Advice needed on my plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2007, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Advice needed on my plants

Having good success with fish for the past 5 years, I have moved up to a bigger tank and am trying my hand at live plants. I am having some newbie difficulties and would appreciate advice.

First off...can anyone tell me what this plant is? I got it from Petco in January from their tank of submerged plants when I got my 90 gallon tank. It grew at first like a rocket but now isn't doing so well.

As I said, I am new to plants. The tank was setup in mid-January, with a 40 watt bulb. In mid-February I put a Nova Extreme T5HO 4-bulb version on top, starting with (2) 10k and (1) 6700 bulbs. Last week I added a T5HO Planta bulb. This now gives me 216 watts.

Also at that time I got the Java Fern and Anacharis. The anacharis has been put through the ringer trying to get it to stay put...I finally got plant disk anchors and now it isn't moving.

My Java Fern is hurting...and I don't know what to do for it. This past weekend I finally got a pressurized CO2 setup...the Drs semi-auto one. It has lowered my ph from 8 to almost 7. My KH is 7 as well. So this has been running for 3 days.

Exactly one week ago I added Micro-Swords and Water Sprite. 1/2 the Sprite is floating, but not free floating. I want something for my fry. The other 1/2 I planted to try it - both are now starting with the brownish ends.

It doesn't look like I killed the Swords yet.

As you can see, I am also trying my hand with a ton of Java Moss. Most of it in various spots in my tank has turned brown (brown seems to be common with my plants). However, there are a few spots of green left.

Also a week ago, after adding the last new plants, I started dosing with dry ferts from Greg...everything but nitrates since my tap water is 10ppm and the tank has always been between 10-20ppm. I am dosing as per Rex's guide. Prior to that (and the CO2 injection) I was dosing with Flourish, F. Excel (until I found out it isn't great for anacharis), and Flourish Iron.

So....I would appreciate any expert advice. Do I just sit and wait now? Did I wait to long to start with the ferts, CO2, or even the lighting?

One last question. My ph has dropped from 8 to 7. I have read that a 1.0 drop in ph means 30ppm this true or should I just go by the chart (which suggests I have about 21ppm CO2).

I am sorry that I am long-winded in posting. I have more questions but I don't want this to become a book. Thank you for your time in reading my mess.

Here is my tank. I need a better digital camera:

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2007, 06:37 PM
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The first plant is a starving Wisteria Hygrophila difformis
With light and CO2 you will need to dose Macros and Micros. Also, I am a little confused about your lighting. It seems like a hodgepodge of sorts. I still think you need more with CO2. I don't think you have 30ppm CO2. I think you likely have 21. You can send your pH lower to around 6.8.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2007, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for being the first to reply, Lynny.

Are you saying I need more light? I was kinda confused about that part of your answer.

I do about a 40% water change on Sundays (my tank maintenance day). Starting last Sunday (not yesterday) when I finally had my dry ferts, I dosed this:

1/4 teaspoon of KH2PO4 (phosphates) - throughout the week I had 3 ppm
2.5 teaspoons of K2SO4 (potassium)

I did the potassium again on Tuesday and Thursday. On Monday and Friday I dosed 1/5th of a teaspoon of CSM+B mix. Wednesday I used Flourish and Flourish Iron (I have to get rid of 2 bottles of each).

So if my plants are what I have done for the past week better?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2007, 08:59 PM
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Cut down on the potassium.

Add some (more) fast-growers.

Add a bag of Flourite -wash it first- that will provide some nutrients in addition to the well-needed footing for your plants.

Be patient.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2007, 11:47 PM
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You will be most successful with plants if you plant a whole lot of them at once in the tank. Cover more than half of the substrate with plants, preferably fast growing stem plants. Then start fertilizing and adding CO2 or Excel. With a 90 gallon tank, you almost have to use pressurized CO2 if you use CO2 at all, because Excel is very expensive for that size tank.
If you reduce the amount of light to about 1.5 watts per gallon you might do well without CO2, but you do need to fertilize with nitrates, phosphates, potassium (which can come from potassium nitrate), and trace elements. If you keep the CO2 use, you need a drop checker to make sure you are using about 30 ppm of CO2. Your plant photos look like you are not fertilizing at all.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-13-2007, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information and replies so far.

I guess another or real question I have is whether I should just let the Java Fern go with its damaged leaves...or do I prune them off and let it grow anew from its rhizome. Same could be said for the Wisteria.

I really don't want to add Flourite to the I am going to try avoiding that as long as everything doesn't totally fail on me here.

I would like to see what I have currently grow enough so I can split them to fill up the tank more...rather then spending more money on plants.

I will continue my dosing then with the dry ferts as I have been, dropping off a little on the potassium. My lights are running 10 hours a day, which is something I forgot to mention originally.

My CO2 system seems to be working well. I broke the outlet on the bubble counter last night so I had to remove it...but I was around 2bps and my current pH (with the CO2 running 4 hours now) is at 6.8. I backed off a hair on my needle valve just now because I really don't want it to hit 6.6 - I would be significantly over 30ppm then. The CO2 system is tied in to my lights.

I had a brief period of brown diatoms (this is a new setup) for 2 weeks...but that is now gone. I have never and currently do not have a problem with any other algae.
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