Anyone Else Have Bad Luck With "easy" Plants/stock

BlackOsprey

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I don't get it. Every java fern I've bought has withered to nothing or is just barely getting by, while I've had success with much more demanding plants like bonsai rotala. I've managed to keep an African butterfly fish healthy while my allegedly hardy guppies are dying one after the other every day now. At least overbreeding can explain the decline in bettas' hardiness and overall health, but I can't for the life of me understand why I can't seem to get a steady population of ramshorn and pond snails going despite plants, heat, filtration, and periodic water changes.

It's not just aquariums either! I can keep a bonsai tree in good health while killing every succulent or cactus I look at.

Anyone else have a harder time with "easy" plants and animals than anything else?
 

PascalKrypt

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Actually "easy" and "hard" just depends on your personal circumstances and habits. What is referred to as easy is generally just what takes the least effort or is best compatible with the circumstances of the largest group of people and/or overwhelming majority (with a strong internet bias towards those found in the U.S.) It does not go for all people, so for some the categories of hard and easy are switched.

Our house is located in a somewhat unusual environment given what most people on the internet have to work with, so some plants here are very easy to keep and get to thrive which are generally classed as hard. Vice versa some things just won't work here even though they are listed as "low effort".
Have you considered tested your water source in detail? It is quite possible you have water parameters that are on some extreme ends of the various spectrums.
 

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Nope. I've had great luck with all my aquarium plants. My java fern hasn't seen proper light in months. My spiky moss over took it and grew so much that the fern might as well not have been there. Recently I took off the moss, and amazingly the fern is still going strong. Such a tough plant!
It's not just aquariums either! I can keep a bonsai tree in good health while killing every succulent or cactus I look at.
Weird. You're better with plants than me (my bonsai didn't do well) and yet also less hospitable than a desert. My cactus at least is going strong. Venus fly trap too.
 

PascalKrypt

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Oh, actually if you're good with a bonsai but bad with desert plants -- very serious odds that you're simply overwatering the desert plants. Try watering them like once a month. Or with only tiny bits of water at a time, not nearly enough to have it run through the pot.
Do you happen to live somewhere with high humidity?
 
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BlackOsprey

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I use RODI water in my tanks nowadays so whatever's in the local tap ought to be a nonissue.

Honestly it could be overwatering OR underwatering for those desert plants. I got one recently, it didn't get a drop of water for 4 days, and it goes all wrinkly and limp. Some have told me they actually need weekly soaks, and the key was fast-draining soil so that they get a lot at once but don't stay wet. It did perk up a tiny bit after I soaked it. So who knows. I sure don't!
I'm def not good with all bonsai either. I've had great success with a jerusalem cherry while a ficus wrinkled and withered rapidly. It be like that.

I mean, I know the possible reasons behind these mishaps. It's just a matter of circumstance. Perhaps the guppies had already contracted the disease long before purchase and they're just getting to the terminal stage now. These snails don't make it for a reason, even if it's one that completely eludes me right now. I was mostly just wondering if other folks have similar experiences, ha.
 

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These snails don't make it for a reason, even if it's one that completely eludes me right now. I was mostly just wondering if other folks have similar experiences, ha.
I have quite a lot of tanks and very soft water, at least in my home there seems to be a very hard line of minimum GH needed for snails to survive (and explode) in the tanks. That being, GH of 4~4.5. My tap water is 3~4. So as soon as there is some remineralisation going on or some stones in the tank that up the hardness just a little - boom. snails.
Otherwise I find I tiny baby every now and then that just vanish before growing any. Two tanks I have with a GH of 2 just don't have any snails whatsoever. I tried to populate them by regularly tossing pond snails in, no luck.
So my first guess would be calcium issues?
 
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BlackOsprey

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Otherwise I find I tiny baby every now and then that just vanish before growing any. Two tanks I have with a GH of 2 just don't have any snails whatsoever. I tried to populate them by regularly tossing pond snails in, no luck.
So my first guess would be calcium issues?
I remineralize my water to like 6 GH and my tap is liquid rock, so I know it's not from lack of that on my end. I've run into what you're describing with the tiny baby snails a lot, though. I have no idea what's preventing them from growing to larger sizes.
 

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I remineralize my water to like 6 GH and my tap is liquid rock, so I know it's not from lack of that on my end. I've run into what you're describing with the tiny baby snails a lot, though. I have no idea what's preventing them from growing to larger sizes.
Hmm, so it does seem to be a lack of some kind of mineral or nutrient they require to grow that is lacking from your set-up. Maybe try googling whatever brand of remineralisation product you use to see if anyone else has had similar issues? It is a spectrum product and not just a GH/KH up right?
 

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I have quite a lot of tanks and very soft water, at least in my home there seems to be a very hard line of minimum GH needed for snails to survive (and explode) in the tanks. That being, GH of 4~4.5. My tap water is 3~4. So as soon as there is some remineralisation going on or some stones in the tank that up the hardness just a little - boom. snails.
Otherwise I find I tiny baby every now and then that just vanish before growing any. Two tanks I have with a GH of 2 just don't have any snails whatsoever. I tried to populate them by regularly tossing pond snails in, no luck.
So my first guess would be calcium issues?
Darn, that was my guess too! You are overwatering your cacti and you have soft water. Liquid rock is quite the opposite. Hmmmmm....

What do you mean by periodic water changes? I would say rather regular water changes. If you're not changing water enough and too big of water changes when you do them, it could cause pH swings. I'm pulling at straws.
 
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BlackOsprey

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Darn, that was my guess too! You are overwatering your cacti and you have soft water. Liquid rock is quite the opposite. Hmmmmm....

What do you mean by periodic water changes? I would say rather regular water changes. If you're not changing water enough and too big of water changes when you do them, it could cause pH swings. I'm pulling at straws.
upload_2019-9-12_12-38-19.jpeg

Shouldn't be pH swings. It's not like my snail bin or any of my tanks have CO2 or anything that would wildly alter it. Plus I can't imagine that weekly (sometimes once every 2 weeks) 10-25% changes would be capable of that.
 

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I bought a bunch of "easy" plants and most of them are doing great, but my hornwort and wisteria just started shedding and dying like crazy. Not sure what I did to those, but I'm about ready to just take the hornwort out because it looks horrible and just keeps shedding. Stuff like that makes you feel really good when it is invasive all over, but you can't seem to grow it when you try haha.
 
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BlackOsprey

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Op got more to add to my list: A large clump of java moss, despite growing wonderfully for about half a year, is currently turning brown. Pretty sure that means it's in a sour mood and starting to die. And I just found my new assassin snail dead this morning.
 
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