Aquatic Plant Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I Have a Slight Problem, i have a tank that i just cant seem to get plants to grow in, i put it together with what i had on had Which is About 15 lbs Crushed Coral(bottom layer) 40lbs Top Soil(middle Layer) and Aragonite Sand (top Layer) The tank has a Steady PH of 8.4 and High GH(about 23dH or between 320 and 530ppm) and KH (about 12-15dKH), I have tried a Ton of plants all have died except 2 sword plants(i would like to have more than just Swords). I was Wondering if you know of any Aquatic plants that do well
in High PH, GH, And KH levels?

I have tried a few different plants. Java moss,Java Fern, Anubis, Dwarf Hair Grass,Waterlily,Barclaya,Aponogeton and a few others i cant remember the names of, All have Died some quicker than others. I am running 108 watts 10,000 T5 HO lighting and DIY Yeast CO2 Injection. And i have some type of Sword that is the ONLY plants that haven't died. it is a 55g tank Freshwater. with a pretty heavy fish load.so i know i am getting tons of fertilizer. But As i Said the water is Very close to African Rift Lake conditions(even though this isn't what i wanted i just had to use what i had on hand), and i am really having a hard time finding plants that will grow in it. Any Ideas? thanks so much for your help!
Vance Hanna
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
584 Posts
Wow I don't know of many plants that will survive in those conditions. The only ones I can think of are java ferns and maybe some anubias. These can also survive in brackish water tanks so they may be your answer.

On a side note do you have a drop checker to make sure what CO2 level you are maintaining in the tank. You will probably be ok if you use the above plants but it is dificult to keep a good amount of CO2 in a 55g with just DIY. ALso what are you using to dissolve the CO2. If it is just in a ladder type of device then chances are you are not near a CO2 level that will help plants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Wow I don't know of many plants that will survive in those conditions. The only ones I can think of are java ferns and maybe some anubias. These can also survive in brackish water tanks so they may be your answer.

On a side note do you have a drop checker to make sure what CO2 level you are maintaining in the tank. You will probably be ok if you use the above plants but it is dificult to keep a good amount of CO2 in a 55g with just DIY. ALso what are you using to dissolve the CO2. If it is just in a ladder type of device then chances are you are not near a CO2 level that will help plants.
I have a DIY reactor i made with a gravel Vac and A Powerhead. being fed by Four 2 liter bottle Of DIY yeast CO2.

I tried Java Ferns, it developed brown spots quickly and nearly died and the Anubis was dead inside of 3 days.leaves all melted and fell off. No drop Checker, cant find one Locally/ cant Afford one.

I mean really i find it hard to believe that NO plants grow in the rift lakes their has to be Something besides swords that will not die lol!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,877 Posts
I've seen people use Pothos Ivy and Spathiphyllum in hard-water/African Cichlid tanks. But they will not live submerged (not for long anyway). What I've seen is the roots dangled in the water column while the foliage is kept above the tank. Other than that, the only submerged plants I've seen in those types of tanks are the swords, anubias, and java ferns (which you have already tried.)

Maybe you could lower the water hardness and pH by removing that bottom layer of crushed coral? I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it might open up your plant options.

-Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,448 Posts
Lose the crushed coral!!! I hear you that $$ is an object, heck I'd prefer to go to a local stream or river and dig up a couple of tupperware containers of gravel or sand than use crushed coral. The diy CO2 you're using on this system will make very little difference when it's battling the very high hardness levels due to the crushed coral. My 2 cents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Yeah get rid of the crushed coral. It's raising your PH, GH and KH. Just to give you an idea of the difference measure your PH, GH and KH out of your tap and compare it to the levels out of your tank. I bet there is a huge difference, then you would be able to try different plants. Plus you might want to try a fert schedule too when you get your water parameters a little lower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,819 Posts
I have a DIY reactor i made with a gravel Vac and A Powerhead. being fed by Four 2 liter bottle Of DIY yeast CO2.

I tried Java Ferns, it developed brown spots quickly and nearly died and the Anubis was dead inside of 3 days.leaves all melted and fell off. No drop Checker, cant find one Locally/ cant Afford one.

I mean really i find it hard to believe that NO plants grow in the rift lakes their has to be Something besides swords that will not die lol!
If you haven't already, leave the Anubias and Java Fern rhizomes in the tank. I would bet that the leaves fell off as a result of very different water parameters between your tank and the tank they came from. Once the plant acclimates, new leaves will more than likely begin to grow from the rhizomes...these two types of plants are extremely hardy. I have had the same thing happen to Java Ferns on several occasions when I have moved them from soft water to hard water and vice versa. I've yet to kill an Anubias by switching them to a tank with different water paramters. Did your Anubias come from a soft water tank by chance?

