My Cabomba is dying!
I've had cabomba in my tank for about a month & it was doing really well. It recently started turning brown & falling apart from the ground up. :shake: I don't know why. Things I've been doing differently since planting it:
1). Added what I thought was fairy moss but turns out to be duckweed for extra filtration & shade about 2 weeks after planting the cabomba. It's proliferating like crazy but not to the point where i think there is too much in the tank. My betta, Gandalf, likes playing in it. :lol:
2). Added my betta a little over a week ago.
3). Started mixing filtered water with tap water 50/50 in hopes to keep the ph down without having to add too much ph down or wait for driftwood tannins to get it down. (A little over a week ago)
4). Started pouring the liquid fertilizer in the corner of the filter box that is immediately drained into the tank instead of directly into the tank. Ha, I don't know if it makes a difference. I just though it would be nicely diffused that way from the flow instead of raining down on Gandalf. ;-)
I have been fertilizing the same amount once a week & have been using Leaf Zone aquarium plant food which is said to contain 3% soluble potash, 0.1% chelated iron
5). Oh yeah, I put my aquarium light on a timer so it's only on for 10 hours a day. I would leave it on longer (about 14 hours) before. It's 10 watts 5100k.
What are your water parameters? Cabomba doesn't do well in my tank/I have soft water.
What is your filtered water? Your tap water contains some of the nutrients that your plants need, so I'd use only tap water.
Usually when stem plants start turning brown from the bottom up its because the lower leaves are not getting enough light. You said that duckweed is starting to take over the surface now. So my question is did your Cabomba start showing these signs before that was added? Also are any other plants showing issues? The reason I ask is Leaf Zone is a really poor fertilizer. It only contains 2 of the 17 nutrients need for plants. So this could also be some of the issue.
My water parameters now are: ph 7.6, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates
My tap water straight from the faucet is very high ph 8.4 or so. The tap filter is a GE Smartwater filter - I believe carbon filter.
I was a little worried about the 0 nitrates issue - there use to be at least 5ppm. I'm not sure if the duckweed is sucking up all the beneficial bacteria. When I first got it there were only 6 little patches and now it's taking up about 25% the water surface and gets tossed around. It's hard to judge if the cabomba started looking bad when I got the duckweed, but I don't think so. It's been slowly dying for the past week. My other plants look fine.
According to the TFK plant profile it says green cabomba likes ph up to 7.2 so that could be one issue - and it likes temps below 25C/77F. I keep the tank at 80F but there was a terrible heat wave here for a couple days earlier in the week and saw the temp rise to 86F! That was pretty frightening for my fishes sake too.
But my primary concern was the hungry duckweed & possible poor fertilization. Maybe it would be better to upgrade my fertilizer than risking putting too much in. I was thinking about fertilizing more often or a larger amount but I wouldn't want to put too much of the same nutrients in.
hhhmmmm indeed....you said the duckweed is getting tossed around? Does it seem to be sticking to where the cabomba is or does it move around the surface pretty well?
Another thing, your bulbs are 5100k? If I remember correctly, your bulbs should be 6500k. So right there, you don't have a whole lot of lighting. Are they fluorescent?
Lastly, I would upgrade your fertilizer to Seachem Flourish. This is a higher quality brand and is widely trusted with aquarium plants. It's really worth every penny.
Plants (most, I think crypts would be the exception here) and fish can handle short term heat waves. I would worry to much about that.
Upping your fertilizer wouldn't help for reasons stated before. If it was me I would get a comprehensive fertilizer like Seachems Flourish. There is another brand that works good I hear but for the life of me can't remember. I would definitely look into getting on of those.
25% surface coverage isn't going to be enough to cause light not to get to the plants. So lets discuss lights. What do you have for lights?? Do you what kind of bulb(s) you have also what size tank is this?
edit: Sorry I see you said light is 5100k. Is this one bulb or 2 what type of bulb?
I have a 5 gallon vertical hex tank. I'm definitely going to try out Seachem flourish. It's one 5100k compact fluorescent bulb. Would that be moderate or low lighting?
It's funny fishyfishy asked if the duckweed was sticking to the cabomba because indeed I did have to keep pulling it off. Apparently Gandalf also likes to nip at the duckweed roots or anchors & they tend to get stuck on the cabomba.
The duckweed also tends to stay toward the back surface of the tank where the filter is above so it's not directly under the light which is in the front.
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I think that would be really low lighting. 6500k is the minimum.
I would switch your light to a 6500k/6700k light, Cabomba is a very light needy plant, and IMO that light it just too low to support it. I also use CFLs, I think I use the GE brand? It's like 3 in a box, for $7 I think, at Walmart.
Changing ferts is also a very good idea.
To be honest Cabomba can be a bit of a finnicky plant, sometimes it just doesn't want to grow. :( It's on my list of plants that are jerks, right next to hornwort.
And just because I'm worried, you should be very careful with ph adjusting chemicals. They, frankly, don't work, and can be very dangerous. They only lower the ph for about a day or so, and then it skyrockets back up to where it was due to the gh and kh. It can be very stressful fish (and possibly plants?), and you'd be better to just do the 50/50 cut than use chemicals.
The addition of oak leaves or indian almond leaves can also reduce ph, along with alder cones. However alder cones are very potent, and I would do a lot of research on them before-hand.
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