I cannot keep my plants alive and happy, why? (pictured)

James105

Member
Hi everyone,

I am really hoping people can share some advice on what I can do to help my plants (and my fish). My tap water is high in Nitrate (80ppm) so I must have a happy plant eco system to naturally lower it.

The tank is a Fluval 125 litre long with the LED light it came with. The lights are on for 8 hours. The substrate is CaribSea Eco Complete

I have:
1 Anubias (doing well, growing a new leaf per month)
2 java ferns (doing ok, growing slowly and bright green)
3 amazon swords (in some sort of constant state of melt, they never grow, only slowly declines)
1 Brazillian pennywort (unhappy, has a yellowish colour and is also in a constant state of gradual decline)

I use a capfull of Seachem flourish in my weekly or bi weekly water change (sometimes I miss one). I have easylife bottled CO2 but do not use it, as I am unsure whether it is helpful. Someone suggested that due to my tap water, it is likely that I have a pottassium defficiency that is inhibiting growth and detoriating my plants.

Many thanks for your input and help!

J
 

UnknownUser

Member
Could just be that the capful of flourish isn’t enough. Swords are heavy feeders and want lots of nutrients and you must have a deficiency somewhere. I’m not good at figuring out which deficiency it is based on looks (i do lots of googling lol) which is why I use the all in one Thrive liquid ferts. Don’t let people tell you the swords need root tabs - mine are beautiful in eco complete with no root tabs. They do just fine taking nutrients from the water column. Tagging Chanyi who knows lots about plants
 

Mightaswell

Member
I had to add an extra light to my stock light for my aquarium. I'm running about 40w of actual light on the tank plus ambient light. Before I got the second light the amazon sword barely grew. But after 2 weeks it formed new leaves and dropped the old ones. I dont run co2 yet either but I have a setup. So maybe your lights are strong enough for the plant your growing.
I have a 37 gallon tall
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
I would add a new light. The lights that come with kits usually aren’t very good in terms of growing plants. And maybe instead of flourish get some liquid ferts from marcusfishtanks. I use it and it’s helped a lot for my tanks
 

!poogs!

Member
Your tank is 33 gallons. You should be adding 2.8ml or 0.6 of a cap twice per week.

Have you tested your aquarium water for nitrates, with a good test kit? 80ppm seems a little over the top. This would put the nitrogen levels in your tank at approx 18 ppm. The desired level of nitrogen in a planted aquarium is around 2 ppm. It is possible with these levels for some plants to suffer nutrient burn. Like over fertilizing your lawn. I am surprised you don’t have an algae problem if those are your nitrate levels. Plants will only absorb so much nitrates and then the rest goes to feed algae.

If the Fluval light came in a kit and is just a single line of white LED, it’s likely only just suitable to grow the very basic of aquarium plants. I would consider an economical upgrade. I recently replaced my Fluval light that was in an aquarium kit with a better light and remarkable results.

I would be hesitant to tell you get better lighting, or to dose your tank with iron and potassium, until you know for sure what the nitrate levels are in your tank.

If you are not already, use seachem excel.
 
  • Thread Starter

James105

Member
!poogs! said:
Your tank is 33 gallons. You should be adding 2.8ml or 0.6 of a cap twice per week.

Have you tested your aquarium water for nitrates, with a good test kit? 80ppm seems a little over the top. This would put the nitrogen levels in your tank at approx 18 ppm. The desired level of nitrogen in a planted aquarium is around 2 ppm. It is possible with these levels for some plants to suffer nutrient burn. Like over fertilizing your lawn. I am surprised you don’t have an algae problem if those are your nitrate levels. Plants will only absorb so much nitrates and then the rest goes to feed algae.

If the Fluval light came in a kit and is just a single line of white LED, it’s likely only just suitable to grow the very basic of aquarium plants. I would consider an economical upgrade. I recently replaced my Fluval light that was in an aquarium kit with a better light and remarkable results.

I would be hesitant to tell you get better lighting, or to dose your tank with iron and potassium, until you know for sure what the nitrate levels are in your tank.

If you are not already, use seachem excel.
I use the API master kit, it's very difficult to distinguish between 40ppm and 160ppm because the reds are basically the bloody same. I have attached a picture of my tap water test.

It sounds like the first things I need to do is invest in a new light and be more specific with my fertiliser. I have been told that as I live in a coastal area, sodium is likely present in my tap water which blocks pottassium absorption. I can see even on the ferns lots of little pin holes, which I have read is a symptom of pottassium deficiency. Does this sound right to you?

NICREW Planted LED Aquarium Light, 24/7 Automated Aquarium Lighting, LED Fish Tank Light with Controller,Upgraded Version, 40cm: Amazon.co.uk: Pet Supplies

Does anyone have experience with this light or brand?
 

JettsPapa

Member
I'll agree with you possibly needing a better fertilizer than the Flourish. The percentages of nitrogen, phosphate, and phosphorus are pretty low in it compared to fertilizers like the NilocG Thrive and Aquarium Co-op's Easy Green.
 
  • Thread Starter

James105

Member
JettsPapa said:
I'll agree with you possibly needing a better fertilizer than the Flourish. The percentages of nitrogen, phosphate, and phosphorus are pretty low in it compared to fertilizers like the NilocG Thrive and Aquarium Co-op's Easy Green.
Ok, my problem is that due to my tap water I already have high levels of NO3. If I use a fert that has highler levels of Nitrogen then I am adding to the problem further I believe?

As plants absorb NO3, my plan is to turn my tank into a plant jungle to tackle the issue. But of course most of the plants I already have are not doing so well, so I am fearful of buying lots of new plants and quickly losing them.

J
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
James105 said:
I use the API master kit, it's very difficult to distinguish between 40ppm and 160ppm because the reds are basically the bloody same. I have attached a picture of my tap water test.

It sounds like the first things I need to do is invest in a new light and be more specific with my fertiliser. I have been told that as I live in a coastal area, sodium is likely present in my tap water which blocks pottassium absorption. I can see even on the ferns lots of little pin holes, which I have read is a symptom of pottassium deficiency. Does this sound right to you?

NICREW Planted LED Aquarium Light, 24/7 Automated Aquarium Lighting, LED Fish Tank Light with Controller,Upgraded Version, 40cm: Amazon.co.uk: Pet Supplies

Does anyone have experience with this light or brand?
That looks to be 160 nitrate
 
  • Thread Starter

James105

Member
AggressiveAquatics said:
That looks to be 160 nitrate
If it's 160 then that's crazy levels for tap water right? the UK legal limit is 50ppm! All I can do is increase my plants as unfortunately I can't invest in RO, hence I am trying to figure out what I can do to help them be healthy.
 

UnknownUser

Member
160 nitrate from tap is likely way above legal limits. That’s insane. In this case, i might actually get a container and run a basic filter with nitrasorb or something similar to take out the nitrates from the tap and use that water for water changes. And then for the plants, add an all in one liquid fert and improve the lighting (the light that comes with it, as said already, is horrible)
 

Mightaswell

Member
Do you have municipal water or a well? If municiple then you should be able to get a water report straight from the source.
 

Mudminnow

Member
James105 said:
I have easylife bottled CO2 but do not use it, as I am unsure whether it is helpful.
CO2 is very helpful. Your plants need carbon, and giving them easy access to it also helps them spend their energy on other things than just carbon uptake. That is, adding CO2 helps plants uptake other nutrients better and better utilize the light they have access to.
 

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