Freshwater Aquarium Plants turning black - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Freshwater Aquarium Plants turning black

Hello Planted Tank Gurus,

I've set up my very first Freshwater Planted Community Tank last year (around the month of July-August, 2016) and it's been running for about year and half now. It's a 38 Gal (L-36", W-12", H-18") Aqueon Tank which came with the startup kit.

Initially I started with few low-light, low tech plants like Val, Amazon sword etc and I used a mixture of couple of substrates
CaribSea Instant Aquarium Peace River Gravel and
CaribSea Flora Max Planted Aquarium Substrate
Later on I introduced a few stem plants like Ludwigia Peruensis, anacharis rotala, bacopa, java fern, Anacharis Elodea Densa etc..

I'm using Beamswork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater 0.50W and a Fluval Aquasky LED Aquarium Light, 27 watt.. Both my lights are on timer and they run for 8 hours a day.

My water parameters are as per the normal/recommended standard (except the water hardness, which is quite high here in Northern Virginia).

Off late, I'm seeing my plants are turning black and getting a burnt look (pictures attached for reference).. I run a DIY CO2 with Baking Soda and Citrix Acid and also use Seachem liquid ferts.

I'm running three HOB filters (sorry didn't have enough space for a canister filter)
1. Aqueon QuietFlow Power Filter (Size 30 - 200GPH) (It came with the Aqueon Kit)
2. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters (Size 50 - 250 GPH)
3. Fluval C3 Power Filter (153 GPH)

I searched online and found contradictory statements.. Somewhere it's mentioned that the blackening might have happened due to excess of phosphorus where somewhere else I found it's mentioned due to lack of phosphorus.. Now I don't have a means to measure the phosphate (I use the API Master Kit to measure and monitor the Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, pH, High pH, KH and GH)..

As my substrate is quite old (more than a year), I've inserted a few API and Seachem Root tabs in the substrate as well.. Also, I do follow the regimen of weekly 25-30% water change e as well..

Could anyone please advice me what's wrong I'm doing and suggest me what could be changed to handle this situation? Thank You!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 08:42 PM
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Looks like you're starting to get black beard algae growing on some of those plants. What's your fertilization regimen besides root tabs?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:10 PM
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That's BBA growth for sure. I think it can be brought on by too much phosphorous in your water and weak plant growth. There's a possibility that your other plants are shadowing your swords and vals so they're not growing strong enough, although the BBA is also on your substrate a bit so there's a good chance that your water chemistry is a little off. Try running only one light for a week to see if things improve.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:17 PM
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Yea, def getting a case of BBA......
suggest glut(Excel) till you can sort out the problem..
Looks a lot like my 55 in the recent past..
20mL of Excel per 55gal (some recommend as high as 1mL/gallon, currently using Metricide14 which is more concentrated than Excel @15mL/55ga/every 2-3days) every few days, a decrease in photoperiod (complicated by being exposed to ambient sunlight for me), and a bunch of Olive Nerite snails (cheap on eek bay) has it managed till I can find a
suitable cure..though w/ the window and wife liking sunlight.. it may be a bit problematic.

Most likely a wee bit too much light.

You're getting a lot of ammonia leakage out of old and dying leaves..

Next common recommendation is supercharge the plants w/ CO2 and ferts to outgrow the algae (well keep all plant leaves healthy, less leakage).
UNLESS you can sig boost CO2 I personally wouldn't recommend you trying it

Next a blackout.. BUT, obviously, would be only temporary at best I suspect (speculation, never tried one. Will leave it to others) unless you figure out the missing parameter.


You are in a stage I'd refer to as self perpetuating..until you find the cure.
algae on damaged leaves spreads to more healthy leaves, damaging them ect.. ect...

Just in case you take any of this a gospel.. be aware that my experience is NOT fully cured...but think I've learned how to manage it for the most part.

glut and Nerites are my "go to" for any algae problems..

