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Old 11-29-2023, 03:30 PM   #1
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First plants - how to tell if they're doing well?

So I just purchased my first four live plants a few days ago ... unfortunately I don't recall the names but perhaps they can be identified from the attached pictures.

When I was at the LFS, they suggested not to add any fertilizers, root tabs, etc. Their explanation was that it would more likely cause algae issues than help the plants grow.

My concern is that I only have a few small fish in the tank now (4 cardinal tetras) and I don't think they generate a lot of nitrates for the plants to consume ... I also noticed some issues with the plants (e.g. leaves that look slightly transparent, small holes in some leaves, broken blades on the 'grassy' plant, etc.) and I'm concerned that they aren't doing too well.

Can someone take a look at the pictures and let me know what you think?

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Old 11-29-2023, 03:53 PM   #2
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Repost your photos in a couple of months. A few days is far too short a period of time to judge plant health.

Commercially grown plants are cultivated “emersed” rather than “submerged”. This way the plants can easily get their carbon requirement from atmospheric CO2. They can be grown quicker which makes the operation much more commercially viable. You take that plant, put it in your aquarium, cut off its source of CO2 and the plant goes into survival mode. It starts to use up its stored carbon and the leafs melt. You may lose all your original growth to melt but new leafs will have a structure more suited to its new environment and get its carbon from the water. Plant melt is a normal stage in aquarium plant growth. To judge the health of a plant look for new growth rather than what might be happening to the original growth, and judge it over extended periods of time.

Fertiliser doesnt cause algae growth. It might make algae growth worse in conjunction with other factors, but isnt a cause. Many aquarists dose extremely high concentrations of nutrients without it causing algae. Plants will benefit from an all in one fertiliser like flourish, and rooted plants will benefit from root tabs in the absence of a dirt based substrate.

I wouldnt worry about nitrate for now. If down the line your plants look like they are suffering from nitrogen deficiency and your nitrate is suspiciously low then you might want to take action, but as long as you have some nitrate you can be sure your plants arent consuming them faster than your livestock produces them.
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