I Can't Keep Plants Alive

luckdown

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They all just melt away. That's how every single one of my plants have died.

I have a few tanks but they all test as follows;
0 ammonia
0 nitrite
10-20 nitrate
pH 7.8

I have root tabs in my gravel
I use flourish Excel and c02 boosters

The only tank I don't have an issue with is my betta falls which just has plants and pest snails - and I honestly don't change the water I just top it off so it's probably bad I haven't tested this tank in quite a while.

I do not have proper lights on any of them anymore unfortunately.

One does have an LED light which was advertised as okay for plants (I'm assuming low light only) but it made no difference so it's probably not good enough.

The only thing that really does well in my tanks is moss but I do have surviving hairgrass, dwarf sag, Val, nana anubias, java sword, lace java, anacharis, and something else.

But what's left is pretty small, but there's new growth? Parts are still melting though.


I know I need to get lights for them again. But is there anything else I can do to try and fix my issue?

They all actually get a good amount of sunlight where they are in my room. So I thought that was okay for now but apparently not.


I was thinking of getting peat moss and putting it under my gravel but idk how much help that would be. I was also debating doing a small leaf litter zone in my tanks but dunno how that would affect my plants

I just want to figure this out before I buy more plants to try again.


On a side note. Apparently Java moss grows really good in a container of tank water filled with dead plant matter. I must of accidentally gotten a little bit in there cuz I have a decent amount growing in there now
 

DutchAquarium

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I'm guessing you might be dosing too much. Your plants aren't heavy feeders and since you don't have co2 or high lighting, less nutrients will be needed. Plants do melt in excess ferts. I also highly recommend getting rid of the co2 boosters, they arent' the same as actual co2 and don't do anything. Co2 boosters can be very hard on the livestock or flora in the aquarium also.
 
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luckdown

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Hmm I was thinking maybe I was so I had stopped dosing for a while but they did worse. I only put like a drop in every couple days. I stopped for about a month and just started dosing again.

Could the root tabs of been too much by themselves then?

Oh no really? I had a couple plants that I was told needed it but yeah those died lol I guess I'm lucky my fish weren't bothered by it.


I forgot to mention I also grow pothos, wandering Jews, ivy and about to attempt to grow the basil and mint cuttings I'm working on rooting in my tanks as well. They're also pretty low needs plants but they're doing much better in my aquarium water than normal water. I don't think they're part of the problem though cuz I've tried them in and out of the tanks with no difference to the other plants
 

JustaNoOb

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When you say melting, do you mean the leaves start drying from the tips and moving inwards?
Got any pictures?
 

chickenghost

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My strategy for growing live plants is to stick them in there and hope for the best. I do ensure that nothing in the tank will kill the plants, and that the water is appropriate, but other than that, I just kind of leave them to it. I don't trim or anything because I think it creates a more natural setting. Maybe you could try that?
 

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My fish eat mine as soon as I plant them. Not the goldfish, surprisingly but the tropicals. They think I'm feeding them salad or something. I gave up and just bought a couple of silk plants. The hornwort and anubias is fine, they don't mess with it but everything else goes right in the mouth.
 
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luckdown

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JustaNoOb said:
When you say melting, do you mean the leaves start drying from the tips and moving inwards?
Got any pictures?
I wouldn't say drying, it's more like disintegrating but yeah it starts from the tips. I do not have pictures cuz I just removed all of the dead parts to put into my jar of dead plant matter in aquarium water. But it's what happens when you first put plants into a tank. Only it just never stops.

chickenghost said:
My strategy for growing live plants is to stick them in there and hope for the best. I do ensure that nothing in the tank will kill the plants, and that the water is appropriate, but other than that, I just kind of leave them to it. I don't trim or anything because I think it creates a more natural setting. Maybe you could try that?
This was the method I tried my first two batches. Then I tried tabs and ferts and the co2 booster (in all combinations, properly dosed then sightly less dosed then back to using nothing)

Even when I had my light I didn't have much success. But back then I was still cycling so I thought it had to do with that. But the same thing just keeps happening.

Goldiemom said:
My fish eat mine as soon as I plant them. Not the goldfish, surprisingly but the tropicals. They think I'm feeding them salad or something. I gave up and just bought a couple of silk plants. The hornwort and anubias is fine, they don't mess with it but everything else goes right in the mouth.
Omg! Mine did that with my huge mass of guppy grass I recently got. I loved it so much, they thought it was a delicious treat for them to woof down, it lasted a bit less than a month. If it weren't for the fish it would of done wonderful it stayed nice and healthy. I have a few small chunks of it left that I put elsewhere to hopefully regrow it.

