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HELP! My plants are in trouble after only a week!

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by slb, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. slb

    slb Junior Poster

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    I ordered several plants online about a week and a half ago. With the exception of the Bacopa and a couple Hairgrass, everything arrived looking fresh, healthy and green.

    I have the plants in a 72 gallon tank with about 2 watts/gal plus additional room and window light. Water temp is 72 controlled by thermometer. Following the advice of Tom Barr and Diana Walstad, I'm using a partly soil substrate, worm castings, topsoil and sand (which I let season and mineralize for more than a month) all covered by small gravel. The Ph is around 7.4-7.5, the KH is about 4 and the GH is about 7 (I added a little SeaChem Equlibrium to bump this up slightly more). I have also been slightly dosing with SeaChem Flourish to keep the carbon up. No fish so far.

    The plants have been in the tank about a week an a half and many of plants are not doing well.

    Many of the plants (Wendtii Cryp, Rosette Sword, Lutea, Vals, and even Amazon Sword) seem to be rotting or wilting away. The leaves and stems turn transparent and then just seem to disintegrate.

    Other plants are turning brown (Echinodorus, Sagittaria, Java moss, Hairgrass, Ozelot Swords on edges, Amazon Swords on the edges, and even the Hornwort)

    So far the only plants that don't seem to be effected are Bareri Nana, Water Sprite and Java Fern.

    Is there a normal break-in period after which they will bounce back or is something wrong with my system already? If the later, any suggestions what it could be?

    I have read Diana's book and a lot posted on this website and others. I thought I was setting up things correctly. I didn't expect problems so quickly. What I am missing?
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    A few questions back first :)

    1. Please provide more info on your light fixture? Type, # of bulbs, watt per bulb, how mounted, etc.

    2. Do you use c02?

    3. How long has the tank been setup?

    4. What are your GOALS with this tank? Is it to be a low maintenance type tank with few water changes?

    Off the top w/o more information I would suggest you have:

    a. Too much light
    b. Not enough c02
    c. Not enough macro/micro nutrients

    The more info you provide, the better help you will receive.
     
  3. slb

    slb Junior Poster

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    Thanks. Here is the additional info:

    1) I have a Current Nova t-5 fixture on 4 inch legs. 1 54 watt white and 1 54 watt "Flora Freshwater" I also have the AllGlass fluorescent fixture that came with the tank 32 watt. This plus some light through the window and the lighting in the family room I have had the lights on 14 hours a day, because I assumed the grower had them under higher light.

    2) I don't use CO2 other than an occasional capful of SeaChem Flourish (liquid CO2) I would prefer not to do anything more

    3) The tank is new and the plants have only been in the tank for a week and a half.

    4) My goal is to have a relatively low tech tank with minimal dosing and water changes.

    A couple other pieces of info:

    5) The water has slight discoloration. I assume its some tannis from the potting soil substrate.

    6) I've been trying to cylce the tank without fish: I added a piece of fish along with SeamChem Stability (bateria). After a week hardly even measurable Amonia

    7) I have a canister filter with bio media. I also added some carbon because I heard it might help with the tannis.

    Thoughts

    Thoughts
     
  4. Max Parkanzky

    Max Parkanzky Junior Poster

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    Is it just Flourish you're adding or Flourish Excel? Flourish doesn't really provide any bioavailable carbon for the plants, it has mostly micro and trace elements. Excel is what you want if you're looking to add a carbon source.

    I think you're lights are on way to much for the amount of fertilization/CO2 dosing you want to do. (you're right that the growing company probably had them on a pretty intense schedule but they also supplemented heavily with nutrients for them to be able to use that light) I would cut down to 8 hours and see what happens.

    There is also an adjustment period that the plants will go through, but I would definitely start by reducing the lights.
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    14 hours with that much light and no c02 is the main issues.

    Max gave good advice.

    If you really want low maintenance, then lower the light. High light = high maintenance in general as you are driving the plants to grow faster..

    I would suggest reading some threads on the diy substrate, no c02, infrequent water change regimen.

    The soil will provide nutrients in addition to the fish. No c02 or regular water changes.

    Get a few guppies or something to help cycle the tank. Is your test kit accurate and calibrated? Can you really trust the results?

    Activate carbon will help with discoloration. Large water changes will also help.
     
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