Plants losing leaves, help?
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:23 PM   #1
SugaPwum
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Plants losing leaves, help?


Hi, I need help, I'm kinda new at this. I have a few questions. I have a 14 gallon planted tank & a couple of my plants keep losing their leaves. My wisteria & my anacharis look like sticks with a few leaves on the tops.

My wisterias look real bad right now because of hurricane Gustav, they lost alot of leaves & theres like only leaves on the tops & at the bottom there are new baby plants growing. I just got my anacharis Tues & it had all its leaves & today it has hardly any. What am I doing wrong? am I missing something? or is it just what the plant does?

My Plants: I have 1 java fern tied to drifwood, 1 sprite, 1 banana plant (used to have 2, but one died & the one I have left lost its banana roots, but it anchored itself into the substrate), 1 anacharis, 1 red ludwigia, 1 lil group of cabombas, 4 wisterias, 1 anubias (either nana or berteri), & 1 radican sword (I know its kinda big for my tank, but I keep it trimmed).
My Fish: 3 glowlight tetras, 2 platies, & 1 chinese algae eater (trying to get some otos to replace him).

I have eco-complete plant substrate. I try to keep the temperature around 78 or so. Once a week I add leaf zone liquid fertilizer & flourish excel (should I add excel more often?)... & once a month I add tab fertilizers. I do weekly 40% water changes & I change the filter pads once a month, sometimes sooner if its real dirty. I also clean the filter itself once a month.

My water paremeters are... NitrAte: 20 [safe range], NitrIte: 0, Hardness (GH): 75, Alkalinity (KH): 120, PH: 8.4 or maybe a lil less (its hard to tell with test strips), & Ammonia: 0 & my tank is usually clean/clear.

As for my lighting, Im using the bulbs that came with my aquarium hood, but I just ordered 2 Coralife Colormax mini bulbs from drs foster & smith...it says they're made for planted tanks...Do you think these bulbs will help? I was thinking maybe its my lighting, maybe its not strong enough & thats why the plants arent growing as big & healthy as id like...
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14 Gallon Planted Aquarium.
20"L x 10"W x 15"H.
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
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Those new bulbs will get you to about 20w for the tank so that puts
you about about 1.4wpg (roughly) and will work for a low-light tank
which should help.

I would recommend that you get a copy of the "SEACHEM'S DAILY DOSING CHART Disclaimer-Conversion.xls"
spreadsheet and dose your tank using that. I'd also recommend
getting the full Seachem basic fertz package instead of
mixing-&-matching (Flourish/Excel/Iron) and see if that helps.

- Brad
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:51 PM   #3
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I would stop changing the filter pads out, disregard the maintenance instructions and just swish and squeeze them in some old tank water to clean them out. You're playing games with your biofilter.

Trim your stems when they get lanky and bare at the bottom, discard the ratty bases and replant the fresh tips, especially with wisteria, or you can leave the bases to propagate. How long has it been in the tank?

Anacharis should grow no matter what, in most situations even faintly close to ideal, but it's not uncommon for any plant to lose leaves right after introduction if it has to acclimate to conditions that are much different than the prior. If you're seeing any new growth at all, then I would concentrate on propagating it and discarding die-off.

Both plants should grow under standard 15w T12/8 bulbs, even if it's unsightly and lanky, they are notoriously invasive weeds.

Excel should be dosed daily per the directions on the side of the bottle.

As you upgrade light, watch for black brush algae. Should it rear it's ugly hairs you know that you've exceeded your light to CO2 ratio, and can do one of three things: lower the photoperiod or wattage, or add CO2. I think you'll be fine with those lights, but something to keep in mind since 14gl doesn't mesh too well with the watts per gallon guideline. Personally, those bulbs over that volume of water gets me a few types of green hair and thread algae, spyrogira etc, and not much more. YMMV
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaidexl View Post
I would stop changing the filter pads out, disregard the maintenance instructions and just swish and squeeze them in some old tank water to clean them out. You're playing games with your biofilter.

Trim your stems when they get lanky and bare at the bottom, discard the ratty bases and replant the fresh tips, especially with wisteria, or you can leave the bases to propagate. How long has it been in the tank?

Anacharis should grow no matter what, in most situations even faintly close to ideal, but it's not uncommon for any plant to lose leaves right after introduction if it has to acclimate to conditions that are much different than the prior. If you're seeing any new growth at all, then I would concentrate on propagating it and discarding die-off.

Both plants should grow under standard 15w T12/8 bulbs, even if it's unsightly and lanky, they are notoriously invasive weeds.

Excel should be dosed daily per the directions on the side of the bottle.

As you upgrade light, watch for black brush algae. Should it rear it's ugly hairs you know that you've exceeded your light to CO2 ratio, and can do one of three things: lower the photoperiod or wattage, or add CO2. I think you'll be fine with those lights, but something to keep in mind since 14gl doesn't mesh too well with the watts per gallon guideline. Personally, those bulbs over that volume of water gets me a few types of green hair and thread algae, spyrogira etc, and not much more. YMMV

Very nice advice!

- brad
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:33 PM   #5
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Why thank you, Brad

I should amend what I said here
Quote:
Personally, those bulbs over that volume of water.....with no CO2 or Excel....... gets me a few types of green hair and thread algae, spyrogira etc, and not much more. YMMV
Basically my tanks with that setup are neglected so the algae could be from any imbalance, but my main point was I never see BBA even without CO2 or Excel....yet.
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:30 AM   #6
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Here is my thoughts:

Stem plants rot from the bottom up when the light is not intensive enough. Cutting off the rotten portion and re planting will not help because the stem will just keep rotting from the bottom up and never form roots.

There are two forms of "Anacharis", Egeria densa, which is the common variety, and Egeria najas, often called "narrow leaf anacharis". Only the narrow leaf version will grow under low light. Even though the standard version is now illegal in many states for being an invasive plant, it still needs VERY intensive light or it will just rot from the bottom up and start shedding leaves.

Leaves dropping off is also a sign of insufficient light. Adding Excel will not help any if there is not enough light. These two bulbs you got are better than what you had, but is still very low light. You should have about double that amount of light. The 50/50 bulb, means its is half actinic, which has no use with plants. Its just the color of the light and has nothing to do with brightness, but I think you would prefer the look of the colormax to the 50/50. The actinic will make all the colors of the plants and fish look washed out.

Light is the most important thing. It is what generates growth, resulting in a need for nutrients, fertilizer. If you do not have bright enough light, then you are just waisting fertilizer. The plants will never use it.

Since ALL of your stem plants are showing the same symptoms, there is no doubt it is the light that is the issue, and in order to seriously bump up the level of light to higher wattage, you will have to buy a new light fixture that is made to hold higher wattage bulbs. There is no higher wattage flourescent that you can screw into that fixture. You have gone as high as you can without getting a new light set up.

If you want to get serious with plants, then upgrade your lighting system, if not, then forget about ANY stem plants and stick with Anubias and Java fern, and then they may have a chance to survive.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:25 AM   #7
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Well the Anacharis I have only lost it's leaves, there's just some sticks standing up with babies growing off of them. If I can remember right...the Anacharis was in a cold water tank w/goldfish, maybe the big change from cold to warm made it lose its leaves?

So if I were to upgrade my lighting, what would I need to buy? A new hood? If so, what kind of hood can I buy for a 14 gallon tank & where? Any sites that sell them? Or would I have to buy something else?
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29 Gallon Aquarium.
30"L x 12"W x 18"H.

14 Gallon Planted Aquarium.
20"L x 10"W x 15"H.
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