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Help! Cannot determine why plants are dying

1256 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Opare
Hello all,

I have been trying for some time now to grow a medium tech healthy planted tank.
I have yet to get a really nice growth and often most plants suffer and wimper along or die.

My parameters are usually about:
PH ~7.5 (Very hard water from tap, use RO water changes, slowly been coming down)
KH ~4 GH ~10
I use DIY CO2 created with backing soda and citric acid, works well. Use little indicator and keep it slightly yellow. Turn off at night and run bubbler. I have over done it with the CO2 before and almost lost fish.

12 hours a day,
Two Aqueon Day LED Aquarium Lamp, Size 48, White
One Aqueon Colormax LED Aquarium Lamp, Size 48

I also dose with Seachem using literally all of the Seachem products following guidelines for a 50 gallon tank.
Excel, trace, N, P, K, and Iron in an attempt to see if something key was missing.

The pennywort i picked up from LFS was very full and healthy, and in about 4 weeks lost almost all leaves. New growth has brown edges and it is looks like it wont make it. See photos below

Java Fern - Blackening of leaves, many holes, many blackened leaves removed

Anubias has many new growths on the old leaves themselves, these dont thrive. Also, new growth looking stunted

Sword leaves have all died, but new growth is great so far.
VALLISNERIA usually does well, but not great.

I need new ideas of things to fix. I really want some lush plants!!!!
Thanks for the help


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I'd some start by reducing your photoperiod down to 8 hours. Oh and when you're done with the Seachem ferts get some dry ferts and start an EI regime.
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I am a little hestient about those Led's It seems to me as they aren't right for the tank. what size tank do you have, I relooked and didn't see it posted. I am really thinking it is the lights. not being in the right spectrum. however I can't say for sure. also you might have to much nutrients if you have been dosing constant trying to get things to flourish, I personnaly think it is the lights. But i have been wrong before.
I think it may be too much fertilizer early in the game.
and it seems that most if not all your plants are slow growth. it is so hard to keep a slow growth only tanks. there is not enough nutrient uptake.

i'd suggest that you get more stem plants, or floating plants.
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It is a 55 Gallon. I agree it might be lights. That was something that came to mind.

I only started dosing with fert after months of average growth and the problems i described. I even started slowly with the Seachem ferts at first, as not to cause any algae blooms.

I mean the biggest thing that was strange, was the almost total loss of the penny wort which i figured could live in all sorts of conditions.
Can't tell from the picture, but don't bury the rhizome of Java fern. The fourth and fifth pictures look like Bolbitis heteroclita, which is not a fully aquatic plant.
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I agree that you shouldn't bury the rhizome of the java fern, or the roots. but Even in low light conditions your plants shouldn't slowly fade if your dosing with ferts. (that being said most root feeders do not do well with liquid ferts like they would with root tabs.) but even then their would be something still for the plants to feed on. and so it shouldn't cause the plants to melt or die even with lack of nutrients plants will live if they have lights they just won't grow or look healthy. I would really change your lights. either with t8 shop lights for $20 at home depot with 2 6500k daylight bulbs. (its what I ran on my 55g and it worked great for all low to mid light plants. and even a few High lights plants.) or finnex 24/7 planted plus 48". I have one and I love the light cycle and it does good like the shop lights. I just feel like the lights arent the right spectrum. and maybe add some root tabs to all the root feeders. the java fern will do better with liquid ferts. but those are my two options to try first.
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You won't need root tabs if you are dosing the water column they do the same thing.
Also I wouldn't keep the Java Fern potted.

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