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I’ve kept fish for many years very successfully and have been killing plants for just as many years. I need serious help as to how I can do better, as I’ve tried everything. Every substrate, plant and additive. I can post whatever information you request as well as photos. Please advise where to start
 

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I’ve kept fish for many years very successfully and have been killing plants for just as many years. I need serious help as to how I can do better, as I’ve tried everything. Every substrate, plant and additive. I can post whatever information you request as well as photos. Please advise where to start
I don't think I'll ever be a master at this plant stuff. I've had varying degrees of success in the few years I've been doing planted tanks. I'm not trying to do anything more than easy to medium plants either. Lots of epiphytes. For me it comes down to consistency. When I'm on top of water changes and fertilizing the plants grow well. If I start slacking off or get sick and can't get to it I grow only algae. CO2 helps a lot. I can get explosive growth with CO2, but will grow algae just as fast if I'm not on top of things. I'm personally trying to find a medium energy happy spot. I can't get into the minutia of it either, though I try at times. It certainly helps to grow plants, but it takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the hobby for me too.
 

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Grow red plants!

Seriously, though, it's basically a matter of light and nutrients. You have to adjust those based on what you have. That part can be difficult.

Co2 makes things easier (and more complicated) but is not necessary. Soft water (Kh 2 or below/Gh 4-6) makes things a lot easier but is not necessary.

If you are looking for input, post Gh, Kh, nitrate readings from what ever water you use for water changes. Then again from your tank (of you have a tank up and running now).

As well as...

Lighting used, both intensity and duration on what sized tank.
Substrate used ( I know you said every but what does that mean to you?).
Any fertilizer used and dosing regimen (how much, how often). Co2 use?
Typical maintenance schedule.

Hopefully others will chime in. :)


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Strong light and balanced water chemistry is key... I tend to set up my planted tanks and just forget about them besides topping off and water changes once a month.

Besides the most fragile of plants, most popular plants in the hobby have a lot of tolerance. It is about replicating their natural environment and keeping them fed. For example, some people cannot grow frogbit, they try changing things again and again but often just forget that it is a plant from a low flow environment. If you have it moving about, it doesn't grow as fast as when it floats in place. My frogbit is stationary at the surface and the roots grow 14" down to the substrate. Frogbit in another one of my tanks is circulated constantly, it has no roots and so has yellow leaves.

There are a variety of methods for keeping high, medium, and low tech planted tanks. I have done them all, but I found my personal preference is for an extremely balanced medium tech set up where maintenance is minimal.

You can achieve the same results as nature by imitating the balance in a natural ecosystem, or you can push for the most by catering to a high tech (but still balanced) water chemistry regiment
 

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Start with easy plants. In my shrimps tanks I have grow Crypt, Rotalas, Anubias, Fern ect... without any fert, heater and they do just fine
 

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If your using substrate with nutrients and enough lighting and as long as your water isn’t super hard, then this may make a difference for you. I’m not sure other people have this experience, but I find that using tissue culture plants work so much better for me. They actually pack a bunch of baby plants in each cup, way more then what you would get from a potted planted. And I find that they never have to go through a transition period that an immersed potted plant would have to, so they tend not to get shocked, and they just grow really well. And within 1-2 months you essentially have full grown plants for a majority of species. There’s an added bonus that they are guaranteed pest-free.
 
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