This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.
  1. We are after as many aquarium plant images that we can get, doing so will assist us in completing the aquarium plant database.

    https://barrreport.com/threads/aquatic-plant-images-wanted.14374/
    Dismiss Notice

Can't keep plants alive

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by brwaldbaum, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    My 1st post was only a summary of my problem; in it, I mentioned the t8's.
    I am now using 3 watts per gallon of pc lighting (2 x 96 watt bulbs, one 6500K or so and the other 10,000K).

    In the past, I have tried anubias and java moss. Within a week of being placed in my tank, the leaves already present on anubias seem to "bleach out." If the plant is left in my tank long enough, new leaves grow in as stubs. Java moss does absolutely nothing. It doesn't die, but it doesn't grow either. When I had it in my tank, I would pull it out about once a month to rinse it in tapwater. The moss always looked healthy, but it never grew an inch.

    Brian
     
  2. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    I give up. Even though I did a 50% water change with bottled water, my rotala rotundifolia continued to die, and my hygrophila polysperma started producing shriveled leaves. So, I threw out my remaining plants, all my ferts, and my pc lights. The CO2 tank goes back to the welding supply shop tomorrow.

    I just couldn't figure out the trick to keeping plants. I envy all of you who have beautiful tanks, and I thank everyone for their advice and suggestions.

    Brian
     
  3. marktnguyen

    marktnguyen Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Brian,

    I'm sorry that you're experiencing so many issues in your pursuit of a planted aquarium. I'm new to this hobby but part of my job is to troubleshoot and resolve complex systems.

    The four major contributions to healthy plants are:

    1) Lighting
    2) Water
    3) Fertilization
    4) Co2

    From what I've read so far, it seems that the following are not the problem in your situation:

    1) Lighting
    2) Water

    The two things left are:

    3) Fertilization
    4) Co2

    Normally, 3 & 4 help to produce lush plants. In college (a long, long time ago), I was able to grow java fern and duck weed (and water sprite) very successfully for several years without 3 & 4.

    If you're unable to keep java fern and duck weed, and 1 & 2 are fine, then you're introducing something toxic to the system that's killing them. I suspect that it's possibly 3 or 4, or 3 and 4.

    If you're still willing to try planted aquaria, here's the approach I suggest you use to isolate the culprit(s) without spending more money:

    1) Remove all the old water from your aquarium to remove all possible toxins (I would siphon all the water down to the bottom of the tank, add water, then siphon, then add water, then siphon, etc.). Refill the tank with new water.

    2) Add duck weed and/or java fern

    3) Do not add CO2 or fertilizer. If you have fish in the tank, that should be enough for the duck week or java fern.

    4) Wait and see.

    I have a couple of questions:

    - Are you using commercial plant fertilizer or a type of PMDD? I have nothing against PMDD (I use it). Your fertilizer may be contaminated.

    - Is the CO2 tank refurbished or new? The tank or gas may be contaminated.

    Please let me know if you're going to continue to isolate the issue.

    Mark
     
  4. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    3
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    I suggested on June 9 that Brian set up a new 10 gallon tank with no substrate, good lighting, and a few fish and easy-to-grow plants. If the plants then died it would clearly be a water problem (which could then be verified by using a different source of water.)

    It would have been educational if he had done that, regardless of the outcome, but apparently he was just too frustrated to continue.

    Bill
     
  5. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    I assumed that replacing my substrate with quartz gravel and eco-complete would, in effect, be similar to the experiment you suggested, since quartz gravel and eco-complete are known to be non-toxic.

    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Brian

    I guess I'm still addicted to reading plant forums, even though I currently have no plants!
     
  6. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Mark,

    I appreciate the advice, but I'm done with plants.

    With regard to your questions:

    I was using KNO3 from an on-line h-ponics store, but I've also used KNO3 based stump remover.

    My KH2PO4 was from fisher or aldrich, I don't remember which.
    My Traces were CSM+B
    My K2SO4 and CaSO4 were from a local garden center
    My MgSO4 was from the drug store
    My NaHCO3 was from the grocery store.

    Brian
     
  7. marktnguyen

    marktnguyen Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Brian,

    You're welcome.

    Mark
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,692
    Likes Received:
    716
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Will you try non CO2?
    Or an Excel tank?
    May as well at this point.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,692
    Likes Received:
    716
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    I'll post some non CO2 tanks I have shortly.

    Many of you will be pissed that I don't do much to them.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Dolfan

    Dolfan Lifetime Members
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    I have a 75 gallon non co2 tank with eco complete substrate and 4 discus only. I have 2x65 watt power compact flourescents for lighting. I add 2 capfuls a week of Flourish and 2 pinches(the middle size spoon from Greg Watson) of kh2po4 and 1 tablespoon of Equilibrium per week. I have no algae and nice steady growth with lots of plants. If I did not have discus I would also add a dash( the larger spoon from Greg Watson twice a week) of kno3. I also added 2 cupfulls of Black Diamond Leonardite which I simply rinsed a little and poured in the tank. I did not learn about this until after setup and it is the same color as eco complete. Maybe this method could work for you.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,692
    Likes Received:
    716
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Less light and non CO2= less work.
    Slower growth, but less work.

    Basically if things get away from easily(you know your habits), non CO2 planted tank allow a nice middle ground and even better results over the long term for most folks.

    The goal is to have a successfull planted tank.
    Habits often dictate things there.
    EI is popular because it's a simple method for the nutrients, it does not address CO2, that's a seperate issue.

    That's why 95% of all folk's algae or growth related problems are CO2 related.

    So take that part out of the equation, take away water changes, reduce the dosing, then you got it........



