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Shannara 09-21-2007 05:28 PM

All kinds of issues...*many pics*
Hi all,

Well, where do I begin. Since I started this tank back in 2005 I have tried live plants numerous times but they never seem to flourish for me. I’ve always given different advice from person to person and nothing seems to work in the long run. It starts out great for a couple weeks and then it goes downhill. The only thing that survives in my tank is crypts and some anubias. I purchased a new lighting system a year ago…Satellite Power Compact with two 65w 6700k bulbs. I was fertilizing with all kinds of Seachem products and Flourish Excel. I then switched to raw fertilizing materials and was adding is spoonfuls of this and that on a weekly regiment. Still, I lost any swords or the large centerpiece plants. They always just sort of….melted. Usually the leaves get all holey and transparent then rot away. I would like to keep live plants but I can’t figure out where it keeps going wrong.

Now my plants (that are still alive) are covered in some sort of brownish/black hair algae. At this point I don’t know what I need to do to get rid of this stuff. I’m afraid to fertilizing and encourage it to grow more. Below are some pics to give you an idea of what I am talking about. I’ve tried pulling or rubbing it off but it just comes right back. I have 3 fake plants compensate but it just isn't the same.

Here is the deterioration of the tanks plants and different attempts to make it work...starting oldest to newest (most of these pics are right after I planted the tank):

And Now…(3 tall ones are fake):

Close up of the gunk on the leaves:

I also have something other things growing on my driftwood and included photos of that too. It’s sorta pretty how it waves in the water but I dunno if this could be problematic in anyway:


Any input would be appreciated.


herefishy 09-21-2007 06:18 PM

I would almost bet that over feeding is the culprit here. By over feeding, you present a situation where there is a condition inducive to algae growth. I have similar problems in a few of my tanks and have found that by reducing feedings, reducing the light cycle, and sometimes adding an algecide at reduced doses (for the benefit of some of my touchier plants) the problem goes away. I also use such plants as elodea, cabomba, and anachris that compete with the algae for nutrients to combat the problem. All of the aforementioned plants can be either anchored or used as floating plants. Keep me, and all of us, informed as to what you decide to do and what is working for you.

willow 09-21-2007 06:22 PM

what a shame you are having this problem,
your tank looked beautiful before,
however don't loose faith,people here will get it back
with you to looking great. :)

Shannara 09-21-2007 06:35 PM


I would almost bet that over feeding is the culprit here.
I really have a hard time thinking that is the issue. I feed only once a day and skip a day every so often. I feed the rainbows and danios for a couple minutes and it is almost impossible for them to let even the smallest morsel of food sink past them. The bottom dwellers get a few shrimp pellets or wafers and they never seem to miss a single one. I vacuum and perform a water change of about 25-30% weekly. There must be something going else going on I have not addressed properly but I am skeptical of the food issue.

Here is a pic of some of the leaves from a previous plant that starting developing holes:

Thanks both for your input….all ideas are welcome.


JouteiMike 09-21-2007 07:50 PM

Do you have CO2 unit?
Have you checke the phosphate level of your tap water?

I'm not expert on plants like some people here...but maybe you had some non-aquatic plants.

Shannara 09-21-2007 08:05 PM

No CO2 unit. I have seen many healthy planted tanks using Flourish Excel though, so I was using that. All the plants were for aquariums. I did quite a bit of research prior to purchasing them but despite all that and advice from others I still struggle with making them flourish.

As for phosphate levels I don't have a test kit for that and need to buy one this weekend. I know my water GH has always been "moderate" but that isn't very specific. I really want a nicely planted tank but I need to figure out what I might be doing wrong first.


jsm11482 09-21-2007 08:06 PM

Does your fert regimen include iron? Holes in plants seem to often mean lack of iron.

Shannara 09-21-2007 08:19 PM

Well, at one point I tried Flourish tabs, Flourish Excel, and Flourish. Then someone informed me that wasn't the right way to do it and I was setup with the following weekly schedule:

Monday +/- 1/2 tsp KNO3, +/- 1/8 tsp KH2PO4.
Tuesday +/- 1/2 10ml Flourish
Wednesday +/- 1/2 tsp KNO3, +/- 1/8 tsp KH2PO4.
Thursday +/- 1/2 10ml Flourish
Friday +/- 1/2 tsp KNO3, +/- 1/8 tsp KH2PO4.
Saturday *Water Change* +/- 1/2 tsp KNO3, +/- 1/8 tsp KH2PO4, 2 tsp KC1, +/- 1 tbsp MgSO4
Sunday just Excel.

(Excel was administered everyday, about 1 capful)

Someone else setup this regiment for me (who had successful planted tanks) and I still had maybe someone can glean info from that list. I stopped doing that awhile ago when I still was losing plants. Recently the tank gets some Flourish or Excel randomly....not consistent on it anymore.


Lupin 09-21-2007 08:19 PM


Originally Posted by JouteiMike
I'm not expert on plants like some people here...but maybe you had some non-aquatic plants.

I've looked. None of her plants appear to be non-aquatic.:?

tophat665 09-21-2007 09:15 PM

What you have there is Black Brush Algae. I have it in my higher light tanks too. The way I have gotten rid of it (or cut it way back) was to double up on Excel. 1ml/, double after a water change. This has to be done religiously, though, because as important as having enough free carbon for the plants is having a consistent level. Course, some fish on't do well with this, so increase the dose slowly.

You can also use excel as a spot treatment on particularly bad outbreaks. Mix 1 part excel with oh, 2 or 3 parts water, suck that up into a syringe (like a baby medicine syringe, not a hypodermic), cut your filter and bubbler and any other water circulation off, then squirt the excel directly onto the problem area. 5 minutes later turn everything back on. Repeat daily. The algae should turn brown, then red, then grey, then flake off and wash away.

As for the holes in the sword plants, swords are big root feeders. Stick a flourish tablet down in the substrate next to the plant. Also, if you can, prune the leaves with the holes. Your new foliage will be better for it.

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