Can't Grow Anything

NotCasper
  • #1
Hello, from my other posts of learning my tank has been running smooth fish wise, but I need help with plants. I can't grow anything. It was my plan from the beginning to have simple plants and slowly replace the fake ornaments and plants in my tank to make is lush and filled, but 6+ months in and I only spend money on murdering plants. It is a 29 gallon tank with the critters I have in my signature. PH is 7.5, Ammonia and Nitrites 0, Nitrates between 10-20. I have a Finnex Fugeray Planted+ that stays on for 7 hours. I dose Seachem Flourish twice a week and I switch from dosing with Excel to not every couple months to see if that ever makes a difference (it does not seem to). I also have Seachem root tabs for the amazon sword. Everything I read online would say this is a great set up and everything should grow like weeds. I have had like 12 stalks of Water Westeria die, dwarf water lettuce and moss that doesn't die but also doesn't grow, and Amazon Sword and Anubis that are slowly (sometimes rapidly) dying. Could anyone look at the pictures and let me know what they think? I am just trying to grow nice anything for my fish. Thank you for your time. Oh and to add about a little over a month ago I switched my substrate from gravel to white sand you can't tell cause it keeps getting brown on top of the sand and doesn't seem to vacuum up well.
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endlercollector
  • #2
I am puzzled about your anubias and java ferns not making it. On the other hand, I don't do less than 12 hours of light on my plants. Have you tried increasing the hours of light?
 
Goldiemom
  • #3
Do you use salt in your tank?
 
NotCasper
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
endlercollector so I started with 10 hours of light but on one of my two or three other posts it was suggested I drop it to 7 or 8 so that’s where I kept it. Goldiemom No ma’am no salt in the tank.
 
TexasDomer
  • #5
Your light should be fine.

What's the temp? GH and KH?

When was the last time you added root tabs?
 
NotCasper
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
TexasDomer The tank temperature is between 76F-77F. I’m not sure about GH and KH those are new terms for me. I have one Root tab added maybe 2 months ago.
 
Gypsy13
  • #7
I understand your frustration. I’ve got a banana plant that’s trying to take over the world and java moss that just sits there. Now, in my experiences with java moss, keeping it in check is the problem. Mine is a pile of blah.
 
endlercollector
  • #8
endlercollector so I started with 10 hours of light but on one of my two or three other posts it was suggested I drop it to 7 or 8 so that’s where I kept it. Goldiemom No ma’am no salt in the tank.
I find that odd because these are tropical plants. I'm from Hawaii, and so I grew up with an average of 12 hours of daylight (varying between 11 and 13 roughly) year round. At the Equator, that's really 12 hours every day. Unless there's a problem with algae, I wouldn't do less
 
Thunder_o_b
  • #9
I am seeing diatoms on the plants. this cuts the light getting into the plant. Try this:

1. Get ottos (6+) and/or several nerite snails.

2. Dose flourish once a week.

3. Dose Flourish Excel every other day for a few weeks then everyday (it is liquid carbon that also helps with algae)

4. Dose Flourish Iron once a week.

As for your light I am not familiar with that brand.

The water looks cloudy. Are you under filtered? This will cut down on the light reaching the plants.
 
NotCasper
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thunder_o_b I could probably get another snail, my tank is pretty maxed out with the fellas I got in it. I was doing flourish twice a week but I can drop it to one. Will also drop excel to every other day (currently doing it almost every day). Will look for iron. The water is cloudy I’m 90% sure I’m having a bacterial bloom this week because I just added 5
Cory’s last Sunday.
 
Lunnietic
  • #11
You could be over fertilizing? My anubis does fine without me adding anything to the tank. (Other then prime during what changes no fertilizers or root tabs).
 
DoubleDutch
  • #12
Can you check phosfates?
 
