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Thanks for nice explanation. Here's plant "logic"! I assume then that the 2-month-old emergent growth in the tank is still functional? This indicates that there's less need to discriminate against buying emergent-grown aquatic plants. (I have always wondered about this.)
 

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Thanks for nice explanation. Here's plant "logic"! I assume then that the 2-month-old emergent growth in the tank is still functional? This indicates that there's less need to discriminate against buying emergent-grown aquatic plants. (I have always wondered about this.)
Stoma in emergent growth is set up more for gas exchange from atmosphere. In emerged state it gets most of its nutrients from roots, really not any nutrients in atmosphere.

Most people would simply want submerged growth so they can avoid that transition period all together. I know I would and would actually pay a small premium more for a guaranteed submerged growth plant.
 

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Make sure you are doing the nitrate test correctly, i.e, read the instructions. I had this problem until an API tech support person helped me.
 

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As others have said, it would seem to me that 0 nitrate would be a tough ask with so many fish and plants not growing. Will mention that shaking those bottles before testing (and I mean really shaking them) might change the reading you are getting.


Not surprising. Gravel substrates cause the slow death of aquarium plants. If you want a low-tech setup and decent plant growth, you have to have a soil underlayer.
Not being a contrarian here, I own multiple copies of your book TEotPA and have championed it to everyone who comes in my store interested in planted tanks since I opened in 2007. But I have to disagree here that you have to have a soil underlayer. I have at least 4 aquariums currently set up for over 12 years with inert substrates, no soil, and the original plant colonies that I stocked them with, only much more full of plants now. It's a slower way to get from point A to point B no question, and I don't doubt that a few species that didn't work out for me might have with soil, but that's an awfully broad brush stroke. Certainly slow growth, but far from slow death in these.

My wife and I are getting hardwood floors redone in the next few months and this will be the largest water changes I've performed in AGES on these tanks. It's crossed my mind to just empty them and start over. I'd like to save the inert clay-fired substrates (Flourite & Eco Complete) in aerated tubs and reuse them. I've considered soil and would love to pick your brain about depth of it in a more appropriate thread. I typically do about a 20% change with much gravel vacuuming open spots every two weeks, so was thinking a very thin layer of soil under the 4-5" of inert.
 

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Not being a contrarian here, I own multiple copies of your book TEotPA and have championed it to everyone who comes in my store interested in planted tanks since I opened in 2007. But I have to disagree here that you have to have a soil underlayer. I have at least 4 aquariums currently set up for over 12 years with inert substrates, no soil, and the original plant colonies that I stocked them with, only much more full of plants now. It's a slower way to get from point A to point B no question, and I don't doubt that a few species that didn't work out for me might have with soil, but that's an awfully broad brush stroke. Certainly slow growth, but far from slow death in these.

My wife and I are getting hardwood floors redone in the next few months and this will be the largest water changes I've performed in AGES on these tanks. It's crossed my mind to just empty them and start over. I'd like to save the inert clay-fired substrates (Flourite & Eco Complete) in aerated tubs and reuse them. I've considered soil and would love to pick your brain about depth of it in a more appropriate thread. I typically do about a 20% change with much gravel vacuuming open spots every two weeks, so was thinking a very thin layer of soil under the 4-5" of inert.
Sorry, but owning my book is not the same as actually reading it and understanding the ecology involved. It's not for everyone.

Old gravel substrates that have accumulated a lot of mulm over the years can, indeed, support some plant growth. They have anaerobic pockets of accumulated organic matter. These pockets are especially good at providing iron in the reduced form that plants can use.

In my book, I advise against constant cleaning (water changes. excessive aeration/filtration, and gravel vacuuming), because it removes plant nutrients. Also, if the soil layer goes anaerobic, it can cause problems for plants and the tank itself. That's why I have always recommended covering a soil layer (particularly potting soil, which works great but consumes lots of oxygen) with only 1" or less of gravel or sand. People who want deeper substrates can layer the tank bottom with rocks, bricks, and sand underneath the soil layer. Using 4-5" of gravel over a soil layer is a very bad idea; it will smother soil bacteria, kill plant roots, and possibly cause a soil meltdown. Better not to use soil at all!
 

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There are several opposing things here between what Diana is saying and what Edwards PPS-pro system states.

Right from the PPS-pro site
Substrate is what holds plants down, nothing more. Actually it is much more complicated then that, but we don’t have to worry about it because aquatic plants can uptake all nutrients from the water column. So why are there nutrient rich substrates on the market? Well, if I didn’t have any good fertilizer available then I go for such substrate to have better growth. Fortunately we have very good fertilizers today producing spectacular plants in any substrate, rich or inert, doesn’t matter. Any substrate you may like for its color or shape from any company or only plain river sand or pool filter sand, they all grow perfect plants.
From years of experience aquarists know that in the long run killing algae doesn’t work. It comes back. What works in most cases is to keep plants healthy and algae will disappear.

First we need to understand that algae can not be starved to death. The theory about nutrient competition between algae and plants is false. Even if we get demineralized water, water with no nutrients, algae will still grow in it.

From Diana
Gravel substrates cause the slow death of aquarium plants. If you want a low-tech setup and decent plant growth, you have to have a soil underlayer.
Fertilizing the water isn't good enough. Even if it provides plants with what they need, you're also providing algae with what it needs. And algae is far more adept than plants in taking up water nutrients. With soil, you provide rooted plants with a reservoir of nutrients that algae cannot tap into.
Old gravel substrates that have accumulated a lot of mulm over the years can, indeed, support some plant growth.
Something has to give.
 

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With soil, you provide rooted plants with a reservoir of nutrients that algae cannot tap into.
If you cap with gravel how much soil nutrients easily leech into the water column with such a loose cap???
 

