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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

Im quite new in the hobby. Started about 1,5 years ago with my 240 liter fresh water aquarium. From the beginning i've had sand as substrate and in the beginning the plants where fantastic and grew rapidly. After 5 month everything changed. Dont know the cause, but at the same time i overfed the fish tha had grown and the fluorescen plant light started to wear out.
The plants started to get miscoloured beginning from the periphery of the leaves and old leaves fell off. New growth is green, but turns brown in a few days and the plants growth stops.
I read than nitrate free fertilizer may help favourizing the plants so i overdosed a bit for a lomg time. That did not change anything. Then i bought a fluval LED light. Tried keeping it low and higher and made the changes slowly.
Then, 3 monts ago I discovered a problem with the cirkulation inside the big outside tankfilter. Repaired it and still no change!
5 months ago i did a H2O2 treatment without success.
Now i have made a 5 days total blackout (several black layers on the aquarium). No change. The algae did not die.
Now im waiting for a co2 device that i ordered.
I have several times done big waterchanges (70%) and every week i do 30%.
Im starting to get relly irritated and cant undestand why it does not work out.
Vertebrate Leaf Plant Wood Bedrock

Please look att the small green leave and the brown edge. That seems to be the problem. Ideas what it is and why?

Plant Wood Sunlight Road surface Grass

Plant Water Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant Grass


The same problem with all plants, but it looks a little bit different. Here is a closer picture of the brow edge that starts covering the new leaf after some days. In the same picture aldo older leafs that have gone through the same browning and after that got covered with green algae.
Plant Terrestrial plant Groundcover Flowering plant Annual plant


It is possible that my eheim cannister filter is not working at its best or is a litle bit too small, but I doubt that is the problem because nothing changed from when i repaired it when it worked really bad.

I also have a smaller filter inside the tank that i wash every two weeks
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Plants need 14 nutrients to grow, Nitrogen, Potassium, calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate, sulfur, Clorine, iron, manganese, boron, zinc, Molybdenum, nickel. If just one is missing or in short supply growth will be slow or stop and the plant could die. Light CO2 and fow will not cause leaves to die .

Some nutrients are immobile. Meaning the nutrients don't move within the plant. others are Mobil and can be removed from old leaves and moved to new leaves. The stripped old leaves then die and fall off. Based your description you have a mobil nutrient deficiency. If you look at the list of nutrients I wrote earlier all the mobil nutrient have a capital letter.MY guess is that you have a magneisum and or a phosphate deficiency but I could be wrong. So you need to fertilize the water.

But please note that most fertilizers don't have calcium or magnesium or simply don't have enough of these for proper plant growth. The primary reason for this is that almost always tap water has more than enough. However if your water has a low GH level (general hardness) or you are using RO or distilled water you won't have enough. Consistent water changes like you are doing are generally necessary to keep GH stable in tanks. But if your water doesn't have calcium or magnesium you will need to use a GH booster to get enough for plants to grow. Increasing Gh by 2 degrees harness is typically more than enough for plants.
Thank you very much! I've added maybe +1GH to the tapwater I use. Finnish tapwater have very low GH. Maybe I should rise it a little bit more..?
The thing that is har for me to understand is why the aquarium worked so fine for the plants in the beginning and that everything suddenly changed.
Im wondering if it can be due to too much biomass? I have a 240 liter tank With:
18 neontetras
4 zebrafish
5 siamese algae eaters
2 middle sized catfish
2 gourami
7 kuhliloaches
+7small schrimp and very many tiny snails.

What do you think? too much? Ifeed them very moderatly and they are not fat ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Perhaps you can post the tank parameters for the water and add a list of what you fertilize with. That would give us a better idea of things that may be missing.

-TF
dH of the water is 2-3
pH 7,5 without co2 sunstitution
K has been 6-15 (ive tried different K koncentrations by gradually increasing and decreasing nitrate free fertilizer) for the moment K is 6-8
Volume 240 liter (63 gallon)
Temperature 26 Celcius
Eheim aquaball with four filter units, Eheim cannister outside.
Fluval led lamp 120cm long 50% light effect (tried more and less)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We need to know the fertilizer brand name and how much you dose to figure out if you have enough nutrients. K is potassium is just one of 14 and doesn't tell use anything useful. And it would be helpful to know the ingredients in the bottle and hopefully the % of each nutrient in the bottle. Hopofully we would have enough to identify specific issue with it.
Thank you for this interesting advice. So you mean i should be ok with adding GH 1° ?

