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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, If anyone can help me figure out what my tank is deficient at, I would greatly appreciated it. Here are my parameters:
Amm=0 ppm
Nitrite=0 ppm
Nitrate= 5ppm
Phosphate=0

40G breeder, 60 W of lighting. Substrate is mainly gravel with some root tabs and flourite mixed in.

My plants are very VERY slow growing and my wisteria and Amazon sword are dying (see pic). Do have brown algae I can't get rid of. Tried excel with little success. Tried leaf zone, some improvement but algae got bad...grew on everything. What am I doing wrong??
 

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Plant Whisperer
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The sword looks like it was damaged by something physical perhaps a pleco?

The wisteria is difficult to tell because the brightness on the photo looks off. Are the new leaves very pale or is that an artifact of the photo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
add piic

The sword looks like it was damaged by something physical perhaps a pleco?

The wisteria is difficult to tell because the brightness on the photo looks off. Are the new leaves very pale or is that an artifact of the photo?

The wisteria leaves look thin ( almost transparent) and yellow/damaged on the edges.
I took the dead leaves off the sword, thats why it looks physically damaged. I don't have anything in the tank that eats the plants. It seems to me like brown coloration develops close to the edges and then turns into holes, eventually rots away. Any ideas why it would do that? I tried supplementing with Leaf zone, but grew A LOT of algae. something is off and I can't figure out what.
 

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this is not a mean evaluation this is just another way of showing you the problem. my college tank was like this, what you describe, to a T.

always ask yourself what have you done exceptional, in any tank build. something needs to be exceptional, not just avg, then a chain of events will set off that works in predictable ways to get good plant growth.

you have an inert substrate, main problem. inserted fertilizers feed algae because your substrate which is inert otherwise is large grain, and there is quite a lot of exchange with the water table where algae are

the lighting system is barely sufficient for the kind of growth you want, if other factors were maximized but they arent.

the params you posted are clean water, low nutrient, but thats off API kits so even the values are just broad range indications.

you know how you can go into a wal mart and they'll have some aquatic plants in the tanks that look great? huge, green, no bad parts etc. well they are still slowly dying, and thats what has to happen now because those vigorous plants grown elsewhere are now massively downgraded in habitat and someone has to pay the price in biomass. knowing this allows you to predict, and change course.

your goal is to arrest and reverse that process. you have about three more months till they melt

forget homemade co2


go buy a co2 solenoid kit right now

and when you are tired of algae buy a UV

regarding algae from now until you've been keeping planted tanks for twenty years:
hand remove any algae as you research what caused it and its scientific name. ID has nothing to do with an algae problem. nutrients have nothing to do with an algae problem (overuse, missing nutrients, any form of nutrient balance) clean up crews have nothing to do with an algae problem. failure to remove the algae is the problem. those other things are prevention tactics.

so now that your tank is forever free of algae no matter what you do to it, try and maximize the CO2 and after that the lighting. substrate will get loaded in time. the only difference between your substrate and mine on my tank right now with no plant problems is mine has 12 yrs of guppy poop in the gravel.

dont try a low tech tank on the type of gravel you have without doing something exceptional. upgrade to metal halide lighting if you want to do that. lots of plant problems go away when you buy a vette of a light. I realize most do LED nowadays, im only recommending one for sure way of many. mh is bad awesome I know how 90s that sounds. it allows me to get away with other forms of neglect I enjoy avoiding. its such a beast of a metabolism driver in both corals and plants.

since you used inert gravel, and are pretty much limited to water table growth support, you want plants to be faster than algae so now you have to gas them. do now what took me 3 yrs to do and look back on

buy the dang co2

get used to going to welding shops once every three months forever. just get on it now and dont forget a UV sterilizer. I realize these are optional equipment, again Im just trying to save you three years hard work only to wind up doing exactly this heh
 

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The problem might just be a nitrogen deficiency. These usually start at the tips of old leaves and progress inwards to the stem. Phosphorous deficiencies look similar, but they aren't nearly as common, in fact, they are almost never seen in planted tanks. It is hard to tell for sure without seeing similar symptoms in other plants (like the sword).

Try adding more nitrogen to the tank, bring it up to bout 15-20 ppm. The easiest way to do that is by using potassium nitrate which can be bought all over the place online. Ebay is a great place to buy it, though you can also get some from http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/index.asp?Option1=cats&Edit=2&EditU=1&Regit=2

You might as well get KH2PO4, K2SO4, and CSM+B along with the KNO3 if you buy from the site above. That way you'll have several years supply of nutrients for your tank at a fraction of the cost of liquid ferts.

