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Beginner needing help! First planted tank!

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Okay, so first off i am new to the website and the hobby, so i apologize for any mistakes i do make. I have a 24 x 24 x 12 inch 30 gallon aquarium, i have a Marineland LED plant light fixture. I am using flora max as my substrate and i currently have 6 species of cichlids and a few different plants i am trying to grow. Now that i have explained what my tank is like, here is my issue. My plants aren't growing! At least i dont think. Surprisingly my Anubis and my Amazon Sword were the first with anything noticeably wrong, the sword when i added it to the tank had a few brown leaves, i trimmed the really bad ones and the ones with very little i left, and it just got worse. My Anubis seems like its dying the leaves are starting to turn a light brown towards the edges of the leaves, i have them tied to a piece of driftwood one directly under the light and one off in a corner a bit in the shade. Over all none of the plants look like they're doing very well. I am adding Co2 as instructions on bottle is telling me to, same with plant food and flourish. I don't know what I am doing wrong!
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Okay, so first off i am new to the website and the hobby, so i apologize for any mistakes i do make. I have a 24 x 24 x 12 inch 30 gallon aquarium, i have a Marineland LED plant light fixture. I am using flora max as my substrate and i currently have 6 species of cichlids and a few different plants i am trying to grow. Now that i have explained what my tank is like, here is my issue. My plants aren't growing! At least i dont think. Surprisingly my Anubis and my Amazon Sword were the first with anything noticeably wrong, the sword when i added it to the tank had a few brown leaves, i trimmed the really bad ones and the ones with very little i left, and it just got worse. My Anubis seems like its dying the leaves are starting to turn a light brown towards the edges of the leaves, i have them tied to a piece of driftwood one directly under the light and one off in a corner a bit in the shade. Over all none of the plants look like they're doing very well. I am adding Co2 as instructions on bottle is telling me to, same with plant food and flourish. I don't know what I am doing wrong!
Could you give us specifics on the light fixture? I'm betting that the light you have might be low.

is your tank 12" deep or 24" deep? do you know your PAR rating at those depth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not to familiar with PAR, and it is 12 inches deep. I specifically bought the marine land aquatic plant LED light, so id be pissed if it was my lighting because that light was expensive!

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Could you give us specifics on the light fixture? I'm betting that the light you have might be low.

is your tank 12" deep or 24" deep? do you know your PAR rating at those depth?
I'm not to familiar with PAR, and it is 12 inches deep. I specifically bought the marine land aquatic plant LED light, so id be pissed if it was my lighting because that light was expensive!
 

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How long has the tank been set-up and what fertilizer products are you using? How long are the lights on each day? You should have plenty of light for a 12" high tank, in fact you may have too much unless you plant it heavily with fast growing plants. If you start to get algae you can raise the light up a few inches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How long has the tank been set-up and what fertilizer products are you using? How long are the lights on each day? You should have plenty of light for a 12" high tank, in fact you may have too much unless you plant it heavily with fast growing plants. If you start to get algae you can raise the light up a few inches.
The tank has been set up about two weeks, right now i am dosing co2 daily, and Aqueon plant food about twice a week, I was using flourish excel for the first few days of having the tank, but i stopped because i read somewhere that it was the same thing as the co2 and plant food, and i was scared of over dosing. I test my water everyday and right now the ammonia in the tank is at .25ppm but at least 2.0 ppm nitrites and about 40-50ppm nitrate, this is the highest the levels have been since i started the tank, i have been doing a 25% water change every other day.
 

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Also...things happen pretty fast in planted tanks, but 2 weeks is way to fast to expect anything noticeable. Especially in a new tank. My established plants in my tank look different every couple weeks, but if i pick up a tissue culture plant and drop it in my tank, after two weeks I expect it to look worse than when I got it because it is acclimating and growing roots. Give your tank time to mature and stabilize and expect new plants to look worse before they look better


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I'm not to familiar with PAR, and it is 12 inches deep. I specifically bought the marine land aquatic plant LED light, so id be pissed if it was my lighting because that light was expensive!

Bump:

I'm not to familiar with PAR, and it is 12 inches deep. I specifically bought the marine land aquatic plant LED light, so id be pissed if it was my lighting because that light was expensive!
I'm sure you are fine then. How long are you providing it light per day? Read up on PAR it will help.

Perhaps you are adding too much light and fertilizer and making the plants work to hard. Ease up on it a bit 1st and see if that helps anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm sure you are fine then. How long are you providing it light per day? Read up on PAR it will help.

Perhaps you are adding too much light and fertilizer and making the plants work to hard. Ease up on it a bit 1st and see if that helps anything.
I am giving 11 hours of lights on, and i am dosing 3ml co2 booster daily. Plant food twice a week at 15 ml each
 

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11 hours is too much light, I would back off to 8 or less for now or you will have an algae farm.

I am still confused as to what co2 you are adding. You say you stopped using Excel but are still using Flourish and Aqueon plant food? Anything else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
11 hours is too much light, I would back off to 8 or less for now or you will have an algae farm.

I am still confused as to what co2 you are adding. You say you stopped using Excel but are still using Flourish and Aqueon plant food? Anything else?
API co2 booster, i have switched to 8 hours of light, i can notice an algae appearing on some of my rocks, i am thinking i have too much light? and i should try to suspend the light a bit higher?
 

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Yes, I would. That will be more than enough for them to stay healthy. I would raise it 4 inches and give it a couple weeks. Also, the Aqueon does not contain any Phosphate or Nitrate so it may not be enough if you do not have a reasonable bio load to provide the nitrate. Especially being that the tank is so new. I don't know how many cichlids you have but we can assume they will give you some nitrates and phosphates from food waste.

The problem becomes dosing enough of these nutrients to match your light level. Not enough and the plants do not grow well but algae does. The best short term answer is to raise the lights and maybe shorten the time they are on further until you can see healthy plants, even if they are not growing rapidly.

Dry fertilizers are really the answer. The liquid fertilizer you are using is 98% water. You will need to use a lot more than what they suggest as your plants start to thrive and suddenly you will be buying a bottle of fertilizer every 3 weeks. You don't have to do that too many times to pay for a years worth of dry ferts.

Also, since the Aqueon food has micros in it already you do not need to use Flourish.
 

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The lack of growth is probably just due to changes in the plants' environment. They may have been grown emersed (out of the water) so that when you submerge them they are getting less CO2 than they are used to and struggling. Their root systems are still small as well. Once the plants establish themselves, they'll start growing new leaves.

Especially if the plants were grown emersed, it would not be unusual for their existing leaves to either fall off or not grow any further. New growth will be adapted to being underwater.

I would suggest that you get a timer for your lights, if you haven't yet. You can have two separate photoperiods so that you can enjoy the tank even with 8 (or fewer, perhaps) hours of light. On in the morning, off during work or school, on again in the evening. Without one you wind up having a beautiful tank that you never get to see lit up.
 
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