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10-28-2013, 12:13 PM #1
Struggling with Live Plants... Advice Needed
OK here we go...
I have 2 tanks (See Sig). Both are planted and were intended to be low - med light tanks. I am running identical lights (108watt t-5 HO for fresh water). My Plants for the most part have done ok but nothing to write home about. Mainly now I have Java Ferns, Anubias, and Crypts. I have tried some grasses, vals and mosses but they all seemed to just die off.
I am not ready to give up on this yet. Part of my problem has been the lighting (I Think) being too high and causing algae issues for the low light plants but not high enough for the higher light plant requirements. I have ordered some red root floaters to aid in toning down the intensity of the lights since I am not in a good position to raise the lights higher off of the surface. I try to add root tabs for the crypts every 3 months and I do add flourish after a water change but I do not dose daily.
Can some one tell me a good regimen of nutrients and application schedule I should use?? I would prefer not to go co2 and stay as low maint as possible.
10-28-2013, 02:55 PM #2
I know a thing or two about plants and would like to provide what assistance I can.
Do you happen to have fairly recent water test results of these? Also a picture would be nice. Can you describe the symptoms of the dying plants?
If you get water from a water company do they offer lab test results online anywhere? Those would be nice as well.
Which flourish do you use and how much?
10-28-2013, 03:41 PM #3
10-28-2013, 04:11 PM #4Banned Swordtails
- Join Date
- Oct 2013
- Moore, SC
These are just general comments, I think we need more water info (Hard water, soft, etc?).
If you have that much T5HO light on a 55 gallon, you likely have too much. I'm not certain regarding the depth of your bowfront, so can't comment on that one.
I have a 55 and here is what I do, for what it's worth:
- Flourish Comprehensive fertilizer 1-2x/week at the recommended dosing level.
- I use root tabs, when I remember to add them, about every 3-4 months.
- I use a single T5HO "FloraSun" bulb (single plant bulb that has a fairly low PAR at the substrate). Using a single "Daylight" bulb or more than one bulb in my fixture provides too much light and I end up with BBA.
- Replace your T5HO bulbs at least every year. The spectrum changes, as does the intensity, over time.
Crypts are noted for feeding heavily from the roots and need root tabs. The higher the light, the more it might exacerbate any nutrient deficiency.
Crypts and anubias are noted for growing slowly (I like them, but they are annoyingly slow).
I'm surprised you can't grow mosses...
I tried vals, never could keep vals alive becasue my tapwater's too soft for them (they get carbonates from the water column and my water's almost DO right from the tap).
Good luck, don't give up! Folks here will help you sort it out!
Last edited by DKRST; 10-28-2013 at 04:16 PM.
10-28-2013, 05:33 PM #5
10-28-2013, 05:50 PM #6
I would suggest either adding some mesh to the light to diffuse it, or suspending the lamp above the aquarium. This way you can adjust the height and therefore the intensity.
How long are you leaving your light on? Try cutting it to 8 hours, you can add a 90-120 minute break in the middle of the day if you like (some claim this helps rejuvenate CO2 levels).
10-28-2013, 05:53 PM #7
10-28-2013, 05:55 PM #8
10-28-2013, 05:59 PM #9
As others have suggested, there is an imbalance between light and nutrients. And the first hurdle is the light, it really is far too intense for your situation (the plants and no CO2). It is up to you whether you replace the light or add CO2, but let me just point out some issues. Adding CO2 is going to raise the bar on all nutrients. However, the existing plants will not benefit from CO2, and they are all slow growing, which means lower light and nutrients. So this approach, going high-tech, is in my view wasting money. Of course, you could get different plants, and do daily nutrient fertilization (not with Flourish, it is not intended for this method). I have never bothered going down this road because my prime interest is fish, and I like planted tanks, as opposed to plant tanks (=aquatic gardening) that happen to have some fish in them. CO2 is not cheap, and you have to get a good diffuser (many planted tank folks have told me not to bother with the DIY yeast type but go with pressurized). CO2 will affect your water chemistry. And so on.
Changing your light is much less effort and expense, especially long-term, but again this is your decision. If you do, a single tube T5 would work, or a dual tube T8, or a good LED. If I were in your shoes here, this is where I would seriously look at the Marineland Double Bright LED system. This LED is sufficient for low and moderate light plants. It creates a very nice natural-looking sun shimmer in the water. Something to consider.
Without doing either CO2 or new lighting, you could try reducing the light period to six hours, and have a thick layer of floating plants. The algae showing on the plants in the photo is due to the light. The yellowing can be several things, all of which are a lack of nutrients, which here is compromised by the high light driving the plants too hard. I have had these issues with Java Fern, caused by too many nutrients ironically, but in my case the light is low to moderate to begin with so the fertilization was going beyond. And plants can only use excess nutrients up to a point before they begin to react. Balance is the key.
Byron.Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
10-28-2013, 06:17 PM #10