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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 55 gal. that I planted with 3 - 10"x10" baby tears mats about eight weeks ago that I purchased from an aquatic store online. They appear to be slowly declining rather than taking hold. I have CO2 as well and Eco-Complete substrate. Should I give them a few more weeks or yank them so they won't continue to up the nitrates?

If I do pull them - should I do them over a period of time so as to not release noxious gases that may have formed between the mats and substrate? I vaguely remember reading something about that....

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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try putting some root tabs under them. helped me carpet my hc in my eco complete alot faster. you might also want to add more info in order to get some real help. lighting, water parameters, fertilizers, etc. good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dual 48" Kt5 6700 lighting; co2 system; eco-complete soil; Cascade 1000 canister filter; 30 Neon tetras. I have used no fertilizers simply because I have not decided which to use. I purchased Flourish Excel but worried it will kill the fish so haven't used it yet. 0-nitrites 0- Amonia 7.4 PH
 

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For HC to take hold faster - you definitely require high water line fertilization! start em' asap! mats are in general grown emersed, so during the transition phase they need high light+high CO2+heavy waterline fert dosing. since your 3rd is lacking and they are thus deteriorating! Plus eco-complete if i'm not mistaken is baked clay - so it's rich in iron but your plants need other macro+micro to grow so please dose them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Zico - I do not know what "water lLine fertilization" means - I am new to this. I have a bottle of Flourish Excel and the tank has 30 neon tetras with CO2 running - it is a 55 gal. The directions say 1 cap for 50 gals....do I just add one cap in the water? Sorry to be so inept....
 

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I don't think Eco complete is baked clay. More like crushed lava rock. Close to inert with high cec. I say start dosing ferts. If you have high lighting and co2 start the fert dosing. Buy dry ferts package off nilog(I think that's his name) and start the dosing. Surprisingly hc is the only plant I never had trouble with and was the first plant I ever bought stepping into the planted aquarium world. Root tabs helped me a lot when I didn't know how to dose ferts.


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I am confused why your HC is not taking off either! You have decent substrate, lighting and you're running CO2. Are you pumping your CO2 up til the drop checker goes lime green? It's fine if it drives your pH down to 6.8, just make sure you do it very slowly so that your fish can acclimate.

I used to mess with many different substrates and have found the most success with ADA Amazonia NEW. I don't know if this advice helps you, but if you are super committed to getting that HC mat in, you could pull your water down til about an inch layer is left, pull out the HC, take off an inch of soil, gently pour amazonia over those areas with a cup til u get a good 1/2"-1" layer, then replant. People are gonna say I'm crazy, but I swear by this stuff now lol.

I recommend messing with substrate before going with dosing because I HATE HATE HATE dosing. A lot of it has to do with bias and frustration with it, but I honestly hate playing master chemist with a living ecosystem. I don't like dropping and dumping different additives and chemicals trying to get some balance that will facilitate growth. If you don't know exactly what you're doing, you end up wasting all sorts of money on different additives, or worse throwing something way out of whack that kills some fish. I like to keep things simple and minimalist. Mess with the basic elements: soil, CO2, light. Perfect those 3, and forget about the rest. The exception to this rule is if you are working with special case plant species that DEPEND on certain additives. HC is DEFINITELY NOT one of those species.

And once you have tweaked those 3 elements, the ecosystem runs well by itself with minimal maintenance. If a system grows to depend on you dropping X and Y into it every week, pH up or pH down chemicals, ammonia or phos reducing chemicals, etc...that's not very stable, is it?
 

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DO NOT use excel, it will just be a waste of money since you are already dosing CO2. Also, if you have any plants that are sensitive to excel, then it will take them a while to bounce back.
 

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Perhaps it's because those plantable mats are usually emersed grown and whoever was growing it did not keep it healthy. Healthy grown emersed HC makes the transition very well, poorly grown HC struggles with the change and dies back.
 
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