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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 36 bowfront and have tried for almost 1.5 yrs to try and get a planted tank going to no success. I have spent countless amount of money on plants and ferts to try and get it working but still was unable, the last 3-4 months I had gotten very discouraged and gave up completely with my tank not doing anything with it, just the bare minimum to keep my fish alive.
But now I'm here today needing assistance in trying to get my planted tank up and going.
I went out last friday bought two bags of ecocomplete, might need a bag of regular gravel to make the substrate deeper i think.
Also my light fixture is a dual lamp t-5ho aquatic life fixture, the bulbs i use are t5ho 24w 6500k & t5ho 20w 5000k.
The ferts i have available are dry ferts, flourish comp and flourish excel.
I do not currently use co2.
Honestly I have no idea what plants I use.. I'm a total noob.
Below is my tank and some of the plants I have currently.
Im a quick learner and can figure this out with some instruction using ppl with alot of knowledge of planted tanks.
Your help would be much appreciated, thanks.
Need more info let me know...
 

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What kind of substrate is that?

The tank doesn't look bad. Have any of those taller plants hit the surface and sprouted yet? They look like some old water lillies I had that grew from a bulb and had a nice little white flower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I see swords, Bacopa [the stem plant] and Aponogetons of some sort. Is that a Java fern in front of the stem plant? Good sturdy plants all.

How exactly is it that the tanks fail?
The ones in front are new, I got the same time as the big tall one on back. The big tall plant looks like it's withering and the ones in front are turning to a lighter green and then brown translucent with wholes in them. Any ideas how I can fix this. I have at least 8-9 tries of buying vals and everytime they wither away melt more like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What kind of substrate is that?

The tank doesn't look bad. Have any of those taller plants hit the surface and sprouted yet? They look like some old water lillies I had that grew from a bulb and had a nice little white flower.
honestly mate the tall ones im surprised have made it this far..they have turned brown and don't look too good..any suggestions. I have a pearl gourami that would like the lilies
 

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you have a 36 bowfront with two t5ho lights? Tbh, I'd assume that much lighting on a tank of that size would constitute a need for added co2, with pressurized probably being the best. And I'm saying that based off of the fact that two t5ho's is considered hi-lighting on a 75, which I believe to be a taller tank than a 36.

In any event, the added light makes the plants want to grow a ton, which is good, but I could see where something like this would fail if you aren't dosing constantly. The other thing that could happen, is that even if you do dose all the time that you'd get some algae problems without running co2.

My 75 is high lighting and EI dosing with eco complete as the substrate, and even then I get a fair amount of algae going on. I myself expect that one I get my co2 up and running that it will get rid of my algae problems, and allow all plants to grow at a much better rate.
 

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I do not use excel but I have heard that Vals do not like it. Also have you tried root tabs? Some plants prefer to get their nutrients from the roots
 

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Are you set on these plants, or would you be happy with anything that grows?

I ask because I have the same tank and have had some success, but I let the plants/tank decide what it wanted. Got a bunch of trim packages and RAOKs in the for sale and WTB/RAOK rooms. Jumped on almost anything, except know "high light & Co2 only" stuff.

Planted it all at once (seems to be more successful than a few plants in a big tank), used similar ferts as you (sparingly - Flourish comp), added Excel daily (or every other), and treated my way-soft (naturally) water with Seachem Equilibrium to get minerals back.

Didn't get too focused on what type of plants - what lived and thrived would be what I filled the tank with. Some stuff that was supposed to be easy just melted away (Lots of Amazon swords, vals, African water fern, sparse looking bacopia, Subwassertang, the list goes on). Some other stuff did nicely (crypts, some java fern, red tiger lotus) and others are THRIVING - Staurogyne (and other) Repens, Anubias, Mosses, watersprite/wisteria (not sure which it was), Limnophila, others that I don't know the name of.

