Plants in need of help! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Plants in need of help!

Hello all!

I'm new to the planted aquaria world and was hoping to get some guidance on how to save my freshwater aquarium plants from dying.

The specifics: I have a low tech 75 gallon tank with a fluval Fx6 and a Fluval 306 pushing a Coralife 36 watt UV light and a 48" Satellite USA freshwater LED light. I have a couple inches of gravel as substrate. I don't have the ambition of a full-fledged planted tank.... yet. Once I do, I plan on getting a full blown Co2 system. As long as my fish is alive, my main concern is keeping him happy with the conditions he needs to thrive. I do on the other hand love the look of live plants and I am really hoping I could successfully save my current stock of plants and have them thrive as well as they possibly can with the below mentioned water parameter's.

In terms of plants, I've got one large anubias plant that is doing just okay. I also have purchased quite a bit of anubias nana that I've super glued (seachem glue) on a terra-cotta pot with the hope of the anubias nana growing all over the pot. I've sawed off the back end of the pot so my fish can use the pot as a cave. I also have a couple bunches of jungle Val that I just introduced yesterday. I don't plan on introducing any more plants.

In terms of fish, I only have one Flowerhorn fish that is about 5" long. If you are not familiar with this fish, a Flowerhorn is a large, aggressive cichlid that is typically kept by themselves as they don't play well with others. Like most cichlids, he's a digger which is fine as he has not messed with the few plants that I have. Flowerhorn's do best with water temps averaging around 85 degrees and that is what my tank currently averages. My PH is consistently about 7.8-8.0 as this is the preferred range for Flowerhorns. I typically do 30% water changes weekly. The tank is about 3 weeks old however I have added water and other biologically enriched media from another tank to help with cycling. So far, so good.

In terms of plant supplements, right now I'm only using Seachem Flourish and Seachem Flourish Excel. The Flourish Excel is dosed daily and the regular Seachem Flourish is dosed 2 x per week.

Current plant state: My anubias nana is dying (leaves turning transparent) and this is a big concern as I've spent a decent amount of money on them only to watch them slowly die. My large anubias nana is doing a little better, however, does have yellowing occurring and is nowhere near thriving.

Help please! I know the flowerhorn water parameters aren't ideal for these live plants, however, I'm hoping to gain some insight into how or what I can use to help them thrive as best as they possibly can under these conditions.

I came here to educate myself on freshwater aquaria and from what I've gathered so far from multiple thread searches.... I think I'm lacking a fertilizer. It sounds like the NiLocG - All in One Thrive fertilizer is highly recommended. I have no idea if my assumptions are correct and am hoping this forum will enlighten me as to what I should be doing.

So from the experts... can you please provide suggestions on what I can do to stop the slow death of my plants? What additives should I be adding? What would you suggest I buy / add? If this was your tank, what would you do? Open to all suggestions.

Any help is much appreciated!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 11:22 PM
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Hi yoshm0,

Welcome to TPT!

First, did you plant the Anubias in the gravel or did you attach them to hardscape?

How long is the light on each day?

Is it the new leaves or older leaves that are showing the problem?

Depending upon the photoperiod you may be correct that your plants require more nutrients.

BTW, pictures help us identify problems.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi yoshm0,

Welcome to TPT!

First, did you plant the Anubias in the gravel or did you attach them to hardscape?

How long is the light on each day?

Is it the new leaves or older leaves that are showing the problem?

Depending upon the photoperiod you may be correct that your plants require more nutrients.

BTW, pictures help us identify problems.
Hello Seattle_Aquarist!

Much thanks for the warm welcome and reply to my inquiry.

The larger anubias plant has been buried in the gravel. The smaller anubias nana has been super glued using Seachem super glue to the terra-cotta pot.

My 48" Satellite USA freshwater + light is on a Current ramp up / ramp down timer. Light begins ramping up at 6 AM and begins ramping down at 8:45 with complete shutdown at 9 PM.

The leaves on the larger anubias that are dying off are from existing old leaves.

Here are a few pics of my tank...
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 06:19 AM
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 06:33 AM
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Hi yoshm0,

One last question, when you purchase the Anubias and were they tissue culture or submerged when you bought them?

