Aquarium plants dying

Sounds familiar?

It is to me. But then I am on the receiving end but if you go onto forums you’ll see this sort of statement all the time. I often here the same reason as to why aquarium plants are dying and it’s normally due to the fact that they have algae. They’ve been told (normally by shops) they need to starve the algae. Advice like this is sooooo old school yet the message is continually advised from shop owners who in my opinion clearly don’t know what is best.

So hobbyists follow the advice given to starve their algae and totally stop the nutrients they are putting in. Algae dies back a little and plants totally disintegrate – the reason why is simply

you’ve just starved your plants to death…

My advice to anyone who is looking for advice is speak to experts, like us (and a few others) who know what is best, and not generic shops which peddle out these toxic messages. If your plants are dying you need to first work out why. First, are they actually aquatic plants? Sounds a funny thing to ask but there are still a lot of shops that sell non aquatic plants! This only adds to confusion to hobbyists who may be doing everything else right. Below are pictures of a few non aquatic plant – looks nice heh?

 

problem is they will last a couple of weeks then start breaking down. These plants should live in your garden or conservatory, not in your tank. So if you have a plant that looks like these (normally they come without plant labels for identification), remove them and start again.

Secondly, are your plants getting the right nutrients? I’m recommending Neutro T for non CO2 tanks and Neutro+ for CO2 infused tanks.Your plants need no other nutrients with these ferts below.

neutro t aquarium fertiliser

neutro+ aquarium fertiliser

You add these ferts daily because that’s what plants want. Just like us, they want feeding every day – not so crazy is it? Feeding weekly is nuts and just marketing spiel to make it appear that the fertilisers are more economical then they actually are.

Are you providing your plants with carbon is gas or liquid form? If not, why not? Carbon is the backbone of plant growth and without it, your plants will suffer. Try Neutro CO2

neutro CO2 aquarium fertiliser

Are you performing weekly water changes of at least 30%? Plants need clean water unless you want to grow algae and I’m guessing you don’t.

If you follow these very basic steps I guarantee that you will have success with the majority of plants. Some that you might struggle with are advanced one’s but we’ll get onto that at another time.

If you’re still having troubles, reply to this post and let’s talk :) Call us on 01363 774 787.

The Best Aquarium Plant Fertilisers – Guaranteed

Another bold statement isn’t it. That’s because it’s true. These new fertilisers are THE BEST and I personally guarantee this.

These ferts have been a long time in the making. Feedback has been taken on board and the range has been simplified. After all keeping a planted aquarium is meant to be simple, uncomplicated and enjoyable. The last thing anyone needs is too many bottles of fertilisers in their cabinet and not remembering if you have dosed the right bottle or not.

So I proudly introduce the new range called Neutro. It’s simple and very effective and I know you will just love it. 3 different bottles, all available in sizes small (500ml), medium (1000ml) and large (2000ml). Details are as follows:

Neutro T – this is a trace element fertiliser that provides all the essential nutrients that a low tech planted aquarium would need. By the definition of low tech it means plants which are not injecting with pressurised CO2. If you dose as per recommended, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Add 5ml per 100L every day and you won’t go far wrong.

Neutro+ - this is a complete fertiliser that provides both trace and macro elements (NPK) and is designed for those who keep high tech planted aquariums. High tech by definition is CO2 injecting with moderate to high lighting. The great and most simple feature about this fertiliser is that all your nutrients are in one bottle – this makes dosing a dream. 10ml per 100L every 24 hours.

Neutro CO2 is a liquid source of carbon for the planted aquarium.For those of you not familiar with it, carbon is essential for all healthy plant growth and can be provided via gas, or  liquid. The liquid form is not as potent as the gas but is still very effective. It won’t make your plants pearl (this is when you see O2 bubbles coming from the plant) but it will help them grow. Plants that have access to liquid carbon will do far better than those without.

In addition to this, if you over dose Neutro CO2, it can have a negative effect on algae (it helps reduce it). However you need to take care when overdosing, and increase it slowly. Perhaps 25% extra, then monitor the results. We do not recommend more than double dose.

It is also possible to spot treat plants or wood that have algae growing on them. Simply by using a pipette and extracting some Neutro CO2, squirt the carbon onto the plant or wood when it is outside of the water. Wait for 10 minutes then put it back into the water. You can also do this when performing a water change (it’s easiest that way). Dosage is simple, add 5ml per 250L every day. It doesn’t matter what time of day you dose this product, but it does need to be added every 24 hours.

So it’s really simple. For low tech tanks (not using pressurised CO2) all you would need is Neutro T and Neutro CO2. For high tech tanks (those injecting with CO2) use Neutro+ and Neutro CO2. That’s all there is to it.

Hair Grass…Elocharis acicularis? Which one is it?

Both actually! If you’re looking for what is commonly known as Hair Grass, then you’ll find there are a few varieties. However the Latin name to this lovely plant is Elocharis acicularis. And whilst we’re on the subject, I thought now would be a good time just to detail it a little.

Now this plant has been around for donkeys years and there’s good reason for it too. It’s a really lovely plant. Typically the pots are full as well – meaning that it grows quickly for the commercial growers. In fact I was only talking to them about it the other day and I was double checking the conditions that it needed (or rather the conditions they grew them in). Lots of light and high humidity. So if you give it that, guess what?! It grows like a weed.

But in the aquarium, to get it to grow fast and healthy you need to give it 2 things (imagine only needing 2 things in life to be happy…):

  1. Lots of CO2 – and don’t be tight here. You need to see you tank like a glass of champagne. I spoke to a customer today who was using a CO2 system with a 95g bottle. He could never get his drop checker to go green and he didn’t want to add more CO2 as it was costing too much for the 95g bottles. Answer, get a new reg and buy a big, cheap refillable pub style CO2 bottle. Pick up a 5kg bottle for less than £20. Then crank the CO2. WARNING. Restrict CO2 levels and you’ll grow algae, not plants.
  2. Lots of ferts. When adding pressurised CO2, you need to add trace elements and macro nutrients (NPK). WARNING. Restrict fertilisers and you’ll grow algae, not plants (Catch my drift here?! :))

When you do plant Eleocharis into your nutrient rich substrate (notice I am not suggesting pea gravel), give it a couple of weeks at least before you start trimming. If you go hard at it with the scissors from the beginning, it won’t be happy. Start trimming when you see new shoots growing – that’s when the time is ready.

Apart from that it’s an easy plant to grow. Carpets very very well in high lighting and will make you very happy if, and only if you give it what it wants.

and here’s a sweet video how to trim it

This mistake cost me £23,525.89

Only joking but I did lose money. What am I talking about? Tropica 1-2-Grow! plants. Now I’ve been tweeting about this and a good friend of mine who runs APFUK knows about this too (check out his excellent website). But I wanted to share the love as they say and pass on this information. I’m probably helping out my rivals here but what goes around comes around…

If you receive your 1-2-Grow! plants and you’re not ready to plant them, you might be wondering what you can do with them to keep them fresh. I wasn’t sure and just left them on the shelf with some other dry goods. Some of them were perfect and stayed in great shape. Others didn’t do very well which was slightly depressing (especially in the heat). You see if plants are not in 100% health, they’re not sent. So yes we do lose money and I did lose a few bob on the 1-2-Grow! plants. Rather than just take the loss, I had to find out more. A short email to Claus at Tropica and he suggested I should put them in the fridge. Cool heh.

nice fridge…

So that’s what we do. My loss rate on them has dramatically gone down. One species in particular doesn’t seem too keen on it but the rest are A OK. So next time you’re wondering what shall I do with my Tropica 1-2-Grow! plants, stick em in the fridge.