Burnt hornwort?

  • #1
I'm wondering if I'm burning my hornwort in my 55 gal tank. Its under 2.45 WPG of compact fluorescent lights, 10000k and actinic(its what they sent with the lights...I plan on going to nothing but 10000k when I get some extra dough...gotta buy tires though)

ANY HOW....I have the 'submersum' variety of hornwort, with the stiffer foliage, but it is a green that is very close to brown in my 55 gal, whereas in the 10gal under 15 watts of standard fluorescent, its is a nice bright green, with plenty of new growth.

The temp is about 80.2ºF in the 55 gal, and close to 84 in the 10.

Any ideas? Both tanks get excel, and that's been it recently for plants additives, no ferts.
  • #2
If a plant is brown, it means it's deficient in either: nutriens, lighting, or CO2. I can't tell you which one it is in your case. But if you have around 2.5 wpg of lighting and no CO2, then maybe that's why. At a lighting level of ~ 2.5 wpg, plants' metabolism is much faster than at, say, 1.5 wpg. This also means that plants at 2.5 wpg will need more CO2 than plants at 1.5 wpg. I've learned on plant geek that you should start adding CO2 to your tank if you go above 2.0 wpg of lighting. Maybe your Hornworts' metabolism speed requires them to have more CO2. If you're not using CO2, maybe that's why they're dying.

Or, maybe the brown part of the plant is the one closest to the tank's top? If it's touching the surface of the water, maybe the light is burning it? Just a thought - not sure about this one.

P.S. There are plants that naturally have brownish and reddish hues in them, but that's different from plants browning as a result of some nutrient/CO2/lighting deficiency.
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  • #3
I guess Flourish Excel doesn't actually replace CO2, although it is bio-available carbon? I suppose I'm going to have to check into some other source of co2, but I don't have that much room, and I'm going to have to buffer the pH up a bit first, because its still at 6.0.

Anyway, thanks Isabella!
  • #4
Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see the note that you're using Excel. I've heard Excel is a good source of CO2 actually, at least for low-light tanks. I am not sure about tanks with lighting above 2.0 wpg. If I were you, I'd ask the experts on Plant Geek about that. They really know their stuff very well. And you're welcome
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  • #5
After further research, it seems that my problem may be a lack of nitrate. It seems that is the common consensus onplant geek. I just did a test with API master kit, and got about 10ppm nitrate, and its been 7 days since my last water change, which was only 10%. I'm going to ask on plantgeek if that is too low to sustain hornwort. I'll be disappointed if that is the cause, as nitrogen supplementation is not something I want to tamper with too much at this point. Seems like a very easy way to kill your fish if not done properly. However, only have the nitrogen in Flourish Nitrogen additives is nitrate, it seems as long as I stay below 20ppm on the nitrate test, I'll be ok, and hopefully be able to sustain the hornwort.

Comments, anyone? This whole plant thing is so confusing and in depth, its harder than taking care of fish, for sure! But I definitely like the idea of keeping a nearly self-sustaining ecosystem with minimal maintenance and interference, and the only way to do that is with healthy plants.
  • #6
I've been told on Plant Geek that in a planted tank it's good to have a ratio of 1 Phosphate to 10 Nitrates (1 : 10). So, for example, if your Phosphate is 2, your Nitrate should be 20. This becomes a problem for fish if your Phosphate is naturally high, ex. 3 or 4. Then you'd have to have 30 - 40 Nitrate, which is INSANE! Anyway, keeping your Phosphate to Nitrate ratio at 1 : 10 supposedly helps you keep your tank free of algae. My tap water Phosphate is around 2 - 3, but I am still hesitant to let my Nitrate go above 10 :-\. Maybe that's why I have some algae appearing in my tank. Though my algae eater takes care of it.
  • #7
This whole plant thing is so confusing and in depth, its harder than taking care of fish, for sure! But I definitely like the idea of keeping a nearly self-sustaining ecosystem with minimal maintenance and interference, and the only way to do that is with healthy plants.
I know it seems confusing and overwhelming at first. I felt this way too. I still do, regarding many issues in the planted tank hobby, especially the whole CO2 system issue! But the more you read and research, as well as experiment, the easier it becomes. Believe me
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  • #8
I have quite a bit of algae appearing between the glass and rocks, but no where else in the tank because my tank population is mostly comprised of algae eaters, hehe. I'm going to pick up a phosphate test kit when I have the chance so I can try and level things out, and I was also pointed in the direction of some dry fertilizers, but I believe I may go with the Flourish series just for ease and safety at first, until I get more comfortable with the chemistry stuff.
  • #9
To be honest with you, I don't know too much about dry fertilizers. I am guessing they were referring to some home-made ferts or to plant tabs. I don't use anything like this because my substrate is nutrient-rich. By the time my substrate gives out, there'll be enough fish wastes accumulated in the substrate to serve as nutrients for plants. If, however, that won't be enough and my plants will then start dying, I'll resort to plant tabs in that case. For now, I am also using Seachem's products. Well, only Flourish for now. I may get Excel too before I get a CO2 system.
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  • #10
Excel really did seem to make a difference for my anubias, java fern, wisteria and stem plants. They stem plants grow a lot faster, and the rest got much greener.

