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SomeDudeAtHome 01-25-2013 10:41 AM

Plants are struggling a bit
So I saw Nemo The Clownfish's thread about his sword and it got me thinking about mine. I originally thought mine were doing ok until I saw the diagram in that thread. Now I'm not so sure and think they might need a little help of some sort. This tanks been set up for about a year. Tank parameters are...

40g Breeder
ZooMed Ultra Sun bulb about a year old.
Ammonia= 0
Nitrate= 0
Nitrite= 0
GH= 143.2
kh= 5
pH- 7.4ish this one's hard to read

I use Seachem root tabs around the base replacing them every month or so and does 1 teaspoon flourish comprehensive after every weekly water change.

I'm going to try and attach pictures but am not sure if the site will let me. Plants are Regular sword, Ruffle sword, compact sword, italian val, dwarf sag and a could anubias in there.

SomeDudeAtHome 01-25-2013 10:42 AM
This one has really tiny leaves that look stunted. Also the leaves are yellowing with holes.
hard to tell in this picture but there is new growth on the one in the back.

SomeDudeAtHome 01-25-2013 10:43 AM
Compact sword has some yellowing leaves that get pinholes.
I bought a lot of dwarf sag all at once. Some have taken root and have some new growth (which is VERY slow) and others have nothing. All still have some old leaves and I thought they were adjusting to the tank change but they've been in mine for about 3 months now.
This little guy has been a real fighter. One of the originals I had and thought it completely died off but I guess not. Keeps trying to grow big but just can't. Will get maybe one medium size leaf but the rest stay tiny like that.
This is the only sword where the ends of leafs rotted on them. I added a couple extra root tabs around it and the new ones seem fine. Is that all it needed?
The italian val does great in my tank.

Any help would be appreciated. I just want to get all my plants nice and full and healthy looking. I'd love to add more plants to the tank but not if they're just gonna get rotting away slowly.

Good managed to get them on here I don't know what the problem was before.

Byron 01-25-2013 12:15 PM

I have seen everything you posted (photos) on my plants too.

The sword in the first photo of post #2 is Echinodorus major, no doubt of that. As I mentioned in the other thread, mine are not doing particularly well now, after over a year of phenomenal growth. Nothing much has changed in my case with respect to light or nutrients [but see following]. Kasselmann says that difficulties with cultivation can usually be resolved through intensive fertilization of the substrate as well as more powerful lighting. Thinking back, when I had this plant growing 30 or more leaves that reached 18-20 inches in length, and it even sent out two inflorescences that flowered and produced several adventitious plants [something quite rare in submersed cultivation], the only change was the substrate fertilizer. I was then using the Plant-Gro sticks by Nutrafin; these are no longer available anywhere, online included. My other swords grew faster with these too, so substrate nutrients may be significant. I have the adventitious plants in my Flourite-substrate tank, but they are not doing that well--another indication of how "useless" such substrates are. I intend to tear this tank down shortly and replace the Flourite with sand; I will put 2 or 3 Flourish Tabs next to these plants then, and see if that makes a difference.

As for the other plants, I think you need more liquid fertilization. I find twice weekly doses of Flourish Comprehensive (the full dose each time) essential or my chain swords look like those in the photos. Since I moved back up to twice weekly, they have significantly improved. I did experiment with this, doing twice weekly for several months, then once weekly for about 6 or 7 months, now back to twice. It has made a difference.

Light might be marginal, with one T8 tube [assuming this is T8] but the ZooMed UltraSun is a decent tube and I was managing with one Life-Glo T8 over my 33g. Replace the tube every 12 months or so; I let mine go to 18 months I think it was, and the plants definitely weakened. They are now coming back with the new tube after a few weeks.


SomeDudeAtHome 01-25-2013 12:29 PM

Thanks Byron I will try more root tabs and dosing the Flourish twice a week. I had a feeling that there need to be more nutrients in the substrate because when I put new tabs in the plants do great for a little while but then the leaves start to look rough. I also never put the tabs in the same spot twice (or at least try not too) so there's more nutrients surrounding the plant. I've also been weary of dosing Flourish twice a week even though I've read it before because I don't want to have a lot of algae spring up but will give it a shot.

Another question, since I have a sand substrate could that be preventing nutrients to getting to the roots? Maybe compacting too much around them? I have MTS which are suppose to aerate the sand but is this a possibility? I've had swords in gravel before and don't remember them being this problematic.

Byron 01-26-2013 12:50 PM


Originally Posted by SomeDudeAtHome (Post 1404926)
Another question, since I have a sand substrate could that be preventing nutrients to getting to the roots? Maybe compacting too much around them? I have MTS which are suppose to aerate the sand but is this a possibility? I've had swords in gravel before and don't remember them being this problematic.

No, sand should not be a factor. Afer 15+ years of gravel, I now have play sand in 5 of my 7 tanks and for 2+ years, and the plant growth has not diminished. I don't touch the substrate as far as poking or stirring, and I have Malaysian Livebearing Snails too.

SomeDudeAtHome 01-27-2013 10:12 AM

Thanks again Byron. Being my first tank with sand I wasn't sure if the roots had trouble spreading in sand or if the nutrients had trouble getting to the roots.

Ogre44 01-27-2013 11:42 AM

As a quick note, most water conditioners bind heavier elements such as the nutrients found in Flourish Comprehensive and other ferts.
I usually wait 24+ hours after my WC to dose the ferts so that they aren't neutralized before the plants get the benefit.

SomeDudeAtHome 01-27-2013 01:10 PM

I should probably do things that way. I usually put them in pretty close to eachother. So I should wait at least 24 hours? I think the hardest part will be remembering the next day haha.

Byron 01-27-2013 02:18 PM

I wait 24 hours, on the advice of Seachem. Some say this is not necessary, but rather than risk wasting the fertilizer and perhaps weakening the plant, I don't mind waiting the day.

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