About to give up on the dream of a planted tank

Leeman75

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I've just about had it! I have spent a ton of time and money to try to get my 55 Gallon to be a well planted tank and I about to give up on it. I just got a bunch of plants via mail last week and they looked pretty good when I planted them, but little by little, day by day, they have melted away, the stalks keep coming uprooted, and eventually waste away to nothing. I use Flourish root tabs. I dose with Dustin's Growth Juice (recommended by my LFS), I do 50% WC weekly, I've been dosing with Flourish Excel to combat the BBA (it has done well).

Nothing seems to get these plants to establish.

Don't get me wrong, I have a few things that have done well: Java Fern and Moss Balls
A couple of Anubius and an Amazon Sword that have done ok
A different type of sword that was 15" when I got it, is still alive and still brings new leaves from time to time, but has shrunk back to about 4" and the leaves are constantly curled
There is one stalk plant that has done ok. Every once in a while the stalk will grow up to the top of my 55 and I will trim it halfway and plant it right next to the original. The original will then die and the stalk will become the grower. I can't get both to work!

Everything else has died. Mexican Oak Leave? Dead. Wisteria? Dead, dead, dead. Other leafy, stalk plants? Dead.

All the money and time that I have poured into this for the last 8 months could have allowed me to buy an entire new large tank set up. I love fish, but I'm to the point where I hate plants! Buy plants for your tank they say. It will reduce nitrates, make a more natural environment for your fish, it will be fun they say.

Ok rant over. What the heck am I doing wrong?? Is it even worth trying anymore? If I get some realistic silk plants, will it really make a big difference to my fish? As it is all the dying and decaying plants that I basically clean every day, can't really be doing much positive for the tank, can it?
 

FlowerzTrollz

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Darling, i feel your pain!!!

I may not be of great help to be honest, but I CAN NOT do plants either!!! Moss balls is as good as it gets for me. It sucks cause i find planted tanks so beautiful!

And yes they always say its fun and all that and nitrates go down or whatever... But, ive had decos and fake plants in my tanks forever. And my fish always have lasted a long time cause i know with fake decors, it requires a bit more cleaning and vigilance but im willing to put that in! In my eyes it beats spending hundreds of dollars to frigging fail anyways!

Sorry if it comes across as negative, but id go fake plants with what you have established already! Much easier on the mind and wallet. And very much long term! Lol
 
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Leeman75

Leeman75

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I think I would much rather spend all this money and energy on the actual fish. That's the part of the hobby that I really enjoy!! Just looking at them swimming in the tank is so awesome. But then when I see that stupid floating stalk in the back...
 

FlowerzTrollz

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Oh i couldnt live with that! I would get so mad i would unplant it all. Lol i honnestly dont have it in me with the green stuff!!

And yes, the fish are what is making this hobby so much fun! Thats also where i invest my money. They are SO worth cating for and putting your money in!

Other than nitrate and oxygen conversion, yes ok plants are pretty, but they are a PITA in my opinion. Lol and the constant cleaning every time one dies.. And readjusting everything as well.. UGH...

No *Tanks* lol
 

A201

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I'm not your "Go To Guy" for aquagardening, but have had very good luck with low light plants in past set ups. My downfall with plants was always
sub par lighting. I currently keep African Cichlids, definitely not plant friendly fish. No plants anymore, just hundreds of lbs. of rocks. Much easier to maintain & looks pretty good.
 

Chanyi

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What is your lighting?
kH? gH? pH?
Substrate?

Flourish tabs contain almost 0 nutrients, please do not continue to waste money on them.

Dustin's ferts are hard to measure because there isn't any information on what your getting, my best guess is not a lot...

I would look into the Thrive line-up instead.
 

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Could be the lighting. The ones doing ok, Java Fern, Anubias, even Swords do ok in low light. Your details say two T8 tubes, that right? Should be ok for low light plants if the reflectors are good. Oh & the tubes need to be fresh.
 