Dude even the weed like plants don't do good with me! Not sure what happened but all my floating plants will just suddenly disappear.

Aww man lol my poor Goldy got some bad algae right now. It's outside in it's temp setup (getting the 300 gallon stock tank in 2 weeks yay 83). I wanna add a ton of plants to it to help but :I I'm just gonna kill them.

This is so frustrating. Especially cuz I'm a florist. I work with plants on a daily basis. I know plants. But clearly I know nothing about aquatic plants even though I grow non aquatic plants in water as my preferred method of raising them -sigh-

I am very close to giving up cuz I'm just wasting my money trying. But I would really like to grow plants to help supply other people and so I can package whatever fish I sell with plants to help them feel better.
 

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That is so funny because my grandmother owned a floral shop and I was a florist for a number of years myself. I too can grow anything in the house or the flower beds. The tanks are another story. I want to use it to help soak up nitrates so I have gone to just hornwort, anubias, and amazon sword. The goldfish leave them alone. The tropicals much the heck out of it all. I even give them algae wafers, peas, and zuchini thinking they may have a nutritional deficit. Nope, they just like to make me mad. lol As soon as I put it in, they tear it up. I put moneywort in last week and its all gone. Put baby tears in this week and it is almost all gone. I give up on them.
 
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luckdown

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Goldiemom said:
That is so funny because my grandmother owned a floral shop and I was a florist for a number of years myself. I too can grow anything in the house or the flower beds. The tanks are another story. I want to use it to help soak up nitrates so I have gone to just hornwort, anubias, and amazon sword. The goldfish leave them alone. The tropicals much the heck out of it all. I even give them algae wafers, peas, and zuchini thinking they may have a nutritional deficit. Nope, they just like to make me mad. lol As soon as I put it in, they tear it up. I put moneywort in last week and its all gone. Put baby tears in this week and it is almost all gone. I give up on them.
I've been a florist for 4 years and have been growing plants for 2 years before that. I've become really good at raising plants and fixing most problems. I take home the dead plants from work and regrow them from cuttings and the roots. But nope I kill every perfectly healthy aquatic plant I touch ****

Aww man ****. I'm happy outside of the guppy grass mine leave everything alone. Not sure about my Goldy though. I've yet to try plants with it.

I wanna get some more Val and anacharis but I have a feeling I'm gonna murder them ;o;

I almost wish I could blame my fish for this xP
 

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Your parameters look good and you dose flourish so micro nutrients should be there too.
I am assuming your problem is your lighting. What do you have right now?
I setup a planted bowl and just light it with a LED desk lamp (cool white is what you want) and the plants go crazy.
Those desk lamps are relatively cheap $15-20 on Amazon.
 
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luckdown

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Currently, just a led that's white blue and red and supposed to be good for plants but really isn't lol.

I have a nice 20" lightbulb for plants but my hood broke right after I bought the new bulb. Replacing it is just crazy expensive and I haven't found anything I can safely afford yet, I'm probably really bad at looking though cuz I don't know where to look. (What I'm finding is $60-70) i know how to get a good bulb but I know nothing about the actual fixture

I keep my room light on for as long as possible to try and help but I know that's not much help.

However it is enough for my smaller tank which is really heavily planted compared to it's size. Which I even have stuff ontop of the tank that blocks out most of the light. I have no idea how that tank grows plants perfect :I
 

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I'm going to take a different tack here. Are you growing all those land based plants in the tanks having problems? The pothos especially are likely stripping your water of most of the nutrients required for your aquatic plants.
 
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luckdown

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Wraithen said:
I'm going to take a different tack here. Are you growing all those land based plants in the tanks having problems? The pothos especially are likely stripping your water of most of the nutrients required for your aquatic plants.
Currently just some wandering Jews in one of them. But there was no difference with or without them.

Pothos I'm aware shouldn't be in heavily planted tanks unless properly maintained.

And then I have stuff rooting in the betta falls and nothing there has issues. And that has the most plants out of all of them currently.

I'd think if they were the cause the plants wouldn't be melting but would turn yellow or brown. My plants are all green just they're melting even though they're been there long enough to not be new anymore.
 

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you try for new root growth on the plants before trying to supped them in the tank? window light is always nice for plants as well
 
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luckdown

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Chillin said:
you try for new root growth on the plants before trying to supped them in the tank? window light is always nice for plants as well
That's usually what I do. I have jars that I fill with the tank water on my window sills. I'm just testing the differences with doing it directly in the tank.

I also have jars with tank water I'm testing aquarium plants in on the windows which I just recently started.