-Mak-
  • #13
The sword looks like it has very severe macronutrient deficiency. Yellowing and browning starting on the tips of old leaves is a sign of nitrogen deficiency. If you have nitrogen deficiency you probably have a couple others too.
It looks like your substrate is very thin. Swords have big root systems, so yours isn’t able to develop a healthy root system. In addition, sand is inert and Seachem root tabs are still low in macronutrients. Give API root tabs a try as well as Seachem’s, they have more macros.
Flourish is also low in macronutrients to the point where it barely has any. If you look at the analysis on your bottle you’ll see that it has 0.07% nitrogen. Dosing twice a week makes that 0.14% which isn’t very different. For comparison, a lot of all in one ferts have 1.0 to 3.0% nitrogen, which is 10 to 40 times as much nitrogen. A better water column fert may be aquarium co-op’s easy green or Nilocg Thrive.

The diatoms are not a result of excess fertilizer, they are a result of poor plant growth. Healthy, fast growing plants hold off algae on their own.
 
TexasDomer
  • #14
I would even suggest going with the DIY root tabs of Osmocote Plus inside gel caps. They have sufficient macros and micros, and they're cheaper than the name brand root tabs. I use them in all of my tanks and the root feeding plants love them. You can either make them yourself, or buy them from Ebay very cheaply.
 
NotCasper
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
DoubleDutch I am not sure how is that a test kit of sorts? -Mak- So you bring up the substrate, if I look through my random phone pictures it looks like the plants start to go in April, March 31st is when I swapped out all my black gravel for Imagitarium White Aquarium Sand. I put in 25lbs of sand. I will go out today and see if I can find some API root tabs to add with my Seachem when I do a water change later today. I will also look on Amazon to see if I can add one of those column ferts for shipping (pretty sure petsmart/co don't sell them here). TexasDomer Do you have a DIY link for root tabs? When I look for Osmocote it won't ship to Alaska. So another couple questions I have is should I be cutting off any leaves that are not green near the base of the plants? or just let it keep running its course? and should I raise the Sword up and scoop more sand from the front to the back? Again I want to thank all of you for your time and help.
 
Thunder_o_b
  • #16
Yes, trim all leaves that are not healthy. They sap resources from the rest of the plant.
 
Goldiemom
  • #17
I find that odd because these are tropical plants. I'm from Hawaii, and so I grew up with an average of 12 hours of daylight (varying between 11 and 13 roughly) year round. At the Equator, that's really 12 hours every day. Unless there's a problem with algae, I wouldn't do less
I do 12 a day of light.
 
chantnplant
  • #18
I don’t know if you are able to or willing, but organic soil underneath the substrate can sub for most of your dosing. That’s just my two cents.
I have a 60 gallontank set up that way with lots of plants and they are doing great.
 
NotCasper
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Thunder_o_b Last night I trimmed most of the leaves, I felt bad cause the stems seemed so healthy. If they are turned a little bit would you leave them and just get the real bad ones? or the minute they arnt green you chop them? Goldiemom I bumped it to 8hrs and will slowly watch to see what happens. chantnplant Someday I will do that. I just switched to the sand and wish I had, so I was going to wait awhile hopfully get everything back on track and try that.
 
Thunder_o_b
  • #20
Thunder_o_b Last night I trimmed most of the leaves, I felt bad cause the stems seemed so healthy. If they are turned a little bit would you leave them and just get the real bad ones? or the minute they arnt green you chop them?

Sometimes I will let the leaves go if they are just starting to go bad. I will clip the dead part back to the good on my Madagascar lace plants. but generally I will clip the leaf if the rest of the plant is healthy. It is a balancing act with plants that are struggling. At this point I would say clip the leaves back to the good part until the pants recover then clip the whole leaf. It is surprising how fast a healthy plant puts out leaves.
 
Vishaquatics
  • #21
Here's my own two cents on growing plants.

There's two main factors to growing simple plants that are normally beginner plants.

1) Substrate
2) Light

1) Lets delve in on substrate. To put it simply, I don't think white sand is a good substrate for growing plants. I have white sand in one of my 10 gallons and my jungle val is barely surviving in there, but still growing. There are few nutrients in sand from my experience. Substrate, in my opinion, is arguably the most important necessity to grow plants. No amount of CO2 or Excel will compensate for bad substrate. What I would recommend doing, if it is affordable, is to switch your gravel to something nutrient dense. There are two options. The first would be to get a simple nutrient packed substrate like Eco-Complete, which works very well. The second would be to do a "dirted" tank. Simply put 1 inch or 1.5 inch layer of soil and cap it off with a half inch layer of small gravel. For the soil, many people use Organic Miracle Grow mix. Just make sure that the soil you use has no fertilizers or pesticides in it or it will kill your fish. If you have any questions on dirted tanks, I highly recommend Dustins Fish Tanks on Youtube for learning about dirted tanks, he is the absolute master of those tanks.

