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Amazon Swords Turning Brown

Discussion in 'Planted Chit Chat' started by Cramer719, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. Cramer719

    Cramer719 Mostly New Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I am new to planted aquariums, and I am struggling. I have a 60 gal tall tank with Amazon sword, jungle Val and a few more plants in it. Jungle Val has never done well for some reason and now my Amazon swords are starting to wrinkle up and getting a little brown on them. My thought is that I might have a defficiency somewhere. I had to recently recycle tank because I killed all BB while treating for velvet. Any thoughts would be great.

    60 gal
    Ammonia - 0
    Nitrites - 0
    Nitrates - 5 to 10
    PH - 7.6
    About 2 watts per gallon
    Tank is about 70% stocked.
    I also dose with Flourish and Flourish Iron. I very recently started dosing with liquid Co2 to try and help. I have root tabs as well.
     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    First, can you post photos of the tank (entire) and the plants?
     
    Second, roughly what is the fish load?
     
    Third, what is your source water GH?  This is an important source of the "hard" minerals which are not sufficient in the fertilizers if you have very soft water.
     
    Four, what is your light?  T5, T8, LED..., watts, spectrum (Kelvin, it should be on one end of the tubes for example), and light duration daily.
     
    I should be able to sort this out with the above.
     
    Byron.
     
  3. Cramer719

    Cramer719 Mostly New Member

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    I will try to post a picture when I get home. My iPhone says the images are too big.

    I have 10 tiger barbs
    2 dwarf gouramis
    1 german blue ram
    1 butterfly Pleco
    And a few snails.

    I live in Nevada and the water here is very hard. I don't know if I would have to have an additional source of GH or not.

    I have a dual T5HO 54 watt(so 108 watt total). I believe the bulbs are 6500 and 10k. I'll double check when I'm home.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I still would like to see the photos, but I can add a bit more from the information given.  The treatment for velvet usually causes plants to weaken, sometimes even die completely, so this may have been an issue if the plants did live through it.  You shouldn't have to bother with this now, but the point is that the plants may have been set back.
     
    I asked about fish because this is the prime source of nitrogen, as ammonia from the fish respiration and the breakdown of their waste by bacteria.  You should have no issues on this front.  However, don't vacuum the substrate much during the weekly water change; along the front in the open areas, but leave the rest of it, as the organics (fish waste etc) are important for not only nitrogen but CO2.
     
    The GH should not be an issue, so that we can set aside.  Vallisneria in particular should thrive with harder water.
     
    Again the photos will help, but the "brown" you mention on the sword leaves may well be algae from the light.  It might also be an excess of iron.  I will await the photos as these will make this clear.
     
    Speaking of iron, I would not add this, at least for the present until we get things balanced.  Failing plants is due to an imbalance somewhere with respect to the light intensity and available nutrients.  Which brings me to the light.  I should have asked for the duration previously, and the tank dimensions (length, width, height).  Too much light can be harmful to plants, as much as too little.
     
    One last point for now, the liquid carbon...which product is this?  If it is Excel or the API CO2 Booster, I would not use either.  They contain glutaraldehyde, a highly toxic disinfectant that I personally would never put into a fish tank.  Vallisneria in particular will usually be killed by this chemical (the plants slowly melt away), so that may be an issue.  But this chemical can kill all plants, bacteria and fish if it is overdosed, so I would discontinue use.
     
    More when I see the photos.  We will get this sorted out.
     
    Byron.
     
  5. Cramer719

    Cramer719 Mostly New Member

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    I have the light on about 10 hours a day now. I was a bit more than that but I turned it down.
    And just confirmed the T5 bulbs I'm using are 6700 and 10k.
    I also thought it would be good to mention, my substrate is probably 60 percent Eco-complete fluorite and 40 percent gavel mixed together.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    From the photos the brown is not algae, so we are dealing with nutrients/light.  The spectrum is fine, I had this combo for a couple years over my 115g.  The intensity with T5 (presumably they are HO, high output T5?) is high, but reducing the duration may help.  I would get this down to 8 hours max, and depending upon how that works, perhaps less.  Stop dosing the iron and Excel (liquid carbon).  Flourish Comprehensive twice a week, once following the water change, and the second three days later.  Give this a few weeks to settle.
     