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Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum and this is my first post here.

I have a 2 month old 16G/60Litre semi planted tank and this is my first tank, the plants in the tank are not doing well and I need some advice on how I can get my plants to be healthy.

I've been using a "macro nutrient" solution made by my local fish store and didn't have much success with this, initially I though that this might be due to this being a new tank. After the initial 3 or 4 weeks also, the leaves were turning brown slowly. Seachem is one of the few Internationally recognized products I have available in India and I have ordered Seachem Comprehensive to begin with.

Following are some pictures of my tank and the details of the fish and plants.











Aquarium test results:

Ph - 7.4, Amonia - 0 ppm, Nitrites - 0 ppm, Nitrates - 0 ppm

I've been doing the test twice a week using the API Master test kit and getting the same results with a 25% weekly water change.

I'm using tap water with a dechlorinator made by the local store.

Aquarium details:

Gravel bottom and lighting is on for around 10 hours a day

Fish and snails:

4 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Neon Rainbow Tetras
4 Black Phantom Tetras
4 Glow Tetras
4 Purple Chelas
2 Rummy Nose Tetras
2 Panda Cory
1 Sterbai Cory
1 Guppy
1 Ottocinclus
1 Zebra Nerite snail

Plants:

Dwarf sag
Giant sag
Amazon swords
Wisteria
And a couple of other plants I cannot identify

I know this is not a small post, but eagerly waiting for some responses on this.

Thank you,
Karthik
Get the pH down to 6.5 - 7.0. Use RO water fortified with a liquid plant food. You might even pot your plants in a rich soil. Works for me. My lace plants never hibernate, or what ever you want to call it. with this setup.
 

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I did a test just now and got the same result :|

Uploading the pic to this post as an attachment for reference, not sure to believe this or not :frown2:
Call your fish store and ask them what’s in that macro solution. I think your nitrate test is bad. Have you been properly shaking solutions for couple minutes before using them?
 

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You have to beat,pound,shake,rap that #2 bottle on the table edge,etc. I and others keep them rubber banded to an air pump . I have used an ultrasonic jewlery cleaner to shake it....lol
 
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There are several opposing things here between what Diana is saying and what Edwards PPS-pro system states.
It's almost as if there are multiple ways that healthy planted aquariums can be kept! :wink2: I've pulled my hair out trying to keep planted tanks with sand, plenty of members here have gorgeous ones, just to use one example. I come from the fish side of things and was a hobby breeder for many years before I ever read a book on plants. It became abundantly clear early on that water changes were paramount for healthy fish and their fry. Filtration and water flow have demonstrably improved my tanks. So I can benefit from the information in books such as TEotPA and not be a disciple of its methodologies. High tech with EI dosing and large volume water changes are about as night and day different from the traditional Walstad method as you can get. And there are a lot of ways somewhere in between that work for a lot of us too.
 

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High tech with EI dosing and large volume water changes are about as night and day different from the traditional Walstad method as you can get. And there are a lot of ways somewhere in between that work for a lot of us too.
The large water changes required for fish-only tanks are much less necessary in a planted tank. Indeed, they--and other cleaning measures-- are detrimental, as they remove plant nutrients. My beef with 'high tech- is that it implies that plants are useless, decorative objects without function. I use plants to purify the water for my fish. Dirt is required to get plants to grow well so that they can do their job--protect the fish. Thanks to the plants, I don't have to mix fertilizers, employ filters, dose CO2, do daily/weekly water changes for my 10 tanks. (I change 20-50% water about once a month now.)

If I was dedicated to aquascaping or growing a wide variety of demanding plant species, I would almost surely use some form of a High-tech methodology. However, many beginners are just trying to keep plants alive or fighting algae. The "experts" are leading them to believe that they can solve these problems with cumbersome, demanding high-tech methods.
 

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High-tech advice

If I were contemplating setting up a tank for the first time and leaning towards High Tech, I would advise consulting Karen Randall's Sunken Gardens. It's a nice, comprehensive book sold at a reasonable price.

Ms. Randall, who I have known for decades, is not just a hobbyist who followed one prescription (e.g., PPP-Pro) and got good results. Rather, she has vast professional experience via the The Aquatic Gardeners Assoc. and international contacts. With a background in education, she compares the many different tank setup methods in an easy-to-read format.
 

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The large water changes required for fish-only tanks are much less necessary in a planted tank. Indeed, they--and other cleaning measures-- are detrimental, as they remove plant nutrients. My beef with 'high tech- is that it implies that plants are useless, decorative objects without function. I use plants to purify the water for my fish. Dirt is required to get plants to grow well so that they can do their job--protect the fish. Thanks to the plants, I don't have to mix fertilizers, employ filters, dose CO2, do daily/weekly water changes for my 10 tanks. (I change 20-50% water about once a month now.)

If I was dedicated to aquascaping or growing a wide variety of demanding plant species, I would almost surely use some form of a High-tech methodology. However, many beginners are just trying to keep plants alive or fighting algae. The "experts" are leading them to believe that they can solve these problems with cumbersome, demanding high-tech methods.
Problem is some people want a tank for other reasons. It's not all about ecology, in fact the aesthetic value is probably broader based since it's limitless what you can accomplish, while a soil-based tank is very confining to light intensity and the plants you can grow and the amount of rearranging one can do with soil. Most here will agree it's not a great substrate for beginners. Honestly it doesn't sound like you ever ran a "hi-tech" tank by stating the plants are useless and serve no function.
 

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Hmm, I thought this was a low-tech forum. (Apparently, I am in the wrong place.) I have never run a high tech tank, nor have any plans to set one up.
 
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