Help with java moss, java fern, anubias nana petite, and hornwort

Jojo205

I’ve had the hornwort, anubias, salvinia minima, and java moss for about 2 months and java fern for about 6 months. The java moss is going crazy but growing straight up, how do I make it cover the driftwood better..?

The java fern has been doing great, but now the leaves are really skinny. It’s still making baby java ferns but the adult leaves are like 1/4 inch wide. The baby java ferns are coming off the plant but not growing at all. Only my java fern “windelov” (i think that’s the name?) is reproducing, the other one (regular leaves) isn’t.

My hornwort isn’t growing anymore. It was going crazy for maybe 3 weeks after I got them, but not anymore. I’m thinking it’s because instead of keeping the new growth and throwing out the old stem, I’ve been just cutting off the top of the plant and throwing that away..... I’m thinking of throwing it all out and getting a different plant for the background instead. It’s also the plant that I think introduced pest snails and the baby snails are going crazy on it, so i’m hoping by taking out the hornwort it’ll take out some of the snails + eggs too (obviously it won’t get rid of them completely but I’m hoping it’ll help a little).

My anubias nana is glued onto my piece of driftwood, and it hasn’t grown at all in the 2 months Ive had it. I’ve even seen a dead leaf floating on the surface.

lastly, my salvinia minima roots got super short all of a sudden? they were like 2 inches long but now they’re only about 3/4 of an inch. I remove older/brown plants when I do water changes so these are all newer growth, but in the past they would take like a week to grow super long roots.

I noticed all of this starting (except for the java moss and fern) when I added shrimp and reduced water changes from 50% weekly to 25% weekly (i’ve been behind by a couple days so it’s more like 8-9 days... trying to get back on schedule but my life has been very busy lately.). Maybe I need to do more water changes? I don’t add any ferts because I can’t afford to right now- i’m a teen with no income lol

Thank you all for your help!!!!
Photos in order are: Java fern, hornwort, java moss, anubias, and salvinia minima. dont mind the guppy. Every time I try to take a picture of anything in the tank he goes bonkers LOL
 

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Sanderguy777

You need a better light, and fertilizer.

I know it is hard money wise (I'm in college and making LESS than I did as a teen lol), but I will try to help with the first things, then get into the expensive stuff.


The java fern is dying, which is why it is throwing off babies. I am having the same struggle with mine right now, so I'm not sure what the issue is.

I would toss the hornwort. It is really fast growing and is using up nutrients other plants need.

Get rid of the snails, they are eating the roots on the sylvinia. Put in a bit of cucumber or something and they should attack it within 30mins to an hour, then pull them and the cucumber out. Repeat as needed to reduce their numbers. To keep them at bay, reduce feeding (which unfortunately is the only form of fertilizer your plants get now, so maybe just do the removal and keep feeding the same till you start adding ferts).

Add a light if you can. You can get a little 2ft long led shop or undercabinet light at Walmart for about $9 that will grow those plants fine.

The anubius worries me since it is easily the most hardy of those plants. I would make sure the ryzome is out of the substrate at least.
How covered in the surface with sylvinia? That might be blocking the light. Also, what is your stocking in the tank? If only 2 male guppies, then add about 5 more.
 
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Jojo205

You need a better light, and fertilizer.

I know it is hard money wise (I'm in college and making LESS than I did as a teen lol), but I will try to help with the first things, then get into the expensive stuff.


The java fern is dying, which is why it is throwing off babies. I am having the same struggle with mine right now, so I'm not sure what the issue is.

I would toss the hornwort. It is really fast growing and is using up nutrients other plants need.

Get rid of the snails, they are eating the roots on the sylvinia. Put in a bit of cucumber or something and they should attack it within 30mins to an hour, then pull them and the cucumber out. Repeat as needed to reduce their numbers. To keep them at bay, reduce feeding (which unfortunately is the only form of fertilizer your plants get now, so maybe just do the removal and keep feeding the same till you start adding ferts).

