new planted tank -- problems already - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-10-2012, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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new planted tank -- problems already

hi everyone

i have a 40 gallon tank, 4 bags of ecocomplete in it. Tank is 2 months old. I started with ambulia and a crypt. 80 watts HO of light at 6,500K.

I just added a bunch of new plants from mail order, bunch plants and swords. Swords seem to be ok, some of the plants were a little yellowed when I got them. Dawrf 4 leaf clovers to are starting to turn brown. the bunch plants are browning.

There is brown algae all over the glass. I leave the tank light on from 8 am to 11 pm. Water is pure RO water with a little well water added. temp is 80 degrees. ph around 6.5.

even the ambulia I had in the tank for the past month which was growing like crazy is turning a yellow color. I thought eco complete had all the nutrients I needed from the start? What should I do?

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post #2 of 6 Old 09-10-2012, 03:44 PM
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The lights are on way too long IMO. Try cutting it down to 10 hours a day maximum.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-10-2012, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Is this why the leaves are yellowing or browning, too much light?
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-10-2012, 03:57 PM
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Not sure but it's a good indication of the amount of algae. Some plants take a while to acclimate and you'll have a lot of die-off initially. Once established, new growth should appear and you can trim off the dead yellow leaves.

It's a work in progress when it comes to plants. It's taken me over a year to get the right balance of light and nutrients.

I haven't used the eco-complete so I'll let others chime in on that. I've only used root tabs for the swords and crypts and Flourish Comprehensive once a week.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-11-2012, 01:18 AM
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Im no expert but no doubt the lights are on to long and im thinking that RO water would not be choice in a planted aquarium. RO water is missing the things that plants need to grow healthy. I leave my lights on 8 hours a day. Your swords are probably getting feed from the Eco complete substrate but your bunch plants are not able to get anything at all from the RO water, are they floating or planted?. Also, pick up some Seachem Flourish and dose per directions.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-11-2012, 12:43 PM
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

There are actually several contributing factors at play here. Starting with the light, as other members said, it is bright and on for along time.

You are going to have difficulty balancing this much light (intensity here) with nutrients, especially carbon (CO2). Can you remove one tube and still have the other light? We can discuss other options if not. Certainly reduce the duration, no more than 8 hours with this much light.

Eco-complete is questionable. It is basically identical to Seachem's Flourite, and I have had this in my 70g for more than 15 months and am very disappointed with the results. Won't get into all that, but first off the substrate nutrients will only benefit substrate-rooted plants; this means floating plants (which are important for several reasons), plants attached to wood or rock, and most stem plants will derive no benefit. And for the substrate-rooted plants, there are some nutrients that aquatic plants take up via their leaves rather than the roots. So what all this means is that with or without an enriched substrate, you need liquid fertilizer. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement or Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti are both good. Twice weekly will probably be needed, even with one tube. And this brings me to the water chemistry.

RO water is "pure" so the hard minerals particularly are missing, and there is not sufficient in any of these nutrient sources (substrate, liquids, tabs) to compensate for soft water. I know because I have almost RO water coming out of my tap and I need to add hard minerals (calcium and magnesium primarily). You mention mixing in some well water, so that may provide this, depending upon the mineral in the well water. Any idea of the GH (general hardness)? May have more to offer when I know this.

Temperature stood out, 80F is high for some plants and many fish. Fish species aren't mentioned, so do you have some that require this warm a temperature? If not, i would lower it; fish will always be better at the mid-range of their preference because the metabolism functions slower at lower temperatures so the fish's energy is not being sapped.

New plants will frequently lose existing leaves. They need time to adjust, plus they may have been propogated in the emersed form and this requires a change in leaf structure for submersed growth. We have plant profiles 9and fish), second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page, so you may find some further info there. The plants you mention are mostly included.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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