Plants not doing well in Cycling tank. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Plants not doing well in Cycling tank.

Hi, I'm new to fish keeping and planted aquariums and this forum so please go easy on me please lol.

I have a cheap 10 gallon starter kit that I am doing a fish-less Cycle on that is planted. I am using Eco Complete Substarate and have several species of plants in the tank. I set my tank up about a week and a half ago and the plants were all doing wonderful until I added the Ammonia to start the cycle.

I am using Bottled Spring Water ( my tap is horrible and I was told for my betta it would be safest).
cheap hooded led Light is on 12-14 hours a day. it says 1.5 watt
Water temp stays steady at 78 maybe 2-3 higher or lower.
PH is 8.0-8.2 in the middle
Ammonia is 4ppm
Nitrites are 0
haven't tested for Nitrates because the ammonia has not gone down at all.

I have 2 Java Fern, 4 Anacharis, Anubis Nana, water wisteria and repens.
repens are translucent and look as though they will fall apart if touch them, but roots look ok.
Nana is turning brown and almost melting but rhizome and roots also look ok
anacharis are turning a lighter green to browm, growing long white roots from several places and some new growth on one plant.
Java ferns look like they are doing ok but the roots look slightly brown (dont know is thats normal)
water westeris is shrivling and turning browns and the roots look kindy mushroomy ( like brown spongy kinda)

I also have the same Anacharis in my current 3.5 gallon the betta is in and they are doing fantastic.

I Dont know what to do to save my plants? I started this tank for my son and just lost my job so I would like to save them and do the best I can for them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 11:34 PM
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Sadly, you might not. I would do a 50% water change immediately. Don't add any more ammonia. Turn off the lights.
Let us know what they look like tomorrow.
Good luck.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to add pictures...

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-05-2017 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becca55 View Post
Ammonia is 4ppm
I would WC to get this under 2ppm.
This could be ammonia burn.

Even people that dose urea only dose to .25ppm of NH3.
In low pH this is actually NH4 but still reads on the test kit.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 12:55 AM
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Take some of the bio-media from the filter in your other tank and put it into the filter in your new tank. That will cycle your tank in a day. Then, when the NH3 drops you can put fish in. change 20% of your water every week and keep the filter clean but never throw out the bio-media.

Concerning the plants: light, CO2 and nutrients are needed.

- Light: Can't speak to your light source, but you can find info on this forum about lighting. Wattage was never a meaningful parameter and is useless with LEDs. PAR is the most important value. Make sure the PAR value is no higher than 30 or 40 (tops). If it's higher, you will have trouble with plants (they will be starved for CO2) and algae (will grow like wildfire).

- CO2: Your plants will not have much CO2 since your plants are dependent upon how much dissolves into the tank ...and it isn't much. Don't put bubbles (aerators) into the tank. They don't add oxygen and they will drive off some of the little CO2 that you have. There is an excellent product called Flourish Excel (by Seachem). It will provide quite a bit of carbon that is normally provided by CO2, but keep your kids away from it. It will also inhibit algae. Unfortunately, it will also melt anacharis.

- Nutrients: You need a certain, minimum level of nitrate, phoshpate and potassium. Once you get some fish in there, you may find that they will provide all the nitrate and phoshate that you need. That leaves potassium and trace elements. Again, I would point you to Seachem. Get a bottle of their Flourish (for the micros). Also, small bottles of Flourish Nitrogen, Flourish Phosphorus and Flourish Potassium. Then monitor your nitrates and phosphates. If you find them to be high (above 15 and 3, respectively), that may mean that your fish are providing enough and you can cut/reduce the Flourish Nitrogen and Flourish Phosphorus. You will always have to add the potassium and Flourish (traces). Do everything according to Seachem's directions. There are other fertilizer suppliers as well, that you can investigate if you don't want Seachem products.

Food: Your son is going to want to put a lot of food in there to keep the fishies from starving. I suggest that you get a cheap pill case (they have daily compartments with each day marked). Fill each day with the correct amount of fish food for the week, then you won't have to worry about him overfeeding.

