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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've had cabomba in my tank for about a month & it was doing really well. It recently started turning brown & falling apart from the ground up. :shake: I don't know why. Things I've been doing differently since planting it:

1). Added what I thought was fairy moss but turns out to be duckweed for extra filtration & shade about 2 weeks after planting the cabomba. It's proliferating like crazy but not to the point where i think there is too much in the tank. My betta, Gandalf, likes playing in it. :lol:

2). Added my betta a little over a week ago.

3). Started mixing filtered water with tap water 50/50 in hopes to keep the ph down without having to add too much ph down or wait for driftwood tannins to get it down. (A little over a week ago)

4). Started pouring the liquid fertilizer in the corner of the filter box that is immediately drained into the tank instead of directly into the tank. Ha, I don't know if it makes a difference. I just though it would be nicely diffused that way from the flow instead of raining down on Gandalf. ;-)

I have been fertilizing the same amount once a week & have been using Leaf Zone aquarium plant food which is said to contain 3% soluble potash, 0.1% chelated iron

5). Oh yeah, I put my aquarium light on a timer so it's only on for 10 hours a day. I would leave it on longer (about 14 hours) before. It's 10 watts 5100k.

:thankyou:
 

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What are your water parameters? Cabomba doesn't do well in my tank/I have soft water.
What is your filtered water? Your tap water contains some of the nutrients that your plants need, so I'd use only tap water.
 

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Usually when stem plants start turning brown from the bottom up its because the lower leaves are not getting enough light. You said that duckweed is starting to take over the surface now. So my question is did your Cabomba start showing these signs before that was added? Also are any other plants showing issues? The reason I ask is Leaf Zone is a really poor fertilizer. It only contains 2 of the 17 nutrients need for plants. So this could also be some of the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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My water parameters now are: ph 7.6, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates

My tap water straight from the faucet is very high ph 8.4 or so. The tap filter is a GE Smartwater filter - I believe carbon filter.

I was a little worried about the 0 nitrates issue - there use to be at least 5ppm. I'm not sure if the duckweed is sucking up all the beneficial bacteria. When I first got it there were only 6 little patches and now it's taking up about 25% the water surface and gets tossed around. It's hard to judge if the cabomba started looking bad when I got the duckweed, but I don't think so. It's been slowly dying for the past week. My other plants look fine.

According to the TFK plant profile it says green cabomba likes ph up to 7.2 so that could be one issue - and it likes temps below 25C/77F. I keep the tank at 80F but there was a terrible heat wave here for a couple days earlier in the week and saw the temp rise to 86F! That was pretty frightening for my fishes sake too.

But my primary concern was the hungry duckweed & possible poor fertilization. Maybe it would be better to upgrade my fertilizer than risking putting too much in. I was thinking about fertilizing more often or a larger amount but I wouldn't want to put too much of the same nutrients in.

Hmmmm...
 

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hhhmmmm indeed....you said the duckweed is getting tossed around? Does it seem to be sticking to where the cabomba is or does it move around the surface pretty well?

Another thing, your bulbs are 5100k? If I remember correctly, your bulbs should be 6500k. So right there, you don't have a whole lot of lighting. Are they fluorescent?

Lastly, I would upgrade your fertilizer to Seachem Flourish. This is a higher quality brand and is widely trusted with aquarium plants. It's really worth every penny.
 

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Plants (most, I think crypts would be the exception here) and fish can handle short term heat waves. I would worry to much about that.
Upping your fertilizer wouldn't help for reasons stated before. If it was me I would get a comprehensive fertilizer like Seachems Flourish. There is another brand that works good I hear but for the life of me can't remember. I would definitely look into getting on of those.
25% surface coverage isn't going to be enough to cause light not to get to the plants. So lets discuss lights. What do you have for lights?? Do you what kind of bulb(s) you have also what size tank is this?
edit: Sorry I see you said light is 5100k. Is this one bulb or 2 what type of bulb?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I have a 5 gallon vertical hex tank. I'm definitely going to try out Seachem flourish. It's one 5100k compact fluorescent bulb. Would that be moderate or low lighting?

It's funny fishyfishy asked if the duckweed was sticking to the cabomba because indeed I did have to keep pulling it off. Apparently Gandalf also likes to nip at the duckweed roots or anchors & they tend to get stuck on the cabomba.

The duckweed also tends to stay toward the back surface of the tank where the filter is above so it's not directly under the light which is in the front.
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I have a 5 gallon vertical hex tank. I'm definitely going to try out Seachem flourish. It's one 5100k compact fluorescent bulb. Would that be moderate or low lighting?

It's funny fishyfishy asked if the duckweed was sticking to the cabomba because indeed I did have to keep pulling it off. Apparently Gandalf also likes to nip at the duckweed roots or anchors & they tend to get stuck on the cabomba.

The duckweed also tends to stay toward the back surface of the tank where the filter is above so it's not directly under the light which is in the front.

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I would switch your light to a 6500k/6700k light, Cabomba is a very light needy plant, and IMO that light it just too low to support it. I also use CFLs, I think I use the GE brand? It's like 3 in a box, for $7 I think, at Walmart.

Changing ferts is also a very good idea.
To be honest Cabomba can be a bit of a finnicky plant, sometimes it just doesn't want to grow. :( It's on my list of plants that are jerks, right next to hornwort.

And just because I'm worried, you should be very careful with ph adjusting chemicals. They, frankly, don't work, and can be very dangerous. They only lower the ph for about a day or so, and then it skyrockets back up to where it was due to the gh and kh. It can be very stressful fish (and possibly plants?), and you'd be better to just do the 50/50 cut than use chemicals.