Upgrading the lighting might be a good idea in the future though I think 60w should be enough to grow wisteria and quite a few others.

Also, this is definitely 100% NOT CO2 deficiency and excel is not a direct substitute for CO2 gas. You really want to buy a pressurized CO2 tank if you are going to go the CO2 addition route. Nothing else even comes close.
 

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The problem might just be a nitrogen deficiency. These usually start at the tips of old leaves and progress inwards to the stem. Phosphorous deficiencies look similar, but they aren't nearly as common, in fact, they are almost never seen in planted tanks. It is hard to tell for sure without seeing similar symptoms in other plants (like the sword).

Try adding more nitrogen to the tank, bring it up to bout 15-20 ppm. The easiest way to do that is by using potassium nitrate which can be bought all over the place online. Ebay is a great place to buy it, though you can also get some from http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/index.asp?Option1=cats&Edit=2&EditU=1&Regit=2

You might as well get KH2PO4, K2SO4, and CSM+B along with the KNO3 if you buy from the site above. That way you'll have several years supply of nutrients for your tank at a fraction of the cost of liquid ferts.

Upgrading the lighting might be a good idea in the future though I think 60w should be enough to grow wisteria and quite a few others.

Also, this is definitely 100% NOT CO2 deficiency and excel is not a direct substitute for CO2 gas. You really want to buy a pressurized CO2 tank if you are going to go the CO2 addition route. Nothing else even comes close.

I showed the pix to a guy at the fish store, he thought it was nitrogen deficiency too. So can I add Seachem nitrogen or do I need to get potassium nitrate?
I am upgrading the lights to about 90W.

this is not a mean evaluation this is just another way of showing you the problem. my college tank was like this, what you describe, to a T.

always ask yourself what have you done exceptional, in any tank build. something needs to be exceptional, not just avg, then a chain of events will set off that works in predictable ways to get good plant growth.

you have an inert substrate, main problem. inserted fertilizers feed algae because your substrate which is inert otherwise is large grain, and there is quite a lot of exchange with the water table where algae are

the lighting system is barely sufficient for the kind of growth you want, if other factors were maximized but they arent.

the params you posted are clean water, low nutrient, but thats off API kits so even the values are just broad range indications.

you know how you can go into a wal mart and they'll have some aquatic plants in the tanks that look great? huge, green, no bad parts etc. well they are still slowly dying, and thats what has to happen now because those vigorous plants grown elsewhere are now massively downgraded in habitat and someone has to pay the price in biomass. knowing this allows you to predict, and change course.

your goal is to arrest and reverse that process. you have about three more months till they melt

forget homemade co2


go buy a co2 solenoid kit right now

and when you are tired of algae buy a UV

regarding algae from now until you've been keeping planted tanks for twenty years:
hand remove any algae as you research what caused it and its scientific name. ID has nothing to do with an algae problem. nutrients have nothing to do with an algae problem (overuse, missing nutrients, any form of nutrient balance) clean up crews have nothing to do with an algae problem. failure to remove the algae is the problem. those other things are prevention tactics.

so now that your tank is forever free of algae no matter what you do to it, try and maximize the CO2 and after that the lighting. substrate will get loaded in time. the only difference between your substrate and mine on my tank right now with no plant problems is mine has 12 yrs of guppy poop in the gravel.

dont try a low tech tank on the type of gravel you have without doing something exceptional. upgrade to metal halide lighting if you want to do that. lots of plant problems go away when you buy a vette of a light. I realize most do LED nowadays, im only recommending one for sure way of many. mh is bad awesome I know how 90s that sounds. it allows me to get away with other forms of neglect I enjoy avoiding. its such a beast of a metabolism driver in both corals and plants.

since you used inert gravel, and are pretty much limited to water table growth support, you want plants to be faster than algae so now you have to gas them. do now what took me 3 yrs to do and look back on

buy the dang co2

get used to going to welding shops once every three months forever. just get on it now and dont forget a UV sterilizer. I realize these are optional equipment, again Im just trying to save you three years hard work only to wind up doing exactly this heh

The gravel is not totally inert. It has flourite and root tabs in there. I should probably mention that the root systems were very healthy as far as I can see. I think its the water column that is lacking something.
 
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