2) Now lets get into lighting. Your lighting is amazing and absolutely beautiful. It should be perfect for growing plants. But as I mentioned earlier, you really need good substrate first. You could also try leaving the light on for around 9-10 hours, I think 7 hours is a bit too low.

I can see that you definitely care about your plants because you have taken the measures to dose with excel and also have root tabs. When you first start planting your plants, let them chill in the tank for around a month, then start dosing fertilizers. I notice that once the plant establishes themselves in the tank (whether it is developing a root system, recovering from melt, or attaching itself to something), then they start taking full advantage of fertilizers.

Personally, I've never grown java fern, swords, or anubias, but my friends have told me that they're generally slow growers. I've grown jungle val, pearlweed, mosses, ludwigia repens, water wisteria, and a ton of others, but I can't remember their names. Some of the best beginner plants I recommend are water wisteria, jungle val, and java moss. I know that it is quite frustrating when nothing will grow in a tank and it is quite sad to see all the plants die and melt away, but just keep with it a bit longer!
 
TexasDomer
  • #22
You should be able to do the Osmocote Plus root tabs yourself then. You can buy the granules from Lowe's or Walmart, and you can put them in ice cube trays, add water, freeze them, and use those as root tabs instead of the gel capsules if you don't have them available near you.
 
justintree3
  • #23
Hello,
I have a tank that won't grow anything. I actually have several tanks, most of which seem to suffer from a similar issue, but I do have a couple tanks that have moderate success.

The 55 gallon tank is what I'm most concerned with - we buy beginner plants, because I have a brown thumb when it comes to terrestrial plants, so didn't expect to do much better with aquatic (a safe assumption, apparently). In this tank, we have had water lettuce die. Water lettuce - the plant that everyone says will just immediately take over your tank as long as you have enough light (we have another tank with water lettuce that is moderately successful with less light, so that's not the issue). We have one sad little corkscrew val sitting at the back...all its friends have died, and it is hanging on, but only just. We have an amazon sword that had its terrestrial leaves melt, as they should, then sprouted new leaves...which just sit there, looking like a tiny bush in the tank, not growing (it has been several months). We have water lilies that grow about halfway up the water column, and then give up (I actually think they look nice as they are, but that's not how they are supposed to be, and I'd rather have healthy than pretty.) We have Helanthium Quadricostatus, which has taken over one of our smaller tanks quite nicely, but in the 55 gallon it just sits there, in the small bunches they are planted in, not growing, not dying, just existing.

You get the picture...we have a bunch of plants that are supposed to be easy that aren't (usually) dying, but also aren't growing as they should. We have enough light, we use liquid fertilizer at every water change, we use root tabs, and we (somewhat recently) started diffusing CO2 in the tank (waiting on the drop checker to ship, but pH and KH chart has the levels at about 17 ppm, which the nice comforting green colour on the chart assures me is good for plant growth, tested several times throughout the day to ensure consistency).

Is there something else I can try that would help, or do plants in general just hate me? There is a lot of light in the tank, but it is not specifically a full spectrum plant light (which doesn't seem to matter in the tanks that *do* have growing plants)

And just for the record - the thing I'm doing differently in the tanks that have plants being somewhat successful is nothing.
I dose with liquid fertilizer at water changes, but aside from that I do nothing specifically for the plants. They just kinda work as beginner plants are supposed to.
 
Broggy
  • #24
I don't really know. but I feel the same way, I can't even grow guppy grass sometimes :confused:
 
BlackOsprey
  • #25
CO2 is usually a big limiting factor to growth so you might see some changes now that you'd started dosing.

