Plants Missing Something...

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by matt.PC, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. matt.PC

    matt.PCNew MemberMember


    Thanks in advance to any who can read through this LOOOOOONG post ;)

    New member, but I've been reading the forums for a few months. I started a planted jar which has been going well for a couple months (minus my mini pelia that I just removed), but in the past week the plants seem to be looking sad.

    A quick description of my setup: cycled 1 gallon jar, USB LED light, no filter/pump, substrate is Black Diamond Blasting Sand with root tabs, and a few plants. Fauna consist of a nerite snail and a few shrimp - rili and Amano.
    1) In the back, the crinum calamistratum was initally perky, but now it's weepy - a new addition about 2-3 weeks ago in the jar.

    2) I had a lot of red root floaters (RRF) that were doing well also placed in the jar at the same time. Again, they have been doing well, turning color and creating flowers and new leaves, doubling in size over 2 weeks, but now they also seem to be turning dark and look like they are slowly being eaten or something. They now occupy less than half the initial surface area. The shrimp are now constantly eating around the roots.

    3) Ranunculus Inundatus. This plant was also added 2 weeks ago and came from what I believe was a CO2 infused aquarium. There are some runners, but the older leaves seem to be turning yellow and brown, and some of the stems are also turning yellow.

    The mini dwarf hair grass seems to be doing ok so far, still sending out runners.

    I have been daily dosing Excel, Iron, and Flourish Advance as marked on the bottles. I was doing Flourish every 3 days, but just changed it to one drop a day to hopefully add more nutrients to the water regularly and maybe reduce chance of algae.

    The USB Light is on for 12 hours/day for the last 2 months - no major problems with algae besides normal on glass and some brown algae down below. Also, the USB light is actually bright and the DHG has spread a bit and gets weekly trims now, but I am making a new light with a timer.

    I did a 30% PWC two days ago, but my nitrates seem really low in the tank compared to my tap water (well water, no chlorine).

    I was debating getting some Spectracide Stump Remove to up the nitrogen level, but am not sure if this will fix my issue. It looks like there may be some pinholes in some of the RRF, but hard to tell since it's mostly the leave slowly disappearing from the edge to the center, unless they turn dark gray and fall off. The Ranunculus Inundatus (RI) old leaves are turning yellow which could be low Nitrogen or maybe Potassium or Phosphate looking at the nutrient deficiences chart. The new growth on the RI is tall and small, but I think that's consistent with it being a change from high CO2 to dosing Excel.

    Also to note, the shrimp really like hanging on the RRF now although when I removed RRF temporarily they were happy to scavenge elsewhere. Maybe something's special about them unless it's just their decaying roots now...

    Anything else I forgot to mention?

    Anyway, thanks again if you made it this far and I appreciate any and all comments/help you can provide. I am trying to find a DIY method for fertilizers, but can order other stuff instead online, too - no preference, just trying to improve the plant health. Offline now to catch some sleep.

  2. CraniumRex

    CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    I'm not a plant expert but based on your nitrate readings and your ferts with low stock, I think your plants are consuming all the available nitrogen and that is your deficiency. There might be more but none of the ferts you list have N. They have P and K (in the Advance) but you will see diminished leaf growth and I believe the plants will actually begin to consume themselves. Flourish Advance has P and K but no N and Excel is "bioavailable carbon".

    I'm sure your fauna are grateful for the nitrate removal the plants are providing but you may want to consider ditching the Flourish Advance and using an all-in-one like just Flourish, or Niloc Thrive, or Aquarium Co-Op Easy Green, depending on where you are from. You could also supplement with just Seachem Flourish Nitrogen but very tricky in a 1 gallon jar. Are you dosing with a pipette or syringe?
  3. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember

    I created 10 mL dropper bottles for each of the above: 30 drops = 1 mL and each of the above doses work out to roughly 0.1 mL/gallon (3 drops), besides Flourish Advance which is slightly more. I was using a pipette but that became tiresome.

    I was dosing the Flourish Advance because I read it helped the DHG to spread roots, but I can ditch that and just use Flourish which I have added to my daily regimen - 1 drop a day instead of 3 drops twice a week.

    I am not sure if this dose of Flourish is providing enough Nitrogen since the bottle says the total Nitrogen is 0.07%. I had read about plants consuming themselves which I am worried about, and seem to be seeing in the RRF leaves.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply and providing your insight!
  4. CraniumRex

    CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    That is a great idea with the dropper bottles!

    I wonder, since your tap water has nitrates, if water changes before ferts would work. Again I’m pretty new at this so maybe someone with more experience will weigh in.

    I guess you could test nitrates daily and tinker with water volumes to see what might create a balance. Perhaps adding the ranunculus threw things out a bit. If the DHG is still sending runners consider it a coup and thank the root tabs, but the water column needs more N for sure. After a few weeks the plants should tell you if they need anything else.

