My aquarium plants without CO2, not thriving.

muhaimin

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Hello everyone. I have Aquarium set up about 4 months now. Dimensions of tank are 60 x 30 x 36. I have some aquarium plants planted. Using aquarium soil. Over the months I have changed my plants a few times, as they keep dying, shrink so badly, some leaves keep coming out or turning black. I do not have CO2 supply in my tank. So I choose those plants that still can survive without CO2. But mine still not doing good. I do have a normal led light for the aquarium. Normally I will switch it on in the morning for about 3 to 4 hours, and another 3 hours in the evening. And my tank is also placed in my living room where there is sunlight, but not direct sunlight. I am also using fertiliser, small portions daily. Is there and tips and advice for me that I can improvise to sustain my plants healthily?
 

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Colin_T

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Can you show us a picture of the tank from the front so we can identify the plants?

Maybe post some pictures of the different plants too so we can make sure they belong in an aquarium.

At least one of the plants looks like a garden plant. If you are getting marsh or garden plants, they die after a few weeks in the water. Some shops will sell garden plants are aquarium plants so you have to be careful about this.

One way to see if a plant is a true aquatic plant or a garden plant is to life the plant out of water. True aquatic plants will fall over when taken out of water, whereas marsh/ garden plants will remain standing upright.

-------------------
Have the light on continuously for 12 hours a day. Don't have it on for a few hours, then dark for a few then back on for a few more. It messes up the fish's and plant's natural day night cycle.

-------------------
What sort of fertiliser do you add to the tank?

Do you measure the fertiliser levels in the water?

-------------------
There is plenty of carbon dioxide (CO2) in aquariums. It is produced continuously by the fish and bacteria, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Unless you have intense light, lots of fertiliser, and no fish, there is no need to add CO2 to an aquarium.
 

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AQUARIUM PLANTS 1.01

LIGHTING TIMES

Most aquarium plants like a bit of light and if you only have the light on for a couple of hours a day, they struggle. If the light doesn't have a high enough wattage they also struggle. Try having the tank lights on for 10-12 hours a day.

If you get lots of green algae then reduce the light by an hour a day and monitor the algae over the next 2 weeks.
If you don't get any green algae on the glass then increase the lighting period by an hour and monitor it.
If you get a small amount of algae then the lighting time is about right.

Some plants will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. Ambulia, Hygrophilas and a few others close their top set of leaves first, then the next set and so on down the stem. When you see this happening, wait an hour after the leaves have closed up against the stem and then turn lights off.


--------------------
TURNING LIGHTS ON AND OFF
Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.


--------------------
LIST OF PLANTS TO TRY
Some good plants to try include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia (during summer, but don't buy it in winter because it falls apart), Hydrilla, common Amazon sword plant, narrow or twisted/ spiral Vallis, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).
The Water Sprite normally floats on the surface but can also be planted in the substrate. The other plants should be planted in the gravel.

Ambulia, H. polysperma, Elodia/ Hydrilla and Vallis are tall plants that do well along the back. Rotala macranda is a medium/ tallish red plant that usually does well.

H. ruba/ rubra is a medium height plant that looks good on the sides of the tank.

Cryptocorynes are small/ medium plants that are taller than pygmy chain swords but shorter than H. rubra. They also come in a range of colours, mostly different shades of green, brown or purplish red. Crypts are not the easiest plant to grow but can do well if they are healthy to begin with and are not disturbed after planting in the tank.

Most Amazon sword plants can get pretty big and are usually kept in the middle of the tank as a show piece. There is an Ozelot sword plant that has brown spots on green leaves, and a red ruffle sword plant (name may vary depending on where you live) with deep red leaves.

There is a pygmy chain sword plant that is small and does well in the front of the tank.


--------------------
TRUE AQUATIC VS MARSH/ TERRESTRIAL PLANTS
Lots of plants are sold as aquarium plants and most are marsh plants that do really well when their roots are in water and the rest of the plant is above water. Some marsh plants will do well underwater too.

Hair grass is not a true aquatic plant, neither is Anubias.

Some common marsh plants include Amazon sword plants, Cryptocorynes, Hygrophila sp, Rotala sp, Ludwigia sp, Bacopa sp. These plant do reasonably well underwater.

