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New planted Tank Help.


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Hi Folks, 

I have a new aquarium that is 2 weeks old, with live plants and no fish. I've been watching the water parameters and feeding the plants twice a week (easy green + easy iron). I noticed algae (brown diatoms I think) growth in the tank the other day and did a water test....  0 ppm ammonia, 2-5 ppm nitrite and 5 ppm nitrates. Also, the plants have started to brown... and look like they are dying back ... Is this something I should be concerned about? Do I need to put in more root tabs? Any advice is greatly appreciated. 

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At 2 weeks old or just new plants in an older tank- die back is totally normal- they are getting used to your tank, food, substrate, light, temp etc. Your tank is progressing nicely! Seeing nitrite and nitrate is awesome, the diatoms are a good sign that soon your tank will be able to support life! 

BTW, welcome to the forum!

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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On 2/1/2022 at 10:39 AM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

At 2 weeks old or just new plants in an older tank- die back is totally normal- they are getting used to your tank, food, substrate, light, temp etc. Your tank is progressing nicely! Seeing nitrite and nitrate is awesome, the diatoms are a good sign that soon your tank will be able to support life! 

BTW, welcome to the forum!

New plants and tank. Thanks for the piece of mind that everything is ok. I was worried I needed to put more rootabs in. 

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No I would not make any changes. Diatoms usually come and go after a week or 2 all on their own. When you start seeing green algae you'll know you've turned the corner. 

The plants are usually grown emersed and now are submerged so they are getting a little bit of a stress test. Your slow growers will stay brown the longest. I would aggressively trim off all the brown and dead stuff so the plants can focus on growing new and adjusted foliage. 

I like your plant choices. Some of them are not typical plants chosen by new plant keepers and I think fortune favors the bold when it comes to aquarium plants. The crypts looks like you've had fairly minimal melt, I think you have a java fern in the middle planted in the substrate, it would be better either superglue gelled to the rock or pushed into the artificial root structure you have if left in the substrate theres a good chance of rot in the rhizome. The bacopa looks great and it does great being trimmed and the cuttings replanted. I would let it grow out for another couple weeks then trim and replant across the back and you'll get a nice curtain effect. The water sprite can get big and the more you trim the bushier it will get. 

Welcome to the forum and planted tanks!

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On 2/1/2022 at 2:12 PM, Beardedbillygoat1975 said:

No I would not make any changes. Diatoms usually come and go after a week or 2 all on their own. When you start seeing green algae you'll know you've turned the corner. 

The plants are usually grown emersed and now are submerged so they are getting a little bit of a stress test. Your slow growers will stay brown the longest. I would aggressively trim off all the brown and dead stuff so the plants can focus on growing new and adjusted foliage. 

I like your plant choices. Some of them are not typical plants chosen by new plant keepers and I think fortune favors the bold when it comes to aquarium plants. The crypts looks like you've had fairly minimal melt, I think you have a java fern in the middle planted in the substrate, it would be better either superglue gelled to the rock or pushed into the artificial root structure you have if left in the substrate theres a good chance of rot in the rhizome. The bacopa looks great and it does great being trimmed and the cuttings replanted. I would let it grow out for another couple weeks then trim and replant across the back and you'll get a nice curtain effect. The water sprite can get big and the more you trim the bushier it will get. 

Welcome to the forum and planted tanks!

That is great to hear. The middle plants in the substrate are cryptocyrene, will they do better glue to a rock? I will def try trimming the brown and dead leafs back.  I was definitely hoping to get the curtain effect over time.

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Great advice above! I will only add this tip. More plants 😁

Seriously though, adding more can really help a new tank work it's way through the awkward times. The first 6 months seem to be the roughest! 

Good looking tank by the way.

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Some great advice here already.  The one I was wondering about is the one I think @Beardedbillygoat1975 is wondering about too.  It’s the one at the right side of your upright piece.  That looks like it could be a Java fern to me rather than a Crypt.  I can’t quite tell for sure.  Can you please post a close up pic of that one for us?  Do you remember what the root structure looked like?  Was it rather thick, white roots or kind of stringy, black?  Black roots is Java fern, white roots would be a Crypt.  If that one has black roots, it should be lifted up so the rhizome is above the substrate (that’s the horizontal stem).  You have a very nice Java fern on the right that I hope is attached to your log and not planted into the substrate behind it.  If it’s planted, lift it some or lift it fully and attach it to the log.

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On 2/2/2022 at 2:06 PM, Mmiller2001 said:

Great advice above! I will only add this tip. More plants 😁

Seriously though, adding more can really help a new tank work it's way through the awkward times. The first 6 months seem to be the roughest! 

Good looking tank by the way.

Thanks mate. I would of liked to have more plants but it gets pricey. Plus, I wanted to be certain I would be able to keep them alive and healthy.

