Can't grow anything but anubias and java fern - need ideas! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Can't grow anything but anubias and java fern - need ideas!

Hi everyone,

We have a 40G tank with community fish, shrimp and snails, and would love to be able to keep a larger variety of plants, but nothing survives in current tank conditions other than java fern and anubias. We have a Grobeam 600 light programmed to come on about 3 hours a day.

The substrate is fluorite and it worked wonderfully for a year, then seemed to run out of nutrients, and the really lush bacopa and Amazon swords withered away and disappeared. We tried root balls, but we lose fish when we use these, and they didn't seem to nourish the plants either.

I'm wondering whether we could pot some root-feeding plants in aquasoil covered by sand, as a way of adding plants that can survive without rescaping the whole tank. We have Thrive and iron but don't use them - we only have time to change the water once a week and I'm worried about adding anything that we can't keep up with. Welcoming any suggestions - we are not sure what steps to take that will keep our critters safe.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 02:42 AM
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You can definitely fill pots with aquasoil and plant in those!

What do you mean by "root balls"? I use Flourish tabs on occasion and they seem to work quite well for my plants.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 02:57 AM
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If you only have time for water changes then you are unlikely to grow much of anything. 3 hours of light does not grow potatoes either.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 05:02 AM
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Water test parameters (PH, KH, GH, nitrate, phosphate)?

Got a whole tank photo?

Filtration/circulation?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 07:53 AM
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Why only 3 hours of light a day?

Planted tanks usualy have somewhere betwain 6 and 8 hours of light per day, with co2 running two hours before lights come on until one hour before they go out.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 10:58 AM
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The light is your problem, both Anubias and Java Fern will grow happily in low light conditions. They are what I have growing in my black water tank with a covering of floating Amazon Frogbit and dwarf water lettuce.

Increase your light time as others have suggested.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 03:23 PM
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As mentioned, you need a longer photo period - typically 6-8 hours. Also, rooted plants get much of their nutrients through the roots and your substrate seems to be tapped out. In addition to a good liquid fertilizer, you should use root tabs. I think Seachem's are very good. Some report good success with Osmicote in gel caps, but I'd never use terrestrial ferts in an aquarium (usually way too much ammonia).

So more light and more/better ferts and you should be growing plants like weeds!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-28-2020, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollies View Post

We have Thrive and iron but don't use them - we only have time to change the water once a week and I'm worried about adding anything that we can't keep up with.
I don't understand your worry, isn't watching Anubias and Java Fern grow on par with watching grass grow? Or worse? And your not using your fertilizer because why? You are doing the water changes, so it might take an extra few seconds to add a squirt in your water change routine. You've got to sacrifice that added time! Do that and let loose on your light and next month you may have
a couple leaves to trim. I joke but c'mon, you have to put in at least a little time in this hobby.
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