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Rebuilt tank questions...

When I came back from vacation, I found my tank had crashed.  I lost 1/3
of my fish and 3/4 of my plants.  I have gone through and cleaned the
tank out completely.  I salvaged what I could of the remaining healthy
plants.  I cleaned off the substrate to remove as much rotting
vegetation as possible. I took this opportunity to add in some more
substrate as I was lacking in that department - only had 2".

I have replanted everything, including buying a couple more plants to
give some variety to the tank.  

Our well water has an unpleasantly high amount of iron and is naturally
soft/acidic so we have a filtration system here that includes a water
softener.  The water coming out of our tap right now is GH0/KH0 and is
acidic (below 6 at least).  In the near future the acidic nature of the
water will be fixed.  We have tried multiple solutions, but it looks
like we will have to go to an injection system to deal with the pH as
the various passive systems we have tried just don't work.

I went through and re-verified the water chemistry of my tank since I
had to use the tap water we currently have.  I have added baking soda to
get the KH back to 7ish and the GH is currently 5ish, though it will
change as I do water changes (what do you add again to increase GH?).  

With the KH at 6.7 (120ppm), I have adjusted the pH level to 6.8 to get the
CO2 level to a decent level.  I have 96W of CF lighting going right now
over a 35g tank.  I have dosed KNO3 to get NO3 to around 5ppm and I also
add K2SO4 for additional K.  

Now, my question... any ideas why my plants aren't growing well?  Long
ago when I set this tank up, before I did any dosing or knew a fraction
of what I do now, my plants pearled so hard it looked like the water was
boiling.  Now, with everything carefully tested and apparently within
optimum ranges, I am seeing lack luster growth and no pearling of any
kind.  The only plant I see that seems to be growing well is a hybrid
sword plant I got from someone off the list.  The initial (heavily
pruned) plant + 2 babies from it I kept are growing brilliant red leaves
like mad.  The other plants however seem to be doing very little.

In this tank I currently have several types of vals, 3 hybrid red
swords, a green amazon sword of some kind, some anachris, some rotala
indica, micro chain sword, and some java fern stapled to a small piece
of driftwood.  I recently added some ludwigia gladulosa, eustralis
stellata, ludwigia repens, a single Madagascar lace, a very small bit of
riccia fluitans, and some 4-leaf clover (Marsilea).

I am ordering a sodium filter from TheWaterExchange to swap the Na for K
in the water I use for my tank, but I would not think that a lot of Na
in the water would be the cause for slow growth if everything else is

Looking for anything I am missing, or any reason why growth isn't nearly
what I would expect.


Robert Chady
Cadott, WI where the little bit of snow we had is long melted and even
some green grass is showing... in March already!