Plants struggling - fertilisers and/or CO2? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Plants struggling - fertilisers and/or CO2?

Hi all,

Been a while! Last I was here I was having shrimp troubles, but now the population has recovered and I have a whole load of them!

At the moment though, I am having some issues with the plants in my aquarium, which are: Pogostemon helferi, Eleocharis acicularis, Vallisneria, Crytocoryne walkeri and Cabomba aquatica (?). The latter completely died off and I had to replace it, and that was before the other plants started having problems.
In general, there is some leaf yellowing and disintegration/melting, as well as some localised areas of high algae growth (whether my shrimp and Stiphodons have just skipped over those areas I don't know).
The java moss and Egeria are doing fine though. Nothing wrong with shrimp, gobies, or Rasbora either.

From what I've read online these symptoms are classic CO2 deficiency, and maybe minerals too. My tank is currently at the following:
KH - 7-8 drops, ~135ppm
GH - 9-10 drops, ~170ppm
pH - 7-7.5
TDS - ~200ppm
Temp - 22/23C

The light is a Aqua Expert 70 LED and on for <8 hours each day. There is some bogwood and mineral stones present in the tank too.

I've been looking at getting some liquid CO2 and fertilisers. I was wondering, do I need both? Which would be safest for my fish and shrimp?
I've seen a lot about Flourish Excel, and while I haven't seen it in my LFSs, it is available online!

At my LFS they have: Colombo FloraGrow Carbo CO2 alternative, Microbe-Lift liquid CO2 fertiliser, AquaCare plant root fertiliser tablets and AquaCare aquarium plant tablets. Has anyone on here had any experience with these, and would recommend them?


Excuse the crap lighting and picture lol. Hopefully if the products work well I'll be able to get some more plants and put in some new substrate/re-scape the tank - it's a bit too basic at the moment for my liking having seen some on here!

Last edited by FishyWishy123; 01-26-2019 at 08:51 PM. Reason: more info added
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 05:59 AM
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CO2 would work more efficiently but Flourish excel would be the cheaper option.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 04:20 PM
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Hi! You seem to have the right idea of CO2 and perhaps "mineral" deficiency. Looking into CO2 and fertilizers is absolutely the right move. However, have you considered in conjunction, perhaps lowering your light levels or shortening the light period? This may afford you some extra leeway if you don't feel like you want to get into excel or invest in a real CO2 system due to risk to fauna. Whatever you choose, do continue to look into fertilizers.

Here's some additional reading that may help your situation : 2HR Aquarist's Low Tech

I would tell you to look into Thrive or some other all in one fertilizer but it looks like you're in the UK. Perhaps some other member can chime in on the efficacy of the fertilizers that can be acquired here: In general, they should be ok. Perhaps you can also ask the vendor themselves about it. Usually due to the niche aspect of our hobby, planted tank vendors more than happy to talk about planted tanks

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