Interesting plant observation

AbbeysDad

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My 60g is a planted display tank and all my tanks have floating water sprite and some (never ending) duckweed. I had been adding Flourish Comprehensive (a bit less than directions) and the water sprite grew like weeds. I stopped fertilizing and for months, the plants continued to grow well. Then suddenly, the plants began to fail. Almost unnoticeable at first, then as though they were on their last legs (or roots as the case might be). I guess in time, they slowly used up the nutrients they needed. So I began fertilizing again and the plants are coming back really well. In hind sight, I'm surprised the plants didn't begin to fail sooner - it may very well be that even though I was fertilizing less than recommended, that was actually slightly over fertilizing. I'm thinking just maybe half or a quarter of the recommended amount might be the right amount.

 
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seangee

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Interesting indeed. That is exactly what happened to my water sprite - although I was only dosing half. Think I'll go and dig out my bottle of flourish as it sometimes worries me that the only thing in my water column is ammonia (at least for 2 of the tanks).
 

Byron

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I have had similar results from experiments with varying doses of Flourish Comprehensive, though the changes in the plants deteriorating were much quicker occurring but I put that down to my very soft water (GH and KH are 0) and this means calcium, which is very important for cell structure, is no where near sufficient with just fish foods. You probably have somewhat harder water and this makes a big difference. I noticed the same with respect to my larger swords when I used/didn't use Equilibrium, which is again primarily calcium and magnesium.

Storage of excess nutrients is one feature of some plants. Generally, according to botanists, the slower growing plants are better because the faster growing use more so there is less to store. May or may not be that significant.
 

seangee

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Storage of excess nutrients is one feature of some plants. Generally, according to botanists, the slower growing plants are better because the faster growing use more so there is less to store. May or may not be that significant.
Obviously too early to confirm or otherwise. But that is the exact reason I went and dosed my tanks after reading the post. I stopped using the flourish a couple of months ago because I could not see that it was making any difference. Earlier this week I noticed that one of my swords is struggling. This particular plant is in a lighter area of the tank. Another 2 swords in the same tank are doing just fine but they grow much slower because they are in a very dark area of the tank.
 

PheonixKingZ

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I don’t use any liquid fertilizers, and my plants are flourishing.
55C8C264-CFDB-492D-99B2-6134953FA80F.jpeg


I do leave my lights on for 14 hours a day, to achieve this look without fertilizers. Does anyone think this is to much?

When I first started keeping live plants, I left my light on for 10 hours a day, and that wasn’t enough. Then I tried 12, and 13 hours, but that’s still wasn’t enough. Then I tried 14 and my plants are thriving. Opinions, please. :)
 

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As long as plants look healthy and you dont get algae, 15 hours is fine. I was getting algae so I cut lights down from 12 hrs to 9 hrs a day and bought a BN pleco. No more algae!
 
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AbbeysDad

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I think a greater light duration likely only works when there is sufficient nutrients in the water to support the growth...and of course, algae does not become a problem. @PheonixKingZ, it's also worthy of note that your mass of floating plants shades the rest of the tank enough to discourage algae growth.

Another factor in my story that just dawned on me....In a couple of grow out tanks, the plants were growing like crazy without any ferts. But these (MANY) fry/young adult fish were being fed very well for growth. So this most likely meant a lot of nutrients in the water. But as they grew larger, I felt it necessary to increase the frequency/volume of partial water changes to ensure water quality. So I effectively flushed a lot of the nutrients supporting the plants and the plants began to fail. A catch 22 of sorts.
 

Aussie_Bristle

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It’s interesting reading these comments. I don’t use any at all, I have the lights and keep my parameters intact and the val and elodea grow crazy fast. I only gave the Val a haircut a few weeks ago in the big tank and it is back up flowing it’s health green leaves across the top of the water. I have thought about fertilising from what I have read on here but I don’t want it going overload. My little shrimp/plant tank is the same, the Val and elodea is already greening and flourishing beautifully and my ambulia has already started growing its leaves back. Every tank is different I suppose and everyone has their own preferences.
 
