The Planted Tank Forum banner

kind of new to planted tanks, and frustrated after move

1487 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Riona
I guess I'll start off saying I lived in CO for a few years, and had planted-ish tanks there. It was mostly just a betta tank with t5 lights, and I growing rotala like a weed. I also had a 30 gallon tank with cpo, cherry shrimp, and white clouds that grew stuff pretty well, with t5ho lights, no ferts, barely any water changes, and no co2. I moved to my home state of FL last year, though, and have not been able to grow anything to save my life here =/

I know the water is horrifically toxic, I'm getting 2.0 ammonia out of the tap(which I learned after my inverts all died on me :( ) and so I ended up getting ro from a lfs and adding some tap with conditioner to make up for the mineral loss. Usually about a gallon of tap to 5 of ro since I know the water here is hard(not scientific, I know.) Also, since my old t5hos were the throw away sort of fixtures, I replaced them with a satellite+ that the store recommended, since my bulbs were old. I still can't grow anything.

My amazon sword is growing, but not looking great, my other swords seem to be stunted, my rotala is doing nothing(I have rotundifolia and I think my mystery red plant is a rotala? Stays nice and red, but isn't growing at all either), my wisteria is alive and seems to be doing something, but not much, and any other stem plants I've tried have just sort of sat there before rotting away, same with the tiger lotus. Even my crypt wendtiis and water sprite are just kind of "there." My anubias has put on a couple new leaves, and the java moss(which was supposed to be willow.) is growing a bit, hornwort grew like a weed for a few weeks then sort of fizzled out. I've tried root tabs near the swords and the crypts, but it hasn't done anything to help.

I know my nitrates are a touch on the higher side, at about 20, which I am assuming is due to the stems not growing, but I am wondering why I can't keep anything else.

Right now I am looking into redoing it entirely, I've got half sand/half fluorite, and I'm going to be rinsing the sand out and putting some eco-complete in there in case the sand is making it harder for the roots, but what else can I try? I'm also considering upgrading to a 40 breeder(same tank size, only a bit wider) since I've got some store credit, but I'm not sure on that yet. I know if I did upgrade I'd be likely to need a second satellite for the tank(which I'm fine with) but before I spend that much money(especially if a second sat+ on the 40 wouldn't be enough) I'd like to see if I can get any input here. Any ideas that might help me determine what I'm doing wrong here that I wasn't before?
See less See more
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Are you currently using co2 of any kind? Other then root tabs are you dosing any ferts?
I'd say pretty much the same thing, try root tabs. Swords like phosphorus and iron, I use phosphate and iron AquaFertz tabs for my swords ( 30 or so, reds and greens) and they do well. Nothing special about my tanks, t5's and t5 H O's plant substrates or mixes of substrates and gravel, med light, no CO2. The swords eat phosphorus fast enough that algae isn't a problem.

You can start all over, but IMO, you should be able to get this tank balanced enough to get decent growth.

What you're doing with your water is probably fine, test kits for GH and pH will help keep the mix consistent.
That would explain the swords, but what about the stems? I'll grab some iron next time I'm out to give to the swords, since I'm using the osmocote method and those don't have iron in them.
No one has any ideas on the stem plants? I've got some flourish I can use, but since my nitrate is already a bit high I don't know if that would be safe to use. And upon looking at my tank yesterday, it looks like the bottom of the rotundifolia is dying, and just a bit at the top is alive still, which I've never had happen on me before. Is it a lack of light, or some other problem? Though if it IS light, why did it happen before I switched from bulbs I knew would grow plants too?
Hope this comes out on the page I set it to. If so, it gives PAR readings for the light you are talking about. Two of them should put you right in the 50 PAR range.
If you had planned on a fairly generous amount of plants you might not need any CO2
with that level. But on that light it's easy to tone it down.
Might not be quite enough for most carpet type plants though. But mostly because they would be in the front and that back light would be hard pressed to add much
in the front. The 50 would happen more towards the center on the tank going front
to back.
Your stems are lacking because of the doctored water. They have roots but depend more on water ferts. I know of at least two people who have sand, pool filter kind
and use no tabs but only water/dry ferts and have great plants. Don't remember
if either have any swords but lots of Crypts which are also root feeders.
Osmocote+ are full nutrient tabs(capsules actually) which a couple of people on here sell. I don't use them so get directions from a person who does cause these can be over done.
With that water you likely will need to decide to use regular Micro/Macro type ferts.
Dry is cheapest as you would spend depending on where you got the liquids from,
about $60 or more to get all the nutrients in liquid form. And that would last less than a year in a 40B. The dry would cost about $30 and last a couple of years in a 40B.
This link is for one of the people on here who offer a few different kinds of ferts.
But just look at them and then ask more questions about any particular type you think you may like.
A word though: People may try to getyou to buy ferts designed for super extra high
plant growth as lots of them like that. So stating what you are going for each time you
put in a question can be important.
See less See more
Please post several photos of the damaged plants. Close up photos.
Welcome to the Tampa area! You should check out the Tampa Bay Aquarium Society - great place to pick up fish, plants, and equipment for some great prices at the auctions after every meeting. Also, Joe Gargas is going to be giving a talk at our July meeting all about water (and he knows his stuff) that you might find helpful. (Link in my signature ;) )

