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Old 08-27-2012, 01:55 PM   #1 
Atena
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Frustrated with plants... help!

I want to redo my fish tank completely and start over for a healthy planted tank.

I have black sand and gravel but I don't think that is a good enough substrate for anything.

So far I have killed hawthorn, wisteria, tall grassy plant, and my hairgrass is just barely hanging in there (though it had the lowest chance of survival)

My java fern is doing well but the leaves are very dark with black spots.

I have plant lights already, I think the problem is my turf or my fertilizers.

Any advice?
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:51 PM   #2 
ChoclateBetta
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Leaf frets and root ferts an minimum light anuibus java moss Marimo sounds like you need CO2 peace lily in filter live the betta.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:12 AM   #3 
Sakura8
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Uhm, hi ChoclateBetta. What was that you said?

Atena, I have just black sand too and my plants are hanging in there. How long do you leave the lights on? Do you use any additional fertilizers? Most plants benefit from those. I'm surprised your dwarf hairgrass is the only survivor, usually hairgrass is incredibly difficult to grow under any conditions but absolutely ideal.

Hmm. Wisteria is usually a very easy plant. Maybe try again with it and this time leave the lights on for 8 hours a day and use a liquid fertilizer like Excel or API liquid plant fertilizer.

Your java fern sounds okay actually. Older leaves turn dark colored and get dark spots, which is a sign they are getting ready to produce spores on their leaves, which is how they reproduce.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:14 AM   #4 
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Chocolate, I actually do have a Marimo moss ball. - I am sorry, I am having trouble getting through your accent, can you reword what you are trying to say please?

Sakura, thank you for the help.

I have the lights on from 8am to a quarter before midnight. I usually go to bed at midnight and turn all the lights out in the house, so I want to give the fish a chance to lower the lights slowly so he isn't suddenly in the dark. first his lights go out then the house lights go out a little while later.

I have a liquid Co2 booster which I ad one drop every day.

I have liquid plant fertilizer that I add to all new water.

I have a fairly high PH brought down by IAL to a 7.4.

Ammonia is always bellow 1 (I have a false reading from the ammonia in my tap water that is neutralized by the additive but still tests at .50).

I am getting one more strip of plant lights to see if that helps.

The wisteria is failing both as a floating plant and as a rooted plant.

I will try some java moss next. It should be the same temperament as java fern so it might do well.

I never had much of a green thumb but I would like to know what I am doing wrong.

Last edited by Atena; 08-28-2012 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:20 AM   #5 
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Wow, I'd like to know what you are doing wrong too because it sounds like you've got it all right. I'm utterly confused now. One thing you can do is PM kfryman. He is very good with plants and might be able to tell you something. Sorry I can't help more. :(
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:52 AM   #6 
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I also use a failry thin layer of black gravel in my 3.5 tank - and I have to thin the plants out every now and then these days, or there'd be no room for the fish! I use no cO2, no ferts. Just fish poo and a good LED light which supports plant growth - all the plants are 'low light' easy care types - java moss, java fern, a couple of crypts, anubias..

The crypts and anubias are healthy but growing very slowly (in this tank, this is a good thing..) but the moss, susswassertang, java fern and banana lily are going nuts. My wisteria does better floating than rooted, as I don't use root tabs in that small tank, or add the iron it craves - it goes pale after a few months, and I move it to my NPT where it thrives.

My pH is about the same as yours.. I have no idea why yours are failing so dramatically! All I can think is: you need better lights, maybe try plants with less roots, cutting the co2 for a few weeks, and do a drop of ferts a couple of times a week.

Is your java fern in the substrate or tied to something? It hates being planted, as the rhizome rots away.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:40 PM   #7 
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With minimum fertilizer and light you could add anuibus java fern java moss you could also add a peace lily to your filter you might want to invest in those machines that add CO2.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:13 PM   #8 
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I bought an expensive substrate for my 14 gal tank and still killed 40 plants that I bought from an aquarium plant specialist. Meanwhile, my little 3 gallon tank with run of the mill gravel and half-dead plants I bought from Petco? It's thriving! Go figure. All I do is add flourish to the tank with every other water change. My anubias is doing great; like you I had issues with wisteria both planted and floating so I've given up on that for now. Mine just disintegrated basically.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:24 PM   #9 
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I'm new to plants but could you have your lights on too long? 14 hours seems like a long time; I usually have mine on for 7-8h and my plants are doing great (fingers crossed).
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:33 PM   #10 
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I'll tell you one thing, turn the lights off sooner, way sooner. Your lights are on for almost 16 hours! The most you want is 12 hours a day. Fish are fine with light outside of their tank, but you want to limit your lights. If you turn them on at 8, turn them off before 8 pm.

Make sure to research plants as well. Hairgrass is a plant that should have medium-huh light and CO2. Your setup is probably low light. So make sure your setup is ideal for the plants. Chocolate betta I don't think the OP wants to spend $100+ for something not really needed.

What type of light are you using and about how many watts?
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