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Old 12-28-2006, 10:33 PM   #1
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Dying plants and dying honeys in a discus tank

I've had a planted Discus tank set up for about a year. My discus are doing fantastic. I chose dwarf honey gouramis as tankmates, because they swim slow and do not grow much larger than an inch. Initially all was well. My plants were growing like crazy, and all my fish were in great health. After months of everything going well, I put a gold nugget pleco in the tank. My honeys and plants started dying off. The cabomba and moneywort are the only plants doing well. The swords and banana plants deteriorated. I got a new batch of honeys after the first batch was gone. They lasted 1-2 months and they were dead. I replaced them again...same results. Any plants I put in the tank other than the cabomba and moneywort die off rather quickly.
The water parameters stay the same. The temp stays the same. The only thing that is different is the addition of the pleco. I have a pair of blue diamond discus, the gold nugget, and one tetra, and they are all in optimum health.

Anyone with suggestions or ideas of what could be the cause, please help. I love my honeys and would like to have more of a variety of plants in the tank. Thanx!
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:41 PM   #2
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Please post more stats about your tank.

Tank Size
Lighting Details
Substrate
CO2 Details
Ferts (What, How Much, How Often)
Test Results (Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, Phosphates, KH, pH)

Pictures or a more detailed description of what the plants looked like as the deteriated would also be helpful.
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:18 AM   #3
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You would also do well to split this question since you also have an issue with unhealthy fish. The situation could be related however, you would want the assistance of discus/gourami keepers to address it.
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:24 AM   #4
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Banana plants are not true aquatic plants and are extremely hard if not impossible to keep alive under water. It's possible that your pleco is scraping (with it's mouth) the leaves of your sword and damaging them in the process, the other plants are too fine leaved for your pleco to scrape.

Look closely at your gouramies and see if the tetra or maybe even discus nips at their ''feelers''. If they lose those they will deteriorate rather quickly I believe. Are these true honey gouramies? (pale female, male orange with brown and yellow top fin? ) Or are they 'flame' honeys? If they are not natural, they may be painted, which would lead to death much faster then normal honeys. Do they have some plants at the surface to rest in or to build bubble nests? (I used to own a pair and bred them)
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:00 PM   #5
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Thanx for your interst Purrbox! I'll try to get some pics up maybe tonight. In the meantime, here's the stats....
29 g
Black small gravel substrate
All live plants
2 pieces of driftwood
Lighting is basic flourescent strip light
I don't know the CO2 details?? How do I find that out?
I'll test it tonight when I get off of work.
My water quality is good, I'm certain. I use a DI and do frequent PWC. Normally my PH is between 6.5 and 6.8, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, and nitrates are hard to read on my test kit, but I'm guessing they're O.K. I'll test it tonight and post the results.

I don't have anything that test for phosphates or KH for freshwater.
Does fert mean fertilizer? (Go ahead, it's O.K. to giggle) Is that the same as plant food?
There's only one thing I add to the tank. It's Plant Gro from Nutrafin. I don't add it that often because it has iron in it, and I'm not sure how O.K. that is with my Discus. They're the most important thing in the tank to me.

To Billsgate,
They are all pale and orange to dark red. They do not get bigger than a little over an inch. (I've had success with them in another tank years ago) No brown at all. I was told the males willl have the darker red coloring to them. They do not look like they're painted. The last one died last night, so I can't take any pics to show you now. I have no surface plants. I did at one point have some hornwort, but that died. I gotta run to work. I'll be back on tonight
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Old 12-29-2006, 10:42 PM   #6
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I would post the fish issue in the sick fish section, as for the plants not doing well, I believe the problem is your plants, that are not doing well need more light than you are providing for them. With that level of light no need to add any fertilizers or CO2.
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Old 12-30-2006, 02:46 PM   #7
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Should I upgrade my bulb? It's the standard flourescent that came with the hood. If I should upgrade, what type of bulb should I put in there? And I will post in the sick fish section thanks. But I would like a little help with my plants. I never read up on them. I just looked to go with low to med light, easy plants. I really didn't want a complicated plant tank. Just some real plants, cuz they look prettier. Any suggestions on what types to put in there? My cabomba is doing great. I also have moss balls that look fantastic. The moneywort is still healthy too, they just keep nibbling at it.
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:06 PM   #8
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You really don't need to "upgrade" the bulb, however it may be time to change the bulb. It's generally recommended that standard flourescent bulbs be changed out every 6-9 month. Even though the light looks fine to us after that amount of time the spectrum starts to shift and is less usable by the plants. With stock lighting and some moderately demanding plants it becomes even more important to change your bulbs regularly. A regular triphosphor or full spectrum daylight bulb from your hardware store should work just fine. These bulbs have peaks in the necessary spectrum for the plants and a kelvin rating between 5000K and 10000K.

If you aren't injecting CO2, you can assume atmospheric levels of 3ppm.

Ferts is an abreviation for fertilizers as you guessed. With as little light as you have, you probably wouldn't need to dose trace and potassium more than about once a week. Possibly Nitrates and Phosphates if either starts to bottom out.
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Old 12-31-2006, 02:28 PM   #9
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don't know if the sick fish issue has been addressed in the sick fish section. but would like to point out that sometimes honey gouramis are injected with hormones to enhance their colors. this leads to their early demise. or they may harbour some internal parasites from the source.
the same thing happens at one of my lfs'.
since the discus are doing well, i'd recommend getting a new batch from a different source.
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