However, they were referring to , and I believe Fishy Girl said she uses them.

Unfortunately, I was not planning on being planted, and really jumped into this whole hobby without any idea where I was going, so I have standard gravel for now. In the future, I plan on going to eco-complete, replacing all the gravel over 2 months...1/4 every 2 weeks or so.
  • #11
Before you buy 100% Eco-Complete, take a small amount ot it and TEST IT first. My Eco-Complete makes the plants grow nicely BUT it raises my pH to 7.8 (from my tap pH of 6.8 - 6.9). The fish and plants are fine, but I thought you should know in case you wouldn't want a high pH. The package of Eco-Complete "guarantees" it won't affect pH. Yet it affected my pH.

To test Eco-Complete, take a container with your tank water and put some Eco-Complete in there. Leave it like that for 24 hours and see if there's been any change in pH (test the pH BEFORE and AFTER the experiment). You may want to do this experiment with your dechlorinated tap water as well.
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  • #12
Well, my pH is about 6.2 right now, so I could use a little bump up, especially if I was going to use CO2...but I read the pH change with CO2 is a "fake change" so to speak. Any how, it definitely warrants more research, as I would like to have a very lush tank. Also, can you describe, or even get a close up of your eco-complete? The size/shape of the granules? I know my flourite in the 10gal is a bunch of small flakes. And did the eco-complete really not cloud your water?
  • #13
HI again

I'm at work right now, but when I get home, I'll take a close-up picture of Eco-Complete for you. The Eco-Complete grains/granules vary in size from as small as 1-3mm to 0.5cm/0.2-0.3in. The finer granules settle down to create a finer base for plant roots and the larger particles stay on the top-most layer of the substrate to keep the plants in place, I believe.

No, my Eco-Complete did not cloud my tank at all. Even during the cycle, I never saw any clouding. The cycle went amazingly fast and the nitrates levels were very very low. I wasn't sure the tank was cycling actually, lol. But it did, that fast. Eco-Complete claims on its package that it helps to cycle your tank faster, so I guess that's true. Or, maybe my tank cycled fast because I filled it with plants the same day when I set up the tank. If there are lots of plants from the start, they help you cycle the tank too (by consuming nitrates).

And yes, I've read and been told on Plant Geek that the change in pH when you turn your CO2 on and off is actually "fake". Fishy Girl from Plant Geek explained this very well:

I don't want to run my CO2 24/7 either because it means I have to get it refilled twice as often. So I plug my solenoid into the daytime plugs. The pH change will be ~1.0 between day and night, depending on how hard your water is. But again, that is a false change in pH and doesn't affect fish at all. This quote from RTR - online aquarium guru - comes from this thread at Aquafacts ()
" folks with pressurized CO2 high light planted tanks operated with solenoids and only on during and just before the light cycle routinely see full log of pH swing twice daily, down just before the lights come on and back up (usually more slowly) after they are off. The fish never notice; never show any behavioral changes. Similar and even larger swings occur in nature where there are dense thickets of plants. "

He goes on to say that changes in pH are only harmful when you add or take away ions in your water. For example, if you add those pH changing products (pH Up, pH Down) which are basically acids and bases. Those are harmful because they react out some components in your water, while adding other unnecessary ones. In other words, they're messing with your water chemistry. CO2 does not remove anything from your water, nor does it add particles. The change is a result in shifts in this natural equilibrium: H20 + CO2<=> H2CO3 (carbonic acid)

This last compound (carbonic acid) interacts with the carbonate in our water (KH). These changes happen in nature quite regularly, so fish are exposed to them in the wild, too. But this will help explain why it's a 'rule' that one should have at least KH = 3 degrees to inject CO2. If you don't have enough carbonate to buffer this reaction, all you get is tons of carbonic acid - hence a major pH crash.
Plus, if you have the time, you may want to read the entire thread too: - it's very long, so only if you have the time, lol It's my thread, where I am trying to grasp/decipher all the complexities of a CO2 system.

Anyway, back to the topic. I know Fluorite clouds the water. But I've heard it's a good substrate too. Here's a good article on how to peoperly rinse Fluorite before adding it to your tank:
  • #14
OK, here are some pictures of Eco-Complete:
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Awesome! Looks just like dirt Thanks for the great photos, it looks a lot more comfortable to fish than my flourite does.
  • #16
Awesome! Looks just like dirt Thanks for the great photos, it looks a lot more comfortable to fish than my flourite does.
Yes, I know Fluorite doesn't have round granules, which I heard can be bad for fish with long fins and for bottom feeders (i.e. they can scratch their skin against the sharp Fluorite particles). And yes, Eco-Complete does look sort of like soil, which I like too. Plus I like its dark color becasue fish colors show nicely against the background of a dark substrate. And, dark substrates make fish feel safer as well.

P.S. LOL, whenever I see the guy you have in your avatar, the move "Joe Dirt" always comes to my mind, haha.

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