2

Materials

  • several 750ml cylindrical glass containers (with and without top cap)
  • different types of substrates: gravel (small to mid-size grains), sand and fertilized soil for aquarium (neutral pH)
  • different types of plants: low maintenance and fast growth
  • different types of water: tap, filtered and distilled
  • different types of fertilizers: soluble, solid and ammonium hydroxide 25%
  • different types of light sources: 0.2 to 10W, 3000K and natural sunlight

Experiment

Basically, the experiment consist of trying to find a configuration and a proper amount of light and fertilizers that would increase the lifespan of the plants. However, as much as I've tried (for example: 0 to 50ppm ammonia, 4 to 24hr/day light, ...), nothing seems to change the following pattern:

  • day 1: bubbles whenever there is enough light
  • day 2-4: less bubbles, plants, as a whole, are less green
  • day 5-7: leaves falling, first signs of algae
  • day 8-12: almost no bubbles, some parts of the plants are rotting
  • day 13+: the plants are probably dead and algae blooms

Question

What am I missing? Any idea of what configuration might work?

P.S. Of course, the point of this experiment is to minimize the mistakes when going to a full tank.

  • what types of plants do you have,this is important to know to answer your question.even for planted tanks only you need to build up the bacteria converting waste to plant nutrients,fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm – trond hansen Jun 12 '18 at 6:55
  • Are you starting the aquarium or is it cycled? – Karl Richter Jun 12 '18 at 10:19
  • @trondhansen "what types of plants do you have" I've tried several different low maintenance fast growth species: java moss, marsilea minuta, hornwort, anubias, amazon sword, moneywort, etc. However, the pattern was the same: in 2 weeks they were all dead. – Mark Messa Jun 12 '18 at 23:55
  • @trondhansen "you need to build up the bacteria converting waste to plant nutrients" In the experiment I've mentioned there is no fish to produce waste, I'm only counting on the nutrients currently available in the soil or artificially introduced in the water. Besides, don't plants consume ammonia directly? This seems somewhat a controversial topic over the internet. – Mark Messa Jun 12 '18 at 23:59
  • @KarlRichter "Are you starting the aquarium or is it cycled?" To be concise, I haven't mentioned all the experiments I've done. But I've also tried a similar experiment in a nano aquarium (5 liters) with an external filter (waterfall type). Even so, the pattern was the same (cycled or uncycled tank, low/high water circulation): after 2 weeks the plants were dead. – Mark Messa Jun 13 '18 at 0:01
1

This is maybe a bit too broad to ask as a question, since there probably isn't 1 answer to fix your problems.
But I'll try to give some idea's...

Plants

Some plants are difficult to keep, other ones are more easy. So first of all, start with the easy plants, like Java fern or anubias.
Stay away from plants with red leaves. Most bottom plants (that cover the substrate) are also more difficult to keep.
Also check the requirements for planting. For example the plants I just mentioned don't want their roots in the soil. Instead they need to be tightened on a rock or some wood.

The smaller the container, the more difficult it will be. 750ml is very small, and I assume you also don't have any filter/heather in there? Some plants do have some temperature requirements. And the filtration also helps to distribute the nutritients across the tank.

Light

Try to prevent as much natural sunlights as possible. If the tank is exposed to sunlights, you'll get algae a lot faster. Place it in a dark corner with the artificial light.

Around 10h/day exposure to light is generally more than enough. If you expose it longer, they will also require more fertilizer and Co2.
Co2 will be beneficial for the plants, but it's not a requirement (for most plants). So you don't have to start with investing a lot of money in equipment for this.

Algae

Algae is caused by an imbalance of nutrients. And not (as often mentioned) by an excess of eg Nitrates or phosphate.
I've had some good results with trying to follow the 'Redfield Ratio': https://buddendo.home.xs4all.nl/aquarium/redfield_eng.htm

Now I'm trying to follow the Estimative Index method: http://greenleafaquariums.com/glanews/planted-tank-fertilizer