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If I were to be totally honest, and I try to be in all things, I too am getting to the end of my rope with live plants. Once I started adding Equilibrium along with thrive liquid and root tabs I started having better luck with some plants. Like you my BBA is thriving :( It may finally be the straw that broke the camels back and may end up causing me to replace all live plants with the silk and plastic I had for many years. Before live plants I didn't have a speck of any kind of algae in any of my tanks.

I see tanks with big beautiful Amazon Swords. Mine would be fine if I had a much shorter tank since they refuse to grow any taller than about 8 inches tall. They should be up to the top of my 55 gallon tank by now. Ferns and crypts are doing well but all stem plants get tall and eventually leafless. Like you I cut the tops off and replant but the original plant never recovers. Even the water wisteria folks can't kill even when trying end up with curled leaves and then they drop off. New plants grow from the base of a lot of the leaves that fall off so that helps but it takes them a while to grow big enough to actually see them.

Floating plants such as frogbit and water lettuce do so well I have to keep removing some so the plants underneath can get enough light but the long roots they should have never grow long.

Ok, enough complaining for now. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. :) These planted tanks can be very frustrating.
 

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Ive had a bunch of different plants too. I have a few that grow like mad and some that the leaves constantly fall off until its a stick and I get mad and throw it away....lol Until I got Kallilillys plants I only had Vals Crypts and swords, and my swords once a leaf gets big it gets holes in the top part. I upped the ferts and its still doing it. I have said it before and I'll say it again SWORDS are not, not not beginner plants...there...:arghh:
 

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Leeman75 said:
I've just about had it! I have spent a ton of time and money to try to get my 55 Gallon to be a well planted tank and I about to give up on it. I just got a bunch of plants via mail last week and they looked pretty good when I planted them, but little by little, day by day, they have melted away, the stalks keep coming uprooted, and eventually waste away to nothing. I use Flourish root tabs. I dose with Dustin's Growth Juice (recommended by my LFS), I do 50% WC weekly, I've been dosing with Flourish Excel to combat the BBA (it has done well).

Nothing seems to get these plants to establish.

Don't get me wrong, I have a few things that have done well: Java Fern and Moss Balls
A couple of Anubius and an Amazon Sword that have done ok
A different type of sword that was 15" when I got it, is still alive and still brings new leaves from time to time, but has shrunk back to about 4" and the leaves are constantly curled
There is one stalk plant that has done ok. Every once in a while the stalk will grow up to the top of my 55 and I will trim it halfway and plant it right next to the original. The original will then die and the stalk will become the grower. I can't get both to work!

Everything else has died. Mexican Oak Leave? Dead. Wisteria? Dead, dead, dead. Other leafy, stalk plants? Dead.

All the money and time that I have poured into this for the last 8 months could have allowed me to buy an entire new large tank set up. I love fish, but I'm to the point where I hate plants! Buy plants for your tank they say. It will reduce nitrates, make a more natural environment for your fish, it will be fun they say.

Ok rant over. What the heck am I doing wrong?? Is it even worth trying anymore? If I get some realistic silk plants, will it really make a big difference to my fish? As it is all the dying and decaying plants that I basically clean every day, can't really be doing much positive for the tank, can it?
Have you ever experienced an algae bloom in this tank? So many do there best to remove it, but in your case I would try to to induce it. Algae is a GOOD thing. It is indicator of two things, nutrients and lighting. It is only bad when there is too much of it causing your others plants to starve. Personally, I love to see some algae form because all I would have to do is scale back the lighting and nutrients, the amounts by which are tank specific of course.
 

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When I first started my first aquarium, I got into live plants immediately. I never wanted artificial plants in my tank. I remember I had Amazon Sword, Java Fern, Hornwort, Moneywort, Water Wisteria, can't remember everything. Some plants did very well, but I couldn't for the life of me keep my Java Fern or Hornwort alive! My moneywort kept shedding leaves until I had just the stems left. I've spent more time (and money) maintaining the plants than anything else. Eventually I shut the tank(s) down and one of the reasons I've done so is because of the plants I couldn't keep alive. I didn't want to keep fish with fake plants.
When I restarted, I decided to delve in the world of Cichlids. Never had to worry about plants again. Also because I wanted to keep bigger fish. :p

So in a way, I'm glad that I'M not alone either. I thought it was just me that couldn't keep live plants. :p
 
