Help me save my plants!


Junior Poster
Feb 17, 2009
Setup my 72G tank 1 month ago. Here are the details:

- Using 5 parts RO/DI water to 1 part faucet water (faucet water tests off my test kit scale on KH and GH). I am adding Kent Marine RO/DI additive to the RO/DI water.
- Temp is 75-76 degrees.
- Starting dosing EI 1 week ago, but don't use CO2 injection. Starting adding Excel 1-1.5x dose recommendation daily 4 days ago.
- Changed 50% water 3 days ago and have been changing the water weekly.
- Water is currently testing at (with my crappy API test strips):
dGH: 3-4
dKH: 2-3
PH: 7
NO2: 0
NO3: 20-30ppm

I am running 2 65watt 1month old 6700k CF lights (can't go any lower, have a 4-65w fixture only running 2 bulbs).

Using a Fluval 405 with bio tubes and some activated carbon with almost full tank spray bar with slight surface agitation.

I am using Eco-Complete substrate (3 weeks old). I am using Flourish for my traces and have just upped that to 15ml daily instead of 5ml.

I haven't been following the dosing very long (just really 4-5 days) but my plants are continuing to deteriorate (especially the Ludwigia repens). The Giant Hygrophila (that was pearling ridiculously at the LFS in a poorly lit and maintained tank) looks like it is slowly losing structure as well but I have only had it for 5 days. And the micro swords have lost quite a few blades but barely sprouted anything new.

What could I be missing or am I just impatient and it is normal for the plants to deteriorate for awhile? I don't expect dramatic growth but now that the tank should be getting all the nutrients it needs (for a non-co2 injected tank), the lights are around 2w/g, I am doing weekly or more water changes, and the fish load is moderate (all small: 10 cardinals, 2 clowns, 6 danios) I would expect the plants to at least stay the same or show signs of getting healthier but that doesn't seem to be the case. Any help would be greatly appreciated (from a recently converted planter or thinks that maybe my old reef tank was easier).

Picasa Web Albums - Chris - 02_24_09
Picasa Web Albums - Chris - 02_24_09


Prolific Poster
Jan 18, 2009
Bellingham Wa
From your pictures I cant really see anything going to wrong. Maybe a little melt on the Repens. It sounds like your doing everything right. I would just be patient and let the plants acclimate to the new light conditions, ferts, excel, etc. Lots of plants take some time to get adjusted before they start taking off. I wouldnt change anything for awile. How long have the plants been in the tank? It looks like you are algae free at this point. Thats a good thing.