few bright contrast to the dying off stuff: