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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5 gallon planted tank... it's my first planted tank and I'm not doing super well with it right now... I started off with Mondo Grass which rotted because Petco sold it as an aquarium plant when it isn't. I have in there two kinds of sword. One is doing very well and the other one is slowly turning brown and rotting. I recently put in some Moneywort which is also slowly turning brown and squishy. I put in some dwarf hair grass, but that seems to be doing ok.
My bulb is a compact fluorescent that said both 60 watt and 13 watt on it... :icon_conf
I don't keep the light on all day. I usually turn it on when I get home in the evenings until I go to bed. Is it not getting enough light?
Also, I just got back from a 4-day vacation where the light in the tank wasn't on at all for 4 days. And now that I got back, the filter cartridge has a lot of nasty brown algae in it. I'm in the process of cycling it and I thought I read that you're not supposed to throw away the filter cartridge because of beneficial bacteria. But it really looks gross and the water isn't flowing through it as well. What should I do?

Thanks!
 

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What kind of substrate? I get the feeling as well that you are giving too much light for too long a period as well, probably with not enough nutrient either. How long have you had it set up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm just using gravel as substrate. Do you mean too much or too little light?
I've had the Moneywort and hair grass in for about a week and a half. The two types of sword have been in for about 3-4 weeks.
 

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Swords drink up a lot of nutrients through their roots and will need some sort of rich substrate or at least fertilizer at the root. People here sell osmocote in gelatin tablets, which works well for cheap. The money wort is likely rotting because it was sold to you as emersed. It may perk up if you improve things, but if it's too far gone, just get rid of it, rotting plants'll do more harm than good. You will want a 9w cfl, or at least something less. Make sure it;s 6500K or 5000K (cool white, I think) for better results. I have the same 13w cfl on a high tech tank of the same volume and it's perfect for me, but for someone without ferts or co2 and not wanting to grow especially demanding plants, it's a bit on the high side. Invest in a timer so you get an even amt of light through the day. 6-8 hours is about right. You're giving about 3 hours now, from what it sounds like. Not enough.

Rinse the cartridge a bit but don't change it. Clean out the intake tube with a chopstick or something until you restore stronger flow. Remove the algae (diatoms, likely) and do 50% water changes at least once a week, twice or more if you can. Look up silent cycle on google.

Good luck.
 

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as far as your gravel, can you show us a picture of it? It might be too large for plants to really root well. Aside from that, I feel like you might have too much lighting, there should be a sticky in the lighting forum that should help you.
 
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