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Leeman75

Leeman75

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SpaceCraftPilot said:
Have you ever experienced an algae bloom in this tank? So many do there best to remove it, but in your case I would try to to induce it. Algae is a GOOD thing. It is indicator of two things, nutrients and lighting. It is only bad when there is too much of it causing your others plants to starve. Personally, I love to see some algae form because all I would have to do is scale back the lighting and nutrients, the amounts by which are tank specific of course.
I had BBA in there until I started with the Flourish Excel. Someone on here told me to up the ferts and that would help. The BBA has gone away mostly, but it has not seemed to help the others go well. I do get a bit of brown algae on the filter intakes. Usually will clean that off once or twice a month.
 
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Leeman75

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FitSoldier said:
When I restarted, I decided to delve in the world of Cichlids. Never had to worry about plants again. Also because I wanted to keep bigger fish. :p
As I'm coming up on 1 year back in the hobby after a 20 year hiatus, I've cycled through the Tetras, Gouramis, Mollies, etc. I'm finding that these days, the Cichlids are what really get me excited and pumped. Maybe that's the key to all of this. Though, I do like both the South/Central Americans as well as the Africans. And it seems that the SCAs like the planted tank that mimics the Amazon.
 
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Leeman75

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mattgirl said:
If I were to be totally honest, and I try to be in all things, I too am getting to the end of my rope with live plants. Once I started adding Equilibrium along with thrive liquid and root tabs I started having better luck with some plants. Like you my BBA is thriving :( It may finally be the straw that broke the camels back and may end up causing me to replace all live plants with the silk and plastic I had for many years. Before live plants I didn't have a speck of any kind of algae in any of my tanks.
You know, it's kind of funny...my big tank that I've been trying to get moving with plants has all sorts of algae, BBA,, Brown, Spots, etc. My 29 that is all fake and has been going for a couple of months, is pristine. Looks as good as the day that I started it. Except it has fish in it now too! :)
 

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My issue with fake plants is all of my tanks in the past have had Cyano issues. The planted tanks have not.
 

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Leeman75 said:
You know, it's kind of funny...my big tank that I've been trying to get moving with plants has all sorts of algae, BBA,, Brown, Spots, etc. My 29 that is all fake and has been going for a couple of months, is pristine. Looks as good as the day that I started it. Except it has fish in it now too! :)
The only kind of algae I got when I had plastic and silk plants was some type of brown stuff that grew on the plants closest to the light. It was so easy to just bleach dip them to remove it every now and then. I am beginning to think real plants are too much for me and at some point I may remove them from my 55 and will just have real ones in my shrimp bowl and my 5.5 gallon tank.
StarGirl15 said:
My issue with fake plants is all of my tanks in the past have had Cyano issues. The planted tanks have not.
Strange how it is so different for different tanks. It must have something to do with the chemistry of our water.
 

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Leeman75 said:
As I'm coming up on 1 year back in the hobby after a 20 year hiatus, I've cycled through the Tetras, Gouramis, Mollies, etc. I'm finding that these days, the Cichlids are what really get me excited and pumped. Maybe that's the key to all of this. Though, I do like both the South/Central Americans as well as the Africans. And it seems that the SCAs like the planted tank that mimics the Amazon.
Cichlids are a lot of fun. I got most of my Cichlids for dirt cheap from people who's Cichlids bred. Some of my larger fish I got for free! I love when people come over and ask me about my fish, specifically how much I've paid for them. That's my true bragging rights. :D

When I "adopt" Cichlids rather than shop for them at the store, besides saving a TON of money I've met a lot of people in my area who keep fish and I get a chance to see their tanks too. One guy I met who gave me his 8" Jaguar Cichlid for free had a 200 something gallon tank with Pikes, Basses, and a small alligator gar! And the guy I got some of my African Cichlids from? His 55 gallon show tank is filled with a variety of Peacock Cichlids show males! It's just so cool when you get into Cichlids you open a whole new door.

There are a lot of members here who keep African Cichlids and American Cichlids and predatory fish on the forums. They'll give you tons of experience. :)
 

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