    Beautiful set up - hope it helps.
  5. TexasGuppy

    TexasGuppyWell Known MemberMember

    FYI: With shrimp you would want Niloc which doesn't contain copper.
  6. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember

    Thank you for the comments. ThriveS does have a much higher concentration of NPK than Flourish does, but I am wondering if it is enough still.
    After dosing Flourish and checking after an hour, my readings still did not improve much. I then did a 30% PWC to bring them up a bit, but this will probably last a day before it returns to near 0 again. Will ThriveS bring up N at least 5 to 10 PPM or will that require exceeding their advised dosage? I also just found the article on fishlore that said Flourish does not contain the macros in high amounts which is apparently what I'm looking for now :banghead:

    Thanks for your advice :) I am learning and trying to make sure everything thrives.

    On a side note, here's all the fauna gathered together after PWC for a group pic. ;) The Nerite's a real champ cleaning up where I removed the mini pelia - although it remained idle for the first month, now it's extremely active.

    Just to summarize new questions from here:
    1) Will ThriveS provide enough macros to see a significant jump in needed nutrients, or would specific dry ferts of NPK made into liquid dosage bottles be better? The cost seems to be about the same whether I buy a 500mL bottle of ThriveS or individual dry ferts.

    Thanks again!
  7. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember

    Actually, I was just reading "Customer Questions & Answers" on Amazon, and NilocG says each dose adds 1ppm NO3 and to dose 1-3 times a week, so it seems like this may not be enough.

    Recommendations if it's ok to overdose ThriveS if the plants seem to be using the fertilizers, or to use another method?

    Thanks for reading this far :D
  8. TexasGuppy

    TexasGuppyWell Known MemberMember

    I'm new to ferts but I would think you can take to what ever level you need, you just can adjust the ratios without individual dry mixes. Inbalance could lead to algae. I'm not quiet at even the recommended dose with thrives and I'm now getting pearling. So exciting.
  9. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember

    Glad to hear your setup's doing well and even pearling :) I had some pearling about a month ago when I just had DHG, but no pearling now...

    So assuming my plants use all the ferts provided by ThriveS, NilocG recommends 1 dose/3 times a week. I may in theory need 3x the recommended dose each day. I would just have to check it regularly to make sure at least the NO3 is being used, and then assume the rest of the ferts are being used by the plants, too.

    Seem ok?

    Thanks for your response!
  10. TexasGuppy

    TexasGuppyWell Known MemberMember

    The EI method I think over doses but then does 50% WC every week to reset. So, there is always that option. I believe they don't even bother measureing, just monitoring plants and adjust every two weeks if necessary...
  11. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember

    I have ordered a bottle of ThriveS and will hopefully receive it on Friday. I will start dosing this and hopefully perk up my calamistratum and see some new growth on the RRF. Hopefully I'll be able to provide a positive update next weekend :)
  12. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember

    Another discovery in the jar (and unfortunately not positive) - I was rotating the jar around and noticed the bottom of the Crinum has some white stuff on it. Is this possibly fungus or something else? Again, the crinum was fine for the first few weeks ("planted" March 21) but this white stuff seemed to show up in the last week after I inserted the chollo wood on April 7. I had boiled the chollo wood and it has also been soaking in a separate container for the last 3 weeks. As a side note, some of the remains of the mini pelia I pulled out may have landed on the crinum's roots.
    Thanks in advance for taking a look!
  13. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember

    So a quick update since I didn't make one over the weekend. ThriveS arrived and I have been dosing that daily from another dropper bottle.

    Unfortunately, it turned out the Crinum rotted from the bulb, so that is no longer in the jar and had to be disposed.

    Good news...
    The RRF is making a recovery in another container I set aside.
    I trimmed off the bad looking Ranunculus Inundatus and the new growth is looking promising, so 2 of the 4 remain and will hopefully propogate in the future.

    Now I just need to find another tall object for shrimp to climb on since the Crinum is gone - either another tall plant, or I'll finally find some spiderwood...

    Thanks for the help!
  14. Jocelyn Adelman

    Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    So, a few things... thrive is great, much better then seachem. The PK in advance isn’t nearly enough (advance is a phytohormone supplement, not meant as a fert, but to be used alongside of their line)
    Ranunculus grow better with co2. It’s possible the jar could work, but would be better if you had a non inert substrate (dirt, aquasoil, etc). Be aware that if you switch substrates though you will cause a mini cycle for sure as you have no filter.

    No filter- plants prefer some current, helps to keep the water “fresh” as well as distribute nutrients

    Lid... part of a balanced aquarium included o2 exchange... don’t leave the lid on too much, at least make sure it’s cracked open.

    Red root floaters... I would say the lid is the issue here... too much humidity for the tops of their leaves, coupled with lack of ferts. Floaters eat up nutrients.
  15. OP

    matt.PCNew MemberMember


    Thanks for your tips!

    The seller also recommended CO2 for Ranunculus as that is what they ran, but it appears to be going fine now. I think the transition from CO2 to a non-CO2 area may have caused some of the initial loss. For now, I will leave it in its current setup with some root tabs.

    As for the RRF, it had been thriving for the first 3 weeks under the tilted lid (yes, I do leave the top cracked 1/2" to allow airflow).

    I had read the Crinum liked a current, but it had been doing well for the first few weeks.

    Thank you for taking the time to pass along your advice :)