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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I'm new to the forum (although I've read tons of threads in the past).

I have a problem with most of the plants in my 45g tank. I am currently growing cryptocoryne wendtii, cryptocoryne undulata, and bacopa monnieri. These plants tend to be covered in algae, but the monnieri is growing strangely... It grows bright green leaves that after a few weeks, turn brown and eventually fall off. What is left is a giant stalk of green with only a few leaves at the top. The same thing happened to the Red Ludwigia I attempted to grow several months ago.




Part of me believes the problem is that I do water changes using the tap water that comes from my well. Normally the water is treated, but the well water filter has been broken for some time now. Can that be the cause, or something else? Any ideas or tips? The tank specs are:

45gallon
Marineland Bio Wheel Emperor 280
Finnex Fugeray Planted+ light (6 hrs of light)
Tahitian Moon Sand on top of Eco-Complete substrate

I also dose weekly with Seachem Flourish. The tank is cycled and has been up and running for about 7-8 months.

Fish specs are:

1 Pearl Gourami
1 Kribensis (he's not mean)
4 Emerald Green Corys
5 Black Kuhli loaches
8 Zebra Danios
5 Cherry Barbs

Any tips are greatly appreciated!!
 

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I doubt it is the well water.

In general, you need to find the right balance of light, ferts, and CO2. If you are not injecting CO2, you might need to tone down the light and the ferts. That would be low tech. And you would want to stick with low tech plants. Most stems don't flourish in a low tech environment.

Here's a pic of my tank, and I am on a well.
 

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If by "treated" you mean it goes through a water softener, you are much better off with straight well water for both flora and fauna. I'm on a well, and I always use water that does not go through the softener. My water is very hard, but not many trace elements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Interesting... I do have all the equipment to begin dosing Co2. Is it likely that the algae is the cause of the leaves falling off the stem plants? When they grow leaves they look just fine, but usually turn brown and fall off in a few weeks.
 

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Have you ever had a professional water report of the well water?

What are all the aquarium tests showing of the unfiltered well water?
What are all the aquarium tests showing in the aquarium before a water change?

What sort of filter were you using on the well water? How would the aquarium tests vary when you were using the filter vs unfiltered? Did the plants have this problem when you were using the filtered water?

Which of the Seachem Flourish product(s) are you using?

The brown on the leaves, dose it rub off? (diatoms) Or is it the actual leaf tissue turning brown?

I could suggest a couple of concepts:
If the nutrients in the well + fish food + fertilizer...

...were well balanced, in something close to the ratio the plants used them....
and the light was right....
and the carbon (CO2, Excel) was right...
.... there should not be a problem.

Since there is a problem, then correcting each of the possible problems will fix it. Lets figure out the most likely problem, and start there.

Fish food supplies reasonable amounts of N, P and most traces. If the NO3 is between 10-20ppm, or higher, then do not dose N, P or most traces.
Fish food is low in K, Fe, Ca, Mg, S and C. Lets look further into these.

Water with a GH of at least 3 German degrees of hardness will usually supply enough Ca and Mg, but not always. Sometimes the ratio is skewed, so the tank may be getting enough of one, but not the other. If you suspect this is the problem you will need to test the Ca, then do the math (research the formula) to figure out if there is the right ratio between Ca:Mg.

Several things added to the tank usually supply enough S, it is not often deficient.

This leaves C, K and Fe as the best things to dose, if the fish food supplies enough of the other things.

But we need to know if the well water supplies any of these, too.

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The next complexity is if one (or more) nutrients are dosed to excess, they could interfere with the uptake of something else, even if the 'something else' is present in sufficient levels. Without knowing what is present in the well water it might be pretty tricky to figure this out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Never had a professional report, although i've been told that the water contains iron. Unfortunately, the water softener has been broken before I started up the tank.
I use an API freshwater test kit, and the tap water tests for 0ppm nitrate and nitrite and not quite 0 ammonia, but far below .25ppm based on the color chart.

I rub the brown off the leaves of the crypts and most comes off, but the stem plants do not. They eventually become almost see-through before falling off.

It is possible that the balance between light, nutrients and co2 is off, although I have absolutely no idea where to begin fixing that.

Also, I know that the water is hard but my my kit doesn't test exactly how hard.

Thanks for the replies, by the way!!
 

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Is your tank about 36"L x 12"D x 24"H? If so, based on my experience with a Planted Plus on a 24 inch tall tank (65 gallon), you probably have 40-50 PAR. At that much light you need to provide a source of bioavailable carbon for the plants, and Excel (Metricide) will probably be adequate. You also need to make sure the plants have adequate nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and trace elements. I doubt that you can get by without dosing all of them. See http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11-fertilizers-water-parameters/21944-_dosing-regimes_.html for a good, easy dosing method for that. You don't have high light, so you will probably want to use about half the dosages mentioned in the tables. None of your fish need soft water, as far as I can see, so you should not use softened water - just use untreated well water. If you know that your well water has a high iron content you will want to dilute the well water with distilled or Ro/DI water, probably about 50-50. You can easily tell if you have excessive iron in the water from the brown stains everywhere that repeatedly gets wet and the water evaporates, for example where lawn sprinklers overspray.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some good advice. My tank is exactly 36x12x24. I hadn't considered nutrient dosing as the problem, but it is entirely possible. Are these nutrients dry dose or liquid?
 
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