Planted Tank Troubles - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Planted Tank Troubles

Hey everybody, I'm new to the forum and I'm having some issues with my 30 gal planted tank. before i get into it i'll give you the run-down of what I'm working with. 4 blood tail tetras, an elephant nose, a dwarf gourami, 2 small green belly cory catfish, 2 white skirt tetras, and 3 botia striata. Im not sure of the wattage of my light but its gotta be up there (box said max plant growth, bought from petco). I used a peat moss base(very light dusting on the bottom) then about 3 inches of Miracle Grow organic variety topped with almost an inch of pebbles. I did water changes for the first few weeks 2-3 times a week. Tank has been set up for almost 2 months now and I added a piece of Moapi wood a few weeks ago which has tinted the water very brown, and I'm not sure if that's an issue or not. The plants that I do have either start to turn brown then wither into nothing or just seem to disintegrate. however I have an anubias attached to wood which is doing great, dark green leaves and sprouting new shoots. Anyway im not sure what it could be at this point, I add flourish excel every other day for the plants. Checked my water conditions today and got 180 water hardness, 180 alkaline(carbonate hardness), about 7-7.5 pH, 0 nitrite, and 80 nitrate(all those in ppm). Tips and guidance would be much appreciated, thanks!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 10:53 PM
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The peat and MGOCPM isn't going to provide many root nutrients. Have you thought about root tabs? I was having a little bit of melt problems with my peat substrate and it went away within a couple days after I added root tabs. Also, how deep did you bury your plants? I usually try to sink them well into the lower layer of the substrate. That way they have as much access to the substrate as possible.

Brown water from your driftwood won't hurt the plants or fish. Its the opposite actually. If it bothers you, regular water changes and time will help it go away.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 11:48 PM
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It would be a good idea to identify what light you have. What manufacturer, what bulb size, and what bulb type (T5HO, T5NO, T8, etc.)

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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thanks guys, still looking for the specifics of the light. about the root tabs, will i need to continue to use them in the long term? and i bury the plants all the way to the bottom and upon checking later i found it's only about an inch and a half to two inches of soil
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 04:01 AM
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If you ask me, your tank is still cycling. What is your ammonia level. Your nitrates are pretty high. Water changes and plants will decrease that but neither seem be working. In a healthy planted tank, nitrates are typically below 20ppm if even that. My tanks struggled to hold 5-10ppm due to may plants sucking it all up and that's with dosing. Sometimes tap can have nitrates in it. Test your tap to see if it registers nitrate, mine did when I tested years ago. You listed 2 of the 3 parts of the nitrogen cycle. It takes all three to know if your tank is cycled.

I find Anubias to be very hardy. They will survive in low, medium and high tech tanks. They have to be completely deprived of all nutrients to kill them,lol. Nutrients only effects their growth rate. It sounds like your other plants are not up to handling the water conditions. Plants have water parameters requirements just as fish. Although adaptable like fish, some plants are more difficult to maintain than others. Make sure your plants are compatible with your setup.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 05:52 AM
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the first inclination would be to assess the quality of light and also understand which species of plants are melting.

Generally the melting can be traced to light, or lack thereof. Knowing the photo period would also help.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 01:38 PM
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1) I think you have too much mgo. I put down about 2 inches anymore and I think you can have problems with anoxia.

2) IMO mgo doesn't require root tabs. I have a little emersed set up with mgo and ecocomplete which grows hc that I haven't touched in months and it grows like crazy
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone! so i checked my tap and it does indeed have nitrates in it. Also my light is 25 watt and the T8 version, I'm not sure what any of that means but i'll do some research. I added some activated carbon to help with the brown tinge and supposedly with ammonia, but still haven't gotten an accurate ammonia reading. I also unblocked the back of my aquarium so it's exposed to sunlight now to help with more lighting if that's an issue
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