Last edited by Deanna; 10-05-2017 at 01:47 AM. Reason: add
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 04:03 PM
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I agree this is an ammonia problem, which is most of aquariast problems these days. Up the water changes.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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As I stated I am doing a Fish Less Cycle getting this tank ready for my Betta Fish. I took the plants out and put them in tap water with seachem flourish. I did a 50% water change and the ammonia is still 3.5ppm and my research tells me water changes are not necessary during a fish-less cycle until the end, unless I am wrong?

These plants minus the Nana ( in vitro plant) were all planted in other established tanks from a reputable Local aquarium. Seen many Videos of how plants will melt and die off initially in a new tank environment.

What should I do next, leave them in the water until cylce is done in a plastic jug with no light ( only option at this point) or plant them back in the tank and hope they do grow back?
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 05:37 PM
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Too much ammonia, and you will need to bring it down, even if cycling, because you do have living things in there. And while plants can consume ammonia, too much is toxic. 4ppm Ammonia is a dosing I see for fishless cycling, but usually if there is nothing in the tank.

The 50% water change should have diluted the ammonia to 2ppm or so. That it didnít says that something is adding ammonia into the tank. Next step is to find out what. Is it the water used for the water change (bottled water is not a constant, and can be a variable IMO)? Is it the decomposing plants in the tank? Some other variable? Thatís where my experience here will fall short, as I havenít actually had to track that sort of thing down myself.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 05:50 PM
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Keep doing water changes until ammonia reads less than .50.
At that point, you can safely add back your plants.
Also, make sure your substrate is well "vacuumed ".
Ammonia can easily leech into it.


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 09:00 PM
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I can't ascertain from your 1st post if you have what you need to grow plants. The fact that they looked good for the 1st week doesn't mean anything. Most plants don't react to poor conditions that quickly, it takes some time especially plants like java fern and anubias to show deficiency.

What kind of light is it? What are you providing the plants? The eco complete doesn't really do anything.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Its just the stock hood that came with the tank. Led lights that say 1.5 watt.
I did research on substrate and read and watched video reviews of Eco Complete and it says otherwise. Also dont believe you need ferts until the plants are well established if using a planted substrate.
I did not know prior to posting that all plants will melt and die off when moved to different tanks and water conditions.

The plants I have are all very low tech very low light and should grow well with the research I Have done.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 01:34 AM
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Its just the stock hood that came with the tank. Led lights that say 1.5 watt.
I did research on substrate and read and watched video reviews of Eco Complete and it says otherwise. Also dont believe you need ferts until the plants are well established if using a planted substrate.
I did not know prior to posting that all plants will melt and die off when moved to different tanks and water conditions.

The plants I have are all very low tech very low light and should grow well with the research I Have done.
You have some mis-information. The eco is inert. It doesn't provide the plants anything. You also have what is probably a light not really capable of growing even low-light plants.

Also did you bury the java fern and the anubias? That will kill them. Even in low tech, you need to provide some micro ferts like Seachem Flourish and then have fish and fish food provide the macros (NPK).
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, there is a ton of information out there and everyone seems to have different experience.
I did not bury the java fern or Anubis nana, they were glued to rocks so the rhizome was exposed and some of the roots were just in the substrate.
Even if it was the light ( or lack off) would they have melted so fast. Like I took the nana out and cut the bad parts off and within 10 minutes of putting it back into the tank the new growth and healthy leaves were turning brown?
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 01:59 AM
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Even if it was the light ( or lack off) would they have melted so fast. Like I took the nana out and cut the bad parts off and within 10 minutes of putting it back into the tank the new growth and healthy leaves were turning brown?
Really, 10 minutes the plant went from healthy green to brown? If I put anubias in complete darkness for two weeks it would still be green when I took them out. Is there a chance something got in the water? i.e. kids, etc.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Just 8ppm household ammonia
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