Need some help with a new tank, plants dying - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Need some help with a new tank, plants dying

I currently have a 45 tall aquarium. I dry started S. Repens and MC in it. It ran for about 3 weeks, the repens were doing great, getting larger and a nice green color. The MC started dying off in chunks so I decided to flood at the three week point to try and save it, I had read somewhere that sometimes that works. So i flooded the tank, started CO2 on it the day after, gassed it pretty hard to make up for the deficiency and everything seemed good. Changed water 80% every other day. The repens took off, all of them were growing double in size each day, the MC started to look better as well. I was dosing, Flourish, and Seachem iron/phosphate. The tank health seemed to be doing really well. On the sixth day when I got home from work everything looked like it was dying, literally over the period of 15 hours or so. I thought that maybe it was just melting due to the transitional period but I am at day 10 and haven't seen any improvements. I'm kind of at a loss as to what is going wrong currently.

Substrate I used was UN Controsoil, I have root tabs throughout the aquarium, I have a fluval Aquasky on it. Photoperiod is 5 hours a day currently, CO2 comes on 2 hours before, I would rough estimate it about 40-45PPM for the CO2, I did scale it back slightly since I was going through a lot of it, probably about 60-65 when I first started it. Temp is at a constant 73-74 farenheit, running a Fluval FX4 and a Hydor Koralia positioned above the CO2 diffuser so I have a pretty strong flow to disperse things inside the tank. Anyone have some insight for me? Also excuse the setup, it's my first try at "scaping" if you can call this that lol I know it's not the greatest.

Water parameters are about the same since I flooded, been testing once a day:

PH 7.1, 6.4 when CO2 is on
Ammonia .25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
GH 5
KH 2

Before, second day after CO2


10th day current status
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 01:31 AM
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Flourish is micro fertilizer not macro.

You are probably lacking in the big 3. N,P,K

Seachem splits those up into different bottles. Not sure if they have Nitrate. Might be better to pick up an all-in-one like Nilocg or switch to dry ferts.

Also a 0.7 drop in pH is not that big of a drop. Assuming your pH results are accurate ( I don't trust liquid test kits). Highly doubt you CO2 levels are where you think they are. With no fish you should target atleast 5.6 if not a bit lower.

That's what jumped out to me

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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ok cool, i'll see about increasing CO2 levels a bit, do you think those are savable at this point or are they done? I'm not really sure if they're savable at this point, although some do seem like they're growing ok.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 04:58 AM
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It does look bad but I would wait and see. Just check roots to see if they are white and healthy and remove as much dead leaves as you can, as often as you can. My MC lost most of it's leaves about a month after planting (no drystart) and looked awful with mostly stems but leaves were slowly coming back before the melt stopped. I don't have much experience with S repens melting though.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by TheRealMac View Post
ok cool, i'll see about increasing CO2 levels a bit, do you think those are savable at this point or are they done? I'm not really sure if they're savable at this point, although some do seem like they're growing ok.
As paul said wait and see.
Uncover the roots and see if they're still white and feel healthy, don't dig them up though as that'll shock them.

I had all of my Staurogyne repens melt after a stalled mini cycle that caused a large ammonia spike that I didn't do anything about for about 3 weeks (outside of regular 50% weekly water changes).
I just left everything as it was just green sticks sticking up where the leaves use to be hoping that it would eventually grow back.
About a month after I caught and fixed the cycle issue my Staurogyne repens started sending out shoots from the roots and grew back.

My guess is ammonia burn and only macros from the root tabs + substrate is what caused your issue.
I've found that any ammonia outside of trace levels always cause my plants to degrade in health and for apparently finicky types like S. repens and Hygrophila corymbosa 'compact' in my system it always causes some leaves to melt for as long as the ammonia levels are above trace levels.

These high quality substrates like the one you're using give off a high levels of ammonia, however you're doing 80% water changes every other day so I'm not sure why it would be an issue unless the plants are reacting to not having adequate macros.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, I ordered some Nilocg ferts like suggested. I think it may be lack of macros, I didn't even realize I wasn't dosing those. My other low tech tank grows fine with what I was using so i made the assumption these would be ok too.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TheRealMac View Post
Alright, I ordered some Nilocg ferts like suggested. I think it may be lack of macros, I didn't even realize I wasn't dosing those. My other low tech tank grows fine with what I was using so i made the assumption these would be ok too.
Do you have root tabs on your low tech tank also?
I would assume that because you're not injecting co2 into the low tech tanks that the fert levels can sustain the plants somewhat with the co2 being the limiting factor at play.
With the tank in question co2 not being a limiting factor the ferts are likely filling that spot now which causes issues.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 06:37 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I do have tabs and the same substrate running in the other tank, just no CO2 in that one.

So I trimmed everything this weekend. Roots are still white and healthy looking. Got rid of all the dead leaves I could. Did a big water change and cranked up the CO2 a bit. Monday I'm getting some ferts. I'm remaining hopeful though, the MC is still putting out small bright green leaves. They just don't sustain and the Repens are still doing ok it seems.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-11-2020 at 03:32 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 07:34 PM
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your test kit results show zero nitrate. You were deficient in nitrogen. You do not want to see nitrate at zero.
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