What's wrong with my plant? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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What's wrong with my plant?

I have a fluval spec v 5.6 gallons with stock lighting. I have a plant in there that is slowly dying. I can't for the life of me remember what it's called, but it was huge and healthy when I bought it from my local fish store.

It started becoming slightly yellow with no other symptoms. It was at that time I started dosing daily with ten drops of Flourish Excel to make up for the fact that I have no CO2 system. I have noticed that dosing is causing new growth and things are perking up elsewhere in my tank, but it didn't seem to help this plant.

I decided maybe I was deficient in iron. I have very hard water and I read that very hard water can lack iron and that yellowing of plants is a symptom of this.

So I bought Seachem's Iron additive. I just got it, so I have no idea if it's going to work or not.

However, my plant looks so bad now. I just trimmed off all the dead leaves. They turned yellow first and then sort of melted off into brown goo. Now I'm noticing even the leaves that were staying green have holes in the centre of them. I'm totally baffled and I think I need an expert diagnosis here. I want to get more plants, but I don't want to waste money on them if they're just going to die.

The tank has been up and running for one month. I have four shrimp in it, an oto, three ember tetras, two micro crabs, and a handful of trumpet snails. I've been testing my tank weekly and I always come back with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and a small level of nitrate.

I also use fert in the form of root tabs, one of which I placed under this plant.

Here's a pic of it, after I just finished trimming the dead messed up leaves. I left one on though so that you could see it in the photo. Sorry that it's not the best.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 04:02 AM
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Re: What's wrong with my plant?

It looks like a Mellon Sword or a close relative. It easily grows to 24" tall.

It does prefer softer water and rich substrate. If you just placed the root tab, it it a week. If longer, your water might be too hard for it.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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It's probably about 13 inches tall now. I suppose my water is just too hard for it. I wonder if there's anything at all I can do for it or if I should just stick to plants that can handle my hard water.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 05:54 AM
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Re: What's wrong with my plant?

Do you know exactly how hard your water is? Knowing your kH and gH and pH would help.

IMHO, that sword does not belong in a smaller tank like yours for multiple reasons.

You can test my hardness theory out by using 50% RO or distilled water and 50% tap water mix for water changes. At ~3gl per water change it is not a huge expense.

My personal advise though is to add a bunch of different plants that don't grow huge and see which ones thrive and which ones die. If nothing does well then we can check the rest if your setup and figure what else might be the problem.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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I have tested for both kh and gh. My kh is 11 and my gh is 8. PH is 8.0.

I did contact someone locally with RO water for sale, but they never got back to me. I was thinking about installing a system myself, but I don't know yet. I might just focus on keeping things that do best in harder water, but we'll see how it goes.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 07:52 AM
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It looks to me like you are trimming off the outer and older leaves. That is how plants grow, new leaves form in the center and old leaves die. Since your plant was grown in air the original leaves won't last long underwater so your plant is looking a bit thin right now. It will never look good in your tank though as it is a huge plant naturally. I had a 5' long tank filled with 3 of this sort of sword plant I rehomed. Beautiful plants, love how light shined through the leaves.

Look through the Your Tanks section at the top of the page and the nano tank sub forum for the sort of plants that work best in a small tank. Small crypts, Anubias are naturals for small tanks as is moss. There are a couple of smaller sword plants that could fit your tank too. Make good notes to take with you to help you resist temptation when you visit your local fish store!


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by holmes View Post
I have tested for both kh and gh. My kh is 11 and my gh is 8. PH is 8.0.
Your water is not that hard. RO systems get pretty pricey and you should be able to buy the water at your LFS.

Kathyy made a good advice above: save yourself the headache and stick with smaller plants for now.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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I'll take a look at that list, thanks. Why do smaller plants work better in smaller tanks though? Was there simply not enough nutrients to support something so big?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 04:43 PM
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I don't care for plants smashed against the sides of the tank, doesn't look natural to me. Your sword plant will grow out of the water soon and those leaves will likely wither or at best have brown edges to the leaves unless you tent the top to hold in humidity. Pruning will do nothing, this sword is naturally huge. If a plant can carry a good number of leaves held naturally and not touching the sides of the tank they look better.

If a small tank has small scale plants then it looks larger. I have a big 180 gallon tank and there are a lot of 20 gallon tanks posted on this forum that look larger than mine, likely there are 5 gallon tanks that look larger as well. A lot of the effect is because the scaper used plants that grow small and have small leaves. Using rocks and wood with fine detail and small fish finishes off the illusion.

If you are planning to have only a couple of medium sized fish then you don't need to go to the really fine textured stuff though. My 4" Congo tetras look right with the 16" tall crypt and 2" leaved pennywort and fairly bold wood and rocks and might look like giants with all tiny and fine textured plants like crypt parva, moss, petit anubias and such with twiggy wood or in a mountain landscape type scape.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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I actually liked the way it looks, I mean clearly or I wouldn't have designed in that way. lol I know it isn't typical of the design style that's popular right now on these forums or in the hobby in general, but I don't mind. I was going for a natural looking slow moving river bottom and wanted a sense of commotion and overgrowth.

I didn't know this plant was too big for my tank though, so it definitely won't work in the long run. I'll have to find something shorter.
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