I don't know the specifics of your fertilizer regimen so I'm not sure how your tank's doing on nutrients. What's your substrate? My tanks have always done best with nutrient-rich stuff like soil or amazonia.
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #26
Hello,
I have a tank that won't grow anything. I actually have several tanks, most of which seem to suffer from a similar issue, but I do have a couple tanks that have moderate success.

The 55 gallon tank is what I'm most concerned with - we buy beginner plants, because I have a brown thumb when it comes to terrestrial plants, so didn't expect to do much better with aquatic (a safe assumption, apparently). In this tank, we have had water lettuce die. Water lettuce - the plant that everyone says will just immediately take over your tank as long as you have enough light (we have another tank with water lettuce that is moderately successful with less light, so that's not the issue). We have one sad little corkscrew val sitting at the back...all its friends have died, and it is hanging on, but only just. We have an amazon sword that had its terrestrial leaves melt, as they should, then sprouted new leaves...which just sit there, looking like a tiny bush in the tank, not growing (it has been several months). We have water lilies that grow about halfway up the water column, and then give up (I actually think they look nice as they are, but that's not how they are supposed to be, and I'd rather have healthy than pretty.) We have Helanthium Quadricostatus, which has taken over one of our smaller tanks quite nicely, but in the 55 gallon it just sits there, in the small bunches they are planted in, not growing, not dying, just existing.

You get the picture...we have a bunch of plants that are supposed to be easy that aren't (usually) dying, but also aren't growing as they should. We have enough light, we use liquid fertilizer at every water change, we use root tabs, and we (somewhat recently) started diffusing CO2 in the tank (waiting on the drop checker to ship, but pH and KH chart has the levels at about 17 ppm, which the nice comforting green colour on the chart assures me is good for plant growth, tested several times throughout the day to ensure consistency).

Is there something else I can try that would help, or do plants in general just hate me? There is a lot of light in the tank, but it is not specifically a full spectrum plant light (which doesn't seem to matter in the tanks that *do* have growing plants)

And just for the record - the thing I'm doing differently in the tanks that have plants being somewhat successful is nothing.
I dose with liquid fertilizer at water changes, but aside from that I do nothing specifically for the plants. They just kinda work as beginner plants are supposed to.

What kind of light is that?
 
Dechi
  • #27
If you don’t have appropriate lighting, it’s hard to grow anything. I suppose the light is different on the 55 gallons ?

Substrate is also very important. What do you use ? Gravel doesn’t do much at all, if that’s what you have.
 
justintree3
  • #28
For light - we use the fixture that came with the tank, but with an extra bulb (it came with one, but there is space for two). One bulb is the Aqueon colour max, the other is their Day LED.

For substrate - it's just normal gravel, but we did select plants that are supposed to be ok with just gravel, and in theory don't generally need the substrate fertilizer (which we do use, near the roots).
 
Nickguy5467
  • #29
im not a plant expert. but this tank has been alive with plants for a almost two years. used potting soil as substrate first then sand on top of it about 1 inch. planted the sword. and some grass near the sword in the front. stuck that anubias to the top of that log. this is where its at now. ive been using Thive liquid ferts ever since. i put thrive root tabs in every now and then. just my experience i dont know much

oh and the light is a finnex planted plus 24/7 . but i dont use the 24/7 gimmick at all
 

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Cherryshrimp420
  • #30
For light - we use the fixture that came with the tank, but with an extra bulb (it came with one, but there is space for two). One bulb is the Aqueon colour max, the other is their Day LED.

For substrate - it's just normal gravel, but we did select plants that are supposed to be ok with just gravel, and in theory don't generally need the substrate fertilizer (which we do use, near the roots).