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AbbeysDad

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It goes without saying that plants can only grow with enough light and nutrients (aka pollution) as they convert nutrients into plant tissue...which is why in addition to appearance, they are so valuable in the aquarium. There are some tanks without filters that rely only on plants for water purification. So if the fish are well fed and partial water changes are not excessive, adding ferts may not be necessary. However, in other cases, plants may need food (ferts) to survive.
 

seangee

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I guess its 2 slighly different discussions :), fertilising and addition of minerals and trace elements such as provided by Flourish comprehensive et al. In my case the second seems neccessary as there is nothing in my water but H2O. The fish provide plenty of "fertiliser" but nothing else. As for my struggling sword I rooted around in the substrate today and its root tab has gone - I'm blaming the corys here because the others in the tank suggest that was nowhere close to being "used up". No doubt its just been relocated to where it is providing no benefit. But the flourish comprehensive will still apply to the plants not rooted in the substrate - so I am going to keep using it at half the recommended dosage.
 

Byron

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I don’t use any liquid fertilizers, and my plants are flourishing.

I do leave my lights on for 14 hours a day, to achieve this look without fertilizers. Does anyone think this is to much?

When I first started keeping live plants, I left my light on for 10 hours a day, and that wasn’t enough. Then I tried 12, and 13 hours, but that’s still wasn’t enough. Then I tried 14 and my plants are thriving. Opinions, please. :)
This will pick up on what other subsequent posts have mentioned. While this works for you, there is a reason it does, but the assumption stated that the duration of the light alone is doing it is misleading (inaccurate).

Aquatic plants grow by photosynthesis, and this requires light and nutrients to be sufficient. The light directly drives photosynthesis, and the minimum intensity varies from plant species to plant species; in other words, the minimum light level to allow moss to grow is much lower than what is required for most stem plants. This is primarily why some plants may thrive in a given aquarium but other plants fail. The intensity drives photosynthesis, but the spectrum is also important because only red and blue wavelengths directly achieve this; adding green light does improve plant growth but for a different but related reason [another story]. The duration also enters the picture; six hours is about as little during a 24-hour period as you need, but anything above this will work, up to a point.

The available nutrients, of which there are 17 required, must be available and in sufficient quantity for the specific plant species' requirement. If this "food" is not available, the light cannot drive photosynthesis and the plants will struggle and die. Algae is not so fussy and some type will inevitably manage regardless of the light.

Nutrients occur from the fish primarily, and they can be added via fertilizers. These nutrients are produced mainly in the substrate. In the photo, the substrate is very, very deep, and this is undoubtedly part of your success. Even without fish, organics do occur and the breakdown of these in the substrate by the many species of bacteria is feeding the plants.
 
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AbbeysDad

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I guess its 2 slighly different discussions :), fertilising and addition of minerals and trace elements such as provided by Flourish comprehensive et al. In my case the second seems neccessary as there is nothing in my water but H2O. The fish provide plenty of "fertiliser" but nothing else. As for my struggling sword I rooted around in the substrate today and its root tab has gone - I'm blaming the corys here because the others in the tank suggest that was nowhere close to being "used up". No doubt its just been relocated to where it is providing no benefit. But the flourish comprehensive will still apply to the plants not rooted in the substrate - so I am going to keep using it at half the recommended dosage.
I don't think it's two different discussions since ferts, minerals, and trace are all elements that plants need to grow and be healthy.
And the Amazon Swords - like most rooted plants, they are heavy root feeders and although they will benefit some from nutrients in the water column, they will benefit significantly more from root tabs.
 
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AbbeysDad

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Just a quick follow-up to report that after resuming fertilization using Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive, The water sprite plants that looked like they were done for, have sprung back to life. They seem to be growing well again. This being the case, I will likely cut back just a bit, probably to about 1/2 the recommended dose. Like so many things...tweak, observe, tweak, observe.
:)
 

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I enjoyed reading this discussion, being new to live plants(plastic was easier) there is a lot of good info here. I am trying not to add any chemicals for my plants and so far they seem to be doing well except for the damage my snails did to them. I replaced my lights with plant lights and have them on for 11 hours. My 55 gallon tank has only been going for 3 months and is still a work in progress.
 
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