Plants won't root! Don't know what to do. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Plants won't root! Don't know what to do.

I had issues a while ago with cardinal plants not taking root. The part under the substrate would just die off and the plant would floatt to the surface. I just gave up on them and chalked it up to not having enough lighting (they were growing tall and lanky also).

I now have some water sprite and it is not taking root too well either. The part under the substrate doesn't seem dead, but it doesn't seem healthy either. I have tried stirring up the substrate, heavy vacuuming, poking holes into the substrate. I also have assassin snails who like to burrow a bit. All of this is to try to avoid or reverse what I see as an anaerobic substrate.

I do not see any bubbles when stirring the area though, but the roots do look brown/black. The plants in that area if the tank in general do not appear as robust as other areas.

I really am not sure what else to try. Water sprite is supposed to be very easy and hardy and yet it is giving me problems. This is just one of a few issues (BBA, Green algae infestation) I'm struggling with right now that's gotten me frustrated with the hobby.

The tank is a low tech moderately planted 30 gallon with fish and shrimp and medium lighting.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 02:31 AM
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Would like to help out, but don't know enough about your set-up and conditions to make any meaningful comment.
It's a 30 gal tank, but we don't know how many & what kind of fishes and shrimp you have, how long your tank has been set up, what kind of lighting you have, the size and frequency of your water changes, whether or not you are fertilizing, what kind of substrate you have - are some questions that come to mind.

And I don't know what cardinal plants are - have not heard of them.
You mentioned algae issues - BBA (black beard algae, which is not green, and then green algae infestation) - what kind of algae ? can you describe it ?
And why do you think you have an anaerobic problem, that causes you to stir up the substrate ? Are you doing that often ?
Some pics would go a long way to helping us to help you.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Tank has been set up for about 9 months, parameters are pH near 7.8, ammonia and nitrites 0, nitrates 20-40. Tank is running a whisper 60 (with filter floss, sponge, and ceramic bio-media, no carbon) along with a generic power head sponge filter, I am also running a small UV sterilizer. Tank is stocked with 15-18 ghost shrimp, 2 dalmatian mollies, 2 dwarf yellow mollies, 2 bumblebee platys, 12 cherry barbs, 3 otocinclus, and about a dozen assassin snails. Water changes are weekly, 40%. Fertilization is done 3 times weekly flourish complete, soon to change to EI. Substrate is flourite with no root ferts (soon to add ferts). Plants include 2 adult amazon swords, 2 juvenile amazon swords, about a dozen crypt lutea, 2 bronze wendtii and about 6 sagittaria and 5 small water sprite. Lighting is dual 36" t5 NO.

Symptoms of possible anaerobic areas include poor growth of plants near suspect area, die off of nearby crypt lutea, and uprooting of water sprites. Uprooted sprites have brown/black roots that are very short and appear poor in health. I have minor BBA, the shrimp seem to have helped with it as it was drastically reduced when I added the shrimp (it used to cover absolutely everything) in addition to quite a lot of standard run of the mill green algae.

I no longer have cardinal plants in this tank but they look like this:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/my...lia_cardinalis

I don't think I left out any details, can't do pictures right now as its a bit too late but ill try to get some up tomorrow. I'm not worries about the algae issues right now, I already have methods in motion to address them later. I'm only concerned with the plants uprooting.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 08:36 AM
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Tank dimensions? Can't tell how much light you have without knowing how far the light is from the substrate.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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18 deep, 12 wide, 36 long, just a normal 30 gallon tank.

Before anyone asks, a 6-7 hour light cycle! :-)
I'm slowly introducing a longer cycle as I had been on a 5 hour cycle for about 2 months fighting the BBA. It has subsided quite a lot, so I'm increasing the light again towards an 8-9 hour cycle.

Last edited by HamToast; 01-14-2013 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Additional info
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 11:48 AM
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what are u phosphates at?? plants severly need that to root.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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I have no worldly idea. I guess that's another test kit I need to buy? Or maybe my LFS will test it. I'll have to try and get there after class today or tomorrow. Think they close before I can get there though.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 11:59 AM
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i will say this, if bba is as bad as u make it sound, plants are likely very limited in the carbon department. they will rot as well if that's too low,
its a good possibiliy that u have toooooo much light, and need to reduce more than ur photoperiod
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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The BBA is much better than it was before, only traces remain still. Green algae is worse, but not terrible. It is on about half of my crypts and on the same number of leaves on the Amazon swords.

I was under the impression that phosphates should be kept fairly low, like under 1 ppm.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 01:58 PM
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1-2 for low or no co2 is accepable.
phosphates do not cause algae

otherwise i'd have tons of it. i have 6-8 ppm phosphates
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 04:08 PM
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you haven't mentioned exactly what substrate you are using, that could help determine whats going on too.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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I read that phosphate does cause algae, oh well.

I mentioned the substrate is Flourite with no root ferts. Regular tan/brown Flourite.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamToast View Post
I read that phosphate does cause algae, oh well.

I mentioned the substrate is Flourite with no root ferts. Regular tan/brown Flourite.
you will learn over time on this forum it does not

its an indirect cause of algae
the direct cause is too much light, not enough plant growth
which usually boils down to co2 levels
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 05:19 PM
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Glad to hear you don't have the Cardinal plant any longer - it's not an aquatic plant and it's roots would have soon rotted - so that explains the experience you likely had with that plant. As you likely know, Crypts and even the Swords, are not fast growers.
Flourite should hold rooted plants, and if you're having trouble keeping wisteria rooted, then try weighing them down with normal plant weights.
You're going to begin doing EI dosing, and using root tabs, and hopefully both of these practices should help with your healthy plant growth over the reasonable longer term.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
Glad to hear you don't have the Cardinal plant any longer - it's not an aquatic plant and it's roots would have soon rotted - so that explains the experience you likely had with that plant.
Wait wait wait, this plant is aquatic though. Its often used in Dutch scapes and there is even a dwarf variety. In the wild, it acts a lot like ludwigia species do where it starts underwater then grows up and out of the water, but it can still spend its whole life under water.

However, I do believe that this plant almost requires co2 or something like that, cause I've never had luck with it. However, I do have some dwarf varieties coming soon, and now that I will have my co2 up in a few days, I expect them to do a lot better than they have before.

Sorry to de-rail.

My 75 gallon High Tech Tank:http://tinyurl.com/n7zp47m
My 10 gallon High Tech Tank:http://tinyurl.com/qyf7s5o
My 5.5 gallon nano College Dorm Tank:http://tinyurl.com/p54uupj
Mom's Spec V:http://tinyurl.com/qjt3rw2
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