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Yesterday I downgraded from a 37gal to a 29gal for the sole fact of trying to keep these plants alive. I'm biting my nails HOPING and praying that these plants won't all wither away into nothing but they already just look so.. Sad? The Cabomba in the corner looks like it's already dead and I just purchased it a day ago. I just want any advice that anyone can give me. Here are my specs:

29 gallon

Plants:
Dwarf Sag (trying to carpet)
Amazon swords
Crypt (wendtii, lutea, some other hair like one)
Cabomba
Anubias
Pennywort
Two others I cannot identify.

Substrate is black sand. Lighting is one 24" Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0. I dose Flourish and Excel with Leaf Zone occasionally. Flourish root tabs are in the sand.

Water temp stays around 80, my tap water is really hard.

Almost all the plants have holes, yellowing, black edges or similar issues. I'll admit I don't have a huge amount of knowledge on this, what am I doing wrong?
 

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Pinholes are usually from lack of Potassium(Leaf Zone) so I'd start by using it as
instructed instead of occasionally. Just remember...damage doesn't "repair"
so look for improvement in any new growth.
Yellowing is usually from lack of Iron. If it's not on the list of ingredients that
is on the on-line site of the ferts you have then Tetra Pride is a source of it.
 

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I looked at some of your old threads to help put this into context and looked at the picture. I looked up the water quality report for Columbia, Missouri and see that your tap water's hardness is 168 mg/l CaCO3 and your pH is 8.3. Your light strip looks small but the light output appears adequate to me. You should lower your water temperature to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

I hope you followed up on the liquid trace element fertilizer mentioned in a previous thread. Seachem Excell provides Carbon and Leaf Zone has Potassium and Iron. Did you get something with trace elements? Make sure whatever you get has Boron. You might not have to dose Phosphate if you have enough fish.

The HOB filter is a good way to approach this. Be sure not to use activated carbon because this will remove your plant nutrients from the water. Maybe put a small power head in the back left of the tank pointing to the right to provide some more circulation.

When it comes to water changes I would do a 7 1/2 gallon water change once a week. Get three five gallon water bottles and fill them with RO water to have on hand to prepare your water. When preparing your water, add 2 gallons 3 quarts of RO water to 4 gallons 3 quarts tap water to do a 7 1/2 gallon water change. This should make your water about 6 dGH and hopefully lower your pH for use in your aquarium.

Don't do the 7 1/2 gallon water change if you have sensitive fish like Cardinals or Blue Neons, etcetera. Drop a fifty watt heater in the bottle first to heat the new water. Don't make your water soft if you have hard water fish. Don't overstock your tank with fish because you want to be able to manage Nitrate and Phosphate. It's one inch of fish per gallon of water. But I would stock it at two thirds capacity to keep a handle on it.

I don't know if black sand is clay based or not but you need a substrate that will help transfer nutrients to your plants roots. Consider potting your Amazon Swords with root tabs in the bottom of little terracota pots with Flourite substrate or something comparable. You may even change your entire substrate to Eco Complete or a well rinsed calcite clay substrate if time and budget permits. You will have to research the latter if you are not familiar with it.
 

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Sorry to hear about your problems with the plants.

First thing first, plants need time to adapt to where you place them. Give the 2 weeks to grow some roots, adapt to the light and nutrient conditions.
Second, Seachem Flourish provides very very low levels of macronutrients, which are already scarce in a new aquarium with inert substrate. That is too say, if you have plenty of light, your plants will be starving for N P K. Try and dose half the EI dose and see what happens. The Estimative Index of Dosing, or No Need for Test Kits - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
Third, keep the light on for 6-8hours.

The plants listed are not very picky when it comes to GH, KH, pH and even do well/ better in hard water. I would not change the water parameters at this point.
The statement about activated carbon removing plant nutrients from the water is false. A relation to iron chelators has not yet been proven. More info on adsorption of activated carbon here: Adsorption / Active Carbon

Hope this helps. Let us know of your progress and hopefully a happy story.

Regards,
duky
 

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Thank you for the correction dukydaf. I saved your link for future reference. I was just passing along something that I have heard repeatedly over the last thirty years. I don't have a reference to cite like you do though. As far as water hardness is concerned, the OP's water isn't that hard. But he did mention it. Tropical plant guidelines say they should be in water between 4 and 8 dGH. But again I don't have a link to cite the reference so I'll just drop it.
 

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Thank you for the correction dukydaf.