True aquatic plants include Ambulia, Cabomba, Hornwort, Elodia, Hydrilla and Vallis.

The main difference between marsh plants and true aquatic plants is the stem. True aquatics have a soft flexible stem with air bubbles in it. These bubbles help the plant float and remain buoyant in the water column.
Marsh plants have a rigid stem and these plants can remain standing upright when removed from water. Whereas true aquatic plants will fall over/ collapse when removed from water.


--------------------
IRON BASED PLANT FERTILISER
If you add an iron based aquarium plant fertiliser, it will help most aquarium plants do well. The liquid iron based aquarium plant fertilisers tend to be better than the tablet forms, although you can push the tablets under the roots of plants and that works well.

You use an iron (Fe) test kit to monitor iron levels and keep them at 1mg/l (1ppm).

I used Sera Florena liquid plant fertiliser but there are other brands too.


--------------------
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
There is no point adding carbon dioxide (CO2) until you have the lights and nutrients worked out. Even then you don't need CO2 unless the tank is full of plants and only has a few small fish in.

There is plenty of CO2 in the average aquarium and it is produced by the fish and filter bacteria all day, every day. The plants also release CO2 at night when it is dark. And more CO2 gets into the tank from the atmosphere.

Don't use liquid CO2 supplements because they are made from toxic substances that harm fish, shrimp and snails.
 
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muhaimin

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Can you show us a picture of the tank from the front so we can identify the plants?

Maybe post some pictures of the different plants too so we can make sure they belong in an aquarium.

At least one of the plants looks like a garden plant. If you are getting marsh or garden plants, they die after a few weeks in the water. Some shops will sell garden plants are aquarium plants so you have to be careful about this.

One way to see if a plant is a true aquatic plant or a garden plant is to life the plant out of water. True aquatic plants will fall over when taken out of water, whereas marsh/ garden plants will remain standing upright.

-------------------
Have the light on continuously for 12 hours a day. Don't have it on for a few hours, then dark for a few then back on for a few more. It messes up the fish's and plant's natural day night cycle.

-------------------
What sort of fertiliser do you add to the tank?

Do you measure the fertiliser levels in the water?

-------------------
There is plenty of carbon dioxide (CO2) in aquariums. It is produced continuously by the fish and bacteria, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Unless you have intense light, lots of fertiliser, and no fish, there is no need to add CO2 to an aquarium.
Hi. Thank you so much. I am using liquid fertiliser . I don't measure fertiliser levels in the water.
 

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muhaimin

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AQUARIUM PLANTS 1.01

LIGHTING TIMES

Most aquarium plants like a bit of light and if you only have the light on for a couple of hours a day, they struggle. If the light doesn't have a high enough wattage they also struggle. Try having the tank lights on for 10-12 hours a day.

If you get lots of green algae then reduce the light by an hour a day and monitor the algae over the next 2 weeks.
If you don't get any green algae on the glass then increase the lighting period by an hour and monitor it.
If you get a small amount of algae then the lighting time is about right.

Some plants will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. Ambulia, Hygrophilas and a few others close their top set of leaves first, then the next set and so on down the stem. When you see this happening, wait an hour after the leaves have closed up against the stem and then turn lights off.


--------------------
TURNING LIGHTS ON AND OFF
Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.


--------------------
LIST OF PLANTS TO TRY
Some good plants to try include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia (during summer, but don't buy it in winter because it falls apart), Hydrilla, common Amazon sword plant, narrow or twisted/ spiral Vallis, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).
The Water Sprite normally floats on the surface but can also be planted in the substrate. The other plants should be planted in the gravel.

Ambulia, H. polysperma, Elodia/ Hydrilla and Vallis are tall plants that do well along the back. Rotala macranda is a medium/ tallish red plant that usually does well.

H. ruba/ rubra is a medium height plant that looks good on the sides of the tank.

Cryptocorynes are small/ medium plants that are taller than pygmy chain swords but shorter than H. rubra. They also come in a range of colours, mostly different shades of green, brown or purplish red. Crypts are not the easiest plant to grow but can do well if they are healthy to begin with and are not disturbed after planting in the tank.