And I have my jar of dead plant matter which grows moss better than my tanks or my algae rock jars. I just put a cutting of mint in there to see what would happen

I like to test out a bunch of things to see what does best. I've tested a fair bit with aquarium plants so far already but not much luck.

Thinking about it my fry tanks did wonderful with all their plants, but those tanks are 1 to 2.5 gallons. So my tiny temp tanks I have success with whatever I put in them but my larger tanks always fail.

Those tanks are all empty now and the plants are in my betta breeding tanks with a bit mixed results
 

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Without seeing them, best guess could be two things, nute burn or low oxygen. 10-20 nitrate doesn't seem like much but those aquarium plant might be sensitive. Dying tips is usually caused by excess nitrates, even low DO can do that. 7.8ph is also really high for plants.
Hydrogen peroxide will raise the DO, I've done this many time in the past. You'l see the plants respond within a day.
Another air stone would be a long term option.
Peat moss works great for lowering ph but be aware, it adds tannins.

The first thing I would try if I were you, is lower the nitrate with a partial water change. You might not notice a difference straight away with the ph being that high though.
The good thing about having plants in water is you'l notice changes in health almost instantly, compared to soil plants.
The bad thing is, you have less room for error.

I'm sure you'l figure it out eventually.
 

Wraithen

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Ok. I just found this and am posting it here. I stole it from a member of another forum who stole it so I'm not even going to source it:

Element / Leaves to first show deficiency / Symptom
Nitrogen/ Old/ Leaves turn yellowis Older leaves die quickly in extreme deficiencies. Iron/ New/ Leaves grow in pale or yellow Greenish nerves enclosing yellow leaf tissue First seen in fast growing plants
Potassium/ Old/ Pinholes appear in older leaves, and slowly enlarge Yellow areas Withering of leaf edges and tips
Calcium/ New/ Distorted leaf growth cupped leavestwisted and bent leaves, twisted and short roots. Damage and die off of growing points. Yellowish leaf edges I have seen an extreme Calcium deficiency which resulted in a sword plant where new leaves were growing in almost completely white.
Magnesium / Old/ Yellow spots Often appears similar to iron deficiency since mg deficiency prevents a plant from properly using iron. Yellowing of old leaves starting from edges while major veins remain green. Boron / New/ Dead shoot tips, new side shoots also die. Brittle stems Similar to calcium Sulfur/ New/ Similar to nitrogen deficiency Manganese/ New/ Dead yellowish tissue between leaf nerves
Copper/ New/ Dead leaf tips and withered edges
Zinc/ Old/ Yellowish areas between nerves, Starting at leaf tip and edges Molybdenum/ Old/ Yellow spots between leaf nerves, then brownish areas along edges. Inhibited flowering
Phosphorus/ Old/ Stunted growth. Sometimes leaves become darker green Also symptoms can be similar to nitrogen deficiency
Signs of trace element deficiencies: Boron: Death of stem and root apical meristem, leaves twisted, young tissue most affected Cobalt: Used for nitrogen fixation, same as nitrogen deficiency signs (stunted growth) Copper: Young leaves dark green, twisted, wilted, tip remains alive Manganese: Chlorosis of young leaves, with smallest veins remaining green, necrosis between veins Molybdenum: Chlorosis, twisting, death of young leaves Zinc: Reduced leaf size, shortened internodes, chlorosis, spotted leaves, older leaves most affected Nickel: lack of germination or seed formation, required for iron absorption




Btw, looks like I currently have a calcium deficiency but my snails and shrimp are fine so this obviously isnt the end all be all. Plant issues are easier with pictures.
 
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luckdown

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JustaNoOb said:
Without seeing them, best guess could be two things, nute burn or low oxygen. 10-20 nitrate doesn't seem like much but those aquarium plant might be sensitive. Dying tips is usually caused by excess nitrates, even low DO can do that. 7.8ph is also really high for plants.
Hydrogen peroxide will raise the DO, I've done this many time in the past. You'l see the plants respond within a day.
Another air stone would be a long term option.
Peat moss works great for lowering ph but be aware, it adds tannins.

The first thing I would try if I were you, is lower the nitrate with a partial water change. You might not notice a difference straight away with the ph being that high though.
The good thing about having plants in water is you'l notice changes in health almost instantly, compared to soil plants.
The bad thing is, you have less room for error.

I'm sure you'l figure it out eventually.
Hmmm okay, these are things I haven't tried yet so I will try this and see what happens.

