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I've kept a fresh water tank for most of my life, but only switch to live plants a few years ago. I'm not trying to win any aquascaping awards, but I'd like to have a green, natural-looking tank. I have a 46 gallon bow front tank with a Fluval Aqua Fresh and Plant 2.0 46 watt LED light. For several years, I had success growing tall Italian Vallisneria that frequently needed to be cut back. Not much else would grow, but I was okay with that. Then, I bought three Siamese Algae eaters to help with a black algae problem. They cured me of my algae problem, but then went to work on my plants. When the plants were all gone, I decided to give the Algea eaters away and replant my tank. Nothing else has changed, but for some reason, I cannot get anything to grow. I have Italian Vallisneria and Red Jungle Vallisneria as well as some Java fern and anubis narrow leaf. Nothing will grow more than a few inches off the substrate or drift wood. Some aquarium store staff have suggested doing water changes with distilled water, as I have hard well water, but I've been doing that for years. Others have said my tank is too deep and the light doesn't reach the bottom. Suggestions? Do I need more light? I'd like to avoid a Co2 system, but I'm not entirely opposed. Is there something wrong with my water. Why was the Vallisneria growing before but not now?
 

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Do you have current pictures of your plants/tank? If there's a lack of nutrients or light, then the plants will show it in their growth/condition. I also want to point out that anubias and java fern are typically slow growers, so don't be discouraged by that.

Also how long have these plants been in your tank?

Can you test any parameters in your tank? (Nitrate, TDS, GH, KH)
 

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What are you tank parameters? What substrate? What light? What fertilizers are you using? What filter? Are your Javas and Anubias planted or attached to rocks/wood?
 

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You can go to your local welding supply store to get foodgrade CO2. You can order a CO2 regulator with a needle valve from Marine Depot online or whereever else. Get a bubble counter and a drop checker with some Fluval pH indicator solution to put into the drop checker. Get a big wrench and put the regulator on a 10 pound tank of Carbon Dioxide. Get a limewood diffuser and some silicone tubing and put the diffuser in your tank. Adjust the needle valve to get three bubbles a second in your bubble counter. You will see a fine mist of CO2 emitting from your diffuser. Your drop checker will turn a light green when your water has the right amount of CO2.

You will need a Nitrate test kit. API makes a good one. Try to keep your Nitrate between 5 and 30 ppm. You can dose proprietary fertilizers, a mix of dry fertilizers or you can dose dry fertilizers individually. The three macro dry ferts are Nitrate, Potassium and Phosphate. Those are Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Chloride and Monopotassium Phosphate when dosed individually. Dilute 20 grams of your Phosphate powder in 490 ml of water with 10 ml Flourish Excel to preserve it and store in the fridge. Adhere to the following dosing schedule for your "dry" ferts: Sunday do a 50% water change and dose 1/4 tsp Potassium Nitrate, 1/4 tsp Potassium Chloride, 10 ml of your Phosphate dosing solution and 2 1/4 capfuls of Flourish Trace. On Tuesday and Thursday dose half as much of the Nitrate, Potassium and Phosphate but the same amount of Flourish Trace.

Get some Flourish and Flourish Iron. Read the instructions, do the math and dose on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a small volumetric cylinder or syringe without a needle.

Turn down your lights if you get algae. You don't have to have nuclear bright light. You will probably need more plants to dominate the algae. If your plants get holes in their leaves add more Potassium. If anything else goes wrong just google it and increase or decrease the deficient nutrient.

This is but one of several methods to grow plants. People will disagree with the above dosing levels but that is where I would start. Don't let the plants get you down. It can be done. You have two bullet proof plants. The Anubias will grow a new leaf about every two weeks if you're doing it right. A planted bow tank is a beautiful sight. Good luck.
 

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I've kept a fresh water tank for most of my life, but only switch to live plants a few years ago. I'm not trying to win any aquascaping awards, but I'd like to have a green, natural-looking tank. I have a 46 gallon bow front tank with a Fluval Aqua Fresh and Plant 2.0 46 watt LED light. For several years, I had success growing tall Italian Vallisneria that frequently needed to be cut back. Not much else would grow, but I was okay with that. Then, I bought three Siamese Algae eaters to help with a black algae problem. They cured me of my algae problem, but then went to work on my plants. When the plants were all gone, I decided to give the Algea eaters away and replant my tank. Nothing else has changed, but for some reason, I cannot get anything to grow. I have Italian Vallisneria and Red Jungle Vallisneria as well as some Java fern and anubis narrow leaf. Nothing will grow more than a few inches off the substrate or drift wood. Some aquarium store staff have suggested doing water changes with distilled water, as I have hard well water, but I've been doing that for years. Others have said my tank is too deep and the light doesn't reach the bottom. Suggestions? Do I need more light? I'd like to avoid a Co2 system, but I'm not entirely opposed. Is there something wrong with my water. Why was the Vallisneria growing before but not now?
I also have super hard water, which can be a problem for some species, but the vallisnaria should love it. I too previously had an obscene stand of the stuff that had to be thinned constantly, got rid of it, and just a few months ago I bought it again because I missed it.

I had forgotten that it can take quite a while to root down and properly acclimate to a new tank, particularly a low-tech one.

Unless it's been like 6 months, don't worry unless it's totally dying. It will just sit there for a while doing nothing up top, and then suddenly start tossing out runners everywhere. The mother plants won't get any taller, but the runners will start shooting up much higher as they get established.

On a second note, you should be able to grow most sword plants in your tank too. I've grown ozelots to a very large size in low-light, low-tech with hard water. They just need to be given plenty of root tabs to keep them happy.
 
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