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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
They were very healthy a few months ago growing strong in number so much so that they would often be 3 plants thick in some areas with very healthy roots. I gradually noticed them become white with brown edges and the roots seemed to be suffering and not growing nice and long. Now they’re looking very poor, the dark areas are pin holes. I do not think it’s light burn as i havent changed the lighting but i did suspect nitrogen deficiency. I tried dosing kno3 but it seems that it contains only a little nitrate and a lot of potassium. any ideas?
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What else is in the tank? Fish, shrimp? Substrate? I dont know the answer (curious though, for the sake of my own tanks) but such details will help those who do to answer.
 

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The KNO3 should have satisfied any N deficiency. (Symptoms are yellowing of leaves, not what you're reporting.)

A few months after soil is submerged in a new tank setup, soil releases less nutrients. Fishfood can then start providing most nutrients, but not iron. Iron is in insoluble in overlying water, because it forms iron oxides. Therefore, floating plants often begin to show iron deficiency. (Rooted plants can get their iron from substrate. Anaerobic conditions in substrate make iron available to plant roots.)

For floating plants that begin to wither away several months after tank setup, iron deficiency is common.

I would dose with chelated iron or a micronutrient fertilizer (most contain chelated iron).
 

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he damage shown is to extensive to visually determine the cause. using a test kit test for nitrate, nitrite and Ammonia. If all are zero you might have a nitrogen defiiiency. You can use KNO3 to eliminate nitrogen and phosphate as possibilities. You can use this nutrient calculator to determine how much to add to reach a give level of NO3. Also test your GH plants need calcium and magnesium and if you have very low GH one or the other might be deficient. You can use a GH booster to address a GH issue. Micro deficiencies are also possible.

I have this plant in my tank it ia not too much light, or too much current. it is not not splashing water or humidity. Salvinia is very durable. it can even grow fully submerged sunlight outside is far brighter than any aquarium light. It is also not leaves on top of each other and it gets its CO2 directly from the air.

My experience with floating plants is that if they don't due well it is almost always a nutrient problem. there are 14 nutrients and and you only a shortage in one to cause a problem like this. Unfortunately many fertilizers don't have all 14 and often your tap water will supply several. So using a fertilizer is not guarantied solution your problem.
 

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I have salvinia in all my tanks. They are an absolute necessity, if you have any hopes of controlling nitrate production by beneficial bacteria. The only time I have had any long-term problems were when I removed all my adult fish for a period of time (and I have soft water, btw.) When I figured out what was going on, I compensated for the lack of bio-load by just feeding dry food to the "empty" tank. The floaters perked right up.
 

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The colours are very washed out, even in the browns and blacks, and some of the plant leaves underneath the water (lower right). It looks like you took the photo with a camera filter on.

Accurate colour representation might better help determine the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have salvinia in all my tanks. They are an absolute necessity, if you have any hopes of controlling nitrate production by beneficial bacteria. The only time I have had any long-term problems were when I removed all my adult fish for a period of time (and I have soft water, btw.) When I figured out what was going on, I compensated for the lack of bio-load by just feeding dry food to the "empty" tank. The floaters perked right up.
Interesting… I overfeed these tanks with flake food just because my shrimps are breeding like crazy. I dosed with flourish I think it’s called (micro nutrient mix) and the floaters are looking better already. I’m a bit torn with my other tank trying to get color out of some of my plants and even with high lighting the colors are sub par. I’ve noticed the nitrate climbing in that tank which I read might be bad for plant growth despite a massive tradescantia growing from the filter. Ultimately I’ve decided to let the salvinia take over in hopes of not only nitrate control but possibly even more favorably for hair algae control. Without the floaters hair algae seems to go wild!
Out of curiosity, do you know if vines like tradescantia or pothos do any meaningful work on controlling nitrate? My experience seems to be no.
 

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I’m a bit torn with my other tank trying to get color out of some of my plants and even with high lighting the colors are sub par. I’ve noticed the nitrate climbing in that tank which I read might be bad for plant growth despite a massive tradescantia growing from the filter.
What is the bio load in this other tank? And are we no longer discussing floaters but some other type of plants? Ordinarily, nitrates are a nutrient for plants; what's good for your tradescantia should be good for your other plants too. I'd only worry if nitrates were high and you had fish in the tank. Pictures might help.
 

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What is the bio load in this other tank? And are we no longer discussing floaters but some other type of plants? Ordinarily, nitrates are a nutrient for plants; what's good for your tradescantia should be good for your other plants too. I'd only worry if nitrates were high and you had fish in the tank. Pictures might help.
Maybe 20 swords lots of ramshorns and some shrimps. To be clear i only noticed nitrates climbing into 40 ppm area but i did notice slowed growth with submerged plants. Minimal salvinia but as you can see tradescantia is growing quite large

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I don't see a thing that's wrong with this tank. A high or a rising nitrate level just means that you have a lot of beneficial bacteria completing the nitrogen cycle. Twenty sword tails could provide more than enough ammonia to feed both the bacteria and the plants that I see in the tank. The tradescantia is probably doing as good a job as it can competing with just the bacteria in your filter. The rest of the bacteria are probably in your substrate and somehow got a head start on ammonia uptake while your plants were taking root. This is why Diana emphasizes choosing rapidly growing plants early on in setting up a Walstad tank. But, every tank is different and yours is eye-poppingly gorgeous.
 

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In looking at your first tank photo, it looks like the entire surface is covered with fishfood! In view of the high nitrate (40 ppm), I would suggest feeding a little less. I think you could reduce the food level that you show by half and still have good plant growth and happy fish.
 

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Maybe 20 swords lots of ramshorns and some shrimps. To be clear i only noticed nitrates climbing into 40 ppm area but i did notice slowed growth with submerged plants. Minimal salvinia but as you can see tradescantia is growing quite large
Nitrate at a safe level for fish is not toxic to plants and the plants will use it to grow. However for a plant to grow all 14 nutrients plants need for growth must represent. If just one is low growth will slow or stop. And Nitrate consumption will also slow or stop. So the slowed broth and higher nitrate levels could mean the tank is now running out of at least one nutrient.
 

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Hard to say what's going on here. White-leafed plants? Something is askew...
Could be a plant toxicity issue--excessive amount of a metal, sulfur, etc. Thus, the floating plants are hurting, turning white, and not taking up nitrogen as they should.
I have no experience with Flourish. Its ingredient list looks like it contains everything but the kitchen sink.
Few suggestions: Change water to reduce nitrates and potential toxins, feed less, reduce filtration, and reduce/stop the Flourish additions. Consider using chelated iron (e.g., FeEDTA, FeDTP) instead of Flourish. In your situation with plentiful fishfood additions, iron is probably the only nutrient your floating plants need.
The Flourish could have helped at first, but now it is causing toxicity problems. And it introduces too many variables into this situation.
 

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Honestly, all of your pictures look washed out and pale. Even the fish.

It makes it harder to tell what's actually going on.

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This picture looks like all the issue is in old growth. This sways the likelihood towards a macro deficiency. But everything is ghostly white. Nothing really explains this, the picture seems unnatural. In the bottom right, we see submerged leaves that are also ghostly white, which aren't present in your next photos.

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This picture looks like everything is fine, but your photo colours are washed out and pale. I see no white leaves in this photo.

Chlorophyll is a pigment, and plants produce different levels of different pigments in response to different conditions.

Accurate colour representation can really help with identifying problems in plants.
 
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