Add a light if you can. You can get a little 2ft long led shop or undercabinet light at Walmart for about $9 that will grow those plants fine.

The anubius worries me since it is easily the most hardy of those plants. I would make sure the ryzome is out of the substrate at least.
How covered in the surface with sylvinia? That might be blocking the light. Also, what is your stocking in the tank? If only 2 male guppies, then add about 5 more.
Thank you for such a thorough answer!!
My tank is 5 gallons so only big enough for 2 males - they chase each other but no fin nipping or actual bullying so i’m not too worried about the number. They would however bully a new fish if I added one. The other stocking is 2 female cherry shrimp- I’m gonna buy more once I have money and have figured out theplants situation. For now they’re thriving, but a little lonely.

The top is about 50% covered in salvinia and i remove a bunch every week to prevent it from fully covering the surface.

I have a light (i believe it’s Hygger brand, not sure the model) but it’s on a lower setting (I don’t remember why lol) but Ill turn it back up. it’s near a window so I didn’t want too much lighting because i want to avoid algae if possible. The light is on for 6 hours a day but still lit pretty well for most of the day because it’s near a window. I was wondering, it has the option for plain white, white, blue, and red, and just blue and red light. Which should I use? obviously not the blue and red only but I don’t know if i should use the just white one or white blue and red....

I’ve tried cucumber but the snails never go to it. I just remove them as I see them during water changes but I can’t get them off the hornwort. Once I throw away the hornwort hopefully it’ll be better. i’m Thinking of getting an assassin snail..?? but idk since I don’t have any money LOL

The anubias is glued to driftwood. It’s not melting or turning brown, just not growing at ALL. And the occasional dead leaf that falls off on its own.

I just got a job but I haven’t started working yet and I have tons of other expenses I need to pay for ($300 vet bill plus a few other random things) so it’ll likely be a few weeks or months before I can actually get any ferts - i know $30 isn’t a lot for nilocG thrive but It’s a pretty big expense for me :/

Again, thank you so much for such a thorough answer!!!
 
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BettaLover89

My advice would be to find a way to make some money. Do some chores, ask your parents, mow someone's grass whatever you need to do to get some cash in your pocket so you can buy some fertilizers. Plants absolutely need fertilizers and you can't get away with just betting on the food that you feed will fertilize properly. At PetSmart or Petco or a local fish shop, you can get a fertilizer called seachem florish, it'll dramatically help your plants by providing them with all the nutrients they need and they're relatively cheap mostly under $10 sometimes around $15 depending on where you go. Also 6 hours a day of light is kind of short even by a window. You'll need at least 12 hours of simulated light everyday for your plants. This can easily be achieved by buying a timer but unfortunately that also will cost money. To be honest I don't think you can effectively run an aquarium without having money so you may need to rethink that as well. Good luck and I hope all turns out well for you.
 
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Jojo205

My advice would be to find a way to make some money. Do some chores, ask your parents, mow someone's grass whatever you need to do to get some cash in your pocket so you can buy some fertilizers. Plants absolutely need fertilizers and you can't get away with just betting on the food that you feed will fertilize properly. At PetSmart or Petco or a local fish shop, you can get a fertilizer called seachem florish, it'll dramatically help your plants by providing them with all the nutrients they need and they're relatively cheap mostly under $10 sometimes around $15 depending on where you go. Also 6 hours a day of light is kind of short even by a window. You'll need at least 12 hours of simulated light everyday for your plants. This can easily be achieved by buying a timer but unfortunately that also will cost money. To be honest I don't think you can effectively run an aquarium without having money so you may need to rethink that as well. Good luck and I hope all turns out well for you.
I just got a job but I haven’t started working yet. I always keep around $100 for emergencies but I dont like to spend it only on aquarium stuff because I also have a lot of other things I need to pay for. Next time I go to petco I’ll try the flourish!

I just turned on the light brighter and since it’s already midday here I’ll turn on the 12-hour timer tomorrow. The light I have has a built in 3,6,and 12 hour timer, but I thought the 12 hour one was too long so I turned it down.

