Plant issues - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-21-2010, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Plant issues

Hey im new to the forum so sorry if i dont do something correctly....

So i have a 10gal tropical tank with 2 german blue rams, 2 bolivian rams, and 5 cardinal tetras ( if thats relevent )

My Water Levels are:

Nitrates: <20 ppm (mg/L)
Nitrites: <0.5 ppm (mg/L)
pH: 6.0
KH: 40 ppm (mg/L)
GH: 30 ppm (mg/L)
Temp: ~84 f

My light is 10W 150mA and its 5100K and i leave it on 8-10 hrs a day depending on my schedule

It is a new tank that ive just set up like 2 weeks ago, fish are all doing excellent
But my problem is that when i put plants in that are perfectly healthy when i get them the leaves seem to turn brown pretty fast and die off. Im pretty sure what i have right now is one Amazon Sword, a few rooted bunches of Jungle Vals, and one plant im not sure what it is. The Jungle Val seems to be doing the best and isnt browning at all but still doesnt look as good as it did. im using "Jungle Plant Care Food Tablets 0-0-6 plus Iron" and i followed the directions by putting one at each root base ( i threw away the box so i dont know th exact trace elements that are in it, i could find out if necessary )

But does anyone know what i could be doing wrong?

Here are pictures of the Amazon Sword ( Im pretty sure thats what it is ) and the other plant im not sure of what it is either im not new at all to keeping freshwater fish ( this is my third tank ) but im new to really trying to take care of plants...

Thank you so much in advance!

Im not sure what this one is vvvvv

Last edited by viennaAQ; 09-21-2010 at 06:07 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-22-2010, 10:36 AM
Your plants would be doing better with a light rated around 6500k as this is the ideal for plant growth. Many hardware stores will stock these bulbs (you don't need specialist aquarium bulbs). Also a liquid fertiliser such as Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive might help.

Aside from the plants, I think that a tank of that size is unsuitable for the rams. The profile on this site for bolivian rams says:

20 gallons for one fish, 2 fish in a 36 inch tank; 3+ in 48-inch tank.

Read more:

And 15-20g for a pair of german rams

If they are pairs and decide to breed, they will become very aggressive to the other residents in such a confined space.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-22-2010, 10:42 AM
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The unknown plant looks to be some type of echinodorus (related to the swordplant)

1. You need to cut down on water agitation- it drives CO2 out of the water. If you have a biowheel, HOB filter (above the water line) or an airstone, that could have something to do with it. I really think the problem is lack of carbon... Vallis can take carbonates from the water better than other plants, so it would explain why the vallis are doing the best. Most of us on this board use low-tech techniques, so all of our CO2 comes from the fish (and substrate in some cases. Detritus produces CO2. Another reason not to vacuum the gravel.)

2. You need a better bulb if you can. If you have flourescent tubes, then "daylight" bulbs by GE, phillips, or any of the main brands should be perfect. Look for 6500k.
If you have compact flourescents, you still need a 6500k bulb, but they are usually called either "daylight" or "cool white"- the 6500k is the important part.

Also, you can get a mechanical timer from wal-mart for a few dollars... A regular day/night schedule will help the plants.

3. Try tp get a good liquid plant supplement. Flourish Comprehensive is one of the best, make sure you get the "comprehensive" one and not one of the other products in the flourish line. Comprehensive is all you need.

If you do these three, you should see much better growth. Your gravel looks a bit too large, but it should be just on the line of being adequate.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
--------- Part 2

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post #4 of 4 Old 09-22-2010, 01:53 PM
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Hi, and a warm welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Especially as you are a planted tank enthusiast.

Previous responses are on the mark. But I think the problems you describe are simply due to the new tank more than anything else. Swords (Echinodorus species) often lose existing leaves when acquired; this results from how the plant may have been raised (usually emersed as opposed to submersed) and/or a change in water parameters from the store to your tank. The presence of new green growth from the centre of the crown like I see in the plant on the right in the second photo indicates this plant is fine, generally speaking. Expect some or all of the outer leaves to yellow and die; if they begin to yellow, and provided there are enough new leaves, remove them. Yellowing sword leaves never recover.

The plant on the left in the first photo is also a sword, though I can't say what "species." It is a cultivar variety, the white spotting pattern is induced by a virus. I've come across these several times but at the moment the details escape me. Anyway, they grow the same as regular sword species.

The Vallisneria may not do well long-term. You mention it doesn't look as good as it was. Vallisneria prefer hard water, and while they may "grow" in soft water they usually do not do that well. I have soft acidic water here, and have a group of Vallisneria spiralis in one of my tanks, and I've had it for about 2 months now and while it is growing and sending out new leaves (also from the centre of the crown like the swords) it is definitely not as robust as I have had it previously in hard water tanks. Keep an eye on it; if it does not really perk up after a couple months, you might want to consider replacing it with a similar plant that will be fine in your water, Sagittaria. This latter genus of plants is native to the Americas along with Echinodorus and in places they occur naturally together, so they will do well in soft slightly acidic water.

Your water is perfect for soft acidic water fish. Lucky us. And that suits the fish you mention, though in a 10g they are way overcrowded. I would very seriously consider separating the Bolivian Ram out soon. The common ram is also pushing it in a 10g though not quite as seriously. These fish will cause severe stress to each other in such a confined space. I have a pair of regularly-spawning Bolivians in my 115g Amazon riverscape, and they are bossy in that large a space especially when spawning; I can't imagine them in even a 20g. We have fish profiles here, as someone mentioned, the second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top, or you can see a fish's profile by clicking on the shaded name in posts.


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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