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A nitrate reading of 25ppm is normal for an established tank with water changes only every 2 weeks. If you increase the number of water changes to once/wk, you may see some fluctuation, just don't gravel vac everytime you do water changes, so you don't disturb too much of your bacteria culture.

If there is waste in the tank that is being broken down, from ammonia to nitrite to nitrate, what you are seeing is a "balanced" system, where nitrates maintain a specific level. This means that your tank is stable with the amount of maintenance you are doing and the amount of waste going into the tank. As the fish grow, you will notice an increase in nitrate levels over time because the amount of waste will increase.

As for the plants, it sounds like a matter of insufficient lighting and possibly not enough nutritent level for that species. Nitrates isn't the "only" thing plants need to live. I would say check the light and the types of plants you are trying to keep... some plants need less light, some need very strong light, some need heavy nutrient levels, some need lower nutrient levels. Just like with the fish, the plants have specific needs also. Also check temps... some plants do better in warmer water, others in colder.

Can you describe what the plants are doing? Are they turning yell, losing leaves, "melting away", turning brown, holes in the leaves, etc etc?
I can do quite a bit of troubleshooting if I know the type of plant and the symptoms and current conditions.

Hope this helps...
 

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Knowing now what plants they are, what the symptoms are, and some of the tank stats, I can already troubleshoot some of the problem.

Hornwort: Did you plant it into the substrate or float it? Hornwort does best when it's allowed to float because it likes A LOT of light, and it also likes a HEAVY nutrient level, which you don't have. Ferts may or may not help the hornwort, it will depend on what's in the fertilizer and what form it is in. Hornwort absorbs it's nutrient level directly from the water column instead of a root system like most plants. I have the stuff growing out of my ears within a month after putting it into my tanks... but I also stick to tanks with a heavier nutrient level... The last bunch I started was 12 inches long when I put it into the tank. When I pruned it 3 months later, that single strand of hornwort was then 6 feet long, soft, and bright pink on the tips. Anytime I have ever tried to "plant" or anchor the hornwort down low it has died. The deeper the tank, the faster it died.

For the lily, I will have to look it up... I know those symptoms but am not coming up with the cause off the top of my head. I have it in a book, will reply again after I get time to look it up.

With the val: They like to be CROWDED, so plant them in a group together, and if possible, increase their number by as many as you can. Groups of 5 planted close together with more groups of 5 will tend to thrive. Vals also like a lot of light, so be sure they are not shaded by other plants. The extra ferts should help the vals, too... but keep in mind, val is known for its heavy shedding, and is a "messy" plant, even when its healthy. You'll want to be sure to skim any debris from the surface of the water on a regular basis, as this can also effect nutrient levels in the tank.

What crypt are you keeping? Can you post a pic? Most of the crypts will do better with lower light, so if they are shaded by taller plants, they usually do pretty well. If it's one of the "red" species of crypt, the tablet fertilizers with Iron in them are the best thing to use. With the tablets, simply break 1 tablet into a few pieces and insert a piece into the root structure of each crypt plant once/wk. Serra makes a good one called "Flourenette A". It is the iron content in the plants that makes them red, and a typical tank doesn't have enough iron in it to keep the plants well fed and bright in color.

I'm not sure about the other plant you described... is it possible for you to post a picture for us? If I can identify the plant I can get the information about it, but I need to at least be able to see it to identify it properly. The onion plant family, aka Crinum, is usually a pretty easy plant to grow. It likes a bit less light than most others, like the crypts, and they can produce some awesome flowers at the surface when healthy and growing well. There is some good and accurate information here for you about the onion plants:
http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/OnionPlant.html
I hope this was of some help to you, I will post again once I find the book about the lilys and what causes those symptoms. I know what page its on, just gotta find the book, lol.
 
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