The fish have been doing great in my low-budget tank, but the plants haven’t- but the fish are my top priority. I definitely made some decisions that I shouldn’t thought through more, budget wise. :/ Hopefully I’ll have a beautiful healthy tank once I have more money to spend on it
 
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BettaLover89

I just got a job but I haven’t started working yet. I always keep around $100 for emergencies but I dont like to spend it only on aquarium stuff because I also have a lot of other things I need to pay for. Next time I go to petco I’ll try the flourish!

I just turned on the light brighter and since it’s already midday here I’ll turn on the 12-hour timer tomorrow. The light I have has a built in 3,6,and 12 hour timer, but I thought the 12 hour one was too long so I turned it down.

The fish have been doing great in my low-budget tank, but the plants haven’t- but the fish are my top priority. I definitely made some decisions that I shouldn’t thought through more, budget wise. :/ Hopefully I’ll have a beautiful healthy tank once I have more money to spend on it
Hey, all of that is just fine! every single Aquarist on this forum started where you are at some point. We've all made mistakes, we've all rushed purchases, having an aquarium is a long time learning and investment experience. You got this! Consider fishlore your fish guru, if you ever have any questions drop it down in the forum and I'm sure you'll have a multitude of people dropping down their experience and knowledge.
 
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Sanderguy777

I just got a job but I haven’t started working yet. I always keep around $100 for emergencies but I dont like to spend it only on aquarium stuff because I also have a lot of other things I need to pay for. Next time I go to petco I’ll try the flourish!

I just turned on the light brighter and since it’s already midday here I’ll turn on the 12-hour timer tomorrow. The light I have has a built in 3,6,and 12 hour timer, but I thought the 12 hour one was too long so I turned it down.

The fish have been doing great in my low-budget tank, but the plants haven’t- but the fish are my top priority. I definitely made some decisions that I shouldn’t thought through more, budget wise. :/ Hopefully I’ll have a beautiful healthy tank once I have more money to spend on it
The 12 hour timer might be too long. Plants do NOT need 12 lighting cycles. That 100% depends on the particular setup and what is going on in it.

We all DID start out and we have all made mistakes. Money is always an issue, but if you like the hobby, there is no shame or problem with trying to get it done on a budget.

Increasing light period or the intensity will help, and adding a fert will too, but I would look for a micro fert, as opposed to one with Nota of nitrates. You have lots of nitrates in the tank from the fish, and adding more from the ferts just adds to possible algae (which you happily don't seem to have.
 
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Jojo205

Increasing light period or the intensity will help, and adding a fert will too, but I would look for a micro fert, as opposed to one with Nota of nitrates. You have lots of nitrates in the tank from the fish, and adding more from the ferts just adds to possible algae (which you happily don't seem to have.
Actually, even though my tank is cycled i have 0-5 ppm nitrates. Which is another thing that’s probably causing the poor growth (but I forgot to mention it earlier, because I have an absolutely terrible memory lol).
Hey, all of that is just fine! every single Aquarist on this forum started where you are at some point. We've all made mistakes, we've all rushed purchases, having an aquarium is a long time learning and investment experience. You got this! Consider fishlore your fish guru, if you ever have any questions drop it down in the forum and I'm sure you'll have a multitude of people dropping down their experience and knowledge.
Thank you!! Yes I use fishlore all the time for all my questions and I appreciate all the help so much
 
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BettaLover89

Actually, even though my tank is cycled i have 0-5 ppm nitrates. Which is another thing that’s probably causing the poor growth (but I forgot to mention it earlier, because I have an absolutely terrible memory lol).
this was on another forum and I'm not telling you not to pay attention to them. But as long as your nitrates are under 40 parts per million even during or after your cycle is completed, they don't really matter. Nitrates are not harmful to fish unless over 40 parts per million, so I never even pay attention to them unless they get that high, which they never have. But I'm sure there are many many different opinions about that LOL. It's just how "I" do things, and "I" have never had a problem haha. Having live plants in your tank will also lower the nitrates as they use them as an essential nutrient to grow.
 
