20 Gallon Tank Plants not growing

Epicoz

I’ve had plants in my twenty gallon tank for 2 years and they’ve never don’t that well. Currently some of the plants in there are Anubis, java moss, java fern, and others but only a few are growing ok. I do not know why this is. There are a lot of snails in there which could be a problem. The gravel is normal gravel and has no nutrients. I put 3 pumps of thrive a week and occasionally use co2 booster. I have the light on for 8 hours a day. In the tank I have 5 danios and a Bristlenose pleco. Any ideas are appreciate.
 

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AcornTheBetta

I’ve had plants in my twenty gallon tank for 2 years and they’ve never don’t that well. Currently some of the plants in there are Anubis, java moss, java fern, and others but only a few are growing ok. I do not know why this is. There are a lot of snails in there which could be a problem. The gravel is normal gravel and has no nutrients. I put 3 pumps of thrive a week and occasionally use co2 booster. I have the light on for 8 hours a day. In the tank I have 5 danios and a Bristlenose pleco. Any ideas are appreciate.
Hmm. Have you changed anything in the tank recently? Ramshorn snails generally don't eat plants.
 
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ProudPapa

Maybe try gradually bumping up the lighting period. I have mine on for 12 hours.
 
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Epicoz

I’ve tried a bunch of things for the tank, I used to have the light higher, but that didn’t work. I also don’t know if they are rams horn. I honestly can’t figure it out, do I need root tabs
 
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CTYankee79

Is your Java fern and Anubias planted in the gravel? It’s hard for me to see. If so they shouldn’t be planted, they should be attached to rocks or wood, so the rhizome doesn’t get buried and rot. Of the three plants you named, none of them would benefit from root tabs.
 
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Epicoz

There’s more and yes I think some. Are planted and some are kinda floating
 
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Epicoz

Another hint I thought of is that my lighting is insufficient. Currently I have the standard lighting that comes with the 20 gallon. Here’s the link Top Fin® Essentials Aquarium Starter Kit | fish Starter Kits | PetSmart I blame this tank for tricking me into getting white gravel.
 
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CTYankee79

Yeah the lighting that comes with the kit is usually garbage. I would recommend getting a decent light, have it on for 7-8 hours a day, and use an all in one fertilizer such as Easy Green or Thrive. I would not recommend using liquid CO2 (carbon).
 
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Dennis57

Most lights that come as a "package" are ok for viewing fish, but growing plants, NO.

I would see if you can get yourself a better light to start, then see how things are going
 
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TheNacho

Personally I never had success with plants (except anubias) untill I used special 'gravel' for plants which was very expensive. Even when I was using 3 different fertilizers which cost a ton, nothing would grow iny normal gravel.
 
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LeviS

The lighting that comes with the tanks are usually to weak for plants. You have low light plants that have grown. Generally the anubis is a slow grower and may only get 1 new leaf a month on a low tech tank. The crypts and flame? Sword need root tabs, the other plants benefit from your liquid ferts.
 
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CTYankee79

Personally I never had success with plants (except anubias) untill I used special 'gravel' for plants which was very expensive. Even when I was using 3 different fertilizers which cost a ton, nothing would grow iny normal gravel.
It’s unfortunate that that has been your experience. However plants can certainly be grown in plain gravel or sand without having to buy aqua soils. It’s a matter of getting the lighting and fertilizer schedule in balance (and choosing the correct plants).
 
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Epicoz

Any light recommendations?
 
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CTYankee79

Any light recommendations?
Sure, some good budget models would be Nicrew or Hygger. A great light but a little more expensive would be a Finnex planted plus.

NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum LED Fish Tank Light for Freshwater Plants https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F6XD2FH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_CKcXFb3JG14KN

hygger Aquarium Programmable LED Light, Full Spectrum Plant Fish Tank Light Extendable Brackets with LCD Setting Display, IP68 Waterproof, 7 Colors, 4 Modes for Novices Advanced Players https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086SV999T/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_xLcXFbRE3T4XA

NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum LED Fish Tank Light for Freshwater Plants https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F6XD2FH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_CKcXFb3JG14KN
 
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Dennis57

Any light recommendations?
Take a look at the Vivagrow 24/7 I use these as well as the Fluval 3.0.

