Plants turning brown in new planted tank

🐠 The poll is open for the February TOTM! 🐠
FishForums.net Tank of the Month!
🏆 Click here to Vote! 🏆

OP
OP
sharkweek178

sharkweek178

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
493
Reaction score
433
Location
Pittsburgh
Diatoms are normal in new tanks, it takes a few months for a new aquarium to become biologically stable. And keep in mind that every "tweak" you do impacts this process, so jumping into doing this or dumping in that usually doesn't help unless it is correcting an actual problem.

I would use a comprehensive fertilizer minimally but nothing else (meaning, don't add nutrient "x" or something). Lighting may need adjusting, I don't know what type it is, what spectrum, or what duration now...these all matter. Along with the total plants (a photo of the entire tank would help with this). Having said that,tank lighting on more than around 8 hours is often excessive, so this is a possibility.

If you do adjustments, remember it takes a couple of weeks to see results. Rapid changes to this and that only throw the system off-balance more.
These are the lights. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086SV999T/?tag=ff0d01-20
I'll post a picture a little later.
It's a dynamic process. I'm still adding plants and then I'll add the livestock. I realize that it's not going to be a perfectly smooth transition but I would like to control the algae as best I can along the way.
 

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
19,663
Reaction score
11,561
Location
CA
The light looks OK, though it is high in the blue which means red is less than it could be, and blue does promote algae because plants can't use it as much. Something to keep in mind while trying to find the balance here. More plants, especially floating, and reducing the duration might be enough to offset this.

I had issues with black brush algae for years. I finally got it sorted out, with seven hours of tank light each day. End of increasing algae. But in the summer for two years running I noticed the algae did increase, and I reasoned it was the brighter and longer days, even with window coverings. I had a dedicated fish room so I was able to completely block the west-facing window (used aluminum foil, no light got through that), end of algae problems for six-plus years. Finding the balance is key, and little things like longer days can impact more than one might think.
 
OP
OP
sharkweek178

sharkweek178

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
493
Reaction score
433
Location
Pittsburgh
Along with the total plants (a photo of the entire tank would help with this).
It's a work in progress.

Right now I have Vallisneria Americana (I need to trim the brown leaves), Hygrophila Difformis and Bacopa Monnieri (these two have the algae the worst), Egeria densa, and Microsorum pteropus.

I have orders of Anubias Nana Petite, Limnobium laevigatum, Salvinia minima and Ceratopteris thalictroides on the way.
After that I'm considering rotala rotundfolia, hydrocotyle leucocephala, cryptocoryne wendtii red, and/or some kind of amazon sword.


20221121_210744.jpg
 

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
19,663
Reaction score
11,561
Location
CA
OK, once the plants begin growing, especially the Wisteria stems, things may improve. Diatoms is relatively easy to deal with, but you do not want to be causing more difficult problem algae from too much light or whatever. The flourish comprehensive is OK for nutrients.
 
OP
OP
sharkweek178

sharkweek178

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
493
Reaction score
433
Location
Pittsburgh
OK, once the plants begin growing, especially the Wisteria stems, things may improve. Diatoms is relatively easy to deal with, but you do not want to be causing more difficult problem algae from too much light or whatever. The flourish comprehensive is OK for nutrients.
They are growing. I've been using the intake tube and heater as points of reference and there has been visible growth since I got them.
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator ⚒️
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
18,727
Reaction score
15,701
Location
Teesside, UK
Taking photos is another way to compare growth over time :)
 

StevenF

Fish Herder
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,843
Reaction score
700
Location
US
Ammonia is 0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5.0

How is ammonia and nitrate getting in there? There is no livestock in the tank. Is this coming from dead plant matter? I think I included all relevant info but if not, let me know please.
your waterutilityisprbably using chloramine to sterilize the water. It is a molecule consisting of chlorine and a amine molecule NH2. it won't harm your plants at that low level.

Nutrient deficiencies ar common in aquariums. Plants need 14 nutrients (excluding carbon oxygen and hydrogen whch come from water and CO2). If just one is in short supply you could get the leaf damage you see. If just one is completely missing the plant will not grow and will eventually die.

The full list of nutrient plants need is:
Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, phosphorous, Sulfur and Chlorine. These are collectively called Macros.
Iron, Manganese, Boron, Zinc, Copper, Molybdenum and nickel. These are collectively called micros.

Another issue is that Calcium, magnesium, chlorine and copper are so common in tap water that most fertilizers companies either don't include them in the fertilizer or simply don't provide enough. So It is important to replace some water in your aquaruiumto add in nutrients that are not in the fertilizer and to remove excess nutrients from the water. Many people do a 30% to 50% water change once a week.

It is impractical and costly to test for all the nutrients plants need. Sometimes the damage to the leaves is very specific to one nutrient such as iron. But in your pictures i don't see anything I can identify. Also flourish comprehensive does have iron in it. but id does't last long before it corrodes and is no longer available for plants. You might be better off breaking up your Flourish comprehensive dose into multiple doses so that you are doing asmall amount daily or every other day.
 
OP
OP
sharkweek178

sharkweek178

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
493
Reaction score
433
Location
Pittsburgh
Cutting back on the light really helped to curb the algae. But I have a new wrinkle. Yesterday, I spotted some pest snails in the tank. I'm not freaking out over it. Maybe they'll eat some of that algae off the leaves.
 

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
19,663
Reaction score
11,561
Location
CA
Cutting back on the light really helped to curb the algae. But I have a new wrinkle. Yesterday, I spotted some pest snails in the tank. I'm not freaking out over it. Maybe they'll eat some of that algae off the leaves.

Not everyone likes snails, OK. But it is important to understand their significant benefit with no real detriment, at least not when we are talking about so-called "pest" snails that are the small pond, bladder, Malaysian livebearing, tec. These do not ever eat live healthy plants. The do eat common algae on plant leaves and all surfaces which is helpful. They eat all organics which breaks them down faster so the various bacteria can get doing their work. These snails get everywhere, places the aquarist cold never "clean" as well. Their numbers correspond to the available food, and most are surprised at how many there may be but that only shows how much organic food is there for them.

Snails, like fish, will do nothing with respect to "problem" algae, but their value generally makes them the aquarist's helpmates.
 
OP
OP
sharkweek178

sharkweek178

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
493
Reaction score
433
Location
Pittsburgh
Not everyone likes snails, OK. But it is important to understand their significant benefit with no real detriment, at least not when we are talking about so-called "pest" snails that are the small pond, bladder, Malaysian livebearing, tec. These do not ever eat live healthy plants. The do eat common algae on plant leaves and all surfaces which is helpful. They eat all organics which breaks them down faster so the various bacteria can get doing their work. These snails get everywhere, places the aquarist cold never "clean" as well. Their numbers correspond to the available food, and most are surprised at how many there may be but that only shows how much organic food is there for them.

Snails, like fish, will do nothing with respect to "problem" algae, but their value generally makes them the aquarist's helpmates.
I think my main issue with them is that I didn't choose to add them. But I can embrace the benefits of them.
One of the things I've learned is that although livestock can supplement the keeping of a tank, but as a fishkeeper, I shouldn't rely on an animal to do my job of maintaining the tank. It would be nice if they ate all the algae off the leaves. But I'm not counting on them to do that. And if and when I choose to control these snails, I'm not going to buy a fish just for that reason.
 
Last edited:

Most reactions

Top