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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for some fast growing plants that will do good in a low light no fert added shrimp tank.
So far mosses and java fern are "growing" but I'm having nitrate and ammonia issues.
Plants that died in the tank are:
Buce, water lettuce, golden anubias, monte Carlo.

I'm thinking maybe hornwort? This tank has a sponge filter so I'm not sure if that was the cause of the water lettuce issue. Any suggestions I could try?
 

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Is there aquasoil in this tank? No ferts is a bit rough, its not like the shrimp are going to be producing a lot of waste.

Anyway 3 things that come to mind is hornwort, pearl weed and subwassertang. The last is not exactly super fast growing but its pretty common in shrimp tanks.
 

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Some of the heartier swords actually do quite well in a low light tank as long as you provide them with root tabs.

Small varieties I've had good luck with include rosette swords (grow quickly, but stay only 6"-8" high) and purple knight (very slow growing though).

I learned through trial and error that traditional Amazon swords can be trained to stay small, but that requires you to prune off any leaves that get too high. If you are consistent though, after a while it will just stay the size you want.

You could also consider some smaller cryptocoryne. Like swords, they're going to do a lot better with root tabs, but if fed that way they grow pretty well. Parva makes a nice carpet, and can survive for ages even in an unlit tank (I know this because I had a light break and couldn't afford a new one for about 8 months, and the parva didn't grow much, but it didn't die; incidentally my purple knight sword also survived this).

Pearlweed also tolerates lower light, as does the old aquarium standby anacharis. Anacharis is a pretty fast growing plant too, and I used to use it as a nitrogen sponge in bare bottom nursery and hospital tanks.

If you are really trying to avoid dosing the water column though, I suggest you stick to root feeders like the swords and crypts and just add tabs every month or two. Those will give you the most growth relative to effort in a low tech setting.
 

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Java mosses, wisteria, millfoil (if it's legal where you live), cabomba (if it's legal where you live), aponongeton. I think someone might have said cabomba, but I agree with all the recommendations just thought I'd add a couple.
 

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+1 Duckweed, nothing grows faster than a plant evolved to grow in the dark

Also, a lot of what was listed here are categorized as invasive species in some places so make sure to check your local laws first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the responses. I use to have subwassertang in an old tank with same light. I had flamingo crypt and it didn't do well. I have a active substrate brightwell aquatics florinvolcanic Rio escuro. Says it's volcanic ash.
Is giant duckweed similar to the regular kind?

I thought the shrimp wouldproduce little waste but a ph of 6.4 is killing the nitro bacteria. I'm going from 5 to 20ppm in a week with no fertilizer and I have a lot of moss/java fern.
 

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A pH of 6.4 is nowhere near low enough to kill beneficial bacteria. Many, many people run blackwater tanks with a pH below 6, and they don't have a biofiltration problem.

Regardless of that, denitrifying bacteria is a hotly debated subject. What we do know is that it needs anaerobic conditions, and that is difficult to achieve in home aquariums.

The fastest and easiest way to remove nitrate is through water changes and plants.
 
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