I would also look into adding some inorganic NO3 and PO4 to your tank. The organic (from fish waste) NO3 and PO4 seem to be more difficult for plants to utilize than the inorganic stuff (KNO3 and KH2PO4) we typically add to planted tanks. You can purchase Spectracide Stump Remover (KNO3) and Fleet Enema (PO4 source) very inexpensively from Lowe's/Home Depot and any pharmacy.

I keep a 125G Tanganyikan Community Tank with Anubias and Java Ferns, along with some moss (not Java Moss) and Valisneria species. All do well with a KH around 14 dKH, pH of 8.2 and a fairly high GH (15+ dGH) as long as I remember to add the KNO3 and KH2PO4. This tank has fairly high nitrates (~40ppm) but does much better with the addition of KNO3.

As far as a carbon source is concerned, you may be better off using some Excel or gluteraldehyde (generic Excel) in the tank along with your DIY CO2. You can find Excel at nearly any online aquarium store and gluteraldehyde can be picked up at half the cost of Excel from any Medical/Dental supply store.

Be patient with the Anubias and Java Ferns due to their slow growth. It may tank up to a month for them to sprout some new leaves, depending on your CO2 levels. As long as the rhizomes remain firm and the Anubias roots stay white the plants are not dead. The crushed coral and aragonite sand probably aren't helping much but they would be a royal pain to remove with the soil in the tank so try and work with what you have for a while.

What part of Ohio are you from?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,429 Posts
You have too much light to be able to depend on the fish for fertilizer. That means you need to dose NPK and trace elements. You can buy them on line as potassium nitrate, mono potassium phosphate and CSM+B for trace elements. They are very cheap. If you want to rely on the fish for fertilizing, expect very slow growth, and use less light, by raising your light fixture about 6 inches above the tank.

I agree completely with the above comments about your substrate. All you really need is ordinary quartz sand, which you can get as pool filter sand, or even get a bag of sand sold for making cement, from a Home Depot type store - $5 or less for more than you could ever use. You put a half inch or so of back yard soil, collected from a spot you can be sure has not been soaked with weed killer, insecticide, or other chemicals, under a layer of the sand. Then mix it up with that sand and add more sand on top. That should add nothing to the cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
You have too much light to be able to depend on the fish for fertilizer. That means you need to dose NPK and trace elements. You can buy them on line as potassium nitrate, mono potassium phosphate and CSM+B for trace elements. They are very cheap. If you want to rely on the fish for fertilizing, expect very slow growth, and use less light, by raising your light fixture about 6 inches above the tank.

I agree completely with the above comments about your substrate. All you really need is ordinary quartz sand, which you can get as pool filter sand, or even get a bag of sand sold for making cement, from a Home Depot type store - $5 or less for more than you could ever use. You put a half inch or so of back yard soil, collected from a spot you can be sure has not been soaked with weed killer, insecticide, or other chemicals, under a layer of the sand. Then mix it up with that sand and add more sand on top. That should add nothing to the cost.
Too much light? im only at 1.98WPG on this tank! i was under the impression that was Low light. I have all the ferts listed above Except KNO3, i just wasn't dosing them in this tank(i have a couple sensitive fish in with my mollies Namely a Pictus Catfish.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
If you haven't already, leave the Anubias and Java Fern rhizomes in the tank. I would bet that the leaves fell off as a result of very different water parameters between your tank and the tank they came from. Once the plant acclimates, new leaves will more than likely begin to grow from the rhizomes...these two types of plants are extremely hardy. I have had the same thing happen to Java Ferns on several occasions when I have moved them from soft water to hard water and vice versa. I've yet to kill an Anubias by switching them to a tank with different water paramters. Did your Anubias come from a soft water tank by chance?

I would also look into adding some inorganic NO3 and PO4 to your tank. The organic (from fish waste) NO3 and PO4 seem to be more difficult for plants to utilize than the inorganic stuff (KNO3 and KH2PO4) we typically add to planted tanks. You can purchase Spectracide Stump Remover (KNO3) and Fleet Enema (PO4 source) very inexpensively from Lowe's/Home Depot and any pharmacy.

