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What's wrong with my plants?

1415 Views 10 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  malawiscuba
Hi, I've finally managed to balance my tank and I only have a little green dust algae. The problem is that my plants grow very poorly and I've been trying changing things but I can't figure out what the problem is. I'm currently dosing macros and micros twice a week but i'm not noticing much improvement.

My crypts stay small and when they grow a new leaf an old leaf melts so they don't increase in size.

My jungle vals are spreading runners around the entire tank but they only grow up to 7 cm long and stop growing.

I have lots of problems with Ludwigia repens; the stems that I had stopped growing and started to drop the bottom leaves and now they are sending side shoots that are growing but are pale in color.

Recently I added rotala rotundifolia which is growing on one side of the tank but on the other side of the tank it's now porducing very tiny leaves.

Java moss is doing very well and I wonder if it's soaking up the nutrients.

I thought this was nitrogen deficiency so I increased the amount and frequency I added it to the point that I'm now getting a little brown algae, but plants show no improvement.

I apreciate any advice thanks!


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I'm currently dosing macros and micros twice a week
Hi malawiscuba,

It would help to know specifically what ferts you are dosing, how much of each, and what size aquarium are we talking about.

Also please tell us about your light (LED or tube) wattage, and photoperiod.

Lastly do you test your water, if so what do you test and what are the readings?

More information will help us determine the most likely cause(s).
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Sorry I forgot to add the tank's info.
My tank measurements are: 20 inches wide, 10 high and 10 deep. It's a 10 gallon tank.
My lighting is one single T8 bulb that sits on top of the tank, I figured this would place it under low lighting. The light is on for 8h a day.
The substrate is JBL Manado which is inert porous clay.

I'm using JBL Proscape Microelements and JBL NPK 0.1 ml of each on saturday and again on wednesday. JBL ProScape NPK Macroelements and JBL ProScape Fe + Microelements

And I only have test kits for ph and it usually reads 7.5, but I know that the water in my area is very soft and maybe that's one of my problems.

Thanks again
ph is not the issue.

what temp do you run your tank at?

ludwigia might be dropping leaves because of how low your light is but crypts should not do this...
I keep the temp at 75-76 degrees F.
I have to change the light as it's more than 6 months old could this be the cause of the stunting and bad & slow growth?

As leaves in most plants are pale and yellow I thought it was nitrogen/iron deficiency or something, so I increased macros and micros.
The problem is I'm already getting little algae when I increased ferts ( not much improvement on the plants) so I'm afraid to increase more the dose.
Hi malawiscuba,

Thank you for the additional information.....can you tell me if your water is considered 'hard' or 'soft'?
Hi, it's pretty soft in my area I've asked around in many fish stores and they've always said that.

Thank you
Hi malawiscuba,

The reason I asked about water hardness is the "hooking" downward of leaf tips is a sign of calcium (Ca) deficiency; the chlorosis (yellowing) is a symptom of magnesium (Mg) deficiency; and the holes in the leaves could indicate potassium (K) deficiency. I have very soft water where I live and am well aware of the deficiencies it can cause. I would suggest not changing anything except for adding a GH Booster; a sufficient quantity to raise the dGH of your water by at least 2.0 dGH; add more when doing a water change. In the U.S. I would recommend Seachem Equilibrium but I do not know what is available in Europe. You will hopefully find a GH Booster containing potassium sulfate, calcium sulfate, and magnesium sulfate in approximately a 3:3:1 ratio (by volume)....or you can mix your own.

I mix my own and my current ratio is 1:3:1.5 for the three nutrients. Why? I found the 3:3:1 ratio dosed excessive K and was light on the Mg area.

Dose a GH Booster for 3 weeks and watch your new growth, does it looks healthier? Are the plants growing better? Keep us posted!
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Thank you! Yes I've seen the Seachem Equilibirum here, I'll get some and see how it goes. I'll also get a Gh test kit to be safe.
Many of the plants I have are hard water right? So maybe that could be why my jungle vall grows so short?
Hi malawiscuba,

Stunted growth is typically caused by a lack of macro-nutrients, specifically nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). But as I said lets start with adding some GH Booster. If the dGH of your water is less than 2.0 dGH then add sufficient Equilibrium to bring it to 4.0 dGH. If you water is already 3.0 dGH or higher add sufficient to bring the dGH up 2.0 degrees. Seachem has a handy calculator to assist in determining how much Equilibrium to add. When I do a water change I add enough Equilibrium to bring to new water up to 4.0 dGH (or 2.0 dGH above tap water). Once a month I check my tank and add Equilibrium to bring the level up if needed.
Oh okay. I'll get to it then and see how things go.
Thanks a lot!
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