    Some floating plants would also probably help.
     
    Byron.
     
  7. Cramer719

    Cramer719 Mostly New Member

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    Thank you so much for the help. The tank is 24" tall and 48" long. I figured with it being a taller tank I should get HO T5's(so yes they are HO). I have stopped dosing. I'll wait and see I guess. Do you think the substrate could be causing it? The fluorite was recommended to me so I just went with it. Would too much light kill the Val's like that?
    Also what floating plants do you suggest. I had some Duckweed but my barbs like to eat it, maybe I just need a larger bunch.
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Diagnosing specific plant issues is not easy, because so often there are related issues.  As a simple example, calcium deficiency can appear as an excess of iron, even though iron may not be more than what is required.  
     
    I have known too intense lighting to cause plants to yellow and slowly give out.  But usually algae will be increasing along with it.  So this is likely not the only issue.
     
    If I were to suggest lighting for this tank, it would be dual T8 using two 48-inch tubes.  But as you have the T5, I think it can work with some tweaking.  Reducing the duration daily is one way, and I would start with 8 hours.  If this, plus the other suggestions combined, does not seem to help, you can reduce a further hour or two.
     
    One question on your light fixture: can you remove one tube and have the other still light?  Some will, some won't, depending upon how they are wired.  If you can, removing one tube would probably work and you could get a good 6700K daylight tube.  Just another option if it can work.  And something else occurs to me...will it take NO (= normal output) tubes in place of HO?  NO T5 are basically equivalent in intensity to the same type of tube in T8.  NO tubes are not that common, but in the USA you might be able to track them down, if your fixture will take them.
     
    Floating plants that have substance (as opposed to duckweed) is what will work best for you.  Water Sprite (Ceratopteris cornuta), Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) are three I have and all are lovely plants.  You can "Google" the scientific names and see photos.  Some of the stem plants do well left floating; my favourite is Brazilian Pennywort (Hydrocotyl leucocephala).  Some have luck with Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis).  The Red and Green Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea species) will produce floating leaves similar to a water lily.  Any of these will cover the surface if allowed to, and I would aim for that.
     
    Flourite is something I tried four years ago in my 70g, and I had it as the sole substrate for two years before I tore the tank down and discarded the Flourite in the back garden.  I did not notice any improvement in plant response compared to plain fine gravel or play sand, which I have in my other six tanks and now after two years with play sand in the 70g the plants are just as they were previously.  As you have it, keep it, it can't do any harm, except to substrate fish like loaches and cories if you have the gravel; the sand I understand is better for these fish.  My Flourite gravel was rough, more than I realized, and I had to remove my cories after they developed barbel degeneration and even worse, damaged mouths.  They have fortunately all recovered with sand.
     
    Don't give up, there is a solution and we will find it.  It takes a few weeks after any changes are made for the plant response to show, so be patient.  I am suggesting several changes to start with, as I think these need addressing; but after a few weeks, if things are not improving, any further changes I suggest will be slow and one at a time to give the plants time to adjust.
     
    Byron.
     
  9. Cramer719

    Cramer719 Mostly New Member

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    I don't believe they make NO bulbs that fit my lamp. The bulbs are made by corallife. I have the lights set for 8 hours and I have a large bunch of duckweed coming so maybe that will help. Maybe it will reproduce fast enough to keep up with my fish. I'll keep you posted on how it's all working.
     
  10. Cramer719

    Cramer719 Mostly New Member

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    I got a GH and KH test kit. GH is about 300-350. KH is 8 dKH.
     
  11. shoulders

    shoulders Member

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    dosing liquid carbon can sometimes cause vals to die off
     
  12. Cramer719

    Cramer719 Mostly New Member

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    They were dying before I even started dosing carbon
     

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