Difficulty Keeping Plants Healthy - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2020, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Difficulty Keeping Plants Healthy

Hi all, any advice that you can provide would be much appreciated. We have freshwater C-Vue 18 with 10 small fish that seem to be very happy and healthy for well over a year now. We've been trying to introduce live plants ever since and consistently have had issues. We've had to consistently replace plants from both our LFS and LiveAquaria.

I'm attaching pictures of what we have in the tank now. These plants have shown essentially no growth since planting. Notice the splotches on the Anubis - I honestly don't know what that is. We do have a Chinese Algae Eater who seems to keep algae at bay.

Every time I check the levels (pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, GH, KH, Phosphate), everything is in the normal range. The tank is filtered with Matrix, Matrix Carbon and Purigen. The substrate is Flourite. We use Flourish Excel every other day or so and Flourish every 1-2 weeks.

We do live in South Florida, so it can get quite warm in the tank (think low 80's) and our tap water is quite hard (however, the GH test didn't indicate it to be an issue).

In terms of Lighting, we have a Current USA Satellite Plus Pro LED delivering 25 watts. PAR readings from the manufacturer are listed here: https://current-usa.com/wp-content/u...te-LED-PAR.pdf. The light is on for 7-8 hours and the room also receives some natural sunlight. Ever since we got the algae eater, we've had no issues with algae buildup.

Curious to know if anyone has any thoughts on why we're having trouble getting plants to thrive (or even survive)?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2020, 08:43 PM
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Welcome to TPT!
I am in no way qualified to help you-- but, I will tag a couple people that could guide you through ...
Or, maybe others will chime in.
It would be helpful to add what your water parameters are: pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, GH, KH, Phosphate.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2020, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahanmal View Post
The substrate is Flourite. We use Flourish Excel every other day or so and Flourish every 1-2 weeks.
I think that's your problem. Unless I'm mistaken Flourite is basically inert clay (great for holding/releasing nutrients, but inert by itself), and assuming you mean Flourish 'Comprehensive' every couple weeks your plants are starving. It's not an 'all-in-one' fertilizer, you're supposed to use it on a schedule with their Flourish Nitrogen/Phosphorous/Potassium/Iron/Trace products.



I made the same mistake early on (it does say comprehensive...). I've since had good results with the full Seachem lineup. There are some true 'all in one' products like Thrive and Easy Green aimed at people using the estimative index dosing method if you'd rather go that route.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Ahh - that makes a lot of sense. I remember following Seachem's How to Make Plants Flourish guide and read it as the additional Flourish line were "optional."

I also did run the test suite and here are my current water parameters:
pH: 7.4
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
Phosphate: 0/0.25 ppm
KH: 3 deg (53.7 ppm)
GH: 7 deg (125.3 ppm)

Given these parameters which supplements would you suggest. I looked at the Flourish lineup - I'm assuming I'd need probably all listed on the chart that you've posted? I'm a fan of Seachem and we use Prime, Clarity, etc.

I'm also a fan of using something like Thrive (at least in the beginning). It's definitely easier to dose one thing daily than many different things daily? How would I dose Thrive optimally? Would I just use it alongside Flourish Excel? We've also had algae issues in the past - should I be concerned (this was before we added the Algae eater)

My plan is to stabilize these plants first (maybe Flourish Advance) then order some more plants to make a nice setup.

Thanks for all the help!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 02:31 AM
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If Iím seeing this right itís a low tech tank with med light, no CO2 system and most plants are pretty easy plants.

You nitrate and phosphate level should probably be ok. Your main problem is you need stop with the feast or famine dosing and dose Fluorish regularly so that those nutrients are never completely depleted in tank. Your plants are running out of macro and trace nutrients between doses, plant growth stalls and then algae takes over.

Try dosing 2ml Fluorish 2x week or up to 3x week.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Try dosing 2ml Fluorish 2x week or up to 3x week.

That'll probably keep the plants alive, but there's so little N/P/K in Flourish Comp that I don't think you can rely on it in anything beyond minimal light setups.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ahanmal View Post
Ahh - that makes a lot of sense. I remember following Seachem's How to Make Plants Flourish guide and read it as the additional Flourish line were "optional."

I also did run the test suite and here are my current water parameters:
pH: 7.4
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
Phosphate: 0/0.25 ppm
KH: 3 deg (53.7 ppm)
GH: 7 deg (125.3 ppm)

Given these parameters which supplements would you suggest. I looked at the Flourish lineup - I'm assuming I'd need probably all listed on the chart that you've posted? I'm a fan of Seachem and we use Prime, Clarity, etc.

Your water looks pretty dang good other than the KH being a bit low. Here in Oklahoma my PH is like 8.5+ out of the tap, with a lovely sulphur fragrance (and some tasty hexavalent chromium for good measure). What you need to do as far as buffering your PH/KH depends on what fish you're keeping.

I use N/P/K/comprehensive/iron on a rotating schedule. Trace, Excel, and Advance are optional.

Quote:
I'm also a fan of using something like Thrive (at least in the beginning). It's definitely easier to dose one thing daily than many different things daily? How would I dose Thrive optimally? Would I just use it alongside Flourish Excel? We've also had algae issues in the past - should I be concerned (this was before we added the Algae eater)

My plan is to stabilize these plants first (maybe Flourish Advance) then order some more plants to make a nice setup.

Thanks for all the help!
If you don't want to mess with CO2 injection I'd stick with the Seachem lineup. Ramp up the Flourish Comprehensive to 2-3x weekly like DaveKS recommended. You can get a test kit to see where your macros are at and go from there, but I'd just start dosing N/P/K/Fe, put some root tabs in around the plants to fertilize the substrate, and keep up with weekly water changes. Excel is an algaecide, but you can also keep algae under control by reducing lighting as much as possible and keeping your ferts balanced/keeping up with water changes. My noobish understanding is that if your tank is deficient in some necessary nutrient then hardier, opportunistic algae can gain a foothold and out-compete the plants.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 06:23 PM
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You may to consider purchasing dry ferts and mixing solutions instead of the bottled Seachem line. I suggest based on my own experience where I bought 7 bottles of Seachem Flourish products from LFS. The dosing is annoying requiring different amounts of each product and differing dosing frequencies. With any liquid ferts you are paying for water and lots of bottles. Total cost per month is a lot higher than providing equivalent amounts of same ingredients using EI or PPS Pro methods and mixing a micros bottle and a macros bottle with your own water and the dry ingredients.
Many threads here and elsewhere about the relative merits of each dosing method and best vendors. If you research Green Leaf Aquariums, NilocG or others' recommended sources, you'll see what I mean.

For example I bought GLA ferts, use their instructions and rotalabutterfly.com calculator and follow PPS Pro dosing method. I mix ferts in the 500ml squeeze bottles about once every month or two and that's plenty for my 125g tank. You can dose the same amount from each of the 2 bottles daily, pretty darn easy! Cost is about 1/3 - 1/2 vs. Seachem purchased online. I can also adjust the mix to account for the changing conditions in my tank.

Walking the tightrope of discus in a high tech planted tank.
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