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Help! Plants dying!!!

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Recently set up a 55 gallon, planted, community tank. I was given a few java ferns, some java moss, and bought two amazon swords and something I forget the name of. I let it cycle for days with just live gravel and sand before adding plants and two weeks before adding fish. I currently have 10 Guppies, 3 Sunburst Platies, 2 Dalmatian Mollies, and some sort of serpentine Loach that came with the plants I was given. My swords are starting to turn yellow and some leaves have see-through patches starting. I am using the bulb that came with the tank. I know I've read about Watts per Gallon but does it matter what kind of florescent bulb I get?
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It does matter.

Most kits do not have the right light to grow plants.

Can you tell us more about the light you have?
T-8? T-12?
All other info?

Have a look though the lighting forum for a lot more info, but here are the bare-bones basics:

For T-8 and T-12, wpg is not too far off. A 55 is pretty tall, I would aim for at least 2 wpg just for a low light tank. The light needs to be the right color for the plants. They use certain wavelengths more than others. A bulb that is rich in those wavelengths will grow the plants better, though it might make some colors in the tank (like orange fish) look funny.
 

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You have a lot of reading to do, you most likely don't have enough light or nutrients in the substrate for the swords, plus if your new to the whole planted tank thing you might not know the Java ferns don't get planted. If you want help you need to give up all the specs on your tank and the folks ghere will gladly help you get growing.

Welcome to the forum and good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok

Going to get lights tonight t8 or t5. What do you mean no fixture? Also getting root tabs. Not using CO2 but looking into it, think I might try the bottle of sugar and yeast until I can do better. Yep Java ferns are firmly placed several inchs into the gravel several inches of ecogrow or some name like that covered with a half inch of black gravel. What specs are needed? Tank is 22"H, 18"W, 48"L, I have a tetra 40-75 gallon filter its an old tank probably 15 years but I had it leak tested, the light is the same age. No idea what model It came with the tank. My folks had it for a few years and didn't treat it well. What I'm trying to do now is figure out what I can do for $100 shopping trip, a shopping list would be AWESOME!
 
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