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My Plants Need Some Help


Carole

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My aquarium plants need some help. They have been alive for several months now but they don't grow a whole lot. My amazon swords are only 4 in tall! They produce new leaves to replace those that die, but they do not increase in size.

I have a 20 gal with 2 fantails. There are 3 amazon swords and 2 red wendii. I have one 15W aqua-glo bulb and regular aquarium gravel. The light is on for over 12 hrs/day. I use no nutrient supplements other than plant tabs which I am not convinced are doing a whole lot. My tank is 1 year old and cycled.

I want to do something that will encourage more plant growth. I was wondering what would be the most effective, more lighting or a nutrient rich substrate? I am afraid to add more plants to my aquarium because I know that the plants I have now are just barely surviving.

Thanks

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Hi Carole! Amazon swords require bright light at least 2 watts per gallon. You only have 0.75 watts per gallon in your setup... you have insufficient lighting. The substrate is not great either because gravel does not retain nutrients. Many people recomend iron rich substrates for this type of plant. Maybe other forum members have experience with Amazon swords and regular gravel. What is the pH of your tank? Amazon swords prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.5 - 7.0)

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Could we have picture? Swords are usually grown above water in nurseries with terrestrial leaves. When you put them underwater, they start to lose their terrestrial leaves and grow submersed leaves. If your plant is relatively new and the new leaves are a slightly different shape, that's proabably whats going on.

There are a lot of different types of amazon swords. Some will do okay in lower light aquariums while others will not, but .75wpg is pretty low. A rich substrate is very important for most swords, so if you want them to do really well, I would increase lighting and switch to a plant substrate. I keep lower light amazon swords in my 10 gallon and they are pretty much in the same boat as yours. I have 1.9wpg and regular innert gravel. I regularly give them root tabs, liquid ferts, and now I am starting to add organic liquid carbon (excel).Tthey are starting to perk up and get bigger, but very slowly.

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My pH is about 6.8. So what would make the most significant difference, changing the substrate or the lighting? I would like to add more plants to my tank but I think that if I don't improve some of the conditions in my tank, there will not be enough nutrients to go around and nothing will grow.

Do you find that liquid fertilizers increase your algae growth? I tried them once and my algae was growing more than my plants so I stopped.

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That's a tough question to answer, especially since CO2/carbon, lighting, and fertilizer are all conected. Having only one of those greatly limits the growth rate. Mine seem to be doing pretty well with the excel carbon and my medium lighting. The growth is there, but its slow.

What liquid fertilizer did you use? Some ferts will encourage algae growth and some won't. It depends on whats in it....but I can't remember which it is that does encourage algae.

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I've heard that phosphates can cause excessive algae.

About carbon/co2, I added a co2 generator about 5 days ago and already some of the plant leaves seem a brighter shade of green, not as dull as they were before.

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