For the money you pay for the vivagrow they are well worth it
 
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SeattleRoy

I’ve had plants in my twenty gallon tank for 2 years and they’ve never don’t that well. Currently some of the plants in there are Anubis, java moss, java fern, and others but only a few are growing ok. I do not know why this is. There are a lot of snails in there which could be a problem. The gravel is normal gravel and has no nutrients. I put 3 pumps of thrive a week and occasionally use co2 booster. I have the light on for 8 hours a day. In the tank I have 5 danios and a Bristlenose pleco. Any ideas are appreciate.

Hi Epicoz,

I don't believe you have a lighting issue, it appears to be nutrient related; specifically magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Why? Interveinal chlorosis on the older leaves of the Anubias as well as 'cupping" of leaf margins (Mg issue). Some leaf tip "hooking" (calcium issue), Premature loss of leaves on the stem plant on the left side as well as older leaves of Java Ferns and Anubias accompanied by necronic holes in older leaves (potassium issue).

An I suggest keeping everything the same but adding Seachem Equilibrium to your dosing schedule. It contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.

1) Do an initial dose of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons

2) When you do your weekly water changes add 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons of new water added. In other words, if you do a 50% water change and add 10 gallons of new water to your 20 gallon tank add 1 teaspoon of Equilibrium.

3) Do this for one month and watch the new leaves as they emerge and as they mature. Do they look greener, larger, healthier, more flat? You may also see your plant growth rate increase substantially.

Re-evaluate your tank after one month, is it doing better, the same, or worse than currently.....let us know how things progress! -Roy
 
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Epicoz

Thanks I’ll try that. Will it hurt my Bristlenose pleco?
 
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CTYankee79

Just to tie in with seattleroys recommendation to add equilibrium, could you provide your Ph, kh, and gh readings?
Equilibrium will not harm your pleco, it’s simply minerals added to the water that fish and plants both need. However it would be helpful to know your baseline Gh to know exactly how much to add
 
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Epicoz

Yeah I’ll get that later today
 
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HolyKamikaziBetta

Your Anubias and java fern shouldn’t be planted in the substrate.
they feed through the water, not the substrate.
I put mine on rocks and driftwood.
FBFEEA6C-BBBA-44FA-9451-1C442A05B4BD.jpeg
 
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Epicoz

There not really planted they are just attached to the gravel
My Gh is 20 and my KH is 30 but I used strips so I’m not sure how accurate they are
 
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BettasAreSuperior

I’ve had plants in my twenty gallon tank for 2 years and they’ve never don’t that well. Currently some of the plants in there are Anubis, java moss, java fern, and others but only a few are growing ok. I do not know why this is. There are a lot of snails in there which could be a problem. The gravel is normal gravel and has no nutrients. I put 3 pumps of thrive a week and occasionally use co2 booster. I have the light on for 8 hours a day. In the tank I have 5 danios and a Bristlenose pleco. Any ideas are appreciate.
Anubias are THE slowest growing plant on earth. (IMO, from research and IME) They only put out 1-3 leaves a year. They are very slow-growing.
Your Anubias and java fern shouldn’t be planted in the substrate.
they feed through the water, not the substrate.
I put mine on rocks and driftwood.
FBFEEA6C-BBBA-44FA-9451-1C442A05B4BD.jpeg

Is your Java fern and Anubias planted in the gravel? It’s hard for me to see. If so they shouldn’t be planted, they should be attached to rocks or wood, so the rhizome doesn’t get buried and rot. Of the three plants you named, none of them would benefit from root tabs.

I actually disagree with this. This is a common myth. Anubias can be planted IN the substrate as long as the rhizome isn't covered or buried. I have done this and none of my anubias currently don't have any problems. They can be planted in the substrate per contrary belief.

Also, Epicoz . The light may also be the issue. The kit lights are terrible. What type is your hood or lid for the tank? Is it all glass or black? Picture?
 
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Epicoz

It’s black I’m planning on getting one of those Nicrew lights
 
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CTYankee79

Anubias are THE slowest growing plant on earth. (IMO, from research and IME) They only put out 1-3 leaves a year. They are very slow-growing.




I actually disagree with this. This is a common myth. Anubias can be planted IN the substrate as long as the rhizome isn't covered or buried. I have done this and none of my anubias currently don't have any problems. They can be planted in the substrate per contrary belief.

Also, Epicoz . The light may also be the issue. The kit lights are terrible. What type is your hood or lid for the tank? Is it all glass or black? Picture?