Most Amazon sword plants can get pretty big and are usually kept in the middle of the tank as a show piece. There is an Ozelot sword plant that has brown spots on green leaves, and a red ruffle sword plant (name may vary depending on where you live) with deep red leaves.

There is a pygmy chain sword plant that is small and does well in the front of the tank.


--------------------
TRUE AQUATIC VS MARSH/ TERRESTRIAL PLANTS
Lots of plants are sold as aquarium plants and most are marsh plants that do really well when their roots are in water and the rest of the plant is above water. Some marsh plants will do well underwater too.

Hair grass is not a true aquatic plant, neither is Anubias.

Some common marsh plants include Amazon sword plants, Cryptocorynes, Hygrophila sp, Rotala sp, Ludwigia sp, Bacopa sp. These plant do reasonably well underwater.

True aquatic plants include Ambulia, Cabomba, Hornwort, Elodia, Hydrilla and Vallis.

The main difference between marsh plants and true aquatic plants is the stem. True aquatics have a soft flexible stem with air bubbles in it. These bubbles help the plant float and remain buoyant in the water column.
Marsh plants have a rigid stem and these plants can remain standing upright when removed from water. Whereas true aquatic plants will fall over/ collapse when removed from water.


--------------------
IRON BASED PLANT FERTILISER
If you add an iron based aquarium plant fertiliser, it will help most aquarium plants do well. The liquid iron based aquarium plant fertilisers tend to be better than the tablet forms, although you can push the tablets under the roots of plants and that works well.

You use an iron (Fe) test kit to monitor iron levels and keep them at 1mg/l (1ppm).

I used Sera Florena liquid plant fertiliser but there are other brands too.


--------------------
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
There is no point adding carbon dioxide (CO2) until you have the lights and nutrients worked out. Even then you don't need CO2 unless the tank is full of plants and only has a few small fish in.

There is plenty of CO2 in the average aquarium and it is produced by the fish and filter bacteria all day, every day. The plants also release CO2 at night when it is dark. And more CO2 gets into the tank from the atmosphere.

Don't use liquid CO2 supplements because they are made from toxic substances that harm fish, shrimp and snails.
Thank you so much. That was very informative. Any recomandations on what type of light is suitable for a 2ft tank?
 

Colin_T

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Any recommendations on what type of light is suitable for a 2ft tank?
You can use fluorescent, LED, metal halide, or whatever lighting is available. Try to get light globes with a 6500K (K is for Kelvin) rating. This gives you light that is similar to natural sunlight but without the ultraviolet light. It's also a good level for plants.
 

Colin_T

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There appears to be plenty of light on the tank in the picture. However, there also appears to be a few unusual plants that might not belong underwater.

On the right at the front there looks like an Anubias plant that is buried in the gravel. These plants can have their roots in gravel but normally have a rhizome that sits above the soil. Most people tie these plants onto driftwood or rocks.

The plant in the middle at the back behind the wood with long wide leaves doesn't look like an aquarium plant. It might be a Hygrophila species but could also be something from the garden.

Back left and back right near the filter intake looks like Java Fern. It is another plant that should be tied to wood or rocks, and has a thin rhizome that should not be buried. Java Fern and Abunias are slow growing plants.

I'm not sure on what the plant on the front left is. It's a weird one.

The tall skinny plant with small round leaves at the back, it goes up to the surface, is an aquarium plant (looks like Rotala) and should be fine as it is.

If you look for some Ambulia and Hygrophila polysperma, these are fast growing plants and can be a good indicator or whether there is enough light and fertiliser for aquatic plants.
 

Colin_T

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On a different subject, you have a lot of fish in a small tank, and a lot of those fish are not really compatible.

The roseline barbs need a bigger tank so they can move around.

You have 3 male dwarf gouramis who are stressed out and need some floating plants like Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) to hide under and to help break up the territories so they can't see each other. Ideally you only want 1 male in that size tank.

You have coloured widow/ skirt tetras (pink and yellow tetras) and these are fin nippers that might harass the gouramis. You also have a couple of albino tiger barbs that are also fin nippers. Both of these species do best in large groups consisting of 10 or more of their own kind.