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Well, if I used 96 watts of NO T8's, would I have to pack the whole tank with plants again? I would feel like a fool if I, yet again, bought $50 or so of plants (not to mention the fact that I already told Mark I was done with plants :)). Could I buy two bunches of rotala rotund. and two bunches of hygrophila polysperma, stick them in the back corners of the tank, and pull the lights toward the back of the tank? That's the most I'd be willing to spend/do this time around, seeing as I already have the T8's.

    As far as CO2 is concerned, I'm confident that I always had an ample supply during the photoperiod. Here are the reasons:

    1) All of my plants went to their death pearling!
    2) My plants started pearling no later than 2 hours after lights on and continued to do so for the entire photoperiod.
    3) My lamotte CO2 test kit always measured a minimum of 35ppm at all times during the photoperiod.
    4) My pH/KH kits agreed with the lamotte test kit.

    I guess you can understand my frustration.

    Brian
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,692
    Likes Received:
    716
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Sure, do the weeds in the back two corners and let them grow well.
    Good old Egeria densa => Anacharis is also good.

    I'm not suggesting you go out and buy a bunch of $$$ weeds. Heck ask for donations, we have a lot of excess weeds around here, pay for shipping and folks generally will send you their excess.

    Don't be so confident on the CO2.
    That will burn you.

    If the plants are growing and pearlign well after 2 hours of lights on, and you are adding the nutrients, and the light, there is nothing else there you can do.

    So, either you are missing something there.........or you need to prune off the algae that's there and keep on top of trimming and cleaning algae for a 2-3 weeks, clean filters good etc, scrub glass, equipment etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,692
    Likes Received:
    716
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    I'm headed to plant fest soon, I can mail you all the weeds you want:)
    Weeds we have, plant hobbyist are more important, we wnat to keep them and make sure they succeed.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    3
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Hi, Brian,

    I bet you have generated well over 100 posts from people who are trying to help you with this problem, on this and other forums. Yet you still can't grow plants and you don't know why. And no one else does either.

    The way to solve a technical problem is to form a hypothesis and test it. If the hypothesis proves incorrect, you have learned something and you can go on to the next hypothesis.

    Keep the number of variables to a minimum, ideally one.

    If I had your problem, I would first assume that I had a water or aquarium contamination problem. To test that, I would get a new 10 gallon aquarium, rinse it (no soap, etc), and add tap water and dechlor chemical to it. I'd add some easy-to-grow floating plants, like duckweed and hornwort, and about 10 or 15 adult guppies. I'd give it 2 to 3 WPG of good lighting (ideally new tubes) for 10 to 12 hours a day, maintain a 75 - 80 degree temperature, supply a little water movement, and observe what happens.

    Note that there is no substrate and no dosing. Also note that I'm not suggesting some of the so-called easy plants, because some varieties of them are hard to grow. If duckweed dies, there is truly something wrong.

    If you have done all of those things and the plants still die, then it has to be the water that is causing the problem. That should be tested, but change only the water variable, and use water from a lake or stream where plants grow.

    This approach will lead to the solution of your problem. If you choose to follow it, please keep me informed.

    Bill
     
  16. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Well, I have generated more views than any other topic on this web page, although I can't say whether I'm proud of that or not! I have intentionally avoided posting too much in the past 3 years because I don't want to bother people with my problems. From the description of my problem, I am sure people think I'm incompetent, crazy, or both. I believe I have started no more than 5 threads in my web forum career, and only 2 on this topic, including the one you're reading.

    I hope you're not offended that I didn't do the experiment you suggested as described. I guess I was being lazy by hoping to kill two birds with one stone by replacing my substrate entirely. In that manner, I thought I was following both your suggestion and Tom's. So, I vow to you right now, as soon as I get back from the inlaws, I will start a small substrate-less tank.

    I should point out that I have tried the following substrates in the past few years:

    1) Quartz gravel
    2) Quartz gravel with pre-rinsed ironite underneath
    3) Schultz aquatic soil
    4) Schultz aquatic soil with some potting soil
    5) Home Depot playsand
    6) my current substrate

    I made my initial post to this thread intentionally short; I didn't want to bog
    people down in details. My philosophy has always been to keep my mouth shut and listen to the experts, including you, Tom, and all the other people who have responded to my posts.

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  17. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    3
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    Brian,

    It's good that you are going to try that controlled experiment. You have a hard-to-diagnose problem, and by eliminating as many variables as possible in this test or the next one, you will solve it.

    I am far from being an expert; I am very low tech and unschooled, among other things. But when you beat this problem, and you will, with your perseverence, you will become one.

    Keep us informed.

    Bill
     
  18. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    I just wanted to acknowledge that Marktnguyen offered similar advice, and I thank him for that.

    Brian
     
  19. jimjim

    jimjim Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    brwaldbaum: Many years ago I lived in an apartment building that regurlary(?) sprayed for bugs with some heavy duty stuff. All my plants would croak but my fish did'nt. For some reason your post reminded me of that place. I moved my air pump up above the water level and solved the problem. I'd say as much as you've persevered, look for an outside problem like bug spray or soap(tank got washed with it), spray wash of some kind around the air pump or top(glass cleaner). My .02 worth...Jim
     
  20. brwaldbaum

    brwaldbaum Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    12:56 AM
    Re: Can't keep plants alive

    That's interesting. I've never had a problem keeping fish alive, while my plants die regularly.

    During the summer, the exterminator comes by every 3 weeks. I don't have an airpump, but I'll lower the eheim return spray bar deeper into the tank to reduce surface agitation. In addition, I am considering adding carbon to my filter during my non-CO2 plant trial. Is there a consensus as to whether carbon in a planted tank is detrimental?

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
Loading...

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice