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New Planted Aquarium: Help Diagnosing Plant Issues

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I have 10 week new planted aquarium with fish and I cannot tell if the plants are on a good path or showing signs of poor health.  I have read that new plants will often end up being trimmed back to allow healthier new leaves/growth to come in.


  • kH 6
  • pH 6.8-7.4
  • 75-76 F
  • CO2 3.5bps on with lights
  • Lighting 5000k, 27W, 10 hours
  • Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0 - .1
  • Fertilizer: 2x/week Flourish, 2x/week Pottasium, 1x/week Iron (all Seechem products)

Exhibit A:

This Buce has been in the tank for 4 weeks.  Some yellowing leaves but some new green/reddish leaves coming in.  Several (new) leaves beginning to unfold.  Algae growth seems under control.  

I assume this is doing well? 




Exhibit B:

I added 4-6 Java ferns on 3 different occasions.  These are the larger basic Java Fern.  They have stay green with little browning, but are rapidly growing offspring.  The offspring look healthy - great color, long roots. 

But is that algae on the roots?  

Do I remove the offspring and plant them?

Is this a sign of stress or health?




Exhibit C:

These are smaller Trident Java Ferns (they might actually be Petite, I got them mixed up).  Out of about 6 plants a couple are starting to get tips melting away, brown spots, and algae collecting.  Snails love eating the algae off of them.

Are these plants struggling or is this a case where I have to trim and wait for new growth?



All comments feedback welcome.


Edited by d6veteran
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1 hour ago, KBOzzie59 said:

Cannot see any of your images.  Your nitrates are crazy low.  Cut back on CO2 until you get some nutrients in there.

Increasing Nitrates ... keep adding fish?  I was doing water changes 2x/week and this will be my first week switching to 1x/week based on advice from others.  Hoping that might drive them up, but it has been 6 days of no water change and still Nitrates at 0.

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The brown algae is a totally normal new tank thing - my school tank went through a pretty hardcore phase of it...I cut down my lighting (down to six hours until I got the algae under control, and now I've been ramping back up), and I keep a turkey baster next to the tank to suck it out when I see it! 😂

Do you have any algae eaters (shrimp, catfish, otos, etc.) in your tank?  They'd love it!

I think your plants look healthy!  New growth, like the new growth on your Buce, is always a good sign...and the fact that you've got some algae is also a good sign!  Your tank is officially a living thing! 👍

Also, don't be alarmed if the leaves with the babies start to turn brown and die away...I think that's par for the course!  You can leave the babies on the leaf until the mama leaf is done-zo...or, you could take the larger ones off now and glue/tie the babies to rocks/driftwood.  Up to you!

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Thanks for the suggestions/comments!  I have two Plecos, 10 Panda Corys and 15 Nerite Snails.  They are constantly munching.


@Betsy I love the suggestion to use a Turkey Baster!  One of the issues I think is that the petite Java Ferns cannot support the snails so they don't touch them - but I could help out with a turkey baster. Ordered one today!

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Most algae eaters won't eat diatoms (which is brown algae). Certainly bn and such won't touch the stuff. It is normal for a newly setup tank and should just go away in a month. 


Btw my java fern put out lots of baby ferns and lots of new leaves. The leaves are now close to 16 inches tall. I'm not sure baby ferns is a sign of dying.

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