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On 2/2/2022 at 3:09 PM, Odd Duck said:

Some great advice here already.  The one I was wondering about is the one I think @Beardedbillygoat1975 is wondering about too.  It’s the one at the right side of your upright piece.  That looks like it could be a Java fern to me rather than a Crypt.  I can’t quite tell for sure.  Can you please post a close up pic of that one for us?  Do you remember what the root structure looked like?  Was it rather thick, white roots or kind of stringy, black?  Black roots is Java fern, white roots would be a Crypt.  If that one has black roots, it should be lifted up so the rhizome is above the substrate (that’s the horizontal stem).  You have a very nice Java fern on the right that I hope is attached to your log and not planted into the substrate behind it.  If it’s planted, lift it some or lift it fully and attach it to the log.

I could of sworn it was a piece of the crypt that I replanted but looking at it more closely it does look like a small piece of the java fern that broke off... I don't remember what the root structure looked like. I can pull it up and super glue it to a rock. The large Java fern is planted in the log cavity, the roots are not in the substrate. Thanks in advance for help me out.

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On 2/2/2022 at 9:53 PM, Chris2022 said:

The large Java fern is planted in the log cavity, the roots are not in the substrate. Thanks in advance for help me out.

By planted, do you mean glued in or planted into something that’s inside the log cavity?

That does look like Java fern on closeup.  Lift it either a little or a lot so the rhizome is exposed or it could lead to rot of the rhizome and then the whole plant.  Same with the bigger one in the log.  They like water flow around their rhizome.  The roots can be in the substrate, but their rhizome likes to be naked.  😆 My happiest epiphytes are on pieces of wood or rocks where their roots can get into the substrate with some nutrients.

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On 2/2/2022 at 9:18 PM, Odd Duck said:

By planted, do you mean glued in or planted into something that’s inside the log cavity?

That does look like Java fern on closeup.  Lift it either a little or a lot so the rhizome is exposed or it could lead to rot of the rhizome and then the whole plant.  Same with the bigger one in the log.  They like water flow around their rhizome.  The roots can be in the substrate, but their rhizome likes to be naked.  😆 My happiest epiphytes are on pieces of wood or rocks where their roots can get into the substrate with some nutrients.

The log cavity is hollow, and it was a bit of a struggle to get the java fern in there. I didn't glue it in but its not sitting on anything. Their is definitely water flowing through the roots. 

I did lift the plant out to check the roots, stringy and black. I glued the little java fern to the back of the little log and moved it a bit forward to capture some light. Thanks for helping me out. 

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On 2/3/2022 at 10:32 PM, Chris2022 said:

The log cavity is hollow, and it was a bit of a struggle to get the java fern in there. I didn't glue it in but its not sitting on anything. Their is definitely water flowing through the roots. 

I did lift the plant out to check the roots, stringy and black. I glued the little java fern to the back of the little log and moved it a bit forward to capture some light. Thanks for helping me out. 

Very good!  Nicely done.  That will get you better success.  The Java that’s inside the log will tend to grip itself on as long as you don’t have fish that disturb it for a couple months and there’s enough texture for the roots to grab.

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I'm ORD, @Chris2022 your tank looks lovely!🤩🤩🤩

Yes, plants get pricey at the beginning... and then one day you will be trimming back plants and realize you no longer have room for them all🤣😅

As long as you don't have any animals in your tank, there are a couple of 'cheats' you can do to promote more growth that I have found. If you are running CO2, then MMiller and GJCarew have the best tips.

If you are not running CO2, you can work with the natural gas laws regarding how quickly plants deplete naturally dissolved CO2 under bright lights (takes 4 hours), and how long it takes the plants 'resting in the dark' to absorb oxygen and release the maximum amount of CO2 back into the tank (conveniently, also 4 hours).

Unless the tank is in your bedroom and lights cycling on and then off every 4 hours would wake you up, program a timer for 4 hours on, 4 hours off, for the full 24 hours. (If you are actively using CO2 pumped into the tank, disregard all of this).

I have now started 2 tanks with this lighting cycle for the first 16 - 20 weeks until I was ready to add fish, and it increased plant growth... like, it increased plant growth to double my plant mass by replanting trimmings, and nitrate levels (with no livestock in the tank) allowed me to dose Easy Green everyday.

You do not have to do it this way, you are already seeing great growth. This is just some 'bonus information' that you can choose to use if you want. 

 

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On 2/4/2022 at 11:33 AM, Torrey said:

I'm ORD, @Chris2022 your tank looks lovely!🤩🤩🤩

ORD?

On 2/4/2022 at 11:33 AM, Torrey said:

Unless the tank is in your bedroom and lights cycling on and then off every 4 hours would wake you up, program a timer for 4 hours on, 4 hours off, for the full 24 hours. (If you are actively using CO2 pumped into the tank, disregard all of this).

I have now started 2 tanks with this lighting cycle for the first 16 - 20 weeks until I was ready to add fish, and it increased plant growth... like, it increased plant growth to double my plant mass by replanting trimmings, and nitrate levels (with no livestock in the tank) allowed me to dose Easy Green everyday.