Anubias, java ferns, bolbitis, and bucephalandra species all seem to do better attached to hardscape as opposed to having their rhizomes buried in the substrate.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 08:01 AM
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I do not believe the lighting is too strong,but lighting period maybe too long.
Also think the all in one fertilizer mentioned would be of good use.
Might would choose eight hour photo period with light's on when I could get the most viewing time.(currently fifteen hour's?)
The big Anubia I would tie/glue to large smooth stone or larger piece of wood.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi yoshm0,

One last question, when you purchase the Anubias and were they tissue culture or submerged when you bought them?

Anubias, java ferns, bolbitis, and bucephalandra species all seem to do better attached to hardscape as opposed to having their rhizomes buried in the substrate.
The Anubias plant was bought that size. There was already some tissue damage to the plant.

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Thanks StrungOut! The not so great pics do not do him justice. Always wondered why folks who post pics with their phones were always blurred. Thought they maybe had old phones and therefore the pics weren't good. Now I realize it's not the phone as I have a newer iPhone that I believe has a decent camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
I do not believe the lighting is too strong,but lighting period maybe too long.
Also think the all in one fertilizer mentioned would be of good use.
Might would choose eight hour photo period with light's on when I could get the most viewing time.(currently fifteen hour's?)
The big Anubia I would tie/glue to large smooth stone or larger piece of wood.
Thanks for the reply roadmaster!

Your suggestion of cutting down the photo period to eight hours instead of the current fifteen hour photo period leads me to a couple more questions...

Is the eight hour photo period typically the max amount of time you want to keep the light on?

Is there a preferred time or a regularly agreed on "appropriate" time that you turn on and turn off the light?

Does it provide any benefit to set the timer to turn on the lights for four hours, then shut it off for a few, then turn it back on later for the remaining four hours?

Lastly regarding the fertilizer, I'd prefer to buy an all in one fertilizer that has everything I need in order to make my plants healthy. Any suggestions on what you would use that would fit the bill?

Thanks again everyone for helping out a newb!

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-04-2017 at 08:12 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 03:00 PM
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Eight hour's is plenty, and little to be gained from plant's perspective with more hours in low tech where CO2 and nutrient's are possibly in limited supply.
Do not believe siesta period (ie) will hurt anything, and no more CO2 than is produced naturally through biological processes in the tank, or with product's like Excel, is likely to make much difference either way.
I have most tanks lighting on timer's for eight to ten hours max, with one tanks light's to come on at six in the morning till three PM,and another with lighting period from 2: 00 PM to 10:PM.
Fertilzer you saw mentioned from member Nilocg "All in one thrive" is used by a few folks here and elsewhere and haven't heard any complaint's .
Planted Aquarium Fertilizer - Home also sell's macro/micro package which cover's everything but phosphate which fish food's can provide in low tech application .
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 03:01 PM
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Welcome!

I have a few different things to suggest. First, that Anubias should be tied or glued to something with the rhizome above the substrate. If you leave the rhizome buried, it will rot and the plant will die. Second, these are low light plants, and you are blasting them with 15 hours of light. This should be reduced to 6-8 hours at most. Third, you really should consider adding some macro nutrients. You should test for Nitrate and Phosphate, as you may have enough from your fish and feeding. They should ideally be in a 10-1 ratio, between 10-20 Nitrate and 1-2 Phosphate. The Flourish Advanced is providing micronutrients only, so while I would still use it, itís not providing any actual ďfoodĒ for your plants. If you have 10-20 NO3 and 1-2 PO3, then the only thing you would need to add for Macro nutrients would be Potassium. You can get this in the Flourish line as well. Finally, I might hesitate to use Flourish Excel. All vallisneria species are known to be very sensitive to Excel, and may melt away. You may get lucky, but itís something to keep an eye out for.

If you ever think you're too small to make a difference, spend a couple of nights sleeping with a mosquito.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Welcome!

