Nano plants dying from ammonia? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Nano plants dying from ammonia?

Hi, long time reader first time poster.

I have recently flooded my 3.7 gallon nano tank, after scrapping my attempt with the DSM when mold started to form. The trouble is that all my plants are dying, which I attribute to the ammonia spike which seems uncontrollable (8+ ppm) with high nitrates as well.

Is there any way I can save my tank's plants? I have 4 types in there: Fissidens Fontanus, Micranthemum, limnophila sessiliflora, rotala macrandra. Granted, none of the plants were very well rooted once I flooded, but all the Macro and Trace elements are there, so shouldn't they be able to assist in the cylcing process? I have read that Tetra Safe Start could help, but my ammonia is so high that I think it would just kill any of the BB that I put in. Any suggestions on how to save my plants? all of them are melting

Tanks Specs:
-3.7 gallon Pennplax curved
-Base layer of Miricle grow with osmocote plus, covered with thin sand cap then fluval stratum with root tabs.
-Finnex Fugeray Planted+ clip light
-Basic sponge filter
-Co2 injection at about 3 bbs with JARLDI co2 diffuser
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 05:19 PM
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Water changes are the only thing that will help here. Ammonia, nitrates and nitrites that high will stop your cycling anyway. You will definitely need to do at least 1, possibly two 50% water changes and get your parameters to around 2ppm ammonia and less than 5 nitrites.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 05:48 PM
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Your plants are transitioning to their submersed states now, which is likely some of the melt. Just do some water changes to get the ammonia down to 3-4 ppm and see what happens.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re:

Thanks for all the tips. Should I add Tetra Safe Start at this point or am I too far along? Also Should I ditch ferts for a little while?

Last edited by vigilanterepoman; 03-19-2018 at 07:12 PM. Reason: unintentional bump
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 02:10 AM
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Some of the melt is probably due to transitioning but ammonia at 8+ will definitely cause ammonia burn even on plants. You can use prime to help counteract some of the effects but since there are no animals in there right now I would stick with water changes. Tetra Safe Start is also not a great product for the type of bacteria we are looking for in our tanks. Unless you used all tissue culture plants there are bacteria colonies there it just needs to ramp up.

I stay to stick with water changes until you get ammonia to between 2 and 4 and can keep it there. If it gets to high then water changes again. If it gets too low then you may have to add small amounts of ammonia to maintain the cycle going and your ammonia oxidizing bacteria. Also keep an eye on nitrites and pH. Very low pH along with high ammonia and nitrites will stall your cycle. Just stick with it and follow your parameters, nature will take take care of the rest. It took about 6 weeks for tank to cycle fully.

Also, what substrate are you using. There are several out there that release ammonia and you need to watch your parameters. And don't forget, watch your parameters!

Good luck and give it time, it all works out in the end.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by vigilanterepoman View Post
-Base layer of Miricle grow with osmocote plus, covered with thin sand cap then fluval stratum with root tabs.
Miracle-Gro and sand cap would have been enough.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Also keep an eye on nitrites and pH. Very low pH along with high ammonia and nitrites will stall your cycle.
My ph is sitting lower at around 6. I have tried decreasing the amount of co2 injection to hopefully raise the ph but to no avail. It's odd because normally the water where I am from is very alkaline and basic. Got my head spinning a little bit.

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Also, what substrate are you using. There are several out there that release ammonia and you need to watch your parameters.
I am using a base layer of miracle grow with osmocote plus mixed in, capped with a thin layer of sand then Fluval stratum on top of the sand. Are any of these substrates prone to leaching ammonia?

I am doing water changes whenever it gets high now, and hope to keep it down to finish the cycle. Thanks for all your help guys
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 07:15 PM
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My ph is sitting lower at around 6. I have tried decreasing the amount of co2 injection to hopefully raise the ph but to no avail. It's odd because normally the water where I am from is very alkaline and basic. Got my head spinning a little bit.



I am using a base layer of miracle grow with osmocote plus mixed in, capped with a thin layer of sand then Fluval stratum on top of the sand. Are any of these substrates prone to leaching ammonia?

I am doing water changes whenever it gets high now, and hope to keep it down to finish the cycle. Thanks for all your help guys
Sorry, I thought I had read what you were using but missed it the second time I read through. The Fluval Stratum may be your culprit here and I imagine there is some some stuff in the miracle grow that would be breaking down and causing ammonia but with the sand cap it should keep that stuff down. What are the depths of each layer? And, as MG stated, with miracle gro the root tabs are overkill. The reason to use a dirted substrate is because that stuff is in there already.

The Startum is a buffering substrate so that will help in pushing down the pH but it shouldn't make it get down to 6. You mentioned that you are using a 3 bps second on your CO2. Do you have a drop checker with 4dKH solution in the tank? I imagine that at 3 bps your solution would be pushing clear in a 3.7g nano tank. BTW a pH that low would also stall your cycle.

What are all of the parameters in your tank now? ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, pH (before and after CO2 addition), GH, KH
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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What are the depths of each layer?
MG layer is about 1-1.5", cap is .75", and fluval Stratum is about 1.5"

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Do you have a drop checker with 4dKH solution in the tank?
I don't on me, I do have one back home but won't be a few weeks until I can run back, plus I am trying to save some dying plants so I was hoping to perk them up with the bonus Co2

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What are all of the parameters in your tank now? ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, pH (before and after CO2 addition), GH, KH
I have done several water changes the past few days and actually am seeing progress. Ammonia: 1ppm Nitrite: 5ppm Ph: 6 Gh: 11 Kh: 13 Temp: 72.5 Fahrenheit. My phosphates are pretty balanced so I didn't check those.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 02:44 AM
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MG layer is about 1-1.5", cap is .75", and fluval Stratum is about 1.5"
I don't know much about dirted setups but the Stratum will definitely buffer you pH down. The Stratum is usually used alone in most cases.


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I don't on me, I do have one back home but won't be a few weeks until I can run back, plus I am trying to save some dying plants so I was hoping to perk them up with the bonus Co2.
CO2 is good but too much of a good thing is also bad. I really think that 3 bps on your CO2 is overkill and might causing damage due to such a low pH.



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I have done several water changes the past few days and actually am seeing progress. Ammonia: 1ppm Nitrite: 5ppm Ph: 6 Gh: 11 Kh: 13 Temp: 72.5 Fahrenheit. My phosphates are pretty balanced so I didn't check those.
Water changes are great but when cycling a tank a pH of 6, Nitirites at 5, temp at 72.5 are really ALL working against you. Beneficial bacteria don't like low pH and low temp and high nitrites can slow the cycling process. I would try to decrease nitrites via water change and dos back to 2ppm ammonia if possible. Also, a KH of 13 I would think is going to eat up the buffering capacity of that Stratum pretty quickly.

Sorry for all of this info but I hope it helps.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Water changes are great but when cycling a tank a pH of 6, Nitirites at 5, temp at 72.5 are really ALL working against you. Beneficial bacteria don't like low pH and low temp and high nitrites can slow the cycling process.
Yes, and I working on getting some stuff to increase my Ph. I am tuning down the co2 and working on getting a better heater (the one in there is garbage).

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Sorry for all of this info but I hope it helps.
No, I love all the information. Thank you for all the help you have given me.
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ammonia, cycling new tank, melting plants, nitrogen cycle, tetra safe start

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