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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 6 weeks into my first planted tank. My plants have been growing really well. They look great overall to my untrained eye but there are a few notable problem spots and I'm not sure what the cause might be.

Here are some photos of various sections:

Mid-section of my Ludwigia Super Red which shows some general deterioration
Another mid-section of the Ludwigia
Top of Ludwigia just to show that it otherwise looks pretty healthy
Bacopa Salzmannii which has one portion of the stem that is completely deteriorating while being sandwiched between otherwise healthy portions.
Cardamine Lyrata which has been growing really great for the past couple of weeks but has also started showing some tiny holes in parts of it.
Full tank view for perspective

Background info on my tank setup:
  • 29 Gal
  • CO2 injected (comes on and off 2 hours earlier than light schedule, using drop checker to determine bubble rate)
  • 6.5 hour light cycle (using Fennex ALC-30)
  • Dosing 3ml/day of 2hr aquarist APT complete
  • Amazonia ver2 aquasoil
  • PH sits around 6.4 pretty consistently
  • Nitrates around 20ppm
  • Just ordered a GH kit, so no reading there...
  • Live in Aurora, Colorado
  • Have 15 fish and 15 shrimp in the tank
  • Fluval 207 canister filter
  • Water temp of 72-76 (fluctuates a little bit throughout the day)
  • 50% water change weekly
That is about all the details I can think to include right now... Anything obvious jump out to anyone? I'm thinking of increasing the fertilizer dose again (recently went from 2ml to 3ml). Not sure what else to try at this point.
 

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If i had to guess its either not enough light is getting to the bottom parts of the plants or (what Im leaning towards) is that bottoms (old growth) are just melting since its a new tank while the tops (new growth) is healthy. I usually find that newly planted stem plants show healthier new growth and often trim the healthier tops of stem plants and replant them. If the stems are too dead I remove them and replace them with the healthier tops.

Has it been like this since week 1 or 2? or a very recent thing?
Stems rotting could be nutrient deficiency in the soil but I highly doubt that since you are using amazonia soil as well as already dosing ferts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If i had to guess its either not enough light is getting to the bottom parts of the plants or (what Im leaning towards) is that bottoms (old growth) are just melting since its a new tank while the tops (new growth) is healthy. I usually find that newly planted stem plants show healthier new growth and often trim the healthier tops of stem plants and replant them. If the stems are too dead I remove them and replace them with the healthier tops.

Has it been like this since week 1 or 2? or a very recent thing?
Stems rotting could be nutrient deficiency in the soil but I highly doubt that since you are using amazonia soil as well as already dosing ferts.
There was a bit of melt during the initial weeks. Mostly my "Ammania sp. 'Bonsai'" and Cardamine Lyrata suffered during the start. I lost almost all of them, but a couple of each survived and have made a huge comeback in the most recent 2-3 weeks. All the plants in general have started growing and filling out so much more in the last few weeks. Despite this, the issues I pointed out also are new developments after what seemed like a short period of stability and minimal melt.

I like the idea of trying to replant the tops and replacing older growth and seeing if that helps with some of the Ludwigia issues. I've been wondering, is there a technique to that? For example, should it be trimmed a certain way before planting such as making sure there is an aerial root to plant into the soil?

As for the stem rot and the Cardamine pin prick holes... I am thinking maybe I try an increase ferts unless something else stands out to anyone.

Can i ask why you are only using 6,5 hours of light ? i would go for 8
It was advised by an aquascaper on youtube that a new tank start with a shorter or less intense light cycle and slowly ramp up. My light has a really poorly designed controller and so I am stuck using it at 100% intensity. So instead of going for say 8 hours at 70% I am doing a shorter period at 100%. I tried ramping up a couple of times and had some algae issues so I stuck with 6 for awhile till that was under control. I just bumped it up to 6.5 a week ago and things are still holding pretty well so I may bump to 7 now.
 

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It was advised by an aquascaper on youtube that a new tank start with a shorter or less intense light cycle and slowly ramp up. My light has a really poorly designed controller and so I am stuck using it at 100% intensity. So instead of going for say 8 hours at 70% I am doing a shorter period at 100%. I tried ramping up a couple of times and had some algae issues so I stuck with 6 for awhile till that was under control. I just bumped it up to 6.5 a week ago and things are still holding pretty well so I may bump to 7 now.
ah right i thought u were running at 6 weeks already with those 6,5 hours a day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just did a maintenance session and decided to redo the ludwigia plants. Removed the bottom portions and replanted the healthy looking tops.

I found a second Bacopa with a rotted stem in the midsection. For both of them I cut out the rotten section and replanted the tops.

I also noticed that a couple floating plants I have started showing some tiny holes as well...

I did a 50% water change and then bumped my fertilizer dose from 3ml to 4ml. Will try this for a week or two and see if I notice any positive change. I am tempted to increase light from 6.5 to 7 hours but also hesitant as I don't want to change too many things at once. Also, if there was already a nutrient deficiency at 6.5 hours then I'm thinking that increasing light may offset my increase in fertilizer 🤔
 

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Patience is required with a planted tank. 6 weeks old is till a new tank. It takes weeks, months for a tank to stabilize. You need to monitor things, but try not to make a lot of changes all the time. When you make a change it may take a week or more to see results before you can decide if the change helped or not and what your next move should be. Again patience is the rule for planted tanks. Good luck.
 
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