New planted tank not growing - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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New planted tank not growing

Hi, first off, this is my first planted tank. Have had aquariums in the past and always wanted to do a live tank but never did. I probably didn't do enough research but I've got what I believe a dwarf hair grass plant and a microsword. I originally tried to plant them in organic potting soil but I didn't use enough gravel to cover it, and as soon as I tried to put plants in the soil just escaped and clouded the whole tank. So I had to start over from scratch and just used aquarium gravel and some small river rocks (yes I boiled them). The plants came in a pot thing with that bio degradeable cover around it which I did not remove, I just stuck it into the gravel and covered it. Anyways, plants have been in about a week and I have seen no signs of growth. Not sure if this is normal or due to a light issue/ fert/ or because I left that covering around the roots. I have a 15 watt incandescent bulb(one of the energry efficent spiral looking ones) thats at 6500k. The tank is 2.5 g. In the tank I have 2 gouramis. I did have a couple small gold fish also but they were pecking at plants constantly so I took them out today. I know they say 2 wpg minimum, but I don't have a flourescent fixture that will fit such a tiny tank, and most of the flourescent lights I see anyways are only 15-20 watts. From what I read these plants are very hardy and grow fast without much ferts besides fish waste (ammonia, nitrate, etc) so I haven't been using any ferts. I figured I would of at least had some growth by now but they look just the same as at LFS. Could someone point me in the right direction. I have access to liquid ferts but there was several different choices so not sure which to get. If I need better lighting, or I need to go to flourescent tubes, could someone tell me one that is readily available at petco/petsmart/ walmart, etc. Thanks
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 01:17 AM
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Welcome to the forum. Don't get discouraged. The dwarf hair grass and the micro swords won't thrive in your tank conditions. First, no CO2. Second, the gravels are too big. Third, you aren't dosing with the necessary macro and micro nutrients. And your gravels have no nutrients in it. Even if you have all the optimal conditions, these 2 plants take a long time to thrive. They aren't beginner's plants. Once they are established, they take off but the process to get there isn't easy.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 02:23 AM
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I just started what is technically my second planted tank, the first just had small gravel substrate with a handful of amazon swords. These ended up just barely growing and instead of growing tall they grew into clumps about 1 inch in height. I transplanted the best 3 of these into my new planted tank with a organic garden soil substrate capped with gravel and immediately they began to grow like wildfire and now I have tall swords like I wanted, along with quite a few other plants that I added and all are doing great. A "dirt"-type substrate with your gravel on top would make all the difference. Im not currently using CO2, well I tried and failed at a cheap DIY CO2 generator, but Im still seeing good results.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 02:37 AM
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The light bulb you have isn't incandescent, it's a spiral cfl bulb. That light should be OK for that tank. The plants are still in its emergent form, aka grown out of water, and will take some time to convert to submergent form. You can get away without ferts or co2 but you might lose a lot of the plant mass in the process. Once the plants adapt to its conditions, it will begin to grow but how fast will depend on how the tank progresses.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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I must have misread because I was thinking these plants didn't need CO2 system. I've researched a lot of diy co2 setups so I may get one going if it will help. 2nd, I know the gravel only was not the best choice. I was originally going to use flourite, with gravel on top. I then started reading about the organic potting soil and did try and use it but I don't see how anyone could set one up unless they put the plants and everything in before any water. I put about an inch of potting soil on bottom, then stuck about an inch to inch and half completely covering the soil, I filled it with water using a plate to buffer the water stream and it filled up fine, but as soon as I poked a hole down to the soil to stick the plant in the potting soil just shot up and clouded the whole aquarium to where you couldn't even see through it. I let it sit for several hours and it didn't settle any, was still just as cloudy with some big pieces floating on top. I even stuck a 10 gallon rated HOB filter in there to try and clear it but it kept clogging up the filter. I then just decided to start over, dumped the whole tank, rinsed all the gravel free of soil and did gravel only. Perhaps flourite isn't as hard to use as potting soil? I wouldn't mind going the potting soil route as from what I read it seems to be great for root nurturing plants. But from what I'm getting from the replies my apparently CFL light (didn't know they were called that) is fine? I thought maybe it didn't have enough watts but I couldn't find any of the screw in variety lights at any of the LFS or walmart that were above 15 watts and also had the higher temp spektrum (5000k +). I wasn't expecting the whole tank to be covered in a carpet of grass in a week or anything, but if I don't get it fixed now , I will see much less progress overall for this tank in the long run so i'd rather fix it now rather than wait. Should I scrap the gravel and do flourite only? Do I need to put gravel on top of the flourite to hold it down, or should I use some other medium for substrate. Some of the rocks in the tank are bigger cause they were river rocks, but if I go normal gravel only would that be fine or do I need something smaller than typical aquarium gravel. I have sand in another freshwater tank but I read that sand doesn't hold nutrients well so I opted out from using it on this tank. I have tons of the organic soil but am very hesitant to try it again after it clouded the whole tank with one tiny poke. I appreciate the fast replies guys.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 03:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stingeragent View Post
The tank is 2.5 g. In the tank I have 2 gouramis.

Anyone besides me going to speak up and say this is way to small for groumais?