The addition of oak leaves or indian almond leaves can also reduce ph, along with alder cones. However alder cones are very potent, and I would do a lot of research on them before-hand.
 

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Do you know the wattage of the bulb? I personally think that 51000k is okay for the color spectrum. I have always heard 5000-7000k is okay. 6500k is the closest to natural daylight which plants do best at though.

As Jen has said Cabomba can be a picky plant and most stems tend to need brighter lights and good fertilizers.

One question that I am curious about. The filter water you are using is it from your filter the one that's using a carbon filter??
 

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Ya know what? The few stems of thriving cabomba I have are directly under the float saliva, duckweed, frogbit and asain water grass floating masses. They're bright green and growing quite a bit. But then again, I have 6500k bulbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Yeah so I've been brushing up on my knowledge of lighting & am thinking the wattage or light intensity is low and has probably been getting worse the longer I've been using the bulb. It's a 10 watt bulb which correlates to 2 watts per gallon. That's on the low side according to this site which recommends 2-5 watts per gallon:
Aquarium Lighting: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Aquarium Lighting
As far as spectrum goes one of the moderators I believe of TFK here recommends 6500/6700k as the main light source but also adding a cool blue 8000k. (Sorry didn't save the link)
My hood light can only be 15 watt max & i haven't seen any bulbs with that wattage so maybe I'll have to figure out how to add another fixture or give up on cabomba if the ferts alone don't work!
Yeah the tap water is carbon filtered. My tank filter isn't using carbon just built up biological filtration on the filter medium.
Thank you everyone for your replies. I really would like to keep the cabomba!
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Oh here's the link I was talking about:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/best-lights-display-reds-blues-56589/

Thanks for everyone's input - I'm going to switch to Seachem Flourish and a 6500k cfl to start. Unfortunately it also will only be 10 watts. The tank is only 10" deep to the gravel so light penetration may not be an issue but I'll see.

Thanks for the input on balancing ph Jen - that's been a big headache! I will look into that as well.
 

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Yeah, That's probably high light. I had a 28 gallon with 3 13 watt CFLs and had slight algae problems.. I was definitely in the mid range of light, and that was on a tank that was 18" tall. This is a short tank, cfls are quite intense.

Are the cabomba spread out? They can choke eachother out if you plant them too closely. The stems should be spaced about an inch apart.

The watts per gallon rule is getting to be like the inch per gallon rule, it's not reliable. This was used when everyone was using the tame t8 (t12?) light bulbs.. now there are high efficiency bulbs, high output, led, halide.. all sorts of different bulbs that use different amounts of energy to produce different amounts of light.

1 CFL will do for that small of a tank.
 

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The cabomba were planted in a bunch and now there is one! It's still hanging on and the stem has even divided. :).
The watts per gallon rule is getting to be like the inch per gallon rule, it's not reliable. This was used when everyone was using the tame t8 (t12?) light bulbs.. now there are high efficiency bulbs, high output, led, halide.. all sorts of different bulbs that use different amounts of energy to produce different amounts of light.
I definately see what you're saying. The efficacy of cfls or lumens per watt can really only be outdone by LEDs right now. Ha, I used the inch per gallon rule! In all honesty I still think it's not a bad rule for beginner aquarists to prevent a massive die out right off the bat, but it would be a digression for an experienced aquarist to put full heart into it. I understand there are probably more efficient filtration systems and such than what was used when the rule was created. There are a lot of variables that go into balancing an ecosystem!
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In all honesty I still think it's not a bad rule for beginner aquarists to prevent a massive die out right off the bat, but it would be a digression for an experienced aquarist to put full heart into it.
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Ha, I meant "regression"...but now I digress.
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Having read through this thread, I'll pick up on a couple of points.

First is the pH, and this is not an issue. One problem with our old plant profiles [we are moving the profiles to the new Reference Area, and I am revising them as I do] is the "Care Level" section near the top. This was devised to provide general information on light, temperature, etc. within the 3 categories of Easy, Moderate, Difficult (or whatever). Unfortunately, trying to give general data that fits a broad range of plants can cause more trouble than help, and this section turned out to be like this, so it is gone from the new profiles. If you look under "Water parameters" it says "acidic to slightly basic" without a pH number. You will not have a problem with most plants, including Cabomba, over pH.

On the liquid fertilizer, I agree with those who have recommended a broader, comprehensive product. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is what I and many others here use, but another equal is Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. I think this was the one that Boredomb was trying to think of.;-) Either of these will help all plants, as they are complete and nutrients are in proportion according to aquatic plants' requirements.

On the temperature, 80F is high and while Cabomba might manage if this were the only issue, it also might not. Temperature has a considerable effect on plants, as on fish, the higher it goes. Temporary heat waves are normally not an issue, most of us face these in summer; but a continually high temperature does wear plants and fish out [when it is higher than their preference], and it might have been a contributor here.

That brings us to light, and this is the issue. I tried Cabomba in my 10g with two 10w CFL Daylight 6500K bulbs, and it too was fine for 5-6 weeks, then it began to fall apart until there were completely bare stems. This is a high-light plant. It is better to select another species that will manage. Finding one with the delicate ferny appearance of Cabomba is not easy as all of these require more light by their very nature. But as someone mentioned, plants often will manage in one tank but not another, even with very similar lighting, so you can experiment a bit and you might find one that works. Or you might not. One stem plant that does do well in moderate light is Brazilian Pennywort, though it looks nothing like Cabomba.:)

The issue of watts per gallon has been well covered, so I've nothing to add there.

Byron.
 

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Thank you Byron I can't ever seem to remember the name Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. As that line isn't available near me.
 
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