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Advice needed - Trouble growing plants and algae issues.


22 Jun 2008
Berkshire, UK
Hi Guys

Hope the brits here are enjoying the lovely weather we are having at the moment 🙂

Anyways, its been a year since I delved into planted tanks, and although I haven't kept a journal here, I have to admit, it hasn't been a great year for my tank. My main goal for keeping a planted tank was to first learn how to keep and grow plants to a fairly high standard (like i see on many journals and pictures here in UKAPS). I've been using Co2, TPN+ (eventually switching over to EI) yet the plants in my tank really haven't done too well, even the hardier ones like Hygro Poly, did OK but I never got that lush looking green to them, and many leaves seemed to have holes. Even my Java fern mother plant leaves started to go black and my Spikey moss has developed that nasty hair algae which Im constantly removing once a week when I do my water change.

The good thing is that I've learnt to appreciate the theory of keeping tropical plants and the importnace of CO2 and nutrients, yet putting it all into practice doesn't seem to have worked for me too well. Now I'm just looking to move on from my bad experiences and possibly use plants that are easier to look after and that don't require too much light to thrive.

I was wondering if someone could recommend say, a few types of plants that are relatively easy to look after and are good beginner plants for an aquarium. Preferably a good mixture of background, mid-ground and foreground plants. Generally plants that will work and look good with one another.
Any help appreciated and if you wish to point me to certain articels, website references, lease do so 🙂

Thanks in advance

Re: Recommedations on Low Light Plants

Hi Jack

Sorry to hear you've not had a great experience with your tank, that would have positively annoyed me. 🙁
If that's your current tank spec. below your signature, from my limited experience, most things look tickety boo.
The only thing I would query would be the flow. You quote a Fluval 205 filter. If this is the only means of circulation you have it is not big enough. (420lph me thinks and you need at least 1290lph).
I'm now entering my 3rd month of this planted tank game and I have to say I have battled getting flow to all parts of my tank, and that's with more than 10X tank flow rate, although my tank is now positively booming 😀 .
As I have learnt (very quickly) you cannot underestimate the importance of good flow and CO2 circulation.

As for low light plants, most Anubias, Crypts, Swords and some Vallis will all grow in a low light environment, just a bit slower.
I'm sure others with more experience than me will pipe up with some extra help too.
Good luck in your new venture.

Re: Recommedations on Low Light Plants

hi Chris

Thanks for your suggestions

I did forget to add however that I also use a Hydor korallia 1 (I think its a Korallia 1) to help with flow.

I know it still puts me a little under 10x flow.
Re: Recommedations on Low Light Plants

I may be wrong here but low light plants isn't what you need. 3 X 24W T5's in a 129ltr tank is pretty good, what's your photo period?
Re: Recommedations on Low Light Plants

Maybe the light is a little high as you have 72 watts over a 34 gal tank which is I think is quite high. You could try and cover one tube or turn one off (If you can control the tubes individually).

I have a low light setup with 80watts of light over a 240l tank and am growing anubias, java fern and crypts without any real issues.
Re: Recommedations on Low Light Plants

Photo period is 8 hours a day. CO2 comes on two hours before lights on and turns off two hours before lights out.
Re: Recommedations on Low Light Plants

I'd consider extending the CO2 by an hour, so it goes off an hour before lights out, just to be sure this isn't part of the problem. I'd say flow could be an issue too. It looks like this might be going down the troubleshooting path, so I'm going to edit your thread title so it might attract more attention 🙂

Any chance of posting a tank shot and how you're dosing the tank?

Holes in leaves suggests a nutrient difficiencey. Do they appear on old leaves or new growth? Just to check, what livestock have you got? It might be possible something's eating them as well.

Where abouts is the moss situated in your tank? Does it get a good flow of water over it?
i have had all the same problems as you on my 60L but i had no co2 and no ferts, now i am on a FE system and am doasing tropica ferts and easy carbo. my HC is going mad only been in a week and has nearly covered the tank!! :lol:

the main prob i had was flow of nutrients and co2 around the plants i had a 500 L/h filter and a lot of dead spots which is where the algie grew from, i was using a aqua one 500 L/h filter and i just didnt move the water verry well!

Easy carbo can help with the algie prob
Increasing the co2 for your higher light levels
more ferts in the tank again for the heigher light levels can help
the main problem i think will be the flow try a fluval 405 filter to bump up the flow or try an ehime filter with a spray bar.

Hope this helps Matt 😀
Fert wise I'm dosing EI as per Ceg's guide in the tutorials section. Basically I have a batch I've made up for the month, dosing 40 ml (500ml solution as opposed to 600ml in the tutorial). Don't have the exact quantities of salts at hand but basically I created a batch for a 100ltr tank. Reason for 100ltr tank was that my tank isn't really 129ltr, thats the manufacturers description and some what wrong size of tank. After actually measuring the tank out its close to 101ltr in total volume. its 129ltr when you put the lid back on (which I dont use) and the back filter box (also not used)

I'll try and grab some photos in the next few days but don't really want to suffer the embaressment especially in comparisson to some fo the works of art on this site.

I will say however that the past 7 days have gone quite well, hair algae seems to be on the decline and was not as bad as it was before and I've noticed that java fern pearling. Ever since switching CO2 bottle. Could a different CO2 bottle make all the difference even though the drop checker for the old CO2 bottle was still yellowy green?