The fertilizers ive used are:
-Profito (easy life). Can't find any exact list of ingredients, but should be of good quality

-PlantaMin (Tetra):
1% K20
0,005 B
0,2 Fe
0,01 Mn
0,002 Zn

I have used both fertilizers at their own in different doses and also at the same time. Ive also used Fe daily drops and Fe root tabs. Too much iron?

The substrate is finnish sand. I bought the aquarium as used and the sand has been used for several years before me buying the set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you very much! I've added maybe +1GH to the tapwater I use. Finnish tapwater have very low GH. Maybe I should rise it a little bit more..?
The thing that is har for me to understand is why the aquarium worked so fine for the plants in the beginning and that everything suddenly changed.

The reason your tank went weeks with no porblems and and then suddenly had problems was because your substrate was leaching nutrients. As time went by the amount of nutrients from the substrate declined until it ran out. Once it ran out growth in your plants stopped. Depending on the total amount of nutrients in the substrate and how fast it leaches out a tank could run months or even a year without any issues.

As to GH keep in mind GH is a measure of total calcium and magnesium in the water. plants need 3 parts calcium to one part magnesium. Ca / fMg ratios in tap water can very quite a lot but are typically mostly calcium. You were probably short on magnesium and had plenty of calcium. 1 degree of GH is about 17 PPM. 3ppm Mg and and 9ppm of CA is a total of 12ppm which is less than 1 degree and is more than enough for most tanks. GH boosters typically have the calcium magnesium ratio right so only 1 degree should be enough.
Very interesting point of the depleting substrate. It could explain a lot. I touched on it in the earlier answer, but i have to note that I dont know what kid of use there was for the aquarium before i bought it. With the sand came the small snails and probably its jist a coincidence but the snail population exploded att the same time when plants went bad.

PS im also using proper dose of Seachem Prime when I change water.

Yesterday I installed the CO2 device and im slowly increasing concentration with a timer that goes on 2 hour before the light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes and No. Iron doesn't dissolve well in water. many fertilizers use iron gluconate. It dissolves well and isn't affected by PH. But the gluconate is a type of sugar that bacteria will consume very rapidly. Once the the gluconate is gone the iron rusts and becomes unavalable to plants. So iron gluconate fertilizers do better when dosed more frequently because the iron may only last for a day or so.

Plants only need about 0.1ppm of iron in the water Yet many people and guidelines for iron gluconate dose about 1ppm a week or more. But too much iron is not good for fish since it may get trapped in the gills of the fish and kill them. Also too much iron may cause it to react with your phosphate resulting in iron phosphate which is also insoluble potentially causing a phosphate deficiency.

In my tank I use iron DTPA. it cost a little more but bacteria don't touch it. But it is PH sensitive it slowly rust at a PH higher than 7.5. My Tank PH stay close to 7 so I only dose 0.1ppm once a week after the weekly water change.

Other fertilizers use iron EDTA but it quickly degrades at a PH of 6.5. Most people don't have water that acidic. Others have experimented with iron HDDHA which is stable to a ph of over 10 which would seam ideal but it colors the water red.


This looks like a discontinued product in the US that was called Leaf Zone. PlantMin and leave zone don't show up on the tetra web site so it to may be disconinued. which was basically just iron potassium. PlantaMin only has 5 of the 14 nutrients plants need. So it is deficient in 9 nutrients. It wouldn't work for me in my RO water tank.

I don't know about Easy life but in my experience its probably not much better. The issue is with most fertilizers is that they assume your water will provide most of the nutrients your plant needs. So Most fertilizers on the market are deficient in Calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper and most use the cheapest iron fertilizer (iron gluconate). They do this because it results in a cheeper product. Butt if you look at the labels on the bottle none guarantee that that the plants will grow with their product.
Very interesting. Must try to get in contact with the guy who sold me the aquarium with the used sand etc. In the equippment i found a bottle of tropica aquacare. The bottle looked very old. But maybe it could be the key...
Do you have any recommendations on what brand / product is good?
Of cource the obvious thing to do would be to change substrate to something better than sand but i dont have the time and energy right now. Anyway, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
But in a way im a little bit sceptical about the cause beeing defiancy, because my dad used to have a low tech aguarium with fish and a sponge filter that was full of big, healthy plants. He did not use fertilizer and made just small waterchanges. And fed the fish. Im wondering if it is possible that i have some really bad "infection" going on that maybe gets worse by the suboptimal nutrients..?
 
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