Can't grow anything but anubias and java fern - need ideas! - The Planted Tank Forum
  • 1 Post By OVT
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Westchester County, New York
Posts: 6
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.
mollies is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 02:42 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
germanblueramlover's Avatar
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 350
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.
germanblueramlover is offline  
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 02:57 AM
Carpe Diem
OVT's Avatar
PTrader: (144/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NorCal
Posts: 7,555
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.
Ken Keating1 likes this.
OVT is online now  
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 05:02 AM
Planted Tank Guru
DaveKS's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: 67212
Posts: 2,301
Water test parameters (PH, KH, GH, nitrate, phosphate)?

Got a whole tank photo?

DaveKS is online now  
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 07:53 AM
Algae Grower
vacko000's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Serbia, Novi Sad
Posts: 52
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.
vacko000 is offline  
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 10:58 AM
Algae Grower
Muscleguy's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Posts: 48
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.
Muscleguy is offline  
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 03:23 PM
Wannabe Guru
AbbeysDad's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Central New York, USA
Posts: 1,361
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!

Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank w/40g sump.

What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg from a chicken.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
AbbeysDad is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-28-2020, 04:07 AM
Planted Member
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 236
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.
mboley is offline  


Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome