Plant problems and need a hardy stem plant
So I recently set up a 5g tank and am having some problems with the plants. It has a single 10w 6500K CFL light over it with a little natural light during the day. Lights on about 6-7 hours each day. I fertilize with flourish comprehensive after each water change.
The crypt parva looks like it's "melting" cause the leaves are turning yellow. How do I make sure it will come back or how do I help it survive without melting? Also the Pygmy Chainswords leaves are turning yellow as well. I think part of it might be because it's fairly new to the tank but just want to make sure so I don't lose it all.
Also everything I find when researching says stem plants are pretty hard to grow and keep healthy without bright light, good fertilization and some Co2. In the 5g I just set up I put foxtail in but that's already begun to rot so I've pulled it out and am looking for a replacement. Reading through the profiles on this website I'm leaning towards Ludwigia Repens or Green Cabomba. Do you guys think either of these would do well or is there some other plant I should be looking at? I would just like a taller background plant that will add some color do the tank.
I feel like all the problems I've been having with the plants could be caused by not enough light so could that be the problem? If it is should I move up to a 13w or 15w bulb? I also have low light plants like Anubias in the tank if that could cause a problem with needing to increase the light. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Stem plants do tend to be more of a challenge but Pennywort is pretty hardy. In my tank it grows like it is going out of style. You can plant a few lengths of it and then have some float on top.
When I first planted some of mine, they melted too and I thought they were done but they did bounce back. In fact one of mine was completely gone other then the roots under the substrate apparently as it started to grow fresh and new. Hopefully yours will do the same. I do add a little dose of Flourish Comprehensive Supplement 2 times a week to my tanks and that seems to help those plants a ton.
Oh and on the light as was explained to me by Byron. The wattage is the power used and will not change the amount of light in the tank. If you have a 6500K light, you are all set. The only other option would be to add 2 of the same but often, too much light will simply increase algae. The secret is to balance the amount of light with the amount of fertilizer and pick the types of plants that will work in your situation. In a small tank like that, I think Pennywort would be perfect. You can just trim it as you need to to keep enough swimming room for the fish.
I like Water sprite which will grow well either planted in substrate or left to float.
Have not had much luck with stem plant's.Top leaves do well but bottom leaves start dropping off after a few weeks and then the plant's look more like minature palm tree's.
I have some crypt parva that didn't do much of anything for nearly six month's but finally began to send out some runner's. wished I would have used finer grain gravel ,perhaps the new shoots would be able to more easily push up through a finer grain than I have.
I used flourish comprehensive twice a week in the beginning when plant leaves appeared to be yellowing, but once they overcame the transistion from emmersed to submerged and I quit moving,re-arranging, everything began to improve.
I personally have a love affair with stem plants. My favorite is Wisteria. I have countless wisteria plants in my 2 running tanks. I float it in the 29g for the moment, and in my 15g I have one large bunch planted in the back. I have low light in both my tanks, and my wisteria does amazing. The one planted in the 15g (which has less light than the 29g) is doing the best, which is odd because you are suppose to have more light for it if you plant it than float it! But the one in the 15g has grown so tall and bushy, it leans into the middle of the tank, and has amazing roots that just dangle down looking like a tiny Tarzan should be swinging from them. A few of the bottom leaves browned and fell off, but not very many... it is a healthy green beauty. I have had this particular wisteria for about 3 months, and it has made this much progress!
I also have 2 brazilian pennyworts, I have had them for like 7 months, and they at first tried dying on me. Eventually I got them stable, and they are very slowly growing... but they are pretty.
I have TONS of moneywort. The stuff looks like tiny bamboo shoots. Its pretty easy to deal with, but even with the best care, some of the shoots/stems will melt.
Non-stem, but good lower light plants that I have had such success with is Amazon Sword. I have 3 in my 15g, and 4 in my 29g. All are doing wonderful, and growing like mad!! (I bought the ones at Petsmarts in the snail-free tubes that come with 2-4 plants each... awesome! My java ferns come from them too.) Yeah, my java fern does good too, but the growth rate is too slow to notice for me.
And I of course have cyrpt wendtii, I use to love it, but its still okay.
Another stem plant, that I recommend AVOIDING, it blyxa. The stuff is high light, and drops leaves all day for fun!! It looks cool as a floating plant, but for what ever reason it has a very foul fibrous smell to it... which means I dont get to close to it when feeding the fish, but the snails are in love with it. I will probably be tossing it here soon.
I also currently use Flourish Comprehensive once a week (or once every week and a half to two weeks). But that is new, I just started using it last month. Prior to that, for the past 7 or 8 months I was using with great success, API Plant Zone Pro Series.
But overall, my recommendation is to try out Wisteria if you havent already. Its an amazing plant.
I keep lots of stem plants in my tanks...
I would reccomend ludwigea repens, bacopa monnerei, prosperinica palustris, pennywort, Golden Lloydiella(creeping jenny), rotala indica, and Stargrass (Heteranthera Zosterfolia) are the hardiest plants I've kept.
I would dose the flourish twice a week for a while and see if it helps.
You might want to increase the light, esp if thinking stem plants which do need more intense light since they are faster growing. But with that comes more nutrients, including CO2 which occurs from fish, plants and bacteria. So there will be a limit. Keep it balanced.
A clarification on the light and watts: if the bulb is the same type, then higher wattage means brighter (more intense) light. This is comparing apples to apples, so to speak. So a GE daylight CF bulb with a 6500K (this is ideal plant light, I use these on my 10g and 20g tanks) in 13w will be more intense than the same in 10w. I use 20w over both the 10g and 20g, and would suggest more than 10w is probably needed over a 5g which is not that much smaller in area/depth than a 10g. If your fixture has one bulb, then I would use a higher wattage one.
I do not like stem plants in small tanks because they grow so fast they need regular (probably weekly) trimming and significant trimming. I use Pennywort floating, it is ideal for this, but otherwise pygmy chain swords, crypts, dwarf swords, etc. Less light requiring, so probably a better choice.
Yellowing of swords is common when first introduced to a new tank or new environment (water parameters). And sometimes can take several weeks, then they explode with growth. Also, if newly purchased, they were probably grown emersed so existing leaves will be emersed forms and these die off when submersed. As noted in our profiles.
I understand what you're saying too about the stems in a small tank and I've thought about that but I'm looking for a plant that grows more up the out and around like swords and crypts do so there's a nice background to the tank. If you have any suggestions for swords like that though I'd love to hear them.
I also figured that the swords were grown emersed because they have flowers on them which I know is kind of rare on submerged plants so hopefully it will adjust and get some nice color soon.
Thanks again everyone for all the help!
Pennywort would be ideal. It will grow from the substrate, then across the surface. Another background is Corkscrew Vallisneria, for a 5g ideal. The pygmy chain sword will grow quite tall in small tanks, esp with minimal light. Here's my 10g, photo taken last evening, all those substrate plants are pygmy chain swords. A couple of Amazon sword plantlets growing out at the right back. Floatiing plant is Pennywort; I thinned it out yesterday during the water change before I took this photo, chucked half of what was there out, so that give you an idea how much it grows. Another benefit of pygmy swords is they will send runners everywhere, even up into the water, to the surface, so they fill in spaces nicely.
That's a beautiful tank Byron pretty much what I'm trying to do with the 5g. Thanks again for the help. I'm counting on the pygmy chainsword and crypt parva to grow and spread across the whole tank to carpet it and add depth but was thinking some type of stem for a different look and variety. I think I will buy some pennywort and maybe a ludwigia for a little color. I'll have to see if my LFS has any corkscrew val I might put one of those in too. I think I have a problem haha :lol:
wow, I didn't notice that it was a 5 gallon. I would definately include Proserpinaca palustris. It's a slow grower with very unique growth pattern- (In lower light it's not quite as red)
I submitted a plant profile for this plant, so perhaps Byron will approve it and this-
Will magically become highlighted. If so, you can click on it for the profile.
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