Just accepted that I wasn't going to have some of the things I wanted (like swords and jungle val), and as the survivors grew I pruned them back and replanted the clipping. Tank ended up so full I could remove some of the stuff I wasn't crazy about (water sprite).

would you like to try something like that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
you have a 36 bowfront with two t5ho lights? Tbh, I'd assume that much lighting on a tank of that size would constitute a need for added co2, with pressurized probably being the best. And I'm saying that based off of the fact that two t5ho's is considered hi-lighting on a 75, which I believe to be a taller tank than a 36.

In any event, the added light makes the plants want to grow a ton, which is good, but I could see where something like this would fail if you aren't dosing constantly. The other thing that could happen, is that even if you do dose all the time that you'd get some algae problems without running co2.

My 75 is high lighting and EI dosing with eco complete as the substrate, and even then I get a fair amount of algae going on. I myself expect that one I get my co2 up and running that it will get rid of my algae problems, and allow all plants to grow at a much better rate.
I wouldn't mind using co2, but i don't think I'm willing to pay alot on a pressurized system, since i've already dedicated alot $$$ already. I could do diy system but I've read that 30+ gallons you need to do pressurized, but whats six more gallons...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I do not use excel but I have heard that Vals do not like it. Also have you tried root tabs? Some plants prefer to get their nutrients from the roots
I have used root tabs when I can pfs before i switched to plant gravel.
I might have to try it again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Are you set on these plants, or would you be happy with anything that grows?

I ask because I have the same tank and have had some success, but I let the plants/tank decide what it wanted. Got a bunch of trim packages and RAOKs in the for sale and WTB/RAOK rooms. Jumped on almost anything, except know "high light & Co2 only" stuff.

Planted it all at once (seems to be more successful than a few plants in a big tank), used similar ferts as you (sparingly - Flourish comp), added Excel daily (or every other), and treated my way-soft (naturally) water with Seachem Equilibrium to get minerals back.

Didn't get too focused on what type of plants - what lived and thrived would be what I filled the tank with. Some stuff that was supposed to be easy just melted away (Lots of Amazon swords, vals, African water fern, sparse looking bacopia, Subwassertang, the list goes on). Some other stuff did nicely (crypts, some java fern, red tiger lotus) and others are THRIVING - Staurogyne (and other) Repens, Anubias, Mosses, watersprite/wisteria (not sure which it was), Limnophila, others that I don't know the name of.

Just accepted that I wasn't going to have some of the things I wanted (like swords and jungle val), and as the survivors grew I pruned them back and replanted the clipping. Tank ended up so full I could remove some of the stuff I wasn't crazy about (water sprite).

would you like to try something like that?
The whole plan of having a planted tank was for me to have a whole background of vals and then base the rest of my plants around the vals, kinda have an orderly tank, but also knowing what plantsim adding i.e plant name and lighting requirements.

But since nothing seems to be going right in my tank im willing to try anything to get it growing and thriving to have my fish benefit from it.
Before I would dose flourish excel everyday 2ml, flourish comp every other day 2ml. and then dry ferts twice a week. honestly i did this for like 1-2 months and i noticed growth that was not even worth talking about.
 

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Before I would dose flourish excel everyday 2ml, flourish comp every other day 2ml. and then dry ferts twice a week. .
Wow, maybe it's a "less is more" thing. my schedule:
- water change once a week (sometimes every 2 weeks) about 30-40%
- one cap of Flourish after the water change
- 2 teaspoons of Equilibrium powder after water change, and a pinch of calcium clay
- root tabs every few months (I need to pick some more up, it's time)
- 3 ml of excel daily
- a good deal of fish, mostly Platies (I'm sure they contribute to the ferts :) )

- trim when it looks like too much or something sticks out of the top.

