In the past month or so, I moved a betta from my work from a less-than-adequate tank into a 5.5 gallon moderately-to-heavily planted tank, and it seems as though a good deal (around 1/3-1/2) of the plants are failing. I got the plants from a Petsmart near where I go to school and transported them to where I work in my hometown three hours away. When I use the same species of plants in my tanks of the same size in my dorm, they thrive. My tanks at school and the one at work both use a 13W 6500K compact flourescent bulb, are heated to 80*F, use black Petco brand sand that is approx. 1.5" deep, have a 12 hour photoperiod, are filtered with a baffled Marina s10 Slim set to create very little current, and are dosed with .4mL of Flourish Comp once or twice weekly (not on the same day as a water change). The first thing I wondered was if my work's water went through a water softener and therefore slightly raised the salinity of the water, but I checked and found out that it doesn't. The only thing I can think of is that the water perameters where I got the plants are just different enough from those in my hometown that it would shock the plants. Is this a possibility? If so, is there anything I can do to overcome this problem?
Sorry for the long post and thanks for any help,
What type of plants are failing and are they the same as in your dorm and at work ?
In the work tank, I have Anubias, Compacta, Green Cabomba, Hornwort, and Wisteria. Hornwort has completely failed and I've removed it, Cabomba is having a hard time but may or may not still pull through (I've had to remove a few sprigs that were definately beyond the point of no return), the Wisteria is mostly hanging in there, albeit that some leaves are melting, and the Compacta and Anubias seem unfazed.
In my school tanks I have Anubias, Hornwort, Green Cabomba, Wisteria, Water Sprite, Anacharis, a random Crypt, Corkscrew Vallisneria, Java Moss, two types of Java Fern, Dwarf Baby Tears, Moneywort, and an Amazon Sword (not all in the same tank, there're different combinations of plants in different tanks). They all seem to be doing rather well at the moment.
Is there a big difference in PH and hardness in the two areas ? Also, is there a big difference in the stocking of the tanks. If you are following the same consistent maintenance on all of the tanks, have the same lighting and substrate, it must be a difference in the water parameters.
I tested the difference about a year ago when I first started keeping fish and I don't remember the specifics, but the differences weren't huge. The pH was in the high 7's, around 7.6-7.8, with a very high KH.
The stocking levels in my two 5.5 gallons at school and the one at work are the same: at school I have a male HM dumbo betta in one and a female in the other, at work I have a male CT. Since each tank has sand as a substrate, I have some Malasian Trumpet Snails to keep the sand moved around. Even the terra cotta pots I use for hiding spots are even from the same place.
It's just rather odd because I have to take my tanks home for school breaks, which means draining most of the water from school and replacing it with water from home when I get there, and the plants have never had this reaction. I mean, I may loose a couple leaves or even a stalk of a plant or two, but never anything to this extent.
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Well, the only other thing I can think of would be a difference in the surroundings of the tanks (natural light, room light, etc).
I would suggest that the problem is probably light. Both Cabomba and Wisteria are high light plants. I have tried these in my tanks and they always fail--over a several weeks, not immediately. The GH of the water likely plays into this too, as this is the prime source of "hard" minerals that are insufficient in fertilizers including Flourish (which I also use).
It would help to know the GH, perhaps you could find out from the municipal water supply for your work site?
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