Please post several photos of the damaged plants. Close up photos.
I agree, this would probably help us identify what's going on with the plants.

I suspect from your post that you went from not enough light, to too much light without a comprehensive fert regimen?
Most of it is just trying to get them to grow in general. I never added anything to the water when I lived in CO, just dumped fresh in at a water change and left it at that, which is most of the reason I hadn't added any here. I was getting about $10 a month from selling Rotala rotundifolia back to the LFS. . .

My glass is foggy(was a secondhand tank, hence the other reason I've been thinking of upgrading) I'm not sure which order the pictures uploaded, but the ones that focus on the swords show how pale they are, with at the moment a single sat+ and no shade overhead, the one with the rotting stems is my rotundifolia, the one of the rotala top is the one sprig that has any colour to it. The one with the angel is a stem that is rotting from the top down, The wisteria shows how it is acting in the tank(though I've pruned it all of once. I figure if it isn't wanting to grow fast, I'll leave it alone until I've got the problem sorted) and the reddish rotala(I think) shows damage on the leaves.

If you need me to try for better pics, let me know. I didn't grab one of my ozelot sword, because it is just seemingly stunted. It's about 3-4" high with good colour and just sitting there. And with the root tabs, I've been putting three in the tank, so three total. I'm using the flower osmocote, since I'd read that if you can't find the plus that it works as well. If not, I'll go back to looking for the plus somewhere and use the flower sort on my houseplants.

And thank you. Lauralee, are you also on UltimateBettas? Your sig looks familiar. And I'll see if I can find the meeting next month. It can't hurt!


See less See more
A word though: People may try to get you to buy ferts designed for super extra high plant growth as lots of them like that. So stating what you are going for each time you put in a question can be important.
What "special" ferts are those? I may want some.
Yep, I was a Mod on UltimateBettas for a while, I haven't been around there in a while, though...

And it looks to me like you need to trim back as much of the dead/dying growth as possible (plants will sometimes waste energy into doomed leaves that will never come back- best to just prune them away), trim away the leggy parts on the stems and replant the tops, and then put together a balanced fert regimen.
This is almost certainly an iron deficiency. White or pale new leaves that are normal sized.

Here are other iron deficient plant entries (click to read more about iron issues and see more photos):
1) Rotala H'ra:
2) Chain sword:
3) Rotala rotundifolia:
4) Wisteria:

You need to regularly dose iron in order to make this problem stop. The already damaged leaves will not heal, but new growth will grow out green and healthy looking. Removing old growth probably won't help or hurt, I'd personally leave the old growth attached until the plant has started to send out new healthy leaves, that way you'll have something to compare it to. Oh, also, the sword plant's currently pale leaves may re-green after you add iron (the other plants likely will not). Since you don't use CO2 gas the re-greening will probably take 4-7 days if its going to occur.

If possible you should only add iron and no other nutrient. That way we can confirm this is an iron deficiency (though nothing else common really produces white tips like this).

Also, if possible would you mind taking a few more photos of the sword and wisteria? I'd love to be able to expand the DeficiencyFinder with your photos if you'd give me permission? Most of the photos on the DeficiencyFinder are donated from hobbyists like you, so it is a community based project where everyone benefits. If you can take photos, please make them as clear and as reflection free as you can get. The more the better!

See less See more
Okay. My lights just came on, so I'll see if I can get some decent shots. And I will grab a bottle of iron to see how that works.
Just took these. Let me know if you'd like me to try for more, but you can use any of them that you would like to.


See less See more
Looks like iron deficient leaves, but the placement is on the middle of the sword plant and on the newer growth on some of the other plants. Since iron deficiency only shows up on newer leaves what probably happened is there were periods of time when iron was available to the plants. So the leaves were able to recover a little bit.

Did you add any root tabs near the sword with iron in them? I'd guess within the last month to a month and a half.
I don't think the osmocote I have has any iron in it. I did grab a bottle of iron today since I had some store credit at the lfs I go to, but the directions just say to add when I see that there is a deficiency. Should I be dosing once a week or a bit more until I see some recovery?
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.