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Old 09-07-2003, 11:09 PM   #1
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Plant Help for Newbie

Hi, a friend of mine who has had quite a bit of success with his own tanks help me to start mine recently.

He graciously donated some of his plants to our new tank.

Recently, however, I've noticed that most of these plants have turned brown and/or died. I didn't think much of it at the time, but my wife purchased two banana plants to add to the tank. Within a few hours, one of the leaves from these plants has taken on a lot of brown color on the underside and has already shown a few holes which I do not recall being there when we first introduced the plant to the tank.

I did a quick search around the net to see what I could find and came across this website.

Any suggestions on how I can proceed from here? It does seem a bit odd to me that the plants would turn brown so quickly.

I guess here's a bit of a description of the tank. It's 29 gallons with Aquatic Soil as the gravel base. We have a fluorescent UV light which should work with the plants and that's set on a timer to be lit about 11-12 hours each day. We have about 10 very small fish in the tank: 3 platys, 1 pleco, 4 neons, 2 tetras, and two swordtails.

The water temperature is about 80 degrees. pH was 6.6 when I tested it yesterday. The water had been a little cloudy two days ago, but I added two "Water Clear" tablets from Jungle Laboratories which cleared it up. Could these tablets have introduced something to kill the plants?
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Old 09-07-2003, 11:25 PM   #2
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Moved this to the planted forum; may get quicker responses there
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Old 09-07-2003, 11:30 PM   #3
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Well it sounds like you have a great start happening here. How many watts per gallon of light do you have. Many plants require high light levels of 2.5 - 3 watts of light or more to survive. You might also want to look into adding a fertilizer as your water amy lack the elements the plants need to survive. I'm just starting with plants myself but it seems odd that your plants have died so quickly.

I do suggest staying away from any chemicals you don't need. The only one that should be used short of medications is a good dechlorinator. I assume you did use dechlorinated water.
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Old 09-08-2003, 03:25 PM   #4
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Re: Plant Help for Newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by fidodido
two banana plants to add to the tank. Within a few hours, one of the leaves from these plants has taken on a lot of brown color on the underside and has already shown a few holes which I do not recall being there when we first introduced the plant to the tank.
Whoa - a few hours - are you serious? That can't be possible for a plant to die so quickly, especially a banana plant - they are pretty hardy.

The fact your tank has live fish in it indicates your water is not a toxic bath, which is the only thing I can think of that would kill the plant so quickly.

Quote:
a fluorescent UV light which should work with the plants
when you say UV light, do you mean a tanning lamp, a black light, or just one of those plant bulbs that has a purple appearence to it?

Quote:
pH was 6.6 when I tested it yesterday.
your pH is a tad low - try adding some sea shells or marble chips to your water to help bring that PH up to at least 6.8

Quote:
The water had been a little cloudy two days ago, but I added two "Water Clear" tablets from Jungle Laboratories which cleared it up
cloudy water is a normal part of a tank's development - just let it sort itself out, without adding extra chemicals.

Quote:
Could these tablets have introduced something to kill the plants?
I highly doubt that ... even an algaecide (like No More Algae or Algone) would not kill plants as quickly as you mentioned - heck, even high powered herbacides like Round-UP take at least 16 hours to work.
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Old 09-08-2003, 05:29 PM   #5
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Some Die-Off Is Normal

Moving plants from one tank to another will inevitably result in some die-off, but certainly not on the scale you're talking about. I would also imagine that the tank conditions from the old to the new were not all that different? As the others have pointed out, it is rare that a plant will perish that quickly. Was there some kind of glass cleaner or other solvent used when you prepared the tank or cleaned it? Was the tank brand new from an lfs or other such place? If not, where was the tank stored as was there any residual dirt, dust, or whatever else in it? Yet as the others point out, if the fish aren't dying, then all of this seems rather moot since if there were toxins, everyone would be dead. Now in the out-of-water garden, it's possible for soil to be too hot and thereby cause plants to wither or die precipitously since they literally burn up from the toxicity of the soil. I don't know if there's a parallel here, but I thought it might be worth mentioning.
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Old 09-13-2003, 03:26 AM   #6
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Thanks for everyone's posts. I consulted with my wife and she tells me that I was being too paranoid and the plants were a little brown when we bought them. The smaller donated plants have mostly shriveled, though one or two have sprouted new leaves. However the long stemmed plants (sorry, I don't know what kind of plant it is) have mostly lost their leaves and their branches have decayed a bit. The larger plants, like the onion plant are doing well. The two new banana plants are doing ok now, but the larger leaves they had have shriveled and I had to trim off the longer stems. We did add some fertilizer to each of the plants, I guess only some of them took to it.

As for everyone's questions, the tank has a 20W AquaGlo fluorescent lamp that the lfs included with the tank. We cleaned the tank a day before we filled it with water, but we used a heavily diluted Simple Green to do so, and mostly on the outside of the tank. While the fish continue to thrive, I'd say that most of the plants are not exactly thriving. We have an onion plant which is thriving aside from some brown ends, which I trimmed off.

I'll check the pH balance again this weekend and look for shells or marble chips to try and bring it up.
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Old 09-13-2003, 06:47 AM   #7
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I think you should try not to used "Water Clear". Instead if the water is murkey, do a partial water change. The "Water Clear" is a Phosphor bonding chemical which normally will poison your water if over dose.

As for hole on the leave, check if there is snail in the tank (3-5 mm).

Also you might want to add iron into your tank (can get from lfs which normally descript as tank fertilizer) as iron and mineral cannot be replenish naturally in tank (fish poop only provide phosphor and nitrogen base fertilizer).
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Old 09-13-2003, 08:58 AM   #8
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Once again the problem is light. Most of the plants you will attempt to keep in this tank will die. You need at a minimum of 2 watts per gallon. That would be 3 times your current lighting level. I don't care what kind of "magic" bulb the LFS sold you or attempts to sell you 20 watts of light is just not enough. If you have a standard light strip over the tank then I suggest you head over to www.ahsupply.com and get a 55 watt upgrade kit and a bulb in the 5300k-6700k range, or if you want to spend the extra cash get the same bulb that All-Glass uses in their CF light fixture, the 9325K bulb, but AH Supply doesn't sell that bulb. Place this kit in your strip light and you will be much better off and very close to 2 watts per gallon.
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