My plants are getting worse

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connorlindeman

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I've been having problems with the plants in my 20g.
The swords, dwarf sag, and java moss are all dying. Frogbit is the only thing that's doing decent.
Here's some pictures
IMG_2310 (2).jpgIMG_2311 (2).jpgIMG_2312 (5).jpg
I am dosing Flourish advance, flourish iron, flourish comprehensive, and flourish potassium. There are also some flourish root tabs in the sand.
This is the light:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0811QTHCM/?tag=ff0d01-20
Heater is set to 76.
What parameters are as follows:
Ph: 7
Gh 180ppm
Kh: not sure
ammonia 0
nitrate 0
nitrite 0

A member on another forum suggested dosing nitrogen because its 0.

What do you suggest?
 

myrtle

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The fact that your frogbit is fine suggests it's not a nutrient deficiency but I guess that depends on your definition of fine as I cant see it. How long have the affected plants been struggling for? Nitrate shouldn't be 0, especially with all the ferts, but you might want to check whether any actually contain the macro nutrients. I'd use something like 2hr aquarist, apt or tnc complete rather than Flourish as it's pretty weak and you're just paying for a lot of water, if truth be told.
 

Aqua67

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Frogbit likes medium to high light and the dwarf saggitaria likes medium light. The other plants that you say aren’t doing well actually do much better with a lot less light. You might be over fertilizing with all of those supplements. Generally speaking, it is probably easiest to just find a good all-in-one fertilizer and use that. The dwarf sag, and Amazon would appreciate root tabs and the floating plants and moss would like liquid fertilizers. Grow the moss in an area of the aquarium that receives a good current. I would have the dwarf saggitaria on the side of the tank where the frogbit is not covering the light. The sword and the moss can grow under the shade of the frogbit.

If you can turn down the intensity of your light, that may be helpful. Having a timer for your light can also help because then the lights come on and go off consistently.

Since the sword and the dwarf sagg will appreciate the root tabs, the frogbit grows the fastest and will appreciate the liquid fertilizer. The moss doesn’t need anything special since it grows much slower than the others, just reduce the light and let it grow where the current is strong.

Good luck with your plants.
 

Byron

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You are adding too many substances, this is always a danger. Plants need the 17 nutrients in something of a balance, and too much of "x" can cause plants to shut down assimilatin of some other nutrient. This is especially the case with iron. There is sufficient iron in Flourish Comprehensive Supplement to provide all that plants need in a low-tech tank like this one pictured. Not to mention what these additives are doing to the fish...but I'll stay with the plant issues. Several years ago I killed my floating plants with addition of iron plus FCS.

You do not need nitrogen. This is taken up as ammonia, and plants can assimilate an incredible amount. Having said that, it is possible to get an imbalance because of all the other additives. The GH is fine for the calcium and magnesium.

Dose Flourish Comprehensive once a week at the recommended dose level. Do not use iron, potassium or advance. A substrate Flourish Tab is fine for the larger swords, one per plant or between two close together, replaced every 3 months.

The light should be OK, the white is 6500K. How long is it on each 24 hours? Balance again enters the picture, the nutrients available must balance the light intensity and duration.
 

Archerfish

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Are you sure that the nitrate reading is zero? I always find it really odd when all of the readings are zero. Especially nitrate. What type of test kit are you using? Is the tank cycled and how long have you had the plants?
 

Byron

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Are you sure that the nitrate reading is zero? I always find it really odd when all of the readings are zero. Especially nitrate. What type of test kit are you using? Is the tank cycled and how long have you had the plants?

It is not unusual in planted tanks that are low-tech or natural method. In fact, it is the norm. Reason is that aquatic plants take up ammonia as their nitrogen, and they do this faster than the nitrifying bacteria. Which means there is no nitrite and thus no nitrate resulting. There is obviously some nitrifying going on, but our test kits cannot detect it because it is so minimal. [High-tech planted tanks are different.]
 

myrtle

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It is not unusual in planted tanks that are low-tech or natural method. In fact, it is the norm. Reason is that aquatic plants take up ammonia as their nitrogen, and they do this faster than the nitrifying bacteria. Which means there is no nitrite and thus no nitrate resulting. There is obviously some nitrifying going on, but our test kits cannot detect it because it is so minimal. [High-tech planted tanks are different.]
There should be a nitrate reading if there is nitrate being added via ferts unless the plants are using it up before testing, in which case there isn't enough being added.
 

StevenF

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I am dosing Flourish advance, flourish iron, flourish comprehensive, and flourish potassium. There are also some flourish root tabs in the sand.
Flourish advance provides mainly calcium and magnesium plus some plant hormones that healthy plant should be able to made. With your CH of 180ppm there is no need for this. Flourish has enough potassium and and sulfur so you probably don't ned it. Iron should only be dosed if you see signs of aa iron deficiency. When plant are deficient in iron the leaves will be yellow except for he veins which will still be green. I don't see that.

Floursh comprehensive provides no nitrogen. now plants can extract nitrogen from nitrate, ammonia, urea, and amino acids. The only source for any of this is your fish.I only see two fish. They don't likely produce enough nitrogen for all your plants. If your fish produced enough nitrogen you would likely see some nitrate. But you don't so you likely need Nitrogen. In my tank I found plant growth was better when I maintained some nitrogen between 3 and 5 ppm. That low level should not harm your fish.

