Jump to content

Consistent plant FTT (failure to thrive)

Recommended Posts

I have the opposite of a green thumb. Always have had , both in my earlier adolescent foray in the hobby (I even worked at the local aquarium hobby shop!) and my more recent experience.  

My tastes are simple, inclination is towards minimalism, and tanks are very small. Some notes on my tanks, all of which have been set up for years now:

Tank 1 & 2

-2 gal each, plants only, no livestock

- Specialized (i.e. hobby specific), pelletized dirt substrate with coarse gravel as well, depth of 2 in.

- one has a simple, very small power filter, the other has nothing

-lighting: each has a single 6.5W, 5000k 450 lumen bulb in a clamp fixture overhead; 12 hour light cycle less 2.5 hr midday siesta

water temp usually around ambient room temp or 68 deg (No heaters)

-inputs: Seachem Neutral 7.0 to condition water to replace evaporated water, suggested Easy green liquid fert dosage weekly

Tank 3 - 6gal nano with built in power filter

- coarse grave substrate, dept of 3in.

- 11 tiny fish (5 ember tetras, 6 shiny blue eyed rasboras)

-2 clamp lights each with a 6.5W 5000K  450 lumen LED; 12 hour light cycle less 2.5 hr midday siesta

- water temp kept around 76 deg

-inputs: Seachem neutral 7.0 to condition water to replace evaportaed water, suggested Easy green liquid fert dosage weekly

I would say that literally nothing grows, but I have had some moderate success with the most popular variety of hygro. Even floating plants just develop very long roots but do not really grow in my tanks. 

Cyanobacteria has been an occasional issue in tanks 1 & 2, treated each time but always visible in the depths of the gravel bed.

Thready clumps of green algae  spread along gravel and plant stems in the 6 gal tank.

Any pointers or things that I may not be taking into account? Plants are expensive when you cannot propagate and they are mostly melting over time!

Thanks in advance for your help.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

How often do you change the water and what are your nitrate levels. It's possible your keeping the water to clean for plants they always hit the growth spurt with me when the nitrates are over 20ppm. I do water changes around the 30/40 ppm. 

Plants seem to struggle for ages them suddenly your tank is full and your can't find the fish. You'll get there 


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Algae takes over when one of the following is out of whack: Nutrients, light and/or co2. You need to balance your tank and figure which one is out of whack. For me, it was all 3, lol. The following video should explain how to get your tank alge free. (It's only 12 min and it's very helpful.) This video is the reason I don't have algae in my tank anymore. My tank had the same, exact alage you had and it went away. It should solve your problems, good luck and lmk if you have any questions. 


Edited by BettasAreSuperior
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, everyone, for the tips/encouragement. I especially appreciate the video and the reminder that the three main  variables in a planted tank -nutrients, light and CO2 (more the first two for my low tech tans) - need to be actively tweaked to encourage plant growth and discourage algae blooms. That video also had a good tip re: testing not only for nitrate levels, but for other macro nutrient levels as well. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...