Help Are Plants The Cause Of My Problem?

Bama

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Need help! I have been stuck on .25 ammonia, with 0 nitrite and about 20 nitrate for the last 5 days.
Two days ago, I added some filter material from my little tank and some Fluval Biological Booster hoping that would help with ammonia. It did nothing.

Then I read that plants might be adding to the problem? In particular, the Italian val seems to be melting. The other plants had brown spots which can be scrapped off. I just added root tabs today and have lights on for about 12 hours.

Tank has only been running 12 days. I have 6 zebra danios who act very happy, zipping around with occasional chasing games. Tank is 23 gallons (Fluval Vista) and comes with LEDs. It also has a moonlight setting.

Plants: Italian val, Agrophila Compacta Fan, Amazon Sword, Java Fern

Any suggestion on making my plants thrive is appreciated. This is my first attempt at a planted tank and I really would like it to be a success!
 

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Jack B Nimble

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I believe the test has a variable of plus or minus .25 so the ammonia may be 0. Also I'd say 8 hours good for lights.
 
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Bama

Bama

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Thanks! I had wondered about the .25 reading being off.

I've been sticking with low light plants thinking that I wouldn't have to worry about CO2. Do you think I could use medium light plants too?
 

Lajos

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You may need to monitor your plants.
Any dying plants may increase ammonia and make it worse for your tank.

Jave Fern is hardy but the rest are not.
Low light plants is the best in case your light is not enough. If not, more plants may die and create more ammonia.
 
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Bama

Bama

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Thanks! I did cut off the dying bits on the val this morning. I'll keep monitoring. All I want is a beautiful well planted low-tech tank. Is it the impossible dream?

The various fish stores I've been to have recommended the plants I have as hardy and low light.
 

angelcraze

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It's not impossible It just takes time. Give the plants a little to grow in your tank. Break off any already broken leaf parts, and I pinch off really unhealthy old leaves at the base. The val leaves don't look too healthy, but it looks like a root nutrient deficiency to me. My val that is planted in inert gravel looks similar, the val planted in a soil base looks much healthier with leaves growing 5ft long! Not overexagerating! I think a root tab will really help. Which type/brand did you go with?

Seeing how you added estsblished bacteria and bottled bacteria with no change in ammonia, I'm guessing 0.25ppm color is your new 0ppm color. The API ammonia test has been testing 0.25ppm a lot lately. Maybe a messed up batch?
 
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Bama

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I used Seachem Flourish Tabs. Was thinking of trying a cheaper alternative, but decided this is the way to go. I just have regular aquarium gravel as the substrate.

Thanks for your response!
 

angelcraze

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Bama said:
I used Seachem Flourish Tabs. Was thinking of trying a cheaper alternative, but decided this is the way to go. I just have regular aquarium gravel as the substrate.

Thanks for your response!
No problem And regular gravel is fine if you've added root tabs. Tbh, the Osmocote tabs leach ammonia/um and plants use that first as a fertilizer. I added some Osmocote tabs to my 120 gallon and then I had a larger nitrAte accumulation. I suspect the plants were eating the ammonium first and nitrAte was accumulating....idk. Also I noticed the Osmocote tabs work their way on top of the gravel sometimes. I just push them back in, but I think I'll use the pricier tabs for this gravel tank from now on.

If you skI'm siphon the gravel to get the surface mulm (not digging in to siphon the tabs) it should be just fine
 
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Bama

Bama

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That's what I was going to use - the Osmocote tabs! Thanks for the tip about gravel vacuuming. Makes so much sense but I wouldn't have thought of it!
 

tfreema

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Have you tested your tap water?
Do you use Prime? That will detoxify ammonia up to 1ppm for 24 hours.

Your tank, if fully cycled, should process any ammonia created by fish or plants.

As far as root tabs go, I prefer flourish or nilocg because I move plants around and osmotcote has little balls that turn yellow and look really bad on the sand bed when they come up to the surface.

I would also use a liquid fertilizer such as Nilocg Thrive or buy dry ferts to mix up, again, with Nilocg being the go to source in my opinion.
 
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Bama

Bama

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Good idea! I will get some Thrive.

I do use Prime. I tested again today and the numbers were exactly the same. I'm going to do a water change tomorrow and test about an hour later to see if that helps.

Thanks for your input!
 

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