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Trouble with plants

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Hi there. I've been lurking for a while and trying to fix this issue myself but I think it's time to ask for help. I have a 65g Hex that I'm trying to grow some plants in. It has been established with fauna for over a year and all of the fish do great. I seriously haven't been able to get plants to do well though. The only plants that actually seem to be doing alright are Java Fern (of course) and what I believe is a Dwarf Red Lily (Nymphaea Stellata).

I'm going to apologize in advance because I don't know what a couple of these are, but I'll try to find plants in the profiles section that look like these did when they were healthy.

I'm using RO/DI water restored with Equlibrium. I have also started using Flourish Excel, and the Lily is doing much better. I am also using API Leaf Zone because I thought it might have been an Iron deficiency. I also have used root tabs under each of the plants with little effect.

I'm not adding CO2 (using excel instead) and have a 75W CFL (7200K if i remember correctly).

Now, to the actual problem. All of my plants seem to be dying from the point where any leafy parts are connected to the stem or rhizome. My sword-type leaves turn yellow starting at the point closest to the roots and mt grasses do the same. The leaves all eventually get fairly brittle and just seem to dissolve.

I have one that was very tall (Something similar to Echinodorus palaefolius) and even grew fairly well for a while, but hasn't grown a single leaf in at least a couple months beyond what you can see in the first picture.

Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Formerly Tall Sword:


Backside:



This is either Dwarf Sagittaria or Corkskrew Vallisneria (note the yellowing from the bottom, though new leaves are coming out):



Actually a picture of my German Blue Rams courting but you can see the Java Fern doing ok on the left and my formerly tall sword in the back:



The remains of my rooted amazon sword:




Another amazon sword that stuck in a whole in some driftwood as an experiment. It's actually doing better:



Dwarf Red Lily:

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not enough light, not at all. I found dimensions for a 60 gallon hex, not a 65..and the height was 29". You're going to need a lot more than a CFL to penetrate that far.
It is 26" from water line to substrate. Would two of those CFLs do it? What about a SHO or LED (or two) that would fit in a standard bulb fixture?

I would also even take plant suggestions that could grow in this setup. Thanks!
 

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Recently I purchased live plants for my 150 gallon discus tank. I added the fertilizer for the plants & now the tank has a green tint for the last 4 days. Will the water color go back to normal? I did a water change & the water has been checked, it's at the correct levels.
 

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It is 26" from water line to substrate. Would two of those CFLs do it? What about a SHO or LED (or two) that would fit in a standard bulb fixture?

I would also even take plant suggestions that could grow in this setup. Thanks!
I would look into the fishneedit metal halide's, or a T5HO setup..at least shoot for medium light with ferts and excel.
 

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Recently I purchased live plants for my 150 gallon discus tank. I added the fertilizer for the plants & now the tank has a green tint for the last 4 days. Will the water color go back to normal? I did a water change & the water has been checked, it's at the correct levels.
Sounds like algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would look into the fishneedit metal halide's, or a T5HO setup..at least shoot for medium light with ferts and excel.
I actually traded out the metal halide I got with the aquarium (second-hand from craigslist) for a brand new Eheim 2215. The previous owner had done a pretty sketchy DIY mounting job of the metal halide. So I monted two ceramic bulb sockets to the metal halide's dome reflector.

Given what you said earlier, it makes sense that the lily is doing ok because it gets to cheat by sending its pads up to the surface where there is plenty of light.
 

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According to this sticky thread in the lighting forum you may have enough light IF your reflectors are good ones as you only want 10-30PAR for a low tech tank, Excel treated or not. Your plants are appropriate for a low light tank too.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184368

I have never read about a 75 watt CFL, is this equivalent to 75 incandescent watts or is that how much wattage the bulb pulls?

I would try to get stronger CFL anyway and would check the water parameters for nitrate and phosphate. The lily may be doing better than the others because it has the bulb to draw on for nutrients as much as it is better at getting to light.

The plants in your tank look exactly as I remember mine looking in the bad old days before I could provide enough light and knew about feeding plants. And when I put the tank where it got sunlight the plants boomed and busted from lack of nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Kathyy. Apparently I pulled that number out of nowhere. I just pulled both bulbs and they are a 32W and a 23W. Both are 6500K. I don't have a phosphate test kit but my nitrates are a little high if anything, around 40 ppm.

Two quick questions for you or anyone else now. Do you know of a good source for better CFLs? Should I get the API kit for phosphates or is there a better one?
 
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