Rotten (?) aquarium plants

crimsonpython24

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I've just gotten an aquarium around 15 days ago and I've plucked a few plants in there since the beginning. Some of them are fine, but others aren't.

I was initially hoping that the "rotten" plants might cure themselves after some period of time, but I didn't see any improvements (at least it wasn't getting worse too fast).

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It's a 10-gallon tank with eight danios and three one-inch catfish, not really sure which ones they are.

P.S. can anyone please give suggestions to my danios tank? I'm new to taking care of tanks so I'm not sure if I've done everything right. The bigger filter is on the left side of the tank. Please reply if there's any other spec that you'd like to know. Image: FWCF411.jpg (2048×1536) (imgur.com)
 

fisman

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That's overstocking a little bit. But in a planted aquarium should help bring down the ammonia and nitrite they will cause and any nitrate build up. I'm in the middle of breeding danios at the moment and let me just say now that it is hard. So if there's any specific question that they have about them you can ask but otherwise, I don't know what's happening with the plants. Could you explain what they look like though or pictures? Also, did you let the tank cycle before you put the fish in? How often do you do water changes on it? Any info will be helpful.
 

fisman

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Along with that, the catfish will get bigger(depends on the type though). Are they cory catfish? Once again any other info would be helpful.
 

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If you don't mind a few snails zebra nerite snails will eat the dead leaves on plants and only the dead leaves. Also as a bonus they don't reproduce in freshwater.
 

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The first spiky like plant looks kind of like a Valesnaria, if so it also looks like it was just put into the substrate while still bundled in the rock wool. If any of the plants are still bundled in the rock wool they should be unpacked and potentially separated before planting, this can be a bit of a piddly task. If it is something like mondo grass it will not do well submerged.

The plant in the left back of the aquarium looks like an Amazon Sword, or at least one of the Enchindorus plants. This plant was grown out of the water, its current, emergent, leaves will die off and immersed versions of the leaves should develop from the inside of the rosette. Leave the current leaves on it and let it develop. It may end up looking like your plant in the middle picture.

The middle picture looks like an immersed form of the Amazon Sword. The way the leaves are dying seems pretty normal for that plant but it might be lacking something causing more leaves to die off sooner. You may look at the amount of light or nutrients. My amazon swords like to get fertilizer tabs. I would leave the dying leaves on until it establishes.

Plants in general often die back a bit when placed in a new aquarium, just keep watching for new growth.
 

BluewaterBoof

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The first spiky like plant looks kind of like a Valesnaria, if so it also looks like it was just put into the substrate while still bundled in the rock wool. If any of the plants are still bundled in the rock wool they should be unpacked and potentially separated before planting, this can be a bit of a piddly task. If it is something like mondo grass it will not do well submerged.

The plant in the left back of the aquarium looks like an Amazon Sword, or at least one of the Enchindorus plants. This plant was grown out of the water, its current, emergent, leaves will die off and immersed versions of the leaves should develop from the inside of the rosette. Leave the current leaves on it and let it develop. It may end up looking like your plant in the middle picture.

The middle picture looks like an immersed form of the Amazon Sword. The way the leaves are dying seems pretty normal for that plant but it might be lacking something causing more leaves to die off sooner. You may look at the amount of light or nutrients. My amazon swords like to get fertilizer tabs. I would leave the dying leaves on until it establishes.

Plants in general often die back a bit when placed in a new aquarium, just keep watching for new growth.

I second pretty much everything here. The spiky plant is hard to identify. Could be some type of val as Uber suggested. It needs to be pulled up and separated into much smaller sections and replanted. Whenever you get plants that are bundled like that you always want to separate them.

The melting sword in the center looks like it is seriously lacking nutrients. Amazon swords are immense plants that need constant nutrient supplementation or else they will essentially cannibalize themselves and old leaves will melt away just so that it has enough energy to make new ones. They are nutrient sponges. As Uber stated, they respond well to fertilizer tablets pushed into the substrate next to the roots, but they also benefit heavily off of nutrients in the water column, as well. If you're new to the hobby then some regular root tablets and something like a small bottle of Thrive all-in-one fertilizer are easy and inexpensive options for making sure your plants have the right amount of nutrients.
 

Colin_T

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Some of the plants aren't true aquatics and belong in the garden. The sword plant was probably grown out of water and is shedding its terrestrial leaves. It should grow submersed leaves to replace them.

If you add a liquid iron based aquarium plant fertiliser to the tank, it should help them do better.
 
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crimsonpython24

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@fisman I only let it cycled for two weeks since the pandemic's getting worse in my area and I'm unsure if I can afford to wait (shop may be closed). Changed around 40% of the water every week. One of them is an albino cory and two bristlenose plecos -- although both are only a bit more than an inch long, for now.

Something that I forget to mention: I also have two amano shrimps leftover from my old shrimp tank. Never saw them openly in the middle though, they hid behind plants most of the time. Might be the fish intimidating them, but the local aquarium shop owner said that they won't be eaten.

@Uberhoust @BluewaterBoof how big should each bundle of a Valesnaria be? I did remove them from the wool, though. How long will it take for the enchindorus plant and small amazon sword to grow back their leaves? Also to @Colin_T , I use this fertilizer, but it was bought for the shrimp tank that I've used to own. Used the recommended dosage once a week.
 
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crimsonpython24

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Quick side question: I've read somewhere online that too much exposed substrate will encourage algae growth. Coming back to this image (FWCF411.jpg (2048×1536) (imgur.com)), should I add more plants on the substrate or cover them up with pebbles or something?

Even if I'm not adding more plants, I'm afraid that I might not have enough carbon dioxide in my tank during the daytime. Could that be the case?

