Hey guys, I'm new here, so this is my first shot at asking a question in a forum! I read the "read this first before posting" so I'm gonna give it my best shot!
SO, my tank has been running for about six months. My Ludwigia has been with me the whole time. I'm a beginner to this so bear with me!
I have a 20 gallon, with 6 fish and a snail. One of the fish is an "algae eater." My lighting is used, so I dont know a lot about it. I know it is a flourescent 15W bulb. I got this tank used, and before I had it, the bulb was used to grow...err...not aquarium plants.
So, recently I added some "pond plants" and my Ludwigia has been growing still, but it's new growths are coming out light yellow, almost white. So I told dude at my LFS about this and he told me it was likely an Iron deficiency. So, I got some plant food. This was a week ago, and I'm not seeing any improvement. My hornwort grows A LOT slower, and so does my pond plant, but they seem to look just fine. Now, this is all I'm doing for my plants. No CO2 or anything like that. Just the lights, and the food. I leave my light on 12 hrs and 12 hrs just about.
Just tested my water, and everything came out great (which it has been cycling religiously for about two months, maybe more) yay, but as usual my Nitrates are a bit high, just shy of 20 ppm. I've heard this is ok, but I'm not sure!!
HELP! My Ludwigia is my original plant, what am I missing?
I can add some pics of yall need to see...
Hi, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
What you describe is most likely a nutrient deficiency, but the light may factor in to it. I don't know if you read the 4 articles entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of this section, but in the one on lighting I explain what plants require, and there is another on nutrients. I won't repeat all that, as you will get a good background summary from the articles.
Nitrates at 20ppm while "safe" for fish are high for planted tanks. Plants assimilate ammonium (from ammonia) as their prime source of nitrogen, so nitrates are usually very low and often zero. This indicates either there is some issue, or the test is inaccurate. On the latter, if it is the API liquid test, make sure you shake regent #2 for 2 minutes (not just 30 seconds as in the instructions) or you may get a faulty and high reading. Try that and see if the number lowers.
Can you be more specific on your light. It is fluorescent, so at one end of the tube it will have some data, give me what it says and I may be able to offer suggestions.
Also, which specific fertilizer are you using, and how often?
With the above info, I should be able to help you further.
Thanks, Byron! I see here on my light, this is the info it gives me:
120VAC, 60Hz, 15W Hitachi F15T8.
I also got new testing strips, and these are telling me basically the same thing. That my nitrates are just under 20ppm. I use the strips because I'm a biology student and they are readily available:)
As for fertilizer... I use fish poo...
Like I said, the ludwigia has been with me for over 6 months, and this is the first time I'm seeing a problem. I put more plant food in the tank again this morning and still no improvement. Do I need to wait longer for the plant food to do the trick?
On the light. Fluorescent tubes wear out as they burn, fairly rapidly actually, and need to be replaced long before they burn out. Sometimes plant failure and (usually) increasing algae indicate the light is weakening, but other issues can cause plant problems so this is only one criteria. The Kelvin (measurement of the light's colour temp) is not indicated on that tube, so I will assume it is a "standard" fluorescent tube and probably warm whitish. This should initially help the Ludwigia a bit, but the blue spectrum (which along with red is essential for plants) will be very weak in a warm white (cool white is the opposite, more blue and less red) and in time this would also affect plant growth and contribute to algae.
I would replace the tube; you can buy inexpensive daylight/full spectrum tubes in hardware or home improvement type stores. You need the size that fits your fixture, so measure the tube end to end not including the prongs. GE, Phillips, Sylvania all make daylight (or whatever they individually call them) with a Kelvin around 6500K. This is close to mid-day sun, is high in blue and red but includes green to balance and provide a true rendition of the colours of plants and fish. The "T8" is the tube diameter, and this is a good size; it is narrower than the older T12 which are being phased out now due to higher energy use compared to T8. A T8 with 6500K (or close) will be fine; in a good tube (spectrum) it will be adequate for your 20g.
The test strips are quite inaccurate compared to the liquid; others here have used both and noted considerable variance in nitrates, so that is something to bear in mind. You might want to take a sample of tank water to a good fish store and ask them to test nitrates. Get the specific number--some say "they've fine" which tells us nothing. This will also let you know how accurate the strips may be.
Let me know about the "plant food" and I'll comment further.
Yay, thanks again Byron! Now that I think of it...I have not replaced the bulb since I have had the tank, and I don't even know if the person before me ever changed it! But I know it is a cool light, had the word preheat underneath that. But I do have an extra bulb on me, so I will change it!
As for the plant food, I changed the water last Sunday, so that's how long the plant food has been in there. Never used it before then. I added extra today to give an extra boost. My plant food is Aqueon Aquarium Plant Food.
If this doesnt help, I'll go to the fish store tonight and see if they will test my water!
First, the light: "cool" refers to the colour temperature, not the "usual" temperature (hot/cold). Colour makes a big difference, but I explained all that; a 6500K tube will do wonders notwithstanding anything else. And while plants may "last" and even grow well for a time, eventually the light will affect them if it is not adequate.
On the Aequeon, I believe this has good nutrient ingredients, but if memory serves me from another member's posts a while back, they recommend a lot of this stuff. If you can find it, Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium is my first choice. It is the only preparation available (to my knowledge) that contains all essential nutrients (save carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which naturally occur in the aquarium), and it takes very little; in your 20g slightly less than 1`/2 a teaspoon once or at most twice a week is sufficient. I use this, and you can check out the plant growth in the photos under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left.
The water test is only to confirm--unless of course the store uses test strips, some do. Not a big issue, it is just that 20ppm is high for planted tanks and it may come from conditions in the tank being out, or from nitrate in the tap water.
OK so changing a flourescent light bulb is harder than I thought!! :) My replacement bulb is a "warm" looks different...will this make my tank warm? Or the plastic it's sitting on?!? Sorry, I have a crippling fear of fires...
Yes, I have read a lot about the Flourish, but all my coupons are for Aqueon:) so Flourish will be my next investment! (along with the bulb!)
Thanks again for your help!
The daylight tubes I suggested will cost you a couple dollars in a hardware store. The 48-inch for my large tanks are only $8 and that is for two of them. One need not buy tubes in fish stores unless there is no other option.;-)
if your dealing with something like red ludwigia, you need at leats 3 watts per gallon from my experience along with nutrient rich gravel/soil
My plants are in the gravel...which is on the glass. My honrwort is ontop of the gravel. Do I need to plant these with the soil underneath?!
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