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New plants giving me a headache

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Hi all. I wonder if I can kill two birds with one stone with this post. A month ago, I came across a great deal on the net for 5 stems of hygrophila polysperma, 4 narrow leaf chain swords, 4 pygmy chain swords, 3 stems of ludwigia repens, and 3 stems of rotala rotundifolia. Beforehand, the tank only held a great deal of water wisteria, a number of java ferns, a banana plant, & 5 mystery bulbs, all of which were growing quite well i my 10gal with 19 watts of flourescent light and sporadic fertilization (I used PlantGro when I did fertilize). Things started to go downhill as soon as I planted the new plants. The hygro started to develop some sort of black, furry covering on the leaves - I'd love to post pics but I misplaced my SD card sometime last year. Soon afterwards, the bottom leaves began to dissolve and shed. I read that this could happen if the plant wasn't receiving enough light, but some of the top leaves have began to dissolve, as well. The very top of the plant remains pink, however, so I take that as a sign that an 8-10 hour photoperiod probably is adequate for it. The sword plants have also turned transluscent. The rotala has lost most of its leaves; the stem of one even began to rot, and I can't even find the ludwigia in the tank, anymore. I can only assume it's died off. On top of that, I've "adopted" a mess of snails, even though I always sterilize my plants before introducing them into the tank. (I hope the snails aren't the culprit for the thin leaves. I've never seen this type before; they're actually flat, and look sort of like rolled-up worms if you aren't looking hard enough.) Lastly, a light dusting of hair algae seems to have developed on some of my plants, including my original stock.

I'm attributing most of the above to inadequate fertilization. Today, I went out and bought Seachem Flourish, which, if I'm not misreading the directions and a capful really does treat 60 gallons, is a great value for what I've paid for it. Those dosing instructions are confusing and a bit discouraging, though. I'm very afraid that I'll use too much. Those of you with smaller tanks, what do you find to be an adequate dosage?

That's one bird. The second refers to lighting. From my research, every plant in my tank should be an "easy-to-grow," low-to-medium light plant. I really don't want to delve into CO2, so I'm cautious about upping the wattage. However, has anyone ever tried the Ott/true-lite desk lamps? One 13 watt bulb is supposed to be equivalent to a 60 watt. I'm using one with great success over an african violet, but I'm afraid it may be too intense for a fish tank. Thoughts? Thank you, all, for any help.
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The black, furry algae is black brush algae, and signals that there is too much light to CO2. So the 2 options are add CO2 or lower light to achieve a balanced ratio and hinder the BBA growth.

I would try that 13w lamp and see what happens, ignore it's claims of being equal to more wattage, that is for visual reference, not what we're using it for. It may be a good alternative to your current light setup. I would add Flourish Excel daily as a carbon supplement, since you don't plan on injecting CO2. This should get your light/CO2 relationship more in line and help you with the black stuff.

The older leaves dying and opaque swords sounds like you suffered a nitrate deficiency, ei they ran out of food somehow. Easy to do when adding a bunch of hungry new plants, especially if you did a few recent water changes. Make sure to test nitrate periodically with a liquid test kit, try to maintain 5-10ppm nitrate at all times by adjusting water changes, more changes will remove it faster unless the tap or source water contains nitrate. If you can't get it up to 5ppm on your own, you can add a bit of Seachem Nitrogen to get it to the right spot.

There are other nutrients that some of us dump in the tank, but since you're sticking with low tech, you really shouldn't have to worry about them much, if a problem arises there it'll manifest itself in a different way, and you can cross that bridge when you get there.

Trim your lanky stem plants and discard the rotten bottoms, replant the fresh tips in groups an inch or so apart from one another. Trim off all the dead sword leaves. Check the nitrates and act accordingly. Add the daily Excel, if the black stuff doesn't stop growing, try the 13w light. Also search "excel spot treatment".
 

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Sorry, that's a crummy search term, if I remember correctly, Excel spot treatment goes as follows: Fill a med syringe with Flourish Excel, I believe the amount is 1ml per gallon. The important part is to shut off the filter and allow the water column to stop turning, then slowly squirt the Excel directly onto the black brush algae. Squirt slowly and avoid arm movement. Slowly remove your arm and leave the filters off for about ten more minutes before restarting. The BBA should turn red or grey within the next day, then slough off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Follow the label or pick a dosing plan that will tell you how much: EI or PPS.
The label says that one capful will take care of 60 gallons. I've only got a 10 gallon. I don't want to overdose and do more damage. This morning, I barely filled the cap to the lowest line and dosed with that. Would this be overdoing it everyday?
 
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