Plants vs water conditions
iv noticed in the few months iv had my aquarium that my plants decay quite fast, they grow quite rapidly, look really healthy, then suddenly theyr scrunching up and going brown, my water conditions are perfect for the fish, but i dont no if they are for my plants, or if im caring for my plants correctly.
i unfortunatly dont no the names of the plants, i just no theyr fine for weeks then suddenly theyr not
any tips or tricks i could be using?
any common mistakes i could be making?
Do you know where you got them?
Places like Petsmart and Petco both sell plants in plastic tubes. Unfortunately most of them are not really aquatic plants (they may put a sticker on them that says "Semi-Aquatic"). If you got those, then that's typically what happens. They live for a little bit, then start to rot.
If you have pictures, that could help to identify.
Otherwise, do you use any kind of fertilizer (liquid or root tabs)? How much/often?
What kind of light, and what temperature? [example T8 (tubes diameter), 24" (tubes length), 15W (watts which is electrical power), 8000K (color temperature)]
im not sure the details of the bulb as it came fitted, i know its 15w and that its 45 cm long, i havent used any fertilizers as i didnt no i needed them...
the plants i have are
From those photos there's nothing we can't easily fix. The light may be an issue, so can you tell us a bit more. At one end of the tube there will be some text, just tell us all it says. And what is the tank size, is this the 60g in your "Aquariums"?
The first photo is Java Fern. The thick blackish "stem" is called the rhizome, the leaves and fine hair roots all grow out of this rhizome. In the photo it seems to be buried in the gravel; it should be above the gravel or it may rot. This plant is good when attached to a piece of wood or rock. But you can "plant" it too, just raise the rhizome above the gravel, it can sit on top. This plant grows best with less light than many other plants, what we term low to moderate light.
The second plant is a stem plant, I think it is Bacopa monnieri. This plant, like most stem plants, is fast growing and thus requires more light and nutrients than some others.
The third is the common sword plant, Echinodorus bleherae. It does well in moderate light. Expect the existing leaves to yellow and die off, but new leaves will emerge from the centre of the crown. You can read the reason in our profile. You will note that some of the plant names are shaded; that means they are in the profiles, and clicking on the shaded name will pop up the profile.
The last looks like Milfoil, but I'm not sure, it is hard to see the leaf/stem structures. This is in any case a stem plant, thus higher light and nutrients.
On nutrients or fertilizers: Aquatic plants need 17 nutrients as their "food." [For some background reading, have a look at the 4-part series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" which is stickied at the head of this section of the forum.] Most nutrients will naturally occur in an aquarium with fish, some from the water, some from fish waste and organics that fall into the substrate and are broken down by bacteria. But depending upon several factors, there may or may not be sufficient nutrients, so most of us add some once a week. I recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement; you can buy a small bottle in most fish stores, and it takes very little. Use it once a week, on the day after the partial water change. You will probably not have good growth from the sword without this, as they are heavy feeders, and the stem plants will benefit too. [Make sure you get the Comprehensive, they have several products in the Flourish line but this is the one you want.]
I'll have more when I know about the light. And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D
EDIT: I see Byron replied while I was typing mine hehe. He's an expert and wizard with plants (and everything with aquariums) so take his advice over mine for sure =)
I'm not an expert at plant types =/ But I can give my ideas.
Top left looks like a Java Fern.
Bottom left a sword (maybe Amazon Sword of Dwarf Sword?)
Top Right ... I'm not sure
Bottom Right looks like Green Cabomba
You can read up on the profiles of those plants using the tropical fish profile link up top, there is a section for plants. There are pictures too to help you see if they match up.
Plants need a whole long list of nutrients to grow. They get some from fish waste and excess food that breaks down, and some from your tap water (just want to make sure, but do you change ~25% of your water weekly?).
For the Java Fern there should by a Rhizome, it's the dark brown clump at the base of the leaves. That really can not be buried as it will rot. These plants are typically grown on rocks or driftwood. You can take some cotton thread to tie it down to either of those, or a decoration if you have to (I have mine on a sand castle =).
You will really need to use a liquid fertilizer, follow the directions on the bottle. A good brand is Flourish Complete. Since the sword makes a rather large root network, they can really benefit from a root tab (Flourish Tabs for example). It's a little cube of fertilizer you place near the pant, about an inch or so away. They are good for 2-3 months.
I see some algae in your pictures, how long is your light on? Maximum should be 12 hours a day (you can use an electric timer from your hardware/department store for ~$5).
Plants will grow until they run out of a nutrient they need, then they will stop and eventually start to die.
Firstly, thanks to you both for your replys, iv took the java fern out of the substrate and ill find it a new location.
I apologise but i put the wrong details in about my tank, i didnt realise it was gallons, its 60 litre which is about 15 gallons, the bulb is a SUN-GLO 18"/46cm 15w T8 and is on typically for 13 hrs, the alge has been a bit of a problem but iv been on a mission to reduce it, i currently do a 30% water change every 2 weeks as it seems to serverly stress my tetra
From what i can see Flourish Comprehensive Supplement isnt available in the UK, but im sure i can find something that does the same
Algae is controlled by reducing the light, either intensity or duration. With what you have, duration will do this, cutting back the hours daily it is on. It takes some experimenting to find the balance. 13 hours is a lot, considering; I would cut it back to 8. A simple lamp timer is best for this, to keep it consistent. You can set the on period whenever you want, for when you are normally home to see the aquarium. My tanks all come on at 11am and go off at 7pm now, but when I worked they came on at 1pm and went off at 9 pm. Another useful thing are floating plants; these shade the lower tank, and also provide the "roof" that all fish seem to prefer. Tetra will be considerably more relaxed under floating plants.
Water changes should be weekly, and 30% is fine every week. Fish will naturally not appreciate you crashing around in the tank, but they get used to it. Some even seem to look forward. As long as your tank and tap water parameters are not too different there is no issue with water changes. Use a good conditioner.
I thought Flourish was in the UK, but if not, look for one that is fairly complete. I would be happy to comment on any you find if you can give me a link to their site. I did this for another member or two a while back, but I've forgotten which products they were.
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