that's pretty much it, here is my tank after a trim:


it's grown a little denser since then. I guess I traded off a lot of heartache by not targeting specific plants too much, and by moving on if something failed. I could have forced it by going whole hog on the fert/Co2/light rollercoaster, but enjoy it more this way (wanted it to be enjoyable, not stressful)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Wow, maybe it's a "less is more" thing. my schedule:
- water change once a week (sometimes every 2 weeks) about 30-40%
- one cap of Flourish after the water change
- 2 teaspoons of Equilibrium powder after water change, and a pinch of calcium clay
- root tabs every few months (I need to pick some more up, it's time)
- 3 ml of excel daily
- a good deal of fish, mostly Platies (I'm sure they contribute to the ferts :) )

- trim when it looks like too much or something sticks out of the top.


it's grown a little denser since then. I guess I traded off a lot of heartache by not targeting specific plants too much, and by moving on if something failed. I could have forced it by going whole hog on the fert/Co2/light rollercoaster, but enjoy it more this way (wanted it to be enjoyable, not stressful)
do you know what plants you got in there...looks cool.
 

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jbrady33, how much light is over that tank? How many plants did you start out with? Bet you started with more plants and less light!

pigeonfood, suspect you have more light than the plants can use and the little bit of food you are giving them isn't enough for them, they are burning up and starving. The Excel dosing is keeping away algae.

Try adding more plants of the sort that does best for you, continue the once a week EI dose and Excel AND most important - try disabling one of the bulbs over your tank or shade the tank with some window screening. If that helps then you are on the right track. Try the DIY CO2 and leave the tank with the lower lighting at least for a while.

Some apons go dormant and sprout again. I had one that survived for 3-4 years under a very old very dim bulb with no reflector on the fixture. Perhaps yours are going dormant. A faint hope but sword plants are grown in air and those air leaves die underwater. Air leaves have long petioles and short blades, water leaves have short petioles and long leaves. Doesn't look the case to me though, those look like water leaves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
jbrady33, how much light is over that tank? How many plants did you start out with? Bet you started with more plants and less light!

pigeonfood, suspect you have more light than the plants can use and the little bit of food you are giving them isn't enough for them, they are burning up and starving. The Excel dosing is keeping away algae.

Try adding more plants of the sort that does best for you, continue the once a week EI dose and Excel AND most important - try disabling one of the bulbs over your tank or shade the tank with some window screening. If that helps then you are on the right track. Try the DIY CO2 and leave the tank with the lower lighting at least for a while.

Some apons go dormant and sprout again. I had one that survived for 3-4 years under a very old very dim bulb with no reflector on the fixture. Perhaps yours are going dormant. A faint hope but sword plants are grown in air and those air leaves die underwater. Air leaves have long petioles and short blades, water leaves have short petioles and long leaves. Doesn't look the case to me though, those look like water leaves.
I changed my substrate to the plant kind (ecocomplete), would root tabs be useful even though i'm using plant soil? Does it matter what bulb should I disconnect? I was dosing 2ml of excel and 1ml EI dose would this be suffient? Also if i use diy co2 and excel it wont be overbearing to my fish, don't wanna kill them with co2 poisoning.
What plants should i obtain with just one bulb in use?
One more thing..the more plants i have, would it be ok to turn the other bulb back on, if your saying the lighting is their food, i'm guessing more light would need to be in use for all the plants to benefit (assuming I have alot of plants)? correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Also on the diy co2...with my tank and amount of plants, im guessing like one bubble every 5 seconds are something like that?

I appreciate everyone's help btw :icon_smil
 

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I think your having the same issue I experienced, too much light. Try getting rid of one if the bulbs and see how the plants react. I'm def no expert but I had too much HO light and my tank and my plants couldn't keep up. Do you have any algae problems?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think your having the same issue I experienced, too much light. Try getting rid of one of the bulbs and see how the plants react. I'm def no expert but I had too much HO light and my tank and my plants couldn't keep up. Do you have any algae problems?
I had a little on the back and spotted on the glass, nothing too bad.
 
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