Plants are slowly dying, don't know why - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Plants are slowly dying, don't know why

Good evening, all. As the title suggests, I have several plants in my tank that are slowly dying (the most obvious of these being my Amazon Swords), and I can't figure out why.

I have a 5 gal fluval spec v, and I upgraded the light to the current satellite freshwater LED+ light. My photo period is ~10-12 hrs/day (this may be too long but I try to go along with sunrise/sunset), and I dose with API co2 booster daily (1/8 tsp, since that's roughly what it works out ppm wise for 5 gallons), and Flourish Comprehensive 2x/week. I do a 1x a week 20% water change, and the tank is stocked with one male betta, and a mystery snail.

In addition to Amazon Sword, I have anubias, java fern, and water wisteria. My water wisteria are going INSANE, they *love* the tank. They are growing larger and larger, and my floating ones have roots so long that they get snagged in the anubias quite frequently. The java fern seems to have no opinion whatsoever, and is just quite happily going about its business being a plant.

My Amazon sword, on the other hand, are slowly turning brown and dying, one leaf at a time. It starts with brown speckles and then spreads to the whole leaf. In addition, I have noticed that the leaves are quite light and have black stripes on them. These plants are the worst off out of all of my plants. The second worst are a few of the anubias leaves (not full stop plants, but leaves on the various plants), which almost look like they've been dusted with white chalk particles or something. They aren't a solid green. Also, some of my plants look like they have brown dirt on them. I don't know what this is, though I assume it's algae.

Finally, a couple of my decorations have started to grow a little bit of green algae (as have some of the rocks in the tank), and I've got a small spot of brown algae on my glass. In an attempt to stop this, I've cut back the amount of light I give the plants per day, started feeding my betta less (he's a fat cow and should be fed less anyway), and have been doing larger water changes. I want to stay ahead of this problem while I still can, so I would appreciate any advice you may have to offer. This is my first planted tank, so I am not sure where to proceed. Also, I have attached photos.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 01:15 AM
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I suspect there is a lack of potassium in this tank. Spots on the leaves look like that.
Pale leaves with green veins is a sign that one of the minerals is in short supply, too.

Comprehensive has very low levels of the elements that plants use the most of. N, P, K.
Fish food offers a fair amount of N and P, but not much K. Also low in Fe.

I would increase the potassium and iron and see how things go.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 05:27 AM
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Is there any planted substrate in the tank? Like flourite, eco complete, floramax, etc... Or are you using any type of root tabs for sword plant, or any other stem plants? My thoughts are that the plants aren't getting enough nutrients period, whether it's macro NPK, or micro's like csm+b.

The two fastest utilized nutrients that are used up are calcium, and magnesium which most people have in their tap water so it's not a big issue. I recommend dosing flourish comp. 3 times a week, and adding some root tabs especially because swords are very heavy root feeders. I put 5 Osmocote+ root tabs under my monster leaf Amazon Sword because of how heavy it feeds on the nutrients. My swords leaves are bigger then my entire hand, both length and width.

45g Long - High Light Planted Tank / 30g - Plant Grow Out Tank / 100g Tank - currently resealing
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I suspect there is a lack of potassium in this tank. Spots on the leaves look like that.
Pale leaves with green veins is a sign that one of the minerals is in short supply, too.

Comprehensive has very low levels of the elements that plants use the most of. N, P, K.
Fish food offers a fair amount of N and P, but not much K. Also low in Fe.

I would increase the potassium and iron and see how things go.
I agree with these two possibilities, but I think this issue is more likely to be an iron deficiency than a potassium one. The one leaf in the back with the spots could just be an old leaf dying off naturally however all the other leaves in the tank are pale in the new growth which is consistent with iron deficiency.

Also, I want to add that only one deficiency can affect a given plant at a time, and generally only one active deficiency in a tank at a time. This is because a nutrient deficiency will prevent the plant from making new tissue, which in turn prevents any other deficiencies from developing. Already formed tissues do not need nutrients to stay active, they basically just need water, CO2 and O2 to keep making sugars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx View Post
The two fastest utilized nutrients that are used up are calcium, and magnesium which most people have in their tap water so it's not a big issue.
As stated this is not correct. The two fastest used nutrients are nitrogen and potassium by far (of course CO2 is first). Calcium and magnesium actually make up a very small percentage of the nutrients plants need per day. For example a heavily planted high tech 90g tank will only use about 2-5 ppm of calcium a week, but between 20 and 30 ppm of nitrogen and potassium. This is also one of the reasons that magnesium and calcium deficiencies are extremely rare compared with nitrogen and potassium deficiencies.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 07:09 PM
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Hard to tell from your pics but the potential deficiencies stated above are definitely possibilities. Have a look at this and see if you can identify the problem;
http://deficiencyfinder.com/
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