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Re: Brown plants

On Wed, 31 Jan 2001, Bob Welch wrote:

> I've just gotten back into aquariums after 20 years and I'm faced with a
> problem I hope you can help with.  I have setup a new 55gal tank with
> Flourite substrate and a RFUG (using a PVC piping grid under the substrate).
> I have planted the tank with Vallisneria (Italian and Corkscrew), Amazon and
> Melon Sword, Fountain Saggitaria, Water Wisteria, Moneywort, and I believe
> Ambulia.  The pH is 7.0, kH is 54 (3 deg), gH is 125 (7 deg), no nitrites,
> nitrates, or ammonia.  Water temp is 80 deg.  I have the standard lighting
> that came with the tank and leave them on about 16 hours a day.

If the "standard" lighting that came with your tank is the same that came
with mine then you'll need to improve on that before you can grow very
many plants.  My 55 setup came with 1 40-watt tube.  Now I use 4 40-watt
tubes over the same tank, but could probably get by with 3.

> I have only
> recently added some Albino Cory's (and lost a couple after several days) and
> the tank has not cycled yet.  The plant growth is amazing, however, some of
> the new growth is reddish-brown and some of the mature foliage is turning
> the same reddish-brown.  I assume I have a deficiency but have no idea what
> it might be.

Some of the plants you list may have a reddish-brown coloration on new
submersed leaves.  That's natural and it constrasts pretty sharply with
the old leaves.  In the case of the sword plants, and maybe the sag., the
old leaves were probably grown out of water.  The new leaves will be of
different shape, texture and (possibly) color.  The old leaves may die

The color on older leaves could actually be a coating of diatoms (a
type of algae) rather than a change in the leaves themselves.  Otocinclus
catfish are great little guys when it comes to cleaning diatoms and other
small algae.

> Perhaps you have some suggestions.  If I need to fertilize,
> what do you recommend (preferably something in a liquid form)?

I'm getting good results using Hagen's Plantgro, but find it a little
expensive (at least at my LFS) for regular feeding.  Hagen products are
widely available.  Kent and Tetra also make fertilizers for planted
aquariums that work and are widely available.  Tropica Master Grow is
(reputedly) great, but I've not tried it.

Roger Miller