I have a few different things to suggest. First, that Anubias should be tied or glued to something with the rhizome above the substrate. If you leave the rhizome buried, it will rot and the plant will die. Second, these are low light plants, and you are blasting them with 15 hours of light. This should be reduced to 6-8 hours at most. Third, you really should consider adding some macro nutrients. You should test for Nitrate and Phosphate, as you may have enough from your fish and feeding. They should ideally be in a 10-1 ratio, between 10-20 Nitrate and 1-2 Phosphate. The Flourish Advanced is providing micronutrients only, so while I would still use it, it?s not providing any actual ?food? for your plants. If you have 10-20 NO3 and 1-2 PO3, then the only thing you would need to add for Macro nutrients would be Potassium. You can get this in the Flourish line as well. Finally, I might hesitate to use Flourish Excel. All vallisneria species are known to be very sensitive to Excel, and may melt away. You may get lucky, but it?s something to keep an eye out for.
I appreciate all of your enlightenment. Thank you!

I'll be doing a water change today and with that I'll pull out the anubias and find a piece of driftwood that I can attach it to.

I figured my lighting was a little excessive. Got a couple young ones who love seeing the tank lit up as our flowerhorn plays with them by chasing their hand when they sweep it back and forth on the glass. Maybe I should turn it on in the AM so they could feed him in the morning, then shut it off a couple hours later as they'll both be in school. Then turn it back on right before they get out of school. Would this be ok to do?

My Nitrates always tend to be in the 20-40 ppm range... I think. I can never really tell if it's in the 10-20 or 20-40 ppm range based on my API test kit color chart. I don't have a Phosphate tester, so I'm not sure where that is at. Is this a must have? If so, I'll pick one up.

Just yesterday, I ordered a bottle of the NilocG Thrive from their website. Are you saying if my Nitrates and Phosphates are fine and say I add Seachem Potassium, I won't need the Thrive? Would it then be overkill? Does the Thrive provide Co2?

In regards to the Flourish Excel, if I don't use it, would I not be depriving the other plants from Co2? Is there an alternative?

Thx so much again!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 05:59 PM
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I’ll try my best to touch on everything here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yoshm0 View Post
Maybe I should turn it on in the AM so they could feed him in the morning, then shut it off a couple hours later as they'll both be in school. Then turn it back on right before they get out of school. Would this be ok to do?
It’s not ideal, but it’s better than running it all day. I would make it more uniform though, like 6-10am on, 10am-12pm off, 12-4pm on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yoshm0 View Post
My Nitrates always tend to be in the 20-40 ppm range... I think. I can never really tell if it's in the 10-20 or 20-40 ppm range based on my API test kit color chart. I don't have a Phosphate tester, so I'm not sure where that is at. Is this a must have? If so, I'll pick one up.
You can just buy an API Phosphate test kit, no need for some fancy digital tester (I don’t even know if anything like this exists for the hobbyist level)

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Just yesterday, I ordered a bottle of the NilocG Thrive from their website. Are you saying if my Nitrates and Phosphates are fine and say I add Seachem Potassium, I won't need the Thrive? Would it then be overkill? Does the Thrive provide Co2?
I would test your phosphates first. You don’t have a ton of plants, so if you can get away with just adding Potassium and Micros, that would probably be preferred. Please note, this is not a reflection of the products NiloCG sells; they’re very good and cost effective. I just doubt that you need very much in the way of nutrients with such a light plant load.

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In regards to the Flourish Excel, if I don't use it, would I not be depriving the other plants from Co2? Is there an alternative?
First off, Excel is not liquid CO2. Excel is a carbon substitute that plants can use, but not nearly as effectively as actual CO2. Most of the community actually use it for its algae killing abilities more than as a carbon source. With that out of the way, your plants will do fine without it as long as your lighting isn’t very intense or for too long of a period. Once you start getting into higher light and more demanding plants, CO2 is needed to help the plants grown and prevent algae. As far as an alternative, the only thing besides actual CO2 is Gluteraldehide (Excel). I personally use Metricide14 instead of excel, only because it’s really the same thing, only cheaper. Any Glut products are going to have the same impact on your Vals.

If you ever think you're too small to make a difference, spend a couple of nights sleeping with a mosquito.

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