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Old 05-13-2011, 06:28 PM   #1
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Desperate for plant advice, they keep dieing

I am having a VERY hard time keeping any plants alive in my aquarium. I had several plants a couple month ago and they all died over time. I tried several things to get them to survive. I recently bought some new plants and they seem to be doing the same thing.

*I bought*
two *Bacopa caroliniana
Two green Cabomba caroliniana

I have them in a 55 gallon I use gravel substrate about 4" deep. I have a light fixture with*
2 x 54 watt 6700 and
2 x 54 watt 10,000
I'm only using the two 6700 right now. I had them going for 8 hours a day and just changed to 12 hours a day, not sure if this was a good thing to do? I add flourish twice a week aswell as add enough florish iron to keep it at 0.5 mg/L I use Nutrafin master test kit to check it weekly. It's in a tank with comunity fish I have not seen any of them eat them and none have gotten up-rooted.

My filter is a fluval 404 I know it's over kill buy got it for a great price. My amonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all at zero. Ph is 7.8

I have not added co2 yet. I used to have a planted aquarium (sold it when we moved) and it never had co2 and did great. Big als our lfs told me they would be fine without co2 just grow slower. Also did not have hundreds of dollars to buy a co2 kit.*

What*happened with last plants and looks like it's doing exact same thing again. Tops look ok at first bottoms slowly decay, thin out, rot and break apart so tops float away. They sometimes look slightly yellowish or brownish not on all plants.*

I am stumped have looked everywhere ANY ideas would be very appreciated. Sorry post is so long

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Old 05-13-2011, 06:33 PM   #2
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It sounds as if you have an excess of lighting, which is causing a nutrient imbalance.

What is your nitrate testing at?
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:43 PM   #3
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nitrate is at 0. I'm only running the 2 54 watt 6700 bulbs which is only 1.96 wpg. That's too much? Should I lower how long it's on for or add nutrients more often?
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:47 PM   #4
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Try raising your nitrate to around 15ppm... that is most likely the cause IMO
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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2WPG of T5HO is a good amount of light if you aren't dosing macros and running pressurized CO2.

I would start with dosing nitrogen and potassium.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:54 PM   #6
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I would check your basic water parameters, gh/kh etc. What temperature does the tank run at? Lacking in nutrients will slow growth and with that level of lighting you might run into algae issues but I'm not sure if it would cause an actual die-off.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:01 PM   #7
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To be honest I am not sure what dosing macros means. Should the plants still be able to survive without it and without co2?

How would I raise nitrates?

I add flourish twice a week it has
0.07% nitrogen I'm guessing that's not enough? I know they have flourish nitrogen and flourish potassium should I be adding them as well?

I had a little algie problem but it has slowed down to normal now

sorry for all the questions but this is helping alot thanks for all the replies
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:05 PM   #8
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Also is flourish a good one to use or is there one with good amounts of everything in it so you only have to add one? Insted of a bunch of specific ones
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveb82 View Post
To be honest I am not sure what dosing macros means. Should the plants still be able to survive without it and without co2?
Without injected CO2... yes. Without macro nutrients - no.


Quote:
How would I raise nitrates?
Add a nitrogen supplement, like Flourish N, or dose dry KNO3

Quote:
I add flourish twice a week it has
0.07% nitrogen I'm guessing that's not enough? I know they have flourish nitrogen and flourish potassium should I be adding them as well?
0.07% N is effectively 0. Flourish N and Flourish K will work fine.

Quote:
I had a little algie problem but it has slowed down to normal now
Adding more ferts might temporarily increase algae growth... but once you get it under control it will not be a problem. Unfortunately what is good for plants is good for algae. Here is some general info on nutrients in the planted tank:


Plants need 5 big things to grow, and several smaller amounts of other nutrients to thrive.

The big things:
1. Light
2. Carbon - This comes in a few forms... your plants will use CO2 in the water to get this. Without injecting CO2 your water will remain at equilibrium with the air, around 7ppm CO2. By injecting CO2 you can raise the CO2 to "unnatural" levels and essentially kick the plants into high gear. The consensus is the most beneficial level is somewhere between 20-40ppm CO2. You can also add Carbon by using a product called "seachem excel" or another gultaraldehyde product. It works very well with most plants, but can cause problems with others (namely hornwort, anacharis, and a few others) so read up on it before putting it in your tank.
3. Nitrogen (N): One of the 3 "macro-nutrients" for plant growth. If you have fish in your tank, there is a natural source of N provided by fish waste and uneaten food, in the form of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Your plants will soak up these forms of N and use them to grow. As you add more light to a tank, especially if it is heavily planted, your plants may use up all of the N in your tank, and it may become necessary to supplement the N using fertilizer.

4. Phosphorus (P): the 2d of the 3 macro-nutrients. It occurs naturally in many water sources, and is also found in many foods and other organic material. It may be necessary to dose P in high light tanks where the plants are using up all available naturally occurring P. It occurs in the tank in the form of Phosphate, PO4... so you can get a phosphate test kit to check how much P your plants have available to use.

5. Potassium (K): The last of the 3 macro-nutrients. K doesn't occur naturally in much that is already in a standard tank. Most off the shelf aquarium fertilizers contain K (and not the other 2 macros). It is less harmful in large quantities, and almost any tank (from low to high) will benefit from the addition of a supplement that contains K.

The micro-nutrient or trace elements:

Plants also need other nutrients in much smaller quantities that are often referred to as micro-nutrients or trace elements. These include Iron (Fe), the most common trace element added, and a commonly available fertilizer. It also includes other elements, like Boron, Mg, etc.

Most ferts you find in your local fish store will be a liquid form that combines 1 or more of the nutrients I described above. Most serious FW Planted tank hobbyists prefer to dose each of the 4 categories above individually using dry fertilizers. You can buy enough dry fert to last years for a tank of your size for about $20-30. The liquid ferts sold in LFSs are very expensive in comparison, sometimes costing 20-70 times as much if you add up what you are getting per dose. Planted Aquarium Fertilizer - Home is a good source.

In addition to liquid dosing or dry dosing to the water column, there are also "root tabs" available that get "planted" in the substrate under the plants. They can do wonders for plants that are heavy root feeders. They contain 1 or more of the categories of ferts (N, P, K, or trace) I described above.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:30 PM   #10
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Wow that was amazingly helpful. I did not find much if that when I was searching Internet. I will prob order some of the dry fert tonight. And I never thought those tabs did much. I'll buy some of them too.

Feel dumb asking but is there an easy way to plant tabs with plants over them? I find it hard enough to keep plants in well I pull my fingers out
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