Lastly, how long will it take for the plants' roots to establish in the substrate? Some of the plants still seemed not to grab into the substrate tightly yet.
 
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Uberhoust

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If the plants are Vals then each group of leaves with a bundle of roots at the bottom can be a separate plant. After planting the tips of the plants will sometimes die back but once they become established they will grow new leaves. Vals will self propagate using stolons, horizontal stems, that start new plants throughout the tank. When planting the roots should be in the substrate but the rest of the plant should be above the substrate. You can trim the tops of the Val leaves but they won't grow back. Depending on the type of Vals you have and the tank layout you are after, you might want to consider putting them to the back of the tank. Mine are over 25" tall and tips of the leaves float a bit on the surface on my tank.

I wouldn't cover the exposed substrate with pebbles, it will make it hard to clean and will create traps where food and wastes get between the pebbles where they will rot. If it was me I wouldn't worry about the exposed substrate. You will always have some algae, you really just don't want it taking over the aquarium.
 

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Also to @Colin_T , I use this fertilizer, but it was bought for the shrimp tank that I've used to own. Used the recommended dosage once a week.
I wouldn't use that fertiliser in an aquarium containing fish, shrimp or snails. Aquatic plants get their nitrogen from ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, which is produced by fish, shrimp, snails, fish food, and anything that rots in the water.
Aquatic plants do not normally have access to, or get phosphorus or potassium in the wild.
Adding these 3 things to an aquarium can poison fish and will encourage algae to grow on everything in an average aquarium.

The only time you would use this type of fertiliser is if you had an aquarium completely full of plants, lots of light, and carbon dioxide fertiliser.

Look for Sera Florena and an Iron (Fe) test kit. Keep the iron level at 1mg/L and the true aquatic plants should do better.

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Quick side question: I've read somewhere online that too much exposed substrate will encourage algae growth. Coming back to this image (FWCF411.jpg (2048×1536) (imgur.com)), should I add more plants on the substrate or cover them up with pebbles or something?

Even if I'm not adding more plants, I'm afraid that I might not have enough carbon dioxide in my tank during the daytime. Could that be the case?

Lastly, how long will it take for the plants' roots to establish in the substrate? Some of the plants still seemed not to grab into the substrate tightly yet.
Algae grows from too much light, or too many nutrients, or not enough plants to use the light and or nutrients.

Algae is a simple type of plant that requires the same things as higher plants to grow, namely light, nutrients and water. If you don't have enough plants in the tank, then algae will grow instead.

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You don't need to add more carbon dioxide (CO2) to an aquarium because there is plenty of CO2 in the water from the bacteria, fish and from the air when it comes in contact with the water surface.

Plants in the wild do not get supplemental CO2 and they have done fine for millions of years. So there is no reason to add extra CO2 to your tank. In fact recent research has shown terrestrial plants suffer if exposed to high levels of CO for an extended period of time. The same might apply to aquatic plants.

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Under good conditions, plant roots can develop in matter of weeks. However, in poor conditions it might take months, years, or the plant might never develop a decent root system.

Try the liquid iron based aquarium plant fertiliser I mentioned above (Sera Florena) for a few months and see if that helps.
 
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crimsonpython24

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@Colin_T : so I don't have to introduce additional nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous because they will harm fish?

I've read online that potassium is often lacking in fish foods and is better to add supplemental dosages; please correct me if I've looked up information that doesn't apply to my case.

Which types of compounds will contribute to algal growth? Not referring to lights and such external factors. Are there also factors that encourage algal but not plant growth?
 

Colin_T

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so I don't have to introduce additional nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous because they will harm fish?
Nitrogen will definitely harm fish and other aquatic organisms. It is why we have a biological filter on the tank and do water changes. To remove nitrogen based waste like ammonia, nitrite & nitrate. Having a small amount of this from the fish is fine in a planted tank but adding more of it is bad for fish.

If you have a plant only tank with no fish in, then add nitrogen and whatever you like.

Phosphorus encourages algae and blue green algae (Cyanobacter bacteria) to grow and is poisonous to fish. It is why governments around the world have laws about laundry detergents having low or no phosphorus in, because it causes problems to waterways.

Potassium is bad for animal's kidneys and is probably bad for fish's kidneys too but we need to track down information to confirm that.

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I've read online that potassium is often lacking in fish foods and is better to add supplemental dosages
Fish food should not have potassium in it because it damages the kidneys. It's the same with sodium, it also damages kidneys and is why we only use salt (sodium chloride) to treat fish for no longer than 2-4 weeks. When freshwater fish are exposed to salt for long periods of time it can damage their kidneys. Marine fishes have bigger kidneys compared to similar sized freshwater fishes to deal with the extra salt in sea water.

If you use a complete aquarium plant fertiliser, it might have potassium in it but most that I know of don't.

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Which types of compounds will contribute to algal growth? Not referring to lights and such external factors. Are there also factors that encourage algal but not plant growth?
Not quite sure what you mean by this.

Algae grows anywhere there is water and light. If there is live aquatic plants in the water, they will use light and nutrients and reduce the algae growth around them. However, if there are no true aquatic plants in the water, then algae will grow everywhere.

Excess nutrients will encourage algae, and algae grows faster than higher plants. This can let algae outcompete the higher plants.

Healthy plants produce an algae inhibiter in their leaves, which helps prevent algae growing on the actual plant stem and leaves. Some types of algae are not as badly affected by the plant algicide and will smother a plant and kill it.

The best way to prevent algae in an aquarium, is to have lots of health true aquatic plants growing in the tank. They will use the nutrients and light and limit the algae.
 

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