It looks like you have a couple of female danios. Again they do best in large groups of 10 or more and they like a bit of space to swim.

There are 2 balloon rams at the bottom who might be struggling to get food with all the other fishes above them. Balloon fishes also have more health issues due to their bodies being shorter than normal. It is preferable if people don't get balloon fishes because they have a shorter life span and are more prone to health issues.

I can see 1 black phantom tetra. These guys like to be in groups with slow moving peaceful fish and might be struggling with all the activity from the barbs and danios.

You have a nice group of cardinal tetras and the albino bristlenose catfish looks good too :)

The tank could do with a picture on the back to make the fish feel more secure.

I would look into finding a bigger tank for the barbs, widow tetras and danios, and get rid of 2 of the gouramis.
 
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muhaimin

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On a different subject, you have a lot of fish in a small tank, and a lot of those fish are not really compatible.

The roseline barbs need a bigger tank so they can move around.

You have 3 male dwarf gouramis who are stressed out and need some floating plants like Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) to hide under and to help break up the territories so they can't see each other. Ideally you only want 1 male in that size tank.

You have coloured widow/ skirt tetras (pink and yellow tetras) and these are fin nippers that might harass the gouramis. You also have a couple of albino tiger barbs that are also fin nippers. Both of these species do best in large groups consisting of 10 or more of their own kind.

It looks like you have a couple of female danios. Again they do best in large groups of 10 or more and they like a bit of space to swim.

There are 2 balloon rams at the bottom who might be struggling to get food with all the other fishes above them. Balloon fishes also have more health issues due to their bodies being shorter than normal. It is preferable if people don't get balloon fishes because they have a shorter life span and are more prone to health issues.

I can see 1 black phantom tetra. These guys like to be in groups with slow moving peaceful fish and might be struggling with all the activity from the barbs and danios.

You have a nice group of cardinal tetras and the albino bristlenose catfish looks good too :)

The tank could do with a picture on the back to make the fish feel more secure.

I would look into finding a bigger tank for the barbs, widow tetras and danios, and get rid of 2 of the gouramis.
Wow.
On a different subject, you have a lot of fish in a small tank, and a lot of those fish are not really compatible.

The roseline barbs need a bigger tank so they can move around.

You have 3 male dwarf gouramis who are stressed out and need some floating plants like Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) to hide under and to help break up the territories so they can't see each other. Ideally you only want 1 male in that size tank.

You have coloured widow/ skirt tetras (pink and yellow tetras) and these are fin nippers that might harass the gouramis. You also have a couple of albino tiger barbs that are also fin nippers. Both of these species do best in large groups consisting of 10 or more of their own kind.

It looks like you have a couple of female danios. Again they do best in large groups of 10 or more and they like a bit of space to swim.

There are 2 balloon rams at the bottom who might be struggling to get food with all the other fishes above them. Balloon fishes also have more health issues due to their bodies being shorter than normal. It is preferable if people don't get balloon fishes because they have a shorter life span and are more prone to health issues.

I can see 1 black phantom tetra. These guys like to be in groups with slow moving peaceful fish and might be struggling with all the activity from the barbs and danios.

You have a nice group of cardinal tetras and the albino bristlenose catfish looks good too :)

The tank could do with a picture on the back to make the fish feel more secure.

I would look into finding a bigger tank for the barbs, widow tetras and danios, and get rid of 2 of the gouramis.
Oh wow. Thats alot of information. Thank you so much. I am quite new into this. I'll try my best to improve the conditions, but not sure if I can upgrade to a bigger tank now. How you find out that the gouramis are stressed out?
 

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How you find out that the gouramis are stressed out?
Sorry about all the information, just trying to cover as much as possible to limit possible problems in the future.

Gouramis normally live near the surface but under floating plants. They don't like being out in the open where birds can see them and eat them. Obviously there are no birds above the tank but the fish still fear being out in the open because of possible attacks from above.

There are 3 males in the tank, one on each side and one in the middle. That is each male trying to stake out a territory but being unable to successfully do so. Normally each male would have a territory that is 3-4 feet or more in diameter. The males can swim around and patrol it looking for females to breed with and other males to chase away. Three males in a small tank with no floating plants is stressful for them.