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Yes this tank is way to small house gouramis long term. There were some tiny goldfish in but they were eating the plants so I switched them out for a short duration.I appreciate the concern but ive been keeping fish for a decent amount of time. Im just new to the planted portion. The eventual inhabitants will be a few tetras.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 03:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stingeragent View Post
I put about an inch of potting soil on bottom, then stuck about an inch to inch and half completely covering the soil, I filled it with water using a plate to buffer the water stream and it filled up fine, but as soon as I poked a hole down to the soil to stick the plant in the potting soil just shot up and clouded the whole aquarium to where you couldn't even see through it. I let it sit for several hours and it didn't settle any, was still just as cloudy with some big pieces floating on top. I even stuck a 10 gallon rated HOB filter in there to try and clear it but it kept clogging up the filter.
I researched for literally at least two weeks before attempting a dirted tank. So at least I kinda knew what to expect: Keep in mind that my fish were in my 29g tank during this process and I am talking about dirting a 75g tank, so with your size tank this whole process should be a walk in the park.

I would have loved to use fluorite but for a 75g tank it was more $ than I could stomach.

First, I triple rinsed my organic garden soil (I used 2 1/2 bags at about $7 each) in a 5 gal bucket to get as much of the really fine particles out. I did this outside but it was still a messy process. Then I put the soil in when it was still pretty wet, this was something that I learned would make it easier to get it to compact down and reduce the amt of floaters I would get. Then I put about a 1" gravel cap on it. Rivercats recommended adding another inch of gravel cap which I did later because I was still getting a good number of floaters pop up daily. This extra cap thickness was the trick... thx again Rivercats. And yes I did thouroughly rinse my gravel before putting it in but the water was still cloudy.

Based on another recommendation on an initial setup of a dirted tank I then did about a 80% water change every day for about 5 days. This was a PITA because it is a 75g tank after all. But this helped get a lot of the cloudiness out but it was still cloudy. I learned that this is still "normal" but that it would go away in about another 5 to 7 days. Even though I didn't think it would ever clear up it did, and I mean crystal clear after about another week. It was this week, the second week that I started running my canister filter (with carbon).

Floaters: I just used my small net to remove them from the top each day for about a week. Each day I had fewer and then after about a week I had none at all. Then I added some more plants to the tank and each time even though I was very careful I would get 10 or so floaters pop up to the top, which again I just used my small net to remove them, took all of about 5 minutes.

So yes, my water was really cloudy too even after my daily 80% water changes that I did for a week, but then after about another week my water was crystal clear. Other than a very recent alga problem I am having (probably not enough CO2 and possibly too much lighting) I couldn't be happier with how the dirting process turned out.

CO2 thoughts: I am a newb here but here is what I do know. Your plants must have CO2 to survive and grow (needed for photosynthesis). They can get CO2 from: #1 your fish if you have enough fish, #2 a CO2 system as long as the CO2 actually gets dissolved in your water, #3 from water you add to your tank. The water you add to your tank is going to have some dissolved CO2 in it, just as it has some dissolved O2 in it. From what I have learned CO2 is easily released from the water (i.e. no longer available for your plants) if you have too much surface agitation.
If you don't have a heck of a lot of plants in your tank your weekly water changes might provide your plants with enough CO2 since your tank is relatively small.

On the gourami note, I have had a dwarf neon gourami in my 29g tank for about a year. Then I was "sold" another dwarf gourami by one of the workers at one of the big box pet stores. I really didn't want another but was looking for another colorful fish and he told me that gouramis are community fish and "easily get along with each other as well as other fish". So I put the other male gourami in my 29g tank and the war began. I thought the bigger one was going to end up killing the smaller one. I moved them into my newly set up 75g tank earlier than I wanted to put fish in it, but when I did the fighting stopped, they seem to be tolerating each other now. One stays on one side, the other on the other side. When they feed they interact but for the most part just ignore each other now. Seems that in a bigger tank they were not stressed out anymore.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-22-2013 at 03:16 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Even in this tiny tank the gouramis seem fine for the moment. They dont bother each other. Not leaving them in this small of a tank either way. does flourite contain any nutrients and does it cloud as bad as dirt? Id try the soil method again and rinse like you did but with my work schedule lately dont quite have the time to constantly mess with it.

Picked up some flouramax today but got off late so it wont go in tank until tomorrow. It says on the package that it contains ferts in it. Should I still be dosing the water column and if so with what.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-22-2013 at 03:16 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 09:39 AM
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you need to be patient for a while with this its for sure u would enjoy with a more healthier and beautiful tank in futre.


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 10:48 AM
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Be sure to rinse the Floramax well before you put it in the tank.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Flouramax went in today. Did get a bit cloudy but its mostly cleared.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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Just to post an update I have a tiny bit of new growth from dhg but the microsword hasnt done anything. Its nit dieing but its not growing. Co2 seems a bit much for a tank this size. Can someone recommend ferts that petco or petsmart sell? The flouramax has iron and some other stuff in it so not sure what I really need in addition?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 07:45 AM
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You wouldn't need much of any ferts if you're not dosing co2. Use a root tab every few months and you should be fine.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2013, 03:50 AM
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need to get rid of your air stone , change to smaller gravel and canister filter works best for planted tank , DIY co2 works on small aquarium tanks but after changing your mix every 2 or 3 weeks and a couple of month's you will run into buying a co2 setup . Lighting with natural light color needs to be on 6-8hr's on with co2 but will be ok with you diy co2 on 24/7.
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