I set up the tank down stairs in family room where we do puzzles, arts and crafts. I choose the plants so I wouldn't have to worry about CO2 dosing. I tried to keep it as simple as possible since this is my/our first tank.  I did set up a timer and it normally runs for 6 hours a day. Noob question... won't the additional light cause algae blooms? I would definitely welcome additional plant growth. I am currently only dosing twice a week with easy green and easy iron. How often do you add root tabs with this light cycle? Thanks in advance.

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On 2/4/2022 at 2:56 PM, Chris2022 said:

ORD?

I set up the tank down stairs in family room where we do puzzles, arts and crafts. I choose the plants so I wouldn't have to worry about CO2 dosing. I tried to keep it as simple as possible since this is my/our first tank.  I did set up a timer and it normally runs for 6 hours a day. Noob question... won't the additional light cause algae blooms? I would definitely welcome additional plant growth. I am currently only dosing twice a week with easy green and easy iron. How often do you add root tabs with this light cycle? Thanks in advance.

ORD means Out of Reactions for the Day.  My near constant state of affairs.

Some think as @Torreysaid, that the rest time allows CO2 to build back up.  I tried the siesta for a few weeks on my bank of 5 tanks in the master bedroom, but didn’t appreciate any difference so switched it back since it didn’t really suit my schedule. If it works for your schedule it’s worth trying.

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On 2/4/2022 at 1:56 PM, Chris2022 said:

did set up a timer and it normally runs for 6 hours a day. Noob question... won't the additional light cause algae blooms

My experience has been I don't see algae until I go past 4 continous hours. I am not in a position to set up a bunch of tanks with identical parameters, although the NC / Raleigh aquatic plant group apparently did as close as possible to help Dr Diana Walstad get some data sets.

So far, my experience has been pretty close to what Dr Walstad discusses: less or no algae growth when there is a 4 hour siesta between two 4 hour photosynthetic times. I have 3 living room tanks that have a longer siesta period, and I struggle with cyanobacteria in one of the tanks, the other 2 tanks are cyanobacteria free. None of them have algae.

They have 3 photoperiods, and 2 siestas.

Obviously not a large enough test sample to make any claims. I merely have anecdotal evidence that Dr Walstad's claims appear to be valid.

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Thanks to everyone for their help and advice. I did trip some of the dead plant bits off and planted the trimmings and I adjusted my light schedule to 2 photoperiods, and 2 siestas to start in the hopes to accelerate new growth. Week 3 Water test: 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite and 5 ppm nitrates... I was surprised the nitrites disappeared. The brown diatoms are increasing in number... I really want to scrub and clean the glass. Should I leave the diatoms in.... is it ok to remove?IMG_1260.jpg.269bc6bfc36f80616da20553a98b80af.jpg

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On 2/4/2022 at 11:33 AM, Torrey said:

I'm ORD, @Chris2022 your tank looks lovely!🤩🤩🤩

Yes, plants get pricey at the beginning... and then one day you will be trimming back plants and realize you no longer have room for them all🤣😅

As long as you don't have any animals in your tank, there are a couple of 'cheats' you can do to promote more growth that I have found. If you are running CO2, then MMiller and GJCarew have the best tips.

If you are not running CO2, you can work with the natural gas laws regarding how quickly plants deplete naturally dissolved CO2 under bright lights (takes 4 hours), and how long it takes the plants 'resting in the dark' to absorb oxygen and release the maximum amount of CO2 back into the tank (conveniently, also 4 hours).

Unless the tank is in your bedroom and lights cycling on and then off every 4 hours would wake you up, program a timer for 4 hours on, 4 hours off, for the full 24 hours. (If you are actively using CO2 pumped into the tank, disregard all of this).

I have now started 2 tanks with this lighting cycle for the first 16 - 20 weeks until I was ready to add fish, and it increased plant growth... like, it increased plant growth to double my plant mass by replanting trimmings, and nitrate levels (with no livestock in the tank) allowed me to dose Easy Green everyday.

You do not have to do it this way, you are already seeing great growth. This is just some 'bonus information' that you can choose to use if you want. 

 

The cycling of the lights 4 on, 4 off.  Would this affect the fish in the tank?  My tank is in the bedroom, could have it cycle on from 8a-12p, off 12p-4p, on 4p-8p and off until 8am the next day. Any suggestions?

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On 2/7/2022 at 3:27 PM, jasper5150 said:

The cycling of the lights 4 on, 4 off.  Would this affect the fish in the tank?  My tank is in the bedroom, could have it cycle on from 8a-12p, off 12p-4p, on 4p-8p and off until 8am the next day. Any suggestions?

The planted tanks that I have used 4 on/ 4 off around the clock have been to boost early plant growth. I don't add livestock until plants are established and tank is cycled. I *try* to wait until tank is seasoned.... some times I don't have enough patience 😅

Because my tanks are heavily planted, lights going on and off during the day don't seem to phase the fish. If anything, they seem to be even more attentive?

Definitely way less glass surfing!

In other words, yes! 8 - noon, then 4 pm to 8 pm should not negatively impact your fish.

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