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Sanderguy777

That low of nitrates might be part of the issue. Have you noticed an increase or decrease in nitrates over the life of the tank?

How much do you feed the fish a day?
 
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Jojo205

That low of nitrates might be part of the issue. Have you noticed an increase or decrease in nitrates over the life of the tank?

How much do you feed the fish a day?
I feed every 2-3 days, a generous pinch of hikari guppy micro pellets.

When I cycled the tank with like 4ppm of ammonia (fish less), yes, i saw nitrates. About 10-20 ppm I think? The tank has only been planted for 2 months and since I added fish I haven’t seen more than 5ppm nitrates. I even over fed a little (before I had pest snails of course)
 
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Sanderguy777

I feed every 2-3 days, a generous pinch of hikari guppy micro pellets.

When I cycled the tank with like 4ppm of ammonia (fish less), yes, i saw nitrates. About 10-20 ppm I think? The tank has only been planted for 2 months and since I added fish I haven’t seen more than 5ppm nitrates. I even over fed a little (before I had pest snails of course)
You are doing everything PERFECTLY, but since you have no fertilizer, I would personally recommend feeding once every 2 days. That should give the plants more to process, and shouldn't add algae. If you DO get algae, or more snails, then go back to the previous dose. But I would give it a try for a couple weeks to see if the plants do better. (Obviously the ferts are the best way to go, but for the mean time, and since you're adding more light, I would recommend the extra food).
 
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Jojo205

You are doing everything PERFECTLY, but since you have no fertilizer, I would personally recommend feeding once every 2 days. That should give the plants more to process, and shouldn't add algae. If you DO get algae, or more snails, then go back to the previous dose. But I would give it a try for a couple weeks to see if the plants do better. (Obviously the ferts are the best way to go, but for the mean time, and since you're adding more light, I would recommend the extra food).
thank you! I’ll definitely feed them more until i can get ferts.
 
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Jojo205

So I just checked how much money I have and it’s a lot more than I thought! I have about $50 extra spending money right now (plus a little more if I need to but I like to budget less than I have so I have a little left over ). What should I buy with it to help improve my tank? I’m thinking of getting the marcus fish tanks fertilizer as well as a few plants for the background of my tank and for more hiding spots for the shrimp. And maybe a root feeder and some root tabs? What do you guys think should be my priority?
 
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Sanderguy777

So I just checked how much money I have and it’s a lot more than I thought! I have about $50 extra spending money right now (plus a little more if I need to but I like to budget less than I have so I have a little left over ). What should I buy with it to help improve my tank? I’m thinking of getting the marcus fish tanks fertilizer as well as a few plants for the background of my tank and for more hiding spots for the shrimp. And maybe a root feeder and some root tabs? What do you guys think should be my priority?
I think an all in one fert would be good. Maybe the Niloc G dry mix (the one that is premeasured, if it isn't too expensive).
I would certainly get Nillc G root tabs. They are good, and the whole floating thing is really not that big a deal if you have sand. It is a bit more of a pain in gravel, but you get $60 of other branded root tabs for $15, so it is worth the extra work once a month! Lol

I have had REALLY good luck with crypts, so that is what I would recommend, swords are good too, but you need a bigger tank. (Actually how big IS your tank?)

The other thing for root feeders is you could get some organic topsoil and mix it with a TINY bit of water into a paste like consistency, then freeze it in am ice cube tray (I would only do half full cubes). Then take the frozen chunk and push it into the substrate. It gives your plants a lot of extra nutrients, and after a few years of that (once a month or so, just like root tabs), you end up with a "dirted" tank. Mind, this only works if you have a deep sand substrate, the dirt will just waft up through gravel.
 