This is true, they can be placed on the substrate. They can also be floated. I think the point is they don’t feed from the substrate and they don’t get “planted” in the substrate the way a typical plant would. I don’t think it’s a myth that they can’t be planted in the substrate, it’s just that many people tend to attach them to hardscape as that is the easiest way to keep them from moving, because it really doesn’t matter where they are in the tank, as long as the rhizome doesn’t get buried. Many people new to plants tend to “plant” them in the substrate like you would a stem plant, and that was what I was advising against. I also wanted to ensure the OP was aware those plants won’t benefit from root tabs because the first post asked about that. The OP sounds like they have planted it correctly so that’s good. Technically you are correct so I will make sure to be more specific next time in my advice.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Honestly, I think OP don't realize just how slowly anubias, java fern, java moss grows. The plant on the right with the curling leaves looks more like a Crypt than Java fern to me, which again is a slow growing plant.

The java moss is dying though and likely due to inadequate light. There are some holes on some leaves which seems like potassium deficiency. There are also some dying leaves which again could be due to low light.

But overall, this might be surprising but I think OP's plants are doing OKAY. They are not thriving but they are doing what they are supposed to do, which is survive low-light nutrient starved environments and growing veryyy slowly.

To get explosive growth out of those plants, they need CO2 injection with strong lighting and liquid CO2 will not work.
 
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Epicoz

Ok, also I’ve had them for 2 years. I will look into liquid co2 after I try the other stuff
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Ok, also I’ve had them for 2 years. I will look into liquid co2 after I try the other stuff

I said liquid CO2 does NOT work lol. And yeah, they won't grow much in 2 years. Only better light and CO2 injection will speed things up but be careful of algae.
 
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Epicoz

Ok thank you
 
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Epicoz

What dosage of Seachem Equilibrium should I use I got it today
 
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CTYankee79

What dosage of Seachem Equilibrium should I use I got it today
I know you provided a Gh reading of 20, could you specify if that’s PPM or degrees? I assume it’s PPM but just want to make sure
 
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Dennis57

What dosage of Seachem Equilibrium should I use I got it today
You have a 20 gallon tank, and you do a 50% water change you will add 1 tsp of Seachem Equilibrium.

I usually mix the Seachem Equilibrium in a container as I start to refill my tanks with water, shake it up a bit then pour into the tank.
 
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Epicoz

Yeah ppm
 
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Epicoz

The Nicrew lights don’t work with lids do they?
 
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BettasAreSuperior

The Nicrew lights don’t work with lids do they?
Which one are you talking about? Can you provide a link, please?
 
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Epicoz

It’s fine I figured it out
 
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CTYankee79

So you have about 1 degree of Gh, you’re probably looking to get it to be about 6 or thereabouts. 1 tablespoon of equilibrium per 20 gallons of water will raise your Gh by 3. So I would add about a tablespoon and a half or close to 2 tablespoons next time you do a water change. That should get it to 6. Then everytime you do a 50% water change after that, I would add about a tablespoon or a little less, this will keep it at around 6.
The nicrew is a nice light, it should work with any standard glass lid. What fertilizer did you end up getting? Again thrive or easy green are basic simple effective ferts.
you’re off to a good start with a new light,equilibrium, and an all in one liquid fertilizer. Let us know in a month or two if this helps.
 
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2fishinabowl

Another hint I thought of is that my lighting is insufficient. Currently I have the standard lighting that comes with the 20 gallon. Here’s the link Top Fin® Essentials Aquarium Starter Kit | fish Starter Kits | PetSmart I blame this tank for tricking me into getting white gravel.
My wife and I are using a 20-gallon high Top Fin starter tank kit. Lots of great answers here on setups etc. and I don't disagree but... for what it's worth our plants are doing great with the standard Top Fin light which we have on a timer for 8 hours a day.

We've buried 2 Easy Green root tabs (gravel is 3 inches deep) and used 1 squirt of liquid Easy Green per week. We have Anubias and Java Fern tied with white sewing thread to the arch in the center of these before/after pics. We also have Amazon Sword in the corners and Anacharis here there and everywhere. That "tree" to the left and replanted by arch is Water Wisteria and grows really fast.

Before pic :

20201126_123916.jpg
After 6 weeks pic :

20201220_131725.jpg

Like you we had a couple things planted wrong and moved things a bit. Also trimmed off the melted/brown leaves when we saw growth. Isn't this forum great? You'll be fine. Just be patient.
 
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Epicoz

Thanks Ill try everything mentioned, I might try root tabs and I’ll trim things down. I’ll let you know on the progress when i see noticable change
 
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