I keep a 125G Tanganyikan Community Tank with Anubias and Java Ferns, along with some moss (not Java Moss) and Valisneria species. All do well with a KH around 14 dKH, pH of 8.2 and a fairly high GH (15+ dGH) as long as I remember to add the KNO3 and KH2PO4. This tank has fairly high nitrates (~40ppm) but does much better with the addition of KNO3.

As far as a carbon source is concerned, you may be better off using some Excel or gluteraldehyde (generic Excel) in the tank along with your DIY CO2. You can find Excel at nearly any online aquarium store and gluteraldehyde can be picked up at half the cost of Excel from any Medical/Dental supply store.

Be patient with the Anubias and Java Ferns due to their slow growth. It may tank up to a month for them to sprout some new leaves, depending on your CO2 levels. As long as the rhizomes remain firm and the Anubias roots stay white the plants are not dead. The crushed coral and aragonite sand probably aren't helping much but they would be a royal pain to remove with the soil in the tank so try and work with what you have for a while.

What part of Ohio are you from?
Nope i pulled the roots and all as soon as the leaves fell off, ooops.

I have all the ferts list Except KNO3, i just wasn't dosing this tank because i do have a costly sensitive fish in it(Pictus Catfish 6.00 for a FW fish is costly to me!)

Im about 2.5 hrs north of you in a Small Town Called Bryan,Ohio

I would love to pull the substrate and redo it but i cant at this point , i have WAY to many fish in the tank and dont have a big enough tank to move them too(30+ mollies, about 12 wild Guppys, 6 cory cats, 1 Monster Pleco, and 1 Pictus catfish along with 3 i think they are glo light tetras)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yeah get rid of the crushed coral. It's raising your PH, GH and KH. Just to give you an idea of the difference measure your PH, GH and KH out of your tap and compare it to the levels out of your tank. I bet there is a huge difference, then you would be able to try different plants. Plus you might want to try a fert schedule too when you get your water parameters a little lower.
I would love to pull the substrate and redo it but i cant at this point , i have WAY to many fish in the tank and dont have a big enough tank to move them too(30+ mollies, about 12 wild Guppys, 6 cory cats, 1 Monster Pleco, and 1 Pictus catfish along with 3 i think they are glo light tetras)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
YAY one of the Biologist i contacted came through with some plants that Should work!!!!!Ceratophyllum demersum, Cryptocoryne becketti, Echinodorus bleheri, Egeria densa, Elodea canadensis, and Vallisneria spp Myriophyllum and Bacopa do Ok in hard waters too are the plants suggested. Anyone know how rare these are other than the Vals i know they are pretty common. below is the Entire email.


"My experience is mostly with invasives like hydrilla which you don’t want to use. I know that Vallisneria does well in alkaline, hard waters. I think Myriophyllum and Bacopa do Ok in hard waters too. Some aquatic plants can absorb the carbonate salts and strip away the carbon from them, and use that as their carbon supply. The list of plants capable of doing this includes many that do very well in aquaria, including Ceratophyllum demersum, Cryptocoryne becketti, Echinodorus bleheri, Egeria densa, Elodea canadensis, and Vallisneria spp — all popular and easy to obtain species. If you have hard water and don’t want to be bogged down with carbon dioxide fertilisation, then these are definitely the plants for you! Admittedly, some of these plants are fussy in other ways. Echinodorus bleheri, for example, needs a rich substrate and good, strong lighting, but Ceratophyllum demersum and most of the Vallisneria are adaptable and easy to keep. If you want to keep livebearers, then Ceratophyllum demersum is difficult to beat as a floating plant that provides a refuge for newly born fry. Egeria densa, on the other hand, is a sturdy, fast-growing species ideally suited to subtropical tanks. Vallisneria spp. are perhaps the most versatile aquarium plants, and few aquarists haven’t grown these plants at some point.”
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,540 Posts
I hope your new plant choices work well for you. I will say that if they don't you can still change out your substrate WITHOUT another tank. I just went to Home Depot and got a 33 gallon rubbermaid container and used my tank water and moved my fish over into that. (My thread is 126g at bottom if you want to read the story.) I put my new soil in. I even had to leave my fish in the container for over a month and I only lost 4, 2 ottos (they aren't a hardy fish) and 2 khuli loaches who committed suicide. Since I used ADA AquaSoil and had to wait for it's cycle I couldn't put my fish back in right away. You could do it in a day. Your fish would be fine. Anyway you have a plan B if your new plants don't work.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,448 Posts
Yes, those are all plants which will do well in hard waters. But keep in mind, some of those do have decent lighting needs, and if you're going to keep cichlids with them, you'll have a tough time keeping them where you put them.