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Jojo205

I think an all in one fert would be good. Maybe the Niloc G dry mix (the one that is premeasured, if it isn't too expensive).
I would certainly get Nillc G root tabs. They are good, and the whole floating thing is really not that big a deal if you have sand. It is a bit more of a pain in gravel, but you get $60 of other branded root tabs for $15, so it is worth the extra work once a month! Lol

I have had REALLY good luck with crypts, so that is what I would recommend, swords are good too, but you need a bigger tank. (Actually how big IS your tank?)

The other thing for root feeders is you could get some organic topsoil and mix it with a TINY bit of water into a paste like consistency, then freeze it in am ice cube tray (I would only do half full cubes). Then take the frozen chunk and push it into the substrate. It gives your plants a lot of extra nutrients, and after a few years of that (once a month or so, just like root tabs), you end up with a "dirted" tank. Mind, this only works if you have a deep sand substrate, the dirt will just waft up through gravel.
It’s 5.5 gallons so not that big. What are the best background root feeder plants? I want something that’ll hopefully use up some of the waste and mulm in the tank (I think someone said root feeders will help but i’m not totally sure lol)?
 
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Sanderguy777

It’s 5.5 gallons so not that big. What are the best background root feeder plants? I want something that’ll hopefully use up some of the waste and mulm in the tank (I think someone said root feeders will help but i’m not totally sure lol)?
The crypts should be good then (mine are only 3" tall rn, but wendtii gets 6"-11" tall.

All plants help with mulm, but the root ones probably do best.
 
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Jojo205

The crypts should be good then (mine are only 3" tall rn, but wendtii gets 6"-11" tall.

All plants help with mulm, but the root ones probably do best.
Thank you so much for all your help!!
are crypts slow growing? I don’t mind at all if they are, just wondering.
 
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ZachG

I’ve had the hornwort, anubias, salvinia minima, and java moss for about 2 months and java fern for about 6 months. The java moss is going crazy but growing straight up, how do I make it cover the driftwood better..?

The java fern has been doing great, but now the leaves are really skinny. It’s still making baby java ferns but the adult leaves are like 1/4 inch wide. The baby java ferns are coming off the plant but not growing at all. Only my java fern “windelov” (i think that’s the name?) is reproducing, the other one (regular leaves) isn’t.

My hornwort isn’t growing anymore. It was going crazy for maybe 3 weeks after I got them, but not anymore. I’m thinking it’s because instead of keeping the new growth and throwing out the old stem, I’ve been just cutting off the top of the plant and throwing that away..... I’m thinking of throwing it all out and getting a different plant for the background instead. It’s also the plant that I think introduced pest snails and the baby snails are going crazy on it, so i’m hoping by taking out the hornwort it’ll take out some of the snails + eggs too (obviously it won’t get rid of them completely but I’m hoping it’ll help a little).

My anubias nana is glued onto my piece of driftwood, and it hasn’t grown at all in the 2 months Ive had it. I’ve even seen a dead leaf floating on the surface.

lastly, my salvinia minima roots got super short all of a sudden? they were like 2 inches long but now they’re only about 3/4 of an inch. I remove older/brown plants when I do water changes so these are all newer growth, but in the past they would take like a week to grow super long roots.

I noticed all of this starting (except for the java moss and fern) when I added shrimp and reduced water changes from 50% weekly to 25% weekly (i’ve been behind by a couple days so it’s more like 8-9 days... trying to get back on schedule but my life has been very busy lately.). Maybe I need to do more water changes? I don’t add any ferts because I can’t afford to right now- i’m a teen with no income lol

Thank you all for your help!!!!
Photos in order are: Java fern, hornwort, java moss, anubias, and salvinia minima. dont mind the guppy. Every time I try to take a picture of anything in the tank he goes bonkers LOL
As far as the Anubias goes It’s a very slow growing plant so that seems normal. I prune my hornwort from the bottom and reattach it that way it stays neat and healthy.
 
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Sanderguy777

Thank you so much for all your help!!
are crypts slow growing? I don’t mind at all if they are, just wondering.
I think it is, but I have about 3 to 6 new leaves in a month or 6 weeks.
 
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