Having lots of other fishes in the tank moving around below them is also stressful. Fish get attacked by aerial predators (birds) and also by aquatic predators that often come up from below. Having lots of fish moving around the gouramis stresses them out. They like nice calm water, lots of floating plants for cover, and no other fish nearby. If other fish are nearby, they prefer them to be small, peaceful and not racing around everywhere like danios and barbs do.
 
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muhaimin

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Sorry about all the information, just trying to cover as much as possible to limit possible problems in the future.

Gouramis normally live near the surface but under floating plants. They don't like being out in the open where birds can see them and eat them. Obviously there are no birds above the tank but the fish still fear being out in the open because of possible attacks from above.

There are 3 males in the tank, one on each side and one in the middle. That is each male trying to stake out a territory but being unable to successfully do so. Normally each male would have a territory that is 3-4 feet or more in diameter. The males can swim around and patrol it looking for females to breed with and other males to chase away. Three males in a small tank with no floating plants is stressful for them.

Having lots of other fishes in the tank moving around below them is also stressful. Fish get attacked by aerial predators (birds) and also by aquatic predators that often come up from below. Having lots of fish moving around the gouramis stresses them out. They like nice calm water, lots of floating plants for cover, and no other fish nearby. If other fish are nearby, they prefer them to be small, peaceful and not racing around everywhere like danios and barbs do.
No worries. Thanks, it was very good read up. I am planning to get a bigger tank in the future, not so soon. I'll bear in mind all these tips and knowledge. For now, I can try to see if I can add any floating plants for them.
 

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Hi. Thank you so much. I am using liquid fertiliser . I don't measure fertiliser levels in the water.
It is good you that you recognized that plants need more than water, CO2 and light.

Based on the image of the fertilizer bottle you have I found the following on this site.
Each 5ml per 100L dose adds 3.8ppm Potassium (K), 1.8ppm Nitrogen (NO3), 0.7ppm Phosphorus (PO4), 0.05ppm Iron (Fe), 0.4ppm Magnesium (Mg) and additional amounts of Boron (B), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo) and Zinc (Zn).

The above dosage is designed to be dosed 4 times a week. So the total per week adds up to: 15.2ppm Potassium (K), 7.2ppm Nitrogen (NO3), 2.8ppm Phosphorus (PO4), 0.2ppm Iron (Fe), 1.6ppm Magnesium (Mg) and additional amounts of Boron (B), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo) and Zinc (Zn).

Does this fertilizer contain all the nutrients plants need?

Answer, no it doesn't. It does not list sulfur calcium, or chloride, or nickel. It also doesn't list the dosage levels for for Mn, B, Zn, Cu, Mo. It also doesn't tell you if what ingredients are in the bottle. Is the Fe, Mn, Mo chelated?

Without the above information it is impossible to say if the fertilizer will or will not work. The sad truth of fertilizers is that most depend on your water containing some of the nutrients that the fertilizer doesn't have. If just one nutrient is not available your plants will not grow and may die.

You list your location as Singapore. Basically an island that is mostly city. You only sources of drinking water, rain, ground water and distilled (RO) water. So it is unlikely your tap water has what your fertilizer does not have. It's probably a blend of Rain and RO water. with minerals added.

I had this problem in my RO water tank. After a lot of work and trying several different fertilizers and searching for a better fertilizer, I solved my problem by making my own fertilizer. At the time it was the only solution I had. However now GLA makes a micro fertilizer that is very close to what I am currently using.

IF you switch to this micro fertilizer you would only have to address the macros Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, Magneisum, phosphorous, Sulfur, and Chloride. I have looked at the Singapore water quality report. And your tap water should supply enough calcium and magnesium and chloride. If you do a 50% water change once a week. you won't have to worry about Ca, Mg and chloride and it might So your should only have to worry about Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorous (Phosphate) and sulfur. but with all the fish your have you mightn't have to dose any macros.

I would try to fix the fertilizer issue first with just the GLA micro before getting floating plants. You floating plants would probably die based on the fertilizer you are using and the plant problems you currently have. If you get good plant growth then try floating plants. For floating plants I would recommend salvinia or re root floaters.
 
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