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Discussion Starter #1
Set up a 20 gallon planted tank about two months ago. Just recently, last week up to now, my plants are found floating at the top of the tank after every night. These plants found at the top have no roots and a soft, rotted stem up to where it was in the substrate. Also, they are losing leaves very quickly. I think they are doing what's called "melting"? They are turning black/redish, and falling off. I use black fluorite and seachem plant substrate. Do my plants have a disease or am I missing nutrients or bad lighting? I'm useing an old reptile light hood with two 90 watt regular room lights. Have not been using flourish liquid dosing (thought tank substrate would suffice) any pointers on how to fix this? This is my first larger planted tank. Usually do planted nano tanks.
 

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Do you still have those plants tied together at the end there? If so, take that apart and plant them separately. Have these plants been in there the whole two months?

No, tank substrate does not provide everything. There are two types of feeders primarily; root feeders and water column feeders (those that take nutrients in through their leaves versus the roots primarily). Stem plants are water column feeders so they still need the liquid ferts to be truly happy.

Are the lights you have incandescent?? Do you know the Kelvin rating of them? Some say on the bulb or on the screw part.

Melting happens during the acclimation period of the plant, so since they've been with you a while now (usually it's the first six weeks) then they're likely dying or just the stem is and it's breaking off, causing them to float up. I assume you bury them in the substrate?

EDIT: Is that an Ornate Bichir you have in there??
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The plants have been in for a month and a half. And some are bound with plant sinkers.

Ohh that makes sense, cause only the stem plants are doing bad. K I'll go back to useing liquid fertilizers too. And yes they are buried about an inch and a half to two inches.

And no I don't know it but I have the box too. I'll check it out. And kelvin rating? Can you explain that?

And it's just a regular Bicher. Yes, I know the tank will be to small when he's even a little bigger. I have two eclipse catfish too so I'll need a 75 min. Prolly 100 gal.
 

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Kelvin rating is the color temperature of the bulb. The color of the bulb will determine how well your plants grow. Low on the spectrum 5,000K and less will be less optimal for growing aquatic plants. Plants prefer the 6,500-7,000K range but will also like up to 10,000K which is very blue light. Here's a chart if you're visual:

 

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Yeah ^_^

Go to wal-mart, in the light section they have Mini CFL's. I'm so glad I took photos of the ones I recently bought for 2.48, it's a pack of 3 mini CFL's which is what you'd look for.



and this is where the Kelvin scale is


EDIT: Oh, Compact Fluorescent Lights will work in hoods too, anything with a screw base. Incandescents also heat up the water, CFLs do not, which is why they are superior.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow! Thanks!! But only 10 watt? Are they dim? And guess you really gotta make sure they don't break over the tank! Haha but for that price, I'll be at Walmart tomorrow!

Again, thanks!
 

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Wattage has little to nothing to do with how bright they are. Wattage is just how much electricity they use. And CFL's don't break that easy unless you're literally hitting it against something which I do not recommend lol

Here's my tank with a 13 Watt CFL at 6,500K to give you an idea.
 

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In that tank I use FloraMax black substrate with soil underneath that you can't exactly see. Plants are: Pygmy chain Sword up front and small Water Sprites in the back, they get very big so they'll have to transplanted into my bigger tank once they're too large. I'm using this tank more or less as a grow out for the Sprites.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Where did you buy the floramax? And to you mean regular topsoil? Yeah I'm planning on setting up a growing tank with a DIY co2 generator. Prolly a ten gallon.
 

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It's at my PetSmart, under the plant display. I think it was 12 pounds for 8 bucks or something like that. It needs to be rinsed VERY well though as it's pretty dirty. It's also light so I usually mix it with PetCo black sand too, but I didn't have any for this round so I didn't use it.

For this tank I used--okay, the page isn't loading but I was going to link you to BamaPlants Mineralized Top Soil. Normally I just use Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting mix but it tends to go anaerobic pretty quickly which can cause sulfur bubbles and if they build up too much, they can kill your fish >.< But so far the mineralized top soil from Ken has been doing great in all my tanks now. I don't use as much of it as I should (I've planted a 4 gallon, a 10 gallon, and a 3 gallon with the one bag that's supposed to be all for a 10 gallon haha.) But I use a mix of the FloraMax to help the plants too; it's lava rock/clay so the plants love to attach to it and grow.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh alright! Yeah I've been using black fluorite sand and something else made by seachem. It works pretty well, but it's hard to plant in. The seachem stuff isn't spherical, it's chips. Hard to push the plants into with out damaging them. And where do you get the bans plants topsoil? Do you have to order it online?
 

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Yeah, you have to order online. You can look at his website www.BamaPlants.com and should see it somewhere, I forget where at the moment.
 

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Idk why everyone is buying that floramax bs your buying washed dirt with a bunch of really cheap gravel for $25-40 a 20 pound bag........... Dirt costs $2.50 a 40 pound bag, and then you reuse the gravel you have. Both options will get plants going quite well hah one is just 90% cheaper.
 

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FloraMax is 8.99 per 12 pound bag (at least in my area), it's not gravel but it's crushed lava stone, different from gravel. Yes, it's still inert, but it allows for the plants to grip much easier than gravel does, it also allows air through unlike sand would. I generally mix my FloraMax with Sand.

Perhaps you are thinking of Eco Complete or something?
 
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