Oh, and once the glut knocks it back, most plants will respond w/ growth..they are being stunted now..
not to forget, Glut is a carbon source as well..
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick response.. I try to follow the Seachem Fertilizer Plant-Dose-Chart Excel and modified the amount based on my tank size (As my tank is of 38 Gal, the volume of water would be around 32-33 gal considering 1.5-2 inches of substrate).. I've attached the plant dose chart here for reference..
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAquaGuy View Post
Both my lights are on timer and they run for 8 hours a day.

My water parameters are as per the normal/recommended standard (except the water hardness, which is quite high here in Northern Virginia).

Off late, I'm seeing my plants are turning black and getting a burnt look (pictures attached for reference).. I run a DIY CO2 with Baking Soda and Citrix Acid and also use Seachem liquid ferts.

Now I don't have a means to measure the phosphate (I use the API Master Kit to measure and monitor the Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, pH, High pH, KH and GH)..
Maybe moving to a shorter photoperiod would help 6.5 to 7 hours.

Per the normal? What are your NO3(nitrate) levels?

The turning black is BBA forming.

DIY CO2 is very inconsistent, this can help BBA grow.

Do you use the entire Seachem line-up of ferts?

Plants could be very deficient in macronutrients.
Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium are the largest used nutrients.
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAquaGuy View Post
Thanks for the quick response.. I try to follow the Seachem Fertilizer Plant-Dose-Chart Excel and modified the amount based on my tank size (As my tank is of 38 Gal, the volume of water would be around 32-33 gal considering 1.5-2 inches of substrate).. I've attached the plant dose chart here for reference..
Black Brush Algae (BBA) - How to Kill it | ScapeFu047 - ScapeFu
5mL/50gal Excel won't do squat to BBA...
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticeBeaver View Post
That's BBA growth for sure. I think it can be brought on by too much phosphorous in your water and weak plant growth. There's a possibility that your other plants are shadowing your swords and vals so they're not growing strong enough, although the BBA is also on your substrate a bit so there's a good chance that your water chemistry is a little off. Try running only one light for a week to see if things improve.

Thank You.. Yes that's something I thought of doing as well.. Do you think only the Beamswork for a week or two might help? Or how about replacing the Beamswork with a Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light and run it along with the aquasky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Maybe moving to a shorter photoperiod would help 6.5 to 7 hours.
Thank You, Yes I can certainly try that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Per the normal? What are your NO3(nitrate) levels?
I measured all the parameters today and below are the results
pH > 7.6
High pH: In between 7.8 to 8 (It has always been like this)
Ammonia : In between 0 - .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: In between 10 - 20 ppm
GH: 6 drops (around 100)
KH: 6 drops (around 100)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
The turning black is BBA forming.

DIY CO2 is very inconsistent, this can help BBA grow.
I agree.. However I really don't have any other means to provide CO2 (unfortunately don't really have much budget to on CO2 cylinder).. I've recently bought a CO2 checker from Amazon to monitor the CO2 level in water.. DO you think that might help a bit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Do you use the entire Seachem line-up of ferts?
Mostly Yes.. As I'm doing DIY CO2, hence I don't use Excel. Apart from that I use Iron, Potassium, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Flourish, Flourish Trace and Flourish Advance as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Plants could be very deficient in macronutrients.
Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium are the largest used nutrients.
I generally try to follow the quantity mentioned in the Seachem Plant Dose Chart Excel.. Do you think that's more/less than required?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 12-23-2017 at 02:47 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:59 PM
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For fun..and review...
https://ukaps.org/forum/threads/what...balance.38375/
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Yea, def getting a case of BBA......
suggest glut(Excel) till you can sort out the problem..
Thank You.. Do you suggest a spot clean using Excel? However I've also red somewhere that too much of excel might melt val and some other stem plants.. So don't know whether 1mL/gal would be safe for them..

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
though w/ the window and wife liking sunlight.. it may be a bit problematic.
Most likely a wee bit too much light.
Well, almost same here .. My tank is also close by the window thus can't control the sunlight amount/duration.. But having said that, probably reducing the artificial light duration might help as suggested by some other experts..

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post

That's a great piece of information.. Than You for sharing
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