As Texgal says, changing out a substrate doesn't have to be that difficult, especially in smaller tanks. I once ripped out an entire ugf and substrate on a 29 gal, while keeping all the guppies in the tank. It took me a whole day, but I didn't lose a single one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Yes, those are all plants which will do well in hard waters. But keep in mind, some of those do have decent lighting needs, and if you're going to keep cichlids with them, you'll have a tough time keeping them where you put them.

As Texgal says, changing out a substrate doesn't have to be that difficult, especially in smaller tanks. I once ripped out an entire ugf and substrate on a 29 gal, while keeping all the guppies in the tank. It took me a whole day, but I didn't lose a single one.
Its a 55g tank with 100lbs substrate Not counting the Crushed Oyster shell total about 115 lbs Substrate. I mean i guess i could change it out BUT then i run into another problem, PH shock to my Fish, they are used to 8.4 Steady, i don't know how well they would fair a sudden Drop to say 7.0 or less.
No cichlids btw this is Mollys,Cory Cats,Guppys,A Placo and a Pictus Catfish and 3 glo light tetras. Not to mention i don't have Sand or Gravel on had, just some Topsoil with Peat moss in it, so it would be a big drop in PH.

And i would be worried about completely killing the Biological Filter. Im not sure my HOB's and Canister Could keep up with the waste until the Bio filter is reestablished.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,540 Posts
Its a 55g tank with 100lbs substrate Not counting the Crushed Oyster shell total about 115 lbs Substrate. I mean i guess i could change it out BUT then i run into another problem, PH shock to my Fish, they are used to 8.4 Steady, i don't know how well they would fair a sudden Drop to say 7.0 or less.
No cichlids btw this is Mollys,Cory Cats,Guppys,A Placo and a Pictus Catfish and 3 glo light tetras. Not to mention i don't have Sand or Gravel on had, just some Topsoil with Peat moss in it, so it would be a big drop in PH.

And i would be worried about completely killing the Biological Filter. Im not sure my HOB's and Canister Could keep up with the waste until the Bio filter is reestablished.
Not to worry! If you end of having to do this just use the same water as your tank in the tub and then change it over slowly a little a day while your fish are in the tub. The HOB will work fine. I have a 125 and put ALL my fish in a 33g tub. They were in there for weeks! I changed 5gs of water every other day. I also had an air stone in there for them. I had some $40 plecos in there (not to mention added cost of shipping onto that $40). Hopefully you won't have to do it, but if you do take heart! It will be fine! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Not to worry! If you end of having to do this just use the same water as your tank in the tub and then change it over slowly a little a day while your fish are in the tub. The HOB will work fine. I have a 125 and put ALL my fish in a 33g tub. They were in there for weeks! I changed 5gs of water every other day. I also had an air stone in there for them. I had some $40 plecos in there (not to mention added cost of shipping onto that $40). Hopefully you won't have to do it, but if you do take heart! It will be fine! :D
Im gonna try out the "Hard Water Plants" first if they are dieing off then as a last resort ill switch the tank over.

I have 2 of those Big tubs already so i guess it would not be Too big of a project. Well other than catching all those darn mollys they can be quick when they want to lol.

I have Lace rock in the tank Do you think if i moved it into the Tub with my fish that it bio filter on it would survive?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,877 Posts
Since you already have the tub, I say jump in and rip that bad-boy apart! :axe:

Put all the fish, plants, and as much water as you can in the tub. You can catch the fish easier if you take out most of the water first. When you do water changes every other day that your fish are in 'solitary', use your tap water and they will gradually adjust to the new pH.

Then, you will have a wonderful tank set up and ready for your new plants when they arrive!

-Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Since you already have the tub, I say jump in and rip that bad-boy apart! :axe:

Put all the fish, plants, and as much water as you can in the tub. You can catch the fish easier if you take out most of the water first. When you do water changes every other day that your fish are in 'solitary', use your tap water and they will gradually adjust to the new pH.

Then, you will have a wonderful tank set up and ready for your new plants when they arrive!

-Dave
Well i broke Down and went to My fav everything but fish store Wal Mart(ok sometimes fish depending on how healthy they look lol)

I picked up a bag of Pea Gravel (after a convo with the plant grower of one of the sites that sells plants.)

I think i am gonna tackle tearing it down, But i do need to know something, Should i use JUST the Gravel Or should i put down a Layer of Topsoil(it has Peat in it) What do you guys and gals think.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top