Plants Not Thriving

Jack Heathcote

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HI all,

In my 110l I've noticed my plants aren't doing so well after nearly a year.

In there is:
-jungle val
- hygrophila polysperma
- anubias nana
- echidnodorus barthii
- echidnodorus parviflorus
- java fern
- anubias heterophyla
- dwarf sag
- brazilian pennywort
- cryptocoryne walkeri
- another cryptocoryne (I forget the name)

Besides my jungle val and my hygrophila polysperma, which both grow like weeds, everything else is stunted, or just looks worse for ware. Even then, the hygrophila's older growth dies back quickly, and the val has an issue with bba (but getting better with co2).

It's fairly well stocked (about 75% off the top of my head on aqadvisor), I dose CO2 at about 1 bubble a second, I use 2 led lights (jewel novolux I think) and I use seachem dark flourite as my substrate.

I also add liquid ferts (tropical premieum) and have tried root tabs, but to no avail. Nothing is dying, but growth is very slow and with many plants it's stunted, and older growth doesn't last long.

Water parameter wise I'm at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrate, and about 20pmm nitrate. All fish seem fine.

I'm missing something, and am planning to rearrange soon, so any advice is appreciated
 

SeattleRoy

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HI Jack Heathcote

Could you please supply some picture of the species that seem to be having the most trouble, pictures of new leaves and older leaves of each species?

Are you dosing the Tropica Premium Nutrition at the full recommended dosage?

Per the Tropica website:
  • Contains iron, manganese and vital micro nutrients
  • Does not contain nitrogen and phosphor
  • Suitable for aquariums with few or slow-growing plants and many fish
 
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Jack Heathcote

Jack Heathcote

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SeattleRoy I am sadly not at home right now, so I can't provide photos, but yes I am using the full dosage of the ferts.

Thunder_o_b looking at the seachem stuff, the range is so large I wouldn't know where to start. Which would you recommend? And the lights aren't plant lights per say but I looked at the lumen rating and they should be fine as long as I don't have any plants which needs high light
 

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With Co2 I can not really say. But Flourish and trace would be good. I use seven of the product line.

Also there is more to lighting than intensity. Plants need red light. The white light is actually for the viewers benefit.
 

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Thunder_o_b are you referring to seachem ferts? Like flourish? I was just considering going to niloc-g or the aquarium co-op guys brand, but if you say flourish is the ticket I'll take that advice after seeing your tanks!
 

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Sean Garland said:
Thunder_o_b are you referring to seachem ferts? Like flourish? I was just considering going to niloc-g or the aquarium co-op guys brand, but if you say flourish is the ticket I'll take that advice after seeing your tanks!
There are several good (and less expensive) brands out there. I just fell in with the Seachem line a long time ago and get good resualts.
 
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Jack Heathcote

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Thunder_o_b that makes sense, what sort of things should I be looking out for when I look at lighting?
 

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I’d recommend switching to Thrive or better yet, get yourself some dry ferts. NilocG has a great dry fert complete package on their website for $30 or somewhere around that. You’re lacking nitrogen and phosphorous, which are super important nutrients for plant growth (especially nitrogen).
 

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I've just moved to dry ferts when I realised that for the price of a couple of months of flourish phosphorus I could get over a years worth of dry ferts!
On top of that I now only dose macro and micro instead of flourish, trace, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, excel and iron.
I held off initially as I was confused with dry ferts, but as it turns out they came with full and simple instructions and dosing bottles as a starter kit.
The point of seachem range is control over each fert but you still have that with dry ferts, you just decide before you mix them with water.
(For example I halved the magnesium salts as I remineralise my RO already)
I have no results to share yet but all the ingredients are almost identical to those in seachem anyway
 

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Jack Heathcote said:
SeattleRoy I am sadly not at home right now, so I can't provide photos, but yes I am using the full dosage of the ferts.
HI Jack Heathcote,

Let me know when you have some pics posted.
 
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Jack Heathcote

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SeattleRoy here are the photos of my plants, sorry for the poor quality the lighting wasn't great and nither is my phone camera. If you want me to take others, I can
 

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SeattleRoy

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Jack Heathcote said:
SeattleRoy Here are the others
HI Jack Heathcote

Thank you for the pictures; they are worth a thousand words!

The plants show a definite lack of magnesium, some indication of lack of calcium, and some indication of a lack of iron. I see interveinal chlorosis on older leaves, with leaf margins curling (up or down in this case mostly down) - these are all related to magnesium. There is also some 'downward leaf tip hooking' and some 'scalloped leaf margins' both of which are related to calcium issues. It is difficult to see if the new leaves of the Hydrocotyle tripartita (aka H. sp 'Japan') are as white as they appear in the photo, but if they are very light green with darker green leaf veins it would indicate insufficient iron.

Here is what I suggest:
1) Continue to do everything as you have been, dosing, weekly water changes, photoperiod.
2) Pick up a bottle of Seachem Equilibrium which contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese
3) Do an initial dose of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons
4) Thereafter, when you do weekly water changes, add I teaspoon of Equilibrium per 10 gallons of new water added

Now the hard part......................wait. Over the next two weeks watch the new leaves that emerge on the various plants, do not watch existing leaves they will not improve and may actually continue to decline in health. Hopefully what you will see are the new leaves emerging greener, healthier, and straighter. The growth rate of the plants may increase. The new leaves, as they mature, should not develop the 'leaf tip hook', curled under leaf margins, or interveinal chlorosis.

