Plants are Not Doing Well

  • #1
Can someone help me. I want my tank to look good. I’m not sure what’s going on with it or what it needs. I dose it with Thrive S like once a week and do water changes about every 3 weeks. Root tabs every couple of months as well. I have a ton of pest snails I’m not sure if they are apart of the problem? The light is on about 8 hours a day. It’s a Asta 20 LED aquarium light. Plants are in eco complete and the tank is a year old. There’s brown on the plants, holes in the leaves, they are just not green and shiny. Please keep in mind that this tank is low tech. Do I need a different light? Liquid carbon? Snail traps? Lol please help. Should I cut everything back that’s not looking good?


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  • #2
Hmm, it's a lot of different species with differing growth rates and minimum light requirements. I'm not familiar with Thrive but most plants show trace mineral deficiencies the same way. I used to have holes in my java ferns like yours. I used to use API leaf zone and that only had iron and potassium I think. That didn't help. Plants need many more nutrients than that especially if you're using gravel or a non-mineral rich substrate like sand. I use Flourish now and no root tabs. All my plants a green and awesome. Even the plants I mistakenly glued to things even though they are root feeders LOL. You are missing some minerals so the lights probably okay. The snails are eating the dying growth. Mother natures way of saving snails from themselves. Get something like Flourish with a more complete mineral content. Also it's snail safe. You should see improvement almost weekly.
  • #3
I have the Asta 20 LED light on one of my tanks as well. One thing to check is that you dont have the red and blue channels turned all the way off. Plants use a lot of the red/blue spectrum (from what I understand). Dont want too much blue to help from algae, but want some, so I would make sure that CH4 is not turned all the way down. Just a thought.

Model: Asta 20
Emitting Color: Multi color
LED Number: 16pcs*3w
-CH1: 4pcs Blue led;
-CH2: 4pcs White led;
-CH 3: 4pcs Royal Blue led;
-CH4: Red+Green+Blue+UV (UV led looks dim, but it is normal)

I use Thrive S as well (as does Stargirl I think). It has micro and macro nutrients. My root tabs are Thrive as well. From my understanding, it is a good fertilizer.

From my understanding, pest snails are like a barometer of tank balance. If so, my tanks are in "semi storm" balance conditions most of the time (HAHAHA). They are reducing, but when I had my lights up high and was getting algae, I had a TON of them. There are some great gurus here to help more than I. From my understanding that holes, etc in plants may be iron deficiency? If so, folks may be able to correct me or give advice if that is the issue.

By the way - great looking tank and betta!!!!! Your betta must LOVE it! Looks like a betta dream tank!
  • #4
Short answer: I would gradually decrease the lighting period down to about 6 hours per day (15 minute intervals) and increase the Thrive S to 2 times per week. Basically, plants need Nutrients, CO2, and light, but keep light as the limited factor.

Longer answer:
Java Fern is a beautiful and finicky plant. It takes it a while for it to adjust to its new environment and get comfortable.
First, ensure that the Java Fern is not planted in the substrate. Java Fern should be above the substrate, so most people tie it to a rock or driftwood to secure it. I use zip ties and tie it to my driftwood. Over time the roots sink into the wood and I no longer need the zip ties. Java Fern also does not like too much light. This can cause the holes in the leaves that you are experiencing. To correct this, you can:
  • gradually lower the photoperiod down from eight hours down closer to six hours per day. This will also help control algae.
  • lower light intensity (if light has this adjustment)
  • raise light above aquarium (I think your light is already suspended on mounting rod)
Second, Java Fern likes nutrients. I think your fern needs more nitrogen, iron and potassium, so dosing more Thrive S should help, but for what its worth, here is a chart depicting common plant deficiencies: Plant Deficiency Picture Diagram

Anubias. From the pictures I cannot tell if your Anubias is attached to something or buried in the substrate. Anubias should be above the substrate just like the Java Fern.

Dwarf Saggitaria. Your Sag looks pretty good to me. This is an extremely hardy and undemanding plant, which is why it is Out of Stock at a lot of retailers quite frequently.

Try trimming off the dead parts, fertilize more and illuminate a little less.

My 2 cents.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thank you so much everyone!!
  • #6
As for snails, they're more likely to be the consequence of plant problems, not the source. Dead leaves and algae are great foods for them to grow and propagate. Also you may be overfeeding. Reduce the food amount a bit, and at the same time you may try to teach your betta (BTW what an epic tail) to eat snails. Crush some and throw them back into water for him to eat. Once he starts to like the taste, he's quite likely to figure out ways to get them out of the shells himself. Bettas are predators after all.

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