Glad it was of help. We are all here to learn from one another. Hope you've taken what I said as not attacking the person, just the information.

There is a lot of doctrine like this in the hobby from different times, people and companies . Some have been proven wrong by experience/science, some are just different ways to do it.

#Begin rant:

Another example of wrong info is this (once) very controversial statement : PO4 causes algae... Many people today using EI have 1ppm PO4, great plant growth, little to no algae. JBL (the aquarium product company) has the following statements :
on the PO4 test kit :
'Algae monitor' - on the box
'Determines the phosphate concentration in the water, which along with the nitrate concentration is responsible for undesirable algae growth. ' - marketing tagline
https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=3017

Meanwhile, they sell bottled PO4:
"
Recommended level: 0,1-1,5 mg/l. "
https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=6461

There are other examples from other companies, but this is just illustrates the mix and match currently present in the hobby between old information, marketing hype that was never properly tested etc.


About water parameters, that is just a different way to do it. The values provided are guidelines. Experience shown that going over this stated range does not produce catastrophic results. Most of us would like to think(myself included) that somebody at one point put this particular plant species under very rigorous scientific testing and determined in an empirical fashion that 8dGH is better than 9dGH and that a ration of Ca:Mg of 3:1 is better than 4:1. In reality, people looked at the source of the plant, what is the water like at the source at one (or more) time point, and that is it. As we known, nature does not provide the optimum growing conditions for any one plant. Same rant can be had for fish and shrimps.

#End rant;
 

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I looked at some of your old threads to help put this into context and looked at the picture. I looked up the water quality report for Columbia, Missouri and see that your tap water's hardness is 168 mg/l CaCO3 and your pH is 8.3. Your light strip looks small but the light output appears adequate to me. You should lower your water temperature to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

I hope you followed up on the liquid trace element fertilizer mentioned in a previous thread. Seachem Excell provides Carbon and Leaf Zone has Potassium and Iron. Did you get something with trace elements? Make sure whatever you get has Boron. You might not have to dose Phosphate if you have enough fish.

The HOB filter is a good way to approach this. Be sure not to use activated carbon because this will remove your plant nutrients from the water. Maybe put a small power head in the back left of the tank pointing to the right to provide some more circulation.

When it comes to water changes I would do a 7 1/2 gallon water change once a week. Get three five gallon water bottles and fill them with RO water to have on hand to prepare your water. When preparing your water, add 2 gallons 3 quarts of RO water to 4 gallons 3 quarts tap water to do a 7 1/2 gallon water change. This should make your water about 6 dGH and hopefully lower your pH for use in your aquarium.

Don't do the 7 1/2 gallon water change if you have sensitive fish like Cardinals or Blue Neons, etcetera. Drop a fifty watt heater in the bottle first to heat the new water. Don't make your water soft if you have hard water fish. Don't overstock your tank with fish because you want to be able to manage Nitrate and Phosphate. It's one inch of fish per gallon of water. But I would stock it at two thirds capacity to keep a handle on it.

I don't know if black sand is clay based or not but you need a substrate that will help transfer nutrients to your plants roots. Consider potting your Amazon Swords with root tabs in the bottom of little terracota pots with Flourite substrate or something comparable. You may even change your entire substrate to Eco Complete or a well rinsed calcite clay substrate if time and budget permits. You will have to research the latter if you are not familiar with it.
Thank you SO much for this reply, it's the most helpful and thorough piece of info I've had from this site. I appreciate it beyond belief!!

Sorry to hear about your problems with the plants.

First thing first, plants need time to adapt to where you place them. Give the 2 weeks to grow some roots, adapt to the light and nutrient conditions.
Second, Seachem Flourish provides very very low levels of macronutrients, which are already scarce in a new aquarium with inert substrate. That is too say, if you have plenty of light, your plants will be starving for N P K. Try and dose half the EI dose and see what happens. The Estimative Index of Dosing, or No Need for Test Kits - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
Third, keep the light on for 6-8hours.

The plants listed are not very picky when it comes to GH, KH, pH and even do well/ better in hard water. I would not change the water parameters at this point.
The statement about activated carbon removing plant nutrients from the water is false. A relation to iron chelators has not yet been proven. More info on adsorption of activated carbon here: Adsorption / Active Carbon

Hope this helps. Let us know of your progress and hopefully a happy story.

Regards,
duky
Thank you for your helpful advice! Everything died off but I am seeing new growth, so fingers crossed!
 
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