need some input on fertilizer and lighting, thanks!


I've got a 10 gallon that's been set up for about 2.5 months. My plants aren't doing terrible, but they seem to be getting very slowly unhealthy and I'm not sure if I need to add fertilizers or not. Also can't figure out what my specific light is doing for the plants. I've been looking around the internets for answers, but just can't find anything that I can apply directly to my situation.

I have an anubias which has started to get some dark (as in brown black) little spots on it's tallest leaf, and two leafs have turned yellow at the very tip. It has had new growth though and the roots seem to be doing well reaching down the driftwood. Anacharis bunch is doing alright, has new growth but is probably light in color and not getting very tall. I have three little bunches of christmas moss that I realllyyy want to live, it's been in for less than a month, so I can't tell how it's doing yet. I have banana plant that I also love, but its tubers are turning brown. The leaves seem to be lighter too perhaps. I'm not burying the tubers, so don't worry about that. I plan on adding some lace java fern, jungle val, and maybe another banana plant (or just replace the dying one).

The tank has a max bio-load for a 10 gallon (5 neon tetras, 2 african dwarf frogs, 2 bridgesiI sails, 10-20 red cherry shrimp, hoping to add 1 betta, we'll see if it works...) so I'm wondering if fertilizing is even necessary? I wanted more plants to help with the high bio-load, but am not sure what the perfect balance would be as far as all the plants getting enough nutrients and could use advice on whether or not fertilizing is necessary.

I'm also realizing that the lighting my tank came with is probably nowhere near sufficient (it was a gift, one of the best ever, my first tank, but wishing I had more input and could have done all this research before buying..), but it's LED lighting and I haven't found clear info on how this effects plants. It's the Marineland Bio-wheel LED Aquarium kit, which has an LED pannel that fits into the hood. LED light specs are 22 White/2 Blue .11W LEDs, totaling 2.42 watts, 460 LUX, 165 lumens. I've read that the normal WPG rule doesn't apply to LED lights, but usually in reference to high-end LEDs. I assume what I have are fairly low-end, so can I apply the WPG rule to these or not? Are they at least doing better than 2.42 watts of a fluorescent?

I want to keep a low-light (and low-cost) setup, and want to avoid getting to the point where I'd need CO2, while still having quite a bit of plants. SO, do I need to start adding ferts regardless of having a higher bioload? Annnnd do I need to completely redo my hood and lighting setup ?


THe anubias are probably growing algae, as they need to be shaded a little bit. The anacharis likes cooler water. I'm not sure about the other plants.

Just a suggestion, I wouldn't put the betta in that tank. It could kill everything.


Welcome to Fishlore!

This may get long and be overwhelming. Sorry if it does!

Live plants require 3 things. Lighting, fertilization and CO2. In a low light tank CO2 is never necessary, but ferts are sometimes needed....all depends on plant growth and on the presence of algae.

First things first, lighting. The primary reason plants fail is not having enough light or not having the correct color temperature of light. According to your tank specs you have 2.42 watts of low efficiency LED lighting. I honestly do not know if watt for watt it is comparable to standard fluorescent; but lets assume it is. Over a 10G tank that would give you 0.242 watts per gallon. That is so little light I'd have a hard time imagining there is much light at all.

I looked at a variety of reviews for this tank. If lighting was mentioned it was a negative. One review stated that the LED fails to even light up the entire tank; that plants are not doing well unless their are directly under the LEDs. So, I'd say that this is problem #1. If the tank can't even be lit up there is no way it is producing enough light to support plants. Because of the hood construction, to change the light you'd loose the hood. That could turn into a expense as you'd need a glass cover and a new fixture. But as a temporary solution you could purchase a desk lamp and use a CFL 6500k bulb.

Another option is to set the tank in front of a window that gets a lot of natural light. This problem here is if the tank gets too much light, and no ferts, then algae will begin to grow.

Next CO2. This is a no brainer. Too little light for this to even be a factor. So, you are good here

Fertilizers. You may or may not need any. For now odds are the issues with your plants are due to a lack of light. But hard to know for sure. Could you possibly post pictures? That would be most helpful.

When anubias gets too little light it will develop small yellow/brown circles that get larger until the leaves die off. From your description this may be what is happening. It is also possible that the plant is suffering from another deficiency; hence the photo.

Anacharis is a cold water plant that needs higher light. Odds are this plant is suffering from too little light and from too high temperature.

Anubias is a low light plant, but sounds like you have too little light.

Banana Plants do not do well with so little light. Bananas turning brown will soon fall off. Eventually the plant will die.

Sorry there is very little positives I can say about using your hood with live plants.

Good luck!


Thanks for the info. I took some pics but now can't find the USB cable anywhere. It does sound like the anubias and banana plant aren't getting enough light. The tank seems to be perfectly lit just looking at it, but this is my first tank so I wouldn't know. I also went to the marineland website (don't know why I didn't do that first :/) and in user questions they state the lights on my kit aren't recommended for live plant growth. So that answers that I suppose, still kinda curious about just how LEDs translate in the wattage per gallon area.

I saw this hood at petco for $30 which isn't too bad I guess.

This may be a stupid question, but would it help anything to have an additional light (the desk lamp with appropriate bulb, as you mentioned) coming in from the side of the tank? Or would the plants just not be able to get any of the light like this? I already have a couple lamps I could use so would only need to get bulbs... just trying to brainstorm here... hah.

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