Flourish doesn't have all nutrients plants since tap water typically has these. But you need to do weeklywter changes to insure your tap water doesn't get depleted of these nutrients. How often have you done water changes and typically how much water do your replace? Also please drive a picture of your floating plant as seen from above them. Floating plants will often show nutrient deficiencies better than submerged plants and seeing them might be helpful.

Also the fertilizer ingredients in most fertilizers are damaged by carbonates (KH). So many fertilizer work better then they are dosed about once a day or every other day.. How much comprehensive do your add and how often.
 

Byron

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There should be a nitrate reading if there is nitrate being added via ferts unless the plants are using it up before testing, in which case there isn't enough being added.

First, we must keep in mind that we are talking low-tech or natural planted tanks, as opposed to high-tech with much more intense light and diffused CO2 as well as daily (usually) nutrient dosing.

It is pointless to add nitrate as this does impact fish and plants ar not going to use it unless the ammonia/ammonium is exhausted. Aquatic plants such as those here take up ammonia/ammonium as their nitrogen; taking up nitrate uses considerable energy from the plant because the nitrate has to be converted back into ammonium by the plant, and plants will not do this unless "forced" into the situation. And with fish in the tank, at the levels most of us stock, there is never going to be a shortage of nitrogen (ammonia/ammonium).

Fish are affected by nitrate, so keeping it as close to zero is preferred. And the better quality comprehensive supplements will not be adding nitrate because it is frankly useless.
 

myrtle

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First, we must keep in mind that we are talking low-tech or natural planted tanks, as opposed to high-tech with much more intense light and diffused CO2 as well as daily (usually) nutrient dosing.

It is pointless to add nitrate as this does impact fish and plants ar not going to use it unless the ammonia/ammonium is exhausted. Aquatic plants such as those here take up ammonia/ammonium as their nitrogen; taking up nitrate uses considerable energy from the plant because the nitrate has to be converted back into ammonium by the plant, and plants will not do this unless "forced" into the situation. And with fish in the tank, at the levels most of us stock, there is never going to be a shortage of nitrogen (ammonia/ammonium).

Fish are affected by nitrate, so keeping it as close to zero is preferred. And the better quality comprehensive supplements will not be adding nitrate because it is frankly useless.
My point was, that the OP is adding all the ferts listed and still getting a nitrate reading of 0 and the plants are struggling, so there is likely a need for additional Nitrogen from somewhere. If the tank is not creating enough bioload to supply the nitrogen then it has to be added somehow...
 
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connorlindeman

connorlindeman

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My point was, that the OP is adding all the ferts listed and still getting a nitrate reading of 0 and the plants are struggling, so there is likely a need for additional Nitrogen from somewhere. If the tank is not creating enough bioload to supply the nitrogen then it has to be added somehow...
I've currently got 8 neons, three red-eye tetras, and 5 cherry barbs. That is more than enough bio load.
 

Byron

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My point was, that the OP is adding all the ferts listed and still getting a nitrate reading of 0 and the plants are struggling, so there is likely a need for additional Nitrogen from somewhere. If the tank is not creating enough bioload to supply the nitrogen then it has to be added somehow...

You would need a very high-standard nitrate test to detect the low level of nitrate in plant fertilizers. Aside from this, the other nutrients would probably not be sufficient, or the light would be an issue, negating any plant benefit from nitrate to justify the plants expending such energy to use the nitrate.

The fish in the subsequent post should be sufficient. There is another issue here, and it might be the light. There is evidence in the photos of "problem" algae issues, so reducing the light duration may help.
 
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connorlindeman

connorlindeman

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You are adding too many substances, this is always a danger. Plants need the 17 nutrients in something of a balance, and too much of "x" can cause plants to shut down assimilatin of some other nutrient. This is especially the case with iron. There is sufficient iron in Flourish Comprehensive Supplement to provide all that plants need in a low-tech tank like this one pictured. Not to mention what these additives are doing to the fish...but I'll stay with the plant issues. Several years ago I killed my floating plants with addition of iron plus FCS.

You do not need nitrogen. This is taken up as ammonia, and plants can assimilate an incredible amount. Having said that, it is possible to get an imbalance because of all the other additives. The GH is fine for the calcium and magnesium.

Dose Flourish Comprehensive once a week at the recommended dose level. Do not use iron, potassium or advance. A substrate Flourish Tab is fine for the larger swords, one per plant or between two close together, replaced every 3 months.

The light should be OK, the white is 6500K. How long is it on each 24 hours? Balance again enters the picture, the nutrients available must balance the light intensity and duration.
I really like the low-tech approach. I want my aquariums to be as close to nature as possible.
I might need to add more Flourish tabs. I only have about 6 in the whole tank.
The light is currently on for 12 hours. I heard that Amazon Swords like light for long periods. Is that correct?
I did notice the algae problems. Under the frog bit plants there is some bga growing as well.
 

Byron

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The light is currently on for 12 hours. I heard that Amazon Swords like light for long periods. Is that correct?
I did notice the algae problems. Under the frog bit plants there is some bga growing as well.

That is a long photoperiod. I reduced the duration on my tanks over a few months until seven hours daily was it; no more problem algae in 6 years after working this out, and the swords grew like weeds.
 

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