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Hi guys,


I'm a newbie to the hobby and it seems to be starting with a fiasco :( 3 weeks ago I bought some plants (Vallisneria, Java fern and Xmas moss) and they seem to be dying (especially the Vallisneria, but moss turned brown and Java fern has brown spots on it). 

We have the filter running 24/7, lights on 8 hours a day (sometimes white, sometimes pink to see if anything makes a difference), water temp is between 23-24 oC. They are far away from the window but they do get some natural light in the room. It’s just plants in the tank at the moment. We have the Aqua soil plus I have been adding fertiliser once a week as instructed. When purchasing we’ve asked for advice to get as easy to maintain plants as possible but it doesn’t seem to be the case. I am doing water changes regularly (20% once a week, daily at the start when aqua soil made water brown). I’ve done the water testing and values are as follows:

Last week pH 6.4 ammonia 2 ppm nitrites 0 nitrates 10 ppm
This week pH 6 ammonia 0.5-1 ppm nitrites 0 nitrates 10-20 ppm
I really need some help as it’s rough to look at all the plants dying when I have no clue what the problem is :(
It’s a 52L tank, specs as follows:


Water Flow
Lights 2.5WW

If anyone will have any ideas what may be the problem I would greatly appreciate it as the place we bought everything from didn't really help much. 









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Hi Agata,

Is it a plant specific light that you're using? I find the best results when using a light that is in the daylight colour range of 5400K. Your pH also seems a little on the low side. What's the pH of your tap water? Could be the soil that's making it more acidic.

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Unlikely to be the plants. Vallisneria requires fairly strong lighting. Java fern can cope with less light. The description of your light seems pretty vague. Hard to tell if that’s the problem or not. The pH is pretty acidic and is probably more of a priority to balance out. I would test your tap water first. If it’s around pH 7.0 then do 15-20% water changes daily until the tank settles. If your tap water is also acidic then you should consider using a buffering product. 

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Hi Bettarazzi, thanks again! Tap water is around 7, I believe it's the aqua soil that makes it more acidic but from what I researched all the plants I have don't mind mildly acidic pH and neither do tetras that I was planning to get. At the store where I bought the plants they didn't mention anything about the light requirements, basically told me this plants are impossible to kill and here I am 😕 I have lights on for around 8 hours a day as I read that too much light leads to algae overgrowth. Is that not enough you think? Any recommendations for the plants with low light requirements? From what I read tetras are not fond of too much light.

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Java fern and moss should cope with low light and I guess acidity as well. Anubias also don’t need a lot of light. Maybe it’s the sudden change which is affecting them. If they’re used to pH 7 in the shop and it’s suddenly acidic perhaps that’s what they’re reacting to? I don’t have much experience with Aquasoil I’m afraid. Your picture links didn’t work btw. Maybe go back to the shop and have a chat. 

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Hi Bettarazzi,


with Val the leaves are turning brown at the tips to begin with and later go translucent and tear away. There is some new growth but not super much. I got them 3 weeks ago. Yesterday I’ve noticed that the plants at the front of the tank seem to be in worse shape than the ones towards the back which made me wonder if too much natural light that reached it in the late afternoon can be the problem? I’ve tried contacting the store but it didn’t really work, they basically told me they have no idea what the problem may be 😕 



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