I already do 10-25% water changes every Sunday and test Wednesdays to see if I need to do one twice (typically never have to). I know people with higher nitrates that do fine with plants but this isn't something I tested myself so I can't rule it out yet. Should I try doing multiple water changes a week? Or even test a tank by doing daily water changes till it's down to 0-5 to see if that changes anything?

I'm aware my pH is a bit high, it's too high for my fish as well though they don't have issues because of it. Which is why I wanted to do peat moss cuz that's more reliable than pH down (which I do have a bottle of but stopped using because of all the negative things I started hearing) the tanins I'm aware of and already have in all my planted tanks because of my driftwood. So that's no issue for me.

I do have an extra airstone I can throw In there to test things out. I'll try that as well.

Thank you!

Wraithen said:
Ok. I just found this and am posting it here. I stole it from a member of another forum who stole it so I'm not even going to source it:

Element / Leaves to first show deficiency / Symptom
Nitrogen/ Old/ Leaves turn yellowis Older leaves die quickly in extreme deficiencies. Iron/ New/ Leaves grow in pale or yellow Greenish nerves enclosing yellow leaf tissue First seen in fast growing plants
Potassium/ Old/ Pinholes appear in older leaves, and slowly enlarge Yellow areas Withering of leaf edges and tips
Calcium/ New/ Distorted leaf growth cupped leavestwisted and bent leaves, twisted and short roots. Damage and die off of growing points. Yellowish leaf edges I have seen an extreme Calcium deficiency which resulted in a sword plant where new leaves were growing in almost completely white.
Magnesium / Old/ Yellow spots Often appears similar to iron deficiency since mg deficiency prevents a plant from properly using iron. Yellowing of old leaves starting from edges while major veins remain green. Boron / New/ Dead shoot tips, new side shoots also die. Brittle stems Similar to calcium Sulfur/ New/ Similar to nitrogen deficiency Manganese/ New/ Dead yellowish tissue between leaf nerves
Copper/ New/ Dead leaf tips and withered edges
Zinc/ Old/ Yellowish areas between nerves, Starting at leaf tip and edges Molybdenum/ Old/ Yellow spots between leaf nerves, then brownish areas along edges. Inhibited flowering
Phosphorus/ Old/ Stunted growth. Sometimes leaves become darker green Also symptoms can be similar to nitrogen deficiency
Signs of trace element deficiencies: Boron: Death of stem and root apical meristem, leaves twisted, young tissue most affected Cobalt: Used for nitrogen fixation, same as nitrogen deficiency signs (stunted growth) Copper: Young leaves dark green, twisted, wilted, tip remains alive Manganese: Chlorosis of young leaves, with smallest veins remaining green, necrosis between veins Molybdenum: Chlorosis, twisting, death of young leaves Zinc: Reduced leaf size, shortened internodes, chlorosis, spotted leaves, older leaves most affected Nickel: lack of germination or seed formation, required for iron absorption




Btw, looks like I currently have a calcium deficiency but my snails and shrimp are fine so this obviously isnt the end all be all. Plant issues are easier with pictures.
This is good to know. From what this says it might be copper related?
 

Wraithen

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luckdown said:
Hmmm okay, these are things I haven't tried yet so I will try this and see what happens.

I already do 10-25% water changes every Sunday and test Wednesdays to see if I need to do one twice (typically never have to). I know people with higher nitrates that do fine with plants but this isn't something I tested myself so I can't rule it out yet. Should I try doing multiple water changes a week? Or even test a tank by doing daily water changes till it's down to 0-5 to see if that changes anything?

I'm aware my pH is a bit high, it's too high for my fish as well though they don't have issues because of it. Which is why I wanted to do peat moss cuz that's more reliable than pH down (which I do have a bottle of but stopped using because of all the negative things I started hearing) the tanins I'm aware of and already have in all my planted tanks because of my driftwood. So that's no issue for me.

I do have an extra airstone I can throw In there to test things out. I'll try that as well.

Thank you!


This is good to know. From what this says it might be copper related?
It could be, however, these are only deficiencies, the opposite isnt listed which is overabundance. I dont lack calcium, for example, but I overdosed phosphorous. Same result in the plant, but different listing. You're just missing a balance. I refuse you have nitro burn or O2 issues with your tank and levels. I would lean to a micro deficiency at this point. Dosing copper is difficult unless you have a large tank. Copper levels become toxic rapidly and easily. My plants are just now thriving after dosing copper and removing it all a month ago.
 

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i am using some spring water/tap/liltank with my plants in clear containers with not much light other than sunrise and sunset sitting in the middle of a room from windows and seem to being fairly well, watching new growth each day
tho i did blow some bubbles in the water might help, kinda like talking to the plants? heh
 
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