Plants not growing, brown crap everywhere...


Junior Poster
Jan 24, 2005
I'm a bit stumped as of late. My plants had really done well for nearly a month, and now they're struggling. It started with the appearance of whispy thread algae. In order to reduce this plague, I had to trim several plant tops. Nothing I hadn't done before, but this time the remaining plant material didn't respond with prolific new growth. The new growth is seemingly mutated and stunted, very tiny leaves close together. This is most apparent on my favorite, the Red Ludwigia and Bacopa.

Also, within two days of water change there appears a brown slimy poop all over most leaves and amongst the Java moss, looking like rust. The accumlation of brown crap is easily dusted off, but comes back in 2 days.

Help needed, thanks.

Tank specs:
3.2 wpg, 12 hours
gH 5
KH 3.5 (crushed coral added to substrate to add buffer)
pH 6.6
C02 30ppm
temp 78-80f
Filtration is taken care of by an AQ 300 and a power head for lateral water movement.

Dosing regime:
Liquid solution of KNO3 and KCI to equal 5 and 8ppm dosed twice weekly
CSM+B mix plus Mg dosed at 15ml 3 times week

Tank is full of plants; Hygro P., Ludwigia, Bacopa, Watersprite, Wisteria, Java moss and fern, Crypts, Dwarf hair grass.

4 dwarf Cichlids
3 cory cats
1 Ancistrus cat
3 ottos

Pictures here:

and the brown stuff here:

Thanks in advance for any advice and help,

Greg Watson

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
United States
Re: Plants not growing, brown crap everywhere...

In your picture gallery you wrote:
ervis said:
Also, I've been really dumping in the nutrients, and maybe too much Plantex CSM+B. .
And here you wrote:
ervis said:
CSM+B mix plus Mg dosed at 15ml 3 times week
Your plantex CSM solution is probably a little bit weaker than the commercial traces in Tom's 5 ml/20 gallons recommendations ... so you are not dosing too much on the traces ...

ervis said:
Liquid solution of KNO3 and KCI to equal 5 and 8ppm dosed twice weekly

If anything ... you might be coming up a bit short on your macros ... I would personally reverse the cycle you use ... and dose your macros three times a week and your micros twice ... I would be that you are currently bottoming out on Nitrate routinely during the week ...

But that's just my opinion ...



Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: Plants not growing, brown crap everywhere...

No dosage of PO4? Try adding some to the tank at least 2x a week for a start. Check and recheck the CO2 measurements...did your KH change? Low CO2 can cause stunting issues.

Peter Gwee


Junior Poster
Jan 30, 2005
Re: Plants not growing, brown crap everywhere...

That looked exactly like my tank.

my Problem - Overfeeding and or foods with phosphates.

my action- Substantial cut back in food. In the wild fish do not have food handed to them 2-3 times a day (assumption that was me)

After a week and a gravel vacum it was gone. Plus my phosphates were in a more reasonable range.

Octonoclusdo a good job of cleaning the leaves.