Please help me with plants! 😂

Bruben

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Hi all,

I’ve recently bought some more plants to try and help with algae in my tank.

Please can I get some advice on how what on earth (in water) I’m doing because I don’t have the foggiest.

First plant is “Sagittaria Subulata”. Not sure if it wasn’t very healthy or I’ve planted it completely wrong - it’s the first pic I’ve attached - please advise.

The next plants are ones I’ve had a few months but I’ve never had them thriving. They are “hygrophila rosae australis” and “limophila heterophylla”. These are planted at the back of the tank and don’t seem to be in great colour. These are the other pics I’ve attached. Again any advice would be brilliant.

Fire away with any questions because I have literally no idea what I’m doing.

Cheers!
 

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Bruben

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You've come to the right place! Tell us more about your setup: Tank size, stocking, water temp, substrate.
Hi @WhistlingBadger!

Tank size:
125L Juwel Rio
Water temp:
24-25c
Substrate:
Unipac Limpopo Black Sand (with Tropica root tabs)

Stocking:
2x Dwarf Gourami (1 male 1 female)
6x Zebra Danio
10x Neon Tetra
4x Peppered Cory
4x Albino Cory
7x Amano Shrimp
And a few bladder snails that have snuck in!
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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How long are your lights on for and could you please give us a picture of the tank, so that w can see how well planted it is?

One potential problem I see is your choice of black sand for your substrate.
Unlike gravels, sand does not facilitate a nice flow of water (and nutrients) though it, so until their leaves are well-established, the roots will struggle. Placing the plants directly onto a fertiliser tablet will help them get started, but if the tab isn't directly next to the roots, the transfer of the nutrients to the roots will be slow.
Your taller plants, whilst preferring to be root-fed, can also feed through their stems and leaves and you'll see rootlets emerging from the stems, as the plants try to feed themselves from the surrounding waters.

It's unclear to me, from the images, if the discolouration of the leaves is algae or a loss of chlorophyll.
 
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Bruben

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How long are your lights on for and could you please give us a picture of the tank, so that w can see how well planted it is?

One potential problem I see is your choice of black sand for your substrate.
Unlike gravels, sand does not facilitate a nice flow of water (and nutrients) though it, so until their leaves are well-established, the roots will struggle. Placing the plants directly onto a fertiliser tablet will help them get started, but if the tab isn't directly next to the roots, the transfer of the nutrients to the roots will be slow.
Your taller plants, whilst preferring to be root-fed, can also feed through their stems and leaves and you'll see rootlets emerging from the stems, as the plants try to feed themselves from the surrounding waters.

It's unclear to me, from the images, if the discolouration of the leaves is algae or a loss of chlorophyll.
Hi @Bruce Leyland-Jones! Pic attached 😀

Lights are on around 10 hours a day - used to have more floating plants but chucked a load out today which I’m already regretting 🙈 hoping the remainder will spread back out again quickly!
 

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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Ten hours is plenty, but watch out for algae. The more plants you have, (including floaters), the less nutrients there'll be for algae.
Are you using a liquid plant fertiliser? I use one from Tropica.

Most of the plants in there are relatively slow growers, apart from your Hygrophila and Limnophila and, to counter algae, you need the faster growing plants. Check out this post I made, listing Plants by the Rate of Growth.
 
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Bruben

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Ten hours is plenty, but watch out for algae. The more plants you have, (including floaters), the less nutrients there'll be for algae.
Are you using a liquid plant fertiliser? I use one from Tropica.

Most of the plants in there are relatively slow growers, apart from your Hygrophila and Limnophila and, to counter algae, you need the faster growing plants. Check out this post I made, listing Plants by the Rate of Growth.
Yea I’m having a bit of trouble with algae, that’s why I ordered more plants to try and deal with it as reducing the light time would be a last resort 😂.

I’m not using a fertiliser but had thought about it. Would you recommend it? And would it be fine to use with my fishy/shrimpy inhabitants? Also, would I need to remove the carbon pad from the filter?

Just checked out your list and that’s very handy! Wish I’d saw it before ordering my latest batch of plants!
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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I’m not using a fertiliser but had thought about it. Would you recommend it? And would it be fine to use with my fishy/shrimpy inhabitants? Also, would I need to remove the carbon pad from the filter?
Yes, yes and yes. ;)
All a carbon filter is really useful for is removing medications from the water.
 

Byron

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You answered your question. The light/nutrient balance is out--this is almost always the issue with plant problems--the light duration is only going to encourage algae when the plants have insufficient nutrients to make use of the light.

The Tropica Premium Nutrition should be good, though I cannot find the ingredients, but it seems OK from the info on the website. Reduce the light though, down to 8 hours.
 
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Bruben

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You answered your question. The light/nutrient balance is out--this is almost always the issue with plant problems--the light duration is only going to encourage algae when the plants have insufficient nutrients to make use of the light.

The Tropica Premium Nutrition should be good, though I cannot find the ingredients, but it seems OK from the info on the website. Reduce the light though, down to 8 hours.
Thanks @Byron

What I’m gathering then is that more nutrients (from the fertiliser) will help the plants out compete the algae?
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Thanks @Byron

What I’m gathering then is that more nutrients (from the fertiliser) will help the plants out compete the algae?
In essence, yes...but it's a bit of a balancing act, as algae is, of course, plants.
For example, reducing the duration and strength of the applied light is a great way of reducing algae, but it can also affect your plants. However, the more advanced plants can deal with it and many actually thrive on it.
Another algae control is to reduce excess nutrients, by not over-feeding, for example and yet a good liquid fertiliser, like the Tropica product, will help the plants more than the algae.
Ideally, you aim to overwhelm the algae with higher plant forms.
 

Byron

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Thanks @Byron

What I’m gathering then is that more nutrients (from the fertiliser) will help the plants out compete the algae?

Yes. That is part of it. I'll explain briefly.

Light drives photosynthesis, and different plant species have differing requirements for light intensity, but it has to be sufficient for that species or photosynthesis cannot occur. Spectrum also plays into this, as plants need red and blue light, especially red, for photosynthesis; green improves their response though it does not contribute directly to photosynthesis.

Once you have light, then the plants need 17 nutrients. Some are macro and some micro. The light intensity must be balanced with the nutrients, and if it is the plants will grow.

If any of this is out of balance, algae has the advantage because it is not as fussy over light. So if the light is too bright, or too dim, or not of sufficient duration in balance with the available nutrients, or if any of the nutrients are missing, or in some cases there is too much of some of them--in all these instances algae has an advantage.

In your situation, there are obviously insufficient nutrients (some or all) so the light is not able to be used by the plants.
 
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