Q. Why won’t my plants grow?
I have the most horrendous luck with plants. They always seem to die on me: yellowing out, holes in leaves, melting — if there is a way for plants to die, I’ve had it happen to me. I’ve even managed to kill Anubias!
I recently did a strip down of my tank as I decided to focus more on my Manacaparu Angels, and thought I’d2have one last attempt. I don’t use CO , but I have a Ecotech Radion XR30 G3 light running at about 25% brightness. I dose weekly TNC Lite aquarium plant nutrients and Plant Growth Premium fertiliser from Tropica. The majority of the tank is sand substrate but in the corner that’s planted I’m using Tropica Soil with JBL Root Tabs.
One month in and half of the wood-based Java moss is covered in algae; the other is browning out, my Vallis is not growing and my Amazon swords are developing holes in the centre of their leaves.
The tank is 100 x 40 x 60cm and I carry out weekly 75–100 l water changes using RO + Seachem Equilibrium. Please help! DAVID HILL, EMAIL
It sounds like your plants aren’t getting enough of what they need. This leads to a suffering plant that attracts algae.
My advice would be to plant heavily and then you can benefit from a complete liquid plant food rather than the two products you mention. They are both very similar to one another and do not contain the nitrogen or phosphorous that plants require. Contrary to popular belief, in a healthy planted tank, nitrates and phosphates do not cause algae but promote plant growth, which in turn helps to prevent algae. Consider a complete liquid plant food and dose daily rather than weekly. I have great results with The Aquascaper Complete Liquid Plant Food, which is an all-in-one product designed to be dosed daily for all types of planted tank.
The fact that your Vallis is struggling is an indicator that you may need more light. I’m unfamiliar with the PAR output of the XR30 but I wonder if you have the spectrum that is adjusted for plants, rather than the marine lighting unit that’s blue-dominant.
I also question the use of RO water. The plants you keep, and probably the fish, will be fine with tapwater. Tap contains more nutrients to feed the plants and is more economical to use with less waste and no need for re-mineralisation products.
Consider stocking a lot of fast growing stem plants as well, as this will help fight off algae.
If you do all of the above I’m sure you’ll have a better chance of success. GEORGE FARMER
Even the Java moss (inset) is struggling to grow in David Hill’s tank.
The Amazon sword leaves are attracting algae.