Ferns that need some help
As far as I understand, I really need some fertilizers to help my ferns (one is Java fern, and the other is Windelov fern), but I am very confused by the discrepancy of opinions on how much and what to add... I'd love to keep it low-tech, adding only as much ferts as it is necessary, but how much and what is still is a mystery to me. In addition to the brown leaves of my ferns, I started getting some beard algae on the anubis leaves and some strands of what appears to be thread algae. Does it indicate some nutrient imbalance? What ferts do I need for my plants? Please help.
Aquarium: 29 gal,
Light: 55w CF full spectrum 5500K inside retrofitted BrightKit from from http://www.ahsupply.com
Substrate: decorational gravel (1 20lb bag)
Fish: 8 zebra danios, 7 corys, 3 platys, 1 dwarf gourami, 2 tiger barbs, snails.
- 1 java fern, 1 java fern modified - Windelov Fern, 1 java moss, 1 anubias nana, quite a few strands of anacharis, 1 marina moss ball, 1 flame moss, 3 pieces of other type of moss (I forgot at the moment its' name).
I set up this tank a few months ago. According to AP Master testing kit, this is the chemistry:
ph: 7.6; dh: 5; kh: 3
I'm sorry to tell you this but that tank is not "low-tech" with those lights. The way I see it, you have two options: you can begin dosing ferts and CO2, or you can reduce the lighting intensity. With those plants, you'd likely be better off doing the latter. Those plants may not be able to consume the ferts and carbon quick enough to make a difference anyway. This is just my initial reaction but I'm sure there are some other plant-geeks that can offer more insight.
Although you have some bad looking leaves, you also have new growth coming in at the bottom. Cut off all those old leaves. They will not improve and only pull nutrients away from new shoots. I had leaves looks like that for a bit but once removed, new growth started. A bit more ferts may be needed, as well.
It's also not uncommon for old leaves to die as new leaves appear. It has taken my java about two years to really start looking decent.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 01-15-2013 at 04:30 PM.
Thank you so much for your replies!!
I'll definitely cut off the old leaves.
Ferts: I was thinking of buying API Leaf Zone - should I start dozing it weekly? Monthly? Or if I see brown leaves like that? I am not sure how often I should doze and what would be the best for my aquarium.
I am currently having lights on for 7 hours daily. Should I cut that time to 5-6 hours? Would it be sufficient for my plants?
Your light time is fine. I also use Leaf Zone. I add a capful probably 3 times a week. It appears you have plenty of plants in there so most likely that will be sufficient. BTW......you are not using Excel, are you? Tom Barr from theplantedtank.com states that Excel can kill ferns.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 01-15-2013 at 04:49 PM.
You need to watch out when using Leaf Zone.
It is by no means a complete fertilizer. It's just Iron and Potassium.
You might be better off with something like Seachem Flourish Comprehensive which includes all the trace nutrients but is still weak in the major nutrients.
I dont know why they do this. Maybe the manufacturers assume that Nitrogen and Phosphorus comes from fish waste so they dont need to include them.
It looks to me like you have a major nutrient shortage.
Works for me. I do not want phosphates that you get naturally from fish food and nitrates come naturally.
Soluble potash (K20) 3.00%, Iron (Fe) 0.10%, Chelated Iron (Fe) 0.10%. Derived from: Potassium sulfate and iron EDTA.
PMDD is composed of equal parts of potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, CSM, magnesium sulfate. CSM is composed of 1.50% total magnesium, .10% copper, 7.00% iron, 2.00% manganese, 0.06% molybdenum, 0.40% zinc.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 01-15-2013 at 06:58 PM.
I dose flourish comp. 2x a week and all my ferns are thriving. You definitely need to get rid of the old growth too.
Thanks to all of you!!! I already pruned the dead leaves, added some ferts. I appreciate the suggestions and the discussion of various fertilizers: it sounds very logical, that phosphates are already provided by fish wastes, so I'll stick to Leaf Zone for now.
Another question: so you think that with the amount of light that I have I don't have to stick only to low light plants, but I can try something medium light too?
Did I read correctly that you have only one 55 watt bulb?