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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I've had freshwater aquariums for many many years and decided I wanted to try a planted tank. I would say I am having mixed results.

I have a 29 gal with Beamworks 24" LED light. HOB filter and undergravel filter. The light is on about 10-11 hrs a day. Substrate is gravel.

I have a half dozen Aponogeton grown from bulbs. 1 small sword. and a couple small anubius nana. For fish I have a plecostmus, corydoras cat, 1 molly, and 10 neon tetras.

Now I have a couple different problems. Early my plants seemed to thrive, especially the Aponogeton was growing up the to surface and flowering, but now they are all stunted and don't look very good.

I also have some black algae on the sword and anubius leaves. And green algae on the tank walls.

I think my fish are destroying my plants as well. I had some dwarf hairgrass and something was digging that up every night. it is all gone now.

I assume I need to back off my light hours to combat the algae (I have turned it back a couple hours but maybe try more?)

What can be done to boost plant growth and keep the fish from destroying the plants? Please advise.

Aaron
 

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Most people who have planted tanks do not run an undergravel filter. Unfortunately someone else will have to chime in as to why, but my first reaction is the undergravel filter is not letting the plants root properly and reducing the detritus in your gravel that the plants use as food.

Your lighting period is probably 2 hrs too long.

Substrate gravel does not provide any nutrients to plants. Mulm and detritus that have built up in the gravel will help, but that takes time.

Algae is caused by an imbalance of dissolved organics i.e nitrates, phosphates with too much light in your case.

Your pleco is destroying your plants.

You need to do water changes, if you are not already.

To boost plant growth you can do several things:
1. Add fertilizers
2. Add CO2
3. Re-do your tank with a nutritive substrate and supplement with 1 and 2.

Reduce your light for the time being to combat algae, you can also add excel or spot treat with H2O2.

I would advise you scour these forums for information, especially on the topics of substrates, lighting, CO2 and fertilization. Knowledge is power my friend. It is much better to have this basic knowledge then ask for help as opposed to vice versa. And you may have adequate knowledge already, but we only have to go on what you post.

What part of Illinois do you reside?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. pre-plant substrate is pea-size gravel. I also bought a bag of flora-max substrate and mixed that in with the gravel --it looks like fine gravel/large sand but is much finer than the original gravel.

If I want to build up organics in the gravel do I not want to regularly vaccuum it?

I vaccuum and do partial water changes (~30%) every other week or so.

I guess I need to get rid of the pleco. I'm used to having one in the tank to control algae. he definitely looks well fed. :red_mouth

I am in Central IL, near Peoria.

Aaron
 

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You can keep the pleco, its your tank. But he will continue to uproot the smaller, less sturdy plants.

On the gravel, the more you build up the mulm in your gravel the more your plants will have to feed on. However, if you do not have a high number of plants rooted in your gravel, the accumulated mulm will eventually reach a point where it leeches too many nutrients and can harm your fish. Once you get a bunch of plants rooted in your substrate you do not vacuum the gravel anymore, but please continue your water changes. Also make sure you suck up all the free floating poop and left over food that is sitting on the substrate as well.
 
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