Ah Id say the light needs to be upgraded. The T5 bulbs are pale in comparison to LED lights nowadays and that Day LED is not as good as current LED fixtures. I had T5 before and switched to LED and there was a world of difference.
 
justintree3
  • #31
Ah Id say the light needs to be upgraded. The T5 bulbs are pale in comparison to LED lights nowadays and that Day LED is not as good as current LED fixtures. I had T5 before and switched to LED and there was a world of difference.
I'm slightly confused...are you thinking that I have T5 bulbs, or are you saying that the bulbs I do have are T5 equivalent? Because I assure you, they are both LED bulbs - "Day" and "Colour Max" just refer to the colours - there's a mix of red and white in the Colour Max, while the Day is all white.
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #32
I'm slightly confused...are you thinking that I have T5 bulbs, or are you saying that the bulbs I do have are T5 equivalent? Because I assure you, they are both LED bulbs - "Day" and "Colour Max" just refer to the colours - there's a mix of red and white in the Colour Max, while the Day is all white.

Ah okay I see. So yes, those bulbs are an upgrade from T5 but they are not nearly as good as current LED fixtures. Simply by the number and quality of LEDs, the colourmax has just at glance...15-20 LEDs... so with two of them that is 30-40 LEDs

On the other hand, a budget LED fixture on Amazon (For Example) has 153 LEDs with 91 quality white LEDs. On top of that, I also recommend getting two for serious plant growing so that is 306 LEDs with 182 white LEDs.

It is just way better!
 
Nessaf
  • #33
Don’t know what fertilizer you are using, but I recently started using the fertilizer from Marcusfishtank.com and it is doing very well with my plants.
 
Kathylee
  • #34
For light - we use the fixture that came with the tank, but with an extra bulb (it came with one, but there is space for two). One bulb is the Aqueon colour max, the other is their Day LED.

For substrate - it's just normal gravel, but we did select plants that are supposed to be ok with just gravel, and in theory don't generally need the substrate fertilizer (which we do use, near the roots).
Sorry about your luck. I think I have this exact same hood & LED lights on my 29g.
The Aqueon Deluxe Full Hood with 2 LED light strip slots right? I have two Day whites in mine. I have white Sand. Use MarcusFishtanks All in 1 fertilizer + SeAchem root tabs.
I have 6+ multiple swords, reineckii, ludwigia, crinum calastriun, crypts, moss balls, so much plants in here & they all seem fine. Maybe the lights not penetrating deep enough in the larger tank? Not sure. That is weird though.
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #35
Sorry about your luck. I think I have this exact same hood & LED lights on my 29g.
The Aqueon Deluxe Full Hood with 2 LED light strip slots right? I have two Day whites in mine. I have white Sand. Use MarcusFishtanks All in 1 fertilizer + SeAchem root tabs.
I have 6+ multiple swords, reineckii, ludwigia, crinum calastriun, crypts, moss balls, so much plants in here & they all seem fine. Maybe the lights not penetrating deep enough in the larger tank? Not sure. That is weird though.

That amount of light is perfect for your plants though. Fast growing weeds like water lettuce prefer stronger light.
 
Kathylee
  • #36
That amount of light is perfect for your plants though. Fast growing weeds like water lettuce prefer stronger light.
The colormax one JustinTree3 is using, I purchased one as well, but haven't used it yet. I have the box. Ill post a photo, it has a wavelength graph on it:
 

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JLAquatics
  • #37
I am relatively new to planted tanks as well, set up my first a few months ago to decent success. I used the Nicrew Classic LED plus that can be found on Amazon along with Aquarium Co-Op's Easy Green Here is a picture of my tank when it was started and current. I hope you find what you are looking for, planted tanks are the best!
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Vishaquatics
  • #38
What fertilizer do you use? What substrate do you use? Does your water go through a water softener?

Based on the other info you've given in this thread, I'd agree that the lighting would benefit from an upgrade. It's great that you run CO2 though, that'll help tremendously.
 
RedOnion
  • #39
I am relatively new to planted tanks as well, set up my first a few months ago to decent success. I used the Nicrew Classic LED plus that can be found on Amazon along with Aquarium Co-Op's Easy Green Here is a picture of my tank when it was started and current. I hope you find what you are looking for, planted tanks are the best!
1022201035.jpg
0302211456.jpg
WOW what a beautiful tank!! How long ago did you set it up till the recent pic?
 
JLAquatics
  • #40
WOW what a beautiful tank!! How long ago did you set it up till the recent pic?
It was set up in mid October. However, I didn't start dosing Easy Green until late December and that is when my plants really began to grow!
 

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