Aquarium Forum

  · Tropical Fish Home
· Fish News
· Aquarium Forum
· Buy & Sell
· Calculators
· Equipment reviews
· Free Aquarium Ebook
· Feedback
· Link to us
· Photo gallery
· Plant species
· Tropica Plant DB
Tropical fish species
· By Common name
· By Scientific name
Tropical Marine fish
· By Common name
· By Scientific name

        Via paypal

  · African Cichlids
· Algae Control
· Aquarium Decoration
· Aquarium Resources
· Aquatic Plants
· Barb Fish
· Betta Fish
· Breeding Fish
· Catfish
· Central American Cichlids
· Cichlids
· Clownfish
· Corals
· Corydoras Catfish
· Discus Fish
· Dwarf Cichlids
· Fish Diseases
· Frogs and Turtles
· Goby Fish
· Goldfish
· Gourami
· Invertebrates
· Jellyfish
· Killiefish
· Lake Victoria Cichlids
· Livebearers
· Malawi Cichlids
· Marine Aquariums
· Marine Aquarium Fish
· Other Fish
· Pleco
· Predatory Fish
· Photography
· Pond Fish
· Responsible Fish Keeping
· Rainbow Fish
· Shark Fish
· South American Cichlids
· Tanganyika Cichlids
· Tetra Fish
· Tropical Fish Food
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1

    Smile Fourth Try With Plants

    0 Not allowed!
    I have a pretty basic 45 gallon tank that I have had for about five years. I have tried to raise plants three times in the past and the plants pretty much do well for a month and die over a period of months. I upgraded my lighting about 4 years ago and installed two T5 bulbs with a total of 108 watts and the spectrum advised. No improvement in terms of plant growth.

    I recently installed two additional LED arrays that my son had which are white/blue and expensive. These in addition to my T5s. I replaced the two T5 bulbs. I run the lights for six hours a day.

    The tank is stable and amonia and nitrates test at zero and always low nitrite with in range. pH is high. CO2/KH are unknown. I do monthly 40% water changes with cleaning, I use RO water. I have a HOB filter, bubble stone, temp is one or two degrees high at 77-78. I have about a dozen small fish, tetras, guppys, and two clown loaches.

    I do not have anything special in terms of substrate, just pebbles purchased at the local pet smart. Have not tried fert or other add in products. No CO2 gen or the like.

    I have just ordered a plant mix online from

    Are there any other things that I should do to prepare?


  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    I always maintain that if plants grew well in gravel, you would see lovely plants growing on the shoulder of the road. I think plant substrate is just as important as the lights.

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Mark, did you read this about the Do's and Don't on lights? After reading your post here, I remember something was written in that article about mixing LED's with compacts so went back to check.

    You mention you updated your lights about 4 years ago but how long has it been since you replaced the bulbs? Even tho they are not burned out, they should be replaced at least yearly.

    Those little skinny roots on some of the stem plants won't have a chance in gravel. Stick with the heavy rooters. Another thing that will work even better is lots of anubias attached to driftwood. That way, the tank will be full of plants and green but nothing in the gravel at all.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    What kind of plants do you usually get? When I started buying plants, I went for ones that didn't need special lighting or ferts. Mine don't necessarily grow but they don't die off after a few months either.

    Just curious as to why you use RO water?

    Do your plants just start losing leaves one by one - do the leaves follow a similar pattern of decline? Sometimes if you pay attention to what is happening and look it up online, you can find out if there's a nutrient missing in the water and get a product to supply it.

  5. #5

    Smile Thanks

    0 Not allowed!
    I had read much the same and have a strip of insulation installed to keep the high heat of the T5s from impacting the LED arrays too much.

    I have also re-read what I have been able to find in terms of substrate based on your input. Not sure at this point what I will do. Not really looking forward to removing all the pebbles and restart with substrate designed for plant growth. But, if that is the key...


  6. #6

    Default Plant Types

    0 Not allowed!
    I have tried several low light, easy care types. I have on order now a selection called low light hardy plants.

    My son upgraded when he started a larger tank and gave me the RO. I started using it on his recommendation and now don't worry much about the "city water" I use. Was not using the RO during the previous plant attempts.

    The best description of my plants and the cycle they have gone through is that they seem to slowly deteriorate. Some of the blade types last the longest and actually one of those is still hanging in there after about two years but pretty pitiful.

    I will have to pay attention this time and note specific happenings and try and cross reference those to problems.


  7. #7


    0 Not allowed! is where I get my substrate.

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by markinnc
    Have not tried fert or other add in products. No CO2 gen or the like.
    There's your problem. Light drives the uptake of nutrients. Low light means low nutrient requirements. High light means high nutrient requirements. That includes CO2 too.

    Assuming there are reflectors behind those T5HO bulbs, you have high light.

    By providing high light and no ferts/CO2, you are essentially starving your plants to death. You need to start fertilizing the plants or cut back on the lighting to such an extent that the plants can survive on the nutrients that are already in the tank.

    Gravel is also not the best substrate for plants.

    I would do three things.
    1. cut back on the lighting. Remove the LEDs and cut back to just 1 T5HO bulb if your fixture will allow it. Or else put a screen between the fixture and the tank, or raise the fixture up off the tank. Anything to cut back on the light intensity.
    2. Start dosing fertilizer, either via root tabs or in the water column but you need to get some ferts in there. And it needs to be a complete fert, both major nutrients (NPK) and trace nutrients. This is sometimes hard to do. Most commerical ferts only provide one or the other. Seachem Flourish is pretty good for the trace nutrients but is lacking in the major nutrients, but that may be OK. With low enough light, Nitrates and phosphates already in the water may be enough and all you need are the trace nutrients.
    3. Provide a source of carbon. Carbon is the most important nutrient to a plant. Either bite the bullet and go with a CO2 system, or if your light is low enough, use Flourish Excel or equivalent to get carbon into the water.

    If you really want to do something else, replace the gravel with a plant substrate, but I'm pretty sure that cutting back on the light and adding ferts will solve your problems without redoing the entire tank.

    Edit: Oh yeah, RO isnt helping things either. RO water is devoid of any nutrients, particularly Calcium and Magnesium. If you're going to use RO water you should remineralize it with a GH booster to get those two minerals back up to levels that plants can use.
    Last edited by dmagerl; 07-03-2012 at 05:23 PM.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    I fully agree with dmagerl that RO is a disaster for plants - the lost of minerals spells doom for all plants and will even kill fish. You must replace those lost minerals. Ferts do not generally have those since water does. So, adding Ca, and Mg are critical (besides normal ferts.)
    Knowledge is fun(damental)

    A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.

    For Fishless cycling:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts