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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why do you think these plants are so tall and leggy? Rotala coin leaf and pearl weed. Running CO2 (with a ~1 pt ph drop), 5 hrs on 50% intensity light with my Finnex 24/7 ALC. Fertilizing 2x/week with Thrive+. Sand substrate. Tank is 4.5 weeks old. eheim 2211 and a surface skimmer.

I posted this question on a FB group, and the consensus seems to be that these plants are leggy because they need more light. I have either filamentous diatoms everywhere or rhizoclonium (I don't know how to tell the difference), so I've reduced the light with the hopes of getting rid of it. 3 otos and some shrimp are working on the algae.

I'd say I'm not very happy with the growth in my tank at this point. The stem plants seem quite lanky/sparse. I got some new leave from my buce, red lily, and crypts, though, so that's nice. The monte carlo initially put out a bunch of new growth, a lot of which has melted in the past week or so, and new growth seems to have halted/slowed. Anyone have some thoughts on this?

Here are the plants (the algae is all in the pearl weed as of about a week ago, so I know they aren't terribly happy):
Plant Terrestrial plant Vegetation Grass Herbaceous plant
Water Plant Leaf Botany Organism


Some algae pics:
Plant Bird Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant Terrestrial animal

Plant Grass Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant Groundcover
 

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I also have both plants in my show tank with a 24/7 finnex and CO2.
I have good success just leaving the light on the 24/7 mode.
You could also give the rotala and pearlweed a good trim and replant the tops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also have both plants in my show tank with a 24/7 finnex and CO2.
I have good success just leaving the light on the 24/7 mode.
You could also give the rotala and pearlweed a good trim and replant the tops.
I would love to use the feature so I could see my tank more during the day, but I’m terrified of algae. My tank is a 20 long, so it’s about 11 inches tall. What size is your tank?
 

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I would agree more light would make your Rotala grow bushier with the nodes closer together. It also might cause more algae


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Those do look leggy, which as mentioned is usually a sign of insufficient light. Is the light sitting right on the tank or is it raised. At 50% you might not have enough PAR.
The light is sitting right on the tank. I upped the intensity a couple notches to 70%. Fingers crossed
 

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The light is sitting right on the tank. I upped the intensity a couple notches to 70%. Fingers crossed
You should also be removing leaves/stems that are unhealthy/rotting or even original leaves that won't grow much. For example cut off some of the leaves on the java fern, especially those in the pic that look blackish and/or growing little plantlets on the top. You want new growth. Keep doing big water changes and even use organic removal media like carbon/purigen in the filter to futher remove organics. You want redundant ways to remove organics.
 

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I just want to second what the other member mentioned I always preach this first instead of messing with lighting/co2. You can pump as much light and co2 as you can provide, but your plants will always grow upward. What creates the thick bushes commonly seen in dutch tanks is good trimming technique. For the first few weeks after your plants have settled in, you need to be focusing on aggressively trimming and replanting to get a bush before you worry about general shape or form of said bush. Rotala is very easy to get a huge bush growing with proper trimming. I would trim everything down halfway to the substrate, which will double your current amount of stems. Pinch the lower leaves off of your trimmings to expose enough stem to bury, and replant those within your current bush. Continue doing this as they grow out to the surface and you will have a nice dense bush in no time. The amount of time between trimming and replanting sessions is what will be effected by your lighting and co2. Since you aren't running full intensity currently you may only be able to trim every 2-3 weeks. At the time in my dutch tank I was running super high light and EI dosing to get the tank to fill in faster, so I was trimming and replanting every week.

Just an example on how I filled out my rotala hra in 1 month with trimming:

Flower Plant Plant community Botany Leaf


Pay attention to the back right corner where the tank heater is, that is my rotala hra bush. The top pic is week 1, followed by week 2,3,and then 4 at the bottom. This was done simply by trimming and replanting, I did not purchase and add any additional stems. Again, with your setup you may not progress it this quickly, but the same concept remains.
 

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I would agree more light would make your Rotala grow bushier with the nodes closer together. It also might cause more algae


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Try to only make slow changes, your aquarium is fairly new it could take a couple months to settle in. If you start to see more algae you can turn the lights back down but wait at least a couple weeks before turning them brighter.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You should also be removing leaves/stems that are unhealthy/rotting or even original leaves that won't grow much. For example cut off some of the leaves on the java fern, especially those in the pic that look blackish and/or growing little plantlets on the top. You want new growth. Keep doing big water changes and even use organic removal media like carbon/purigen in the filter to futher remove organics. You want redundant ways to remove organics.
Will do
You should also be removing leaves/stems that are unhealthy/rotting or even original leaves that won't grow much. For example cut off some of the leaves on the java fern, especially those in the pic that look blackish and/or growing little plantlets on the top. You want new growth. Keep doing big water changes and even use organic removal media like carbon/purigen in the filter to futher remove organics. You want redundant ways to remove organics.
Thanks again. I trimmed a bunch of unhealthy looking stuff today, did a partial water change, and added some carbon filtration. I will stop tinkering so much at this point and be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just want to second what the other member mentioned I always preach this first instead of messing with lighting/co2. You can pump as much light and co2 as you can provide, but your plants will always grow upward. What creates the thick bushes commonly seen in dutch tanks is good trimming technique. For the first few weeks after your plants have settled in, you need to be focusing on aggressively trimming and replanting to get a bush before you worry about general shape or form of said bush. Rotala is very easy to get a huge bush growing with proper trimming. I would trim everything down halfway to the substrate, which will double your current amount of stems. Pinch the lower leaves off of your trimmings to expose enough stem to bury, and replant those within your current bush. Continue doing this as they grow out to the surface and you will have a nice dense bush in no time. The amount of time between trimming and replanting sessions is what will be effected by your lighting and co2. Since you aren't running full intensity currently you may only be able to trim every 2-3 weeks. At the time in my dutch tank I was running super high light and EI dosing to get the tank to fill in faster, so I was trimming and replanting every week.

Just an example on how I filled out my rotala hra in 1 month with trimming:

View attachment 1036209

Pay attention to the back right corner where the tank heater is, that is my rotala hra bush. The top pic is week 1, followed by week 2,3,and then 4 at the bottom. This was done simply by trimming and replanting, I did not purchase and add any additional stems. Again, with your setup you may not progress it this quickly, but the same concept remains.
Your tank is amazing! Thanks for the tips.
 
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