When you get a chance could you please provide your pH? Also any water hardness readings like dKH and dGH.

Keep us posted as things progress Jack!
-Roy
 
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Jack Heathcote

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SeattleRoy said:
HI Jack Heathcote

Thank you for the pictures; they are worth a thousand words!

The plants show a definite lack of magnesium, some indication of lack of calcium, and some indication of a lack of iron. I see interveinal chlorosis on older leaves, with leaf margins curling (up or down in this case mostly down) - these are all related to magnesium. There is also some 'downward leaf tip hooking' and some 'scalloped leaf margins' both of which are related to calcium issues. It is difficult to see if the new leaves of the Hydrocotyle tripartita (aka H. sp 'Japan') are as white as they appear in the photo, but if they are very light green with darker green leaf veins it would indicate insufficient iron.

Here is what I suggest:
1) Continue to do everything as you have been, dosing, weekly water changes, photoperiod.
2) Pick up a bottle of Seachem Equilibrium which contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese
3) Do an initial dose of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons
4) Thereafter, when you do weekly water changes, add I teaspoon of Equilibrium per 10 gallons of new water added

Now the hard part......................wait. Over the next two weeks watch the new leaves that emerge on the various plants, do not watch existing leaves they will not improve and may actually continue to decline in health. Hopefully what you will see are the new leaves emerging greener, healthier, and straighter. The growth rate of the plants may increase. The new leaves, as they mature, should not develop the 'leaf tip hook', curled under leaf margins, or interveinal chlorosis.

When you get a chance could you please provide your pH? Also any water hardness readings like dKH and dGH.

Keep us posted as things progress Jack!
-Roy
Thank you so much Roy! I've bought some seachem equilibrium, and it'll be coming in the next few days.

I'll post ph, gh, and kh tomorrow for you. What I will say is that I know that in my area of the UK we have hard water. At last test I think I was 7.6 on ph, and had VERY hard water. If I remember correctly, we have calcium and phosphates in the water already. I have a phosphate test kit, would the results of that be useful too? Thanks again!
 

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Jack Heathcote said:
Thunder_o_b that makes sense, what sort of things should I be looking out for when I look at lighting?
You want to go with the new generation LED lights. It is better to over buy than under buy. If you decide later that you want to grow more challenging plants you will not have to buy lights twice.

You want strong red light for aquatic plants. I have switch almost all our aquariums to these
 

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Jack Heathcote said:
Thank you so much Roy! I've bought some seachem equilibrium, and it'll be coming in the next few days.

I'll post ph, gh, and kh tomorrow for you. What I will say is that I know that in my area of the UK we have hard water. At last test I think I was 7.6 on ph, and had VERY hard water. If I remember correctly, we have calcium and phosphates in the water already. I have a phosphate test kit, would the results of that be useful too? Thanks again!
HI Jack,

Alkaline water (pH>7.0) can make it difficult for plants to absorb some types of iron. We'll see what the results bring in the next couple of weeks and make adjustments from there.
 

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I don't agree with the deficiencies mentioned by SeattleRoy

I definitely see a phosphate and nitrogen deficiency as shown by the Green spot algae on the leaves and overall poor looking growth on the sword-like plant as well as the other plants. The older leaves appear to have brown spots and transparency, a clear sign of nitrogen deficiencies.

True calcium and magnesium deficiencies are rare. Most tap water in the USA, with the exception of some places, contains enough calcium and magnesium already. As for the indication that there's interveinal chlorosis, it is hard to tell if that is a deficiency or the growth habit of the plant. Most hygrophilas, swords, and other stem plants already have pronounced veins on their leaves anyway, making the identification of interveinal chlorosis as a deficiency very hard to do.

Your ferts already indicate that your tank is low in nitrogen and phosphorous, which are two of three essential macronutrients (nutrients that plants use in the highest quantities).

I highly advise that you pickup ferts that include high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous. I like using the powder form of KNO3 and KH2PO4. They're available in a package here:
 
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Jack Heathcote

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SeattleRoy Vishaquatics (Koiman) Just done a full set of tests,
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 40ppm
Gh 17 degrees (!)
Kh 7 degrees
Phosphate 0.2ppm

After reading about gh and kh a bit more, I realise this might be more of an uphill battle than I thought. Does this impact either of your opinions or is seachem equilibrium still the way to go?
 

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Jack Heathcote said:
SeattleRoy Vishaquatics (Koiman) Just done a full set of tests,
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 40ppm
Gh 17 degrees (!)
Kh 7 degrees
Phosphate 0.2ppm

After reading about gh and kh a bit more, I realise this might be more of an uphill battle than I thought. Does this impact either of your opinions or is seachem equilibrium still the way to go?
Thank you for the water parameters Jack Heathcote

Like I had thought originally, it appears that you already have enough calcium and magnesium in your water as indicated by your GH. Your KH is fine. Seachem equilibrium is intended for tanks that are mineral deficient and/or use RO water. In your case, you have more than enough minerals present already in the water.

I still recommend dosing KNO3 and KH2PO4. I think the limiting factor here is phosphate. 0.2ppm is quite low. I like to keep my phosphates at around 4-5ppm. It speeds up plant growth tremendously and makes it a lot more lush. Once you add phosphates, the plants will then be able to rapidly absorb the nitrates left in the water column and the deficiencies will likely go away. It's still important to dose nitrates after this because the nitrate supply will be exhausted after this and the KNO3 also provides a great source of potassium.
 

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