Help Have No Luck With Planted Tank

FrostedFlakes

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I have a 5.5 gallon betta tank that I was wanting to make a lush, beautiful planted tank, but that aspiration is slowly dwindling itself away. I'll just kind of show the progression of the tank.

Light: Finnex planted+ clip on, on 6 hours a day with 2 hour siesta
Substrate: Fluval stratum
Plants: Banana lily, Crypt. wendtii, Crypt. Parva, Bacopa Carolinaiana

Feb 8: tank's first day

May 2: Having a bad time and couldn't give the tank the love it needed *note* When I first started, the light was on for 8 hours, no siesta, and I was using liquid flourish. Asked here for help. Changed over to Thrive and added the siesta and cut back on light time. The Bacopa melted a lot, so I trimmed it down to little healthy stems, algae quickly outpaced them and they never grew, and became unhealthy looking as time went on. Also had a lot a lot of cyano. Just recently did a h202 run and it still comes back, but not nearly as bad as it was.

Today: Algae appears but not nearly as much, banana plant doing very well but seems like it has a little but of BBA on it. Cypts are doing okay but not exceptional, maybe they are taking their time to grow. Still having algae but not as big as an issue as before. Snail population has gone up but not out of control.

I know this is long, I'm sorry, but now for my questions:

1. Advice for keeping algae away more efficiently than this? I am still unsure on how often I should be dosing thrive. I used to dose twice a week as per the bottle's instruction, but someone said I should do it once a week, so that is what I have been doing so far since then. I also added the siesta and cut back light.

2. Is there any hope for the bacopa, or would it just be in my best interest to get a new batch? Every since I cleaned the tank up of cyano and got back into dosing and water changes, the bocapa have started putting out new leaves. Should I wait until they grow themselves out then propagate? I don't want to get a new batch and have it melt all over again, and I really don't mind waiting.
here is the bacopa:

3. I feel like a lot of answers may mention CO2. Would it be a significant solution to my problems? A CO2 unit is going to be a big investment on my part and I would prefer to do what I can to deter from the use. I would rather invest in a CO2 unit for my 20 rather than this. I was using this as kind of a trial tank because I want it to do my 20 gallon all over and do it well.

Thank you!
 

Vishaquatics

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The pics aren't showing up for me.

Based on what you said though, I'd continue using your Thrive and current lighting if you really don't want to try CO2. BBA however is a CO2 based algae and is almost always a result of fluctuating/low levels of CO2. I like that you do a siesta.

I would invest in some new FAST growing plants. Bacopa tends to be a medium-ish grower and the crypts are quite slow growing. Fast growing = anacharis, water wisteria, broadleaf watersprite, ludwigia repens, and rotala rotundifolia. They should grow quite well in your conditions. Try to get these plants submersed instead of emersed. That should help your tank a lot.
 

Asomeone

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Just so you know none of your photos posted. They just have a (-) sign in a circle. Did you click upload a file and put them in like that?
 
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FrostedFlakes

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The pics aren't showing up for me.

Based on what you said though, I'd continue using your Thrive and current lighting if you really don't want to try CO2. BBA however is a CO2 based algae and is almost always a result of fluctuating/low levels of CO2. I like that you do a siesta.

I would invest in some new FAST growing plants. Bacopa tends to be a medium-ish grower and the crypts are quite slow growing. Fast growing = anacharis, water wisteria, broadleaf watersprite, ludwigia repens, and rotala rotundifolia. They should grow quite well in your conditions. Try to get these plants submersed instead of emersed. That should help your tank a lot.
Thank you! The BBA-esque growths on the banana plant are only on the roots and are haven't really seemed to have spread much, so I'll continue to watch it.

I actually do siesta because I saw a thread you did/were a part of (can't remember) about algae and it helped quite a lot.

Do you suggest removing some of my old plants and replace them with the fast growers or just add on the fast growers? I order my plants online, so they are grown submersed but are packaged emersed. Do you think my massive melt off of everything was because of just natural plant reaction to changes in environment or had I done something wrong from the getgo?
 

Vishaquatics

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Thank you! The BBA-esque growths on the banana plant are only on the roots and are haven't really seemed to have spread much, so I'll continue to watch it.

I actually do siesta because I saw a thread you did/were a part of (can't remember) about algae and it helped quite a lot.

Do you suggest removing some of my old plants and replace them with the fast growers or just add on the fast growers? I order my plants online, so they are grown submersed but are packaged emersed. Do you think my massive melt off of everything was because of just natural plant reaction to changes in environment or had I done something wrong from the getgo?
I think just adding on to what you already have is good enough. Keep up with water changes and manual removal of the algae.

I think the massive melt off wasn't your fault, but rather the plant trying to transition. With more fast growing species, this shouldn't be as big an issue
 

jaydivingboard

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I know this is a few days old but S. Repens, Ludwigia and Amazon Sword have all seemed to work out for me the best and I've never used a CO2 Setup, as for the algae I agree with vish it is probably due to lack of CO2 because I experience the same I just let my Otos snack on it, you said you don't want to get a CO2 setup but have you tried dosing liquid CO2? For me Liquid CO2 and Fertilizers made my plants go from yellowing to lush green in a matter of weeks, might not be the same as the real deal and will probably still get the algae due to the amount of CO2 fluctuating but it might make a huge difference for your plants
 
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FrostedFlakes

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I know this is a few days old but S. Repens, Ludwigia and Amazon Sword have all seemed to work out for me the best and I've never used a CO2 Setup, as for the algae I agree with vish it is probably due to lack of CO2 because I experience the same I just let my Otos snack on it, you said you don't want to get a CO2 setup but have you tried dosing liquid CO2? For me Liquid CO2 and Fertilizers made my plants go from yellowing to lush green in a matter of weeks, might not be the same as the real deal and will probably still get the algae due to the amount of CO2 fluctuating but it might make a huge difference for your plants
May I ask what liquid CO2 you used?
 

jaydivingboard

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May I ask what liquid CO2 you used?
I use API CO2 Booster but I've been thinking of switching to Seachem Excel just to see if I could see any better growth, if you want it to grow fast you're gonna need CO2 for sure, while I've gotten my plants looking good they still grow fairly slowly even with the liquid CO2, it just takes more patience and effort if you don't want to use injected CO2 but it's possible, I will say that the bottle's dosage is just an estimate if you have a lot of plants you will want to dose a little bit more CO2 same goes for liquid ferts, I've seen a lot of people have their tanks filled with plants to its full extent and still only dose the bottle's suggested 5 mL
 
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FrostedFlakes

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I haven't been able to get liquid CO2 yet because of frequent trips and such, but the tank is overrun with cyano again and the crypt wendtii is no longer. Thinking of just restarting with the plants. Any suggestions? The cyano is making me tear my hair out.
 

Truckjohn

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I know I am late to the party and all....

Since you had a routine that was *mostly* working with the 8hrs of light and flourish - and everything went south when you changed that..... Why not change back to what you were running before and see if things start coming back into balance...

I know this sort of glosses over other stuff that are environmental variables you can't really change - like for example ambient sunlight changes a LOT depending on the time of the year and a tank that gets basically no sunlight Dec-May could get a LOT of sunlight from June-now.... And that Cyano is tough to get rid of once it takes over and all....

But still - it was working before and now it's not... What changed?
 
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FrostedFlakes

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I changed things because they weren't working before. I changed the 8 hours of light and flourish because the entire tank became overran with algae and I couldn't even see through it, and my plants melted and were covered in algae. When things really went down hill was when the cyano showed up after I went on vacation. My plants just don't seem to be able to bounce back, other than the banana plant (that's been doing very well). I do think it's because I chose slow growing plants, so perhaps they aren't able to outpace algae/cyano. I will probably just redo the tank with faster plants and liquid CO2.
 

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Ok. From the earlier posts it sounded like it was doing pretty well and then you changed things and things went into downturn.

I have a suspicion that perhaps you are running too much light and a higher nutrient/fertility load than your plants can handle. Cyano will absolutely overtake everything and become a consistent problem with a high nutrient load and lots of light. This will also cause problems with plants. Most aquarium plants were selected as the ones that did survived under one single incandesent or fluorescent bulb in the hood and whatever incidental fertilization they got from fish poop ;) ;).

Is there any way you could swap back to a conventional LED hood and cut way back on nutrients to see if things improve?

For example - I had a planted tank near a bright window. The plants were light green/yellow and I was constantly battling cyano covering everything. I moved it far away from the light and added a few cory catfish that root around a lot. The plants greened up and the cyano has gone way way down to manageable levels.

Otherwise - yes.. Add a bunch of fast growing nitrogen-hogs to suck up the excess fertility and things will probably start to balance out.
 
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FrostedFlakes

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I do have the hood but it barely lights the tank and looks pretty bad lol. I was going for a pretty ambitious planted tank, but in all honesty I did get pretty lazy. Now that I have more of a schedule I want to give this tank a second chance. The cyano always goes away when i keep the lights off, but that's a given and temporary. I aimed for medium-lighting plants because really the only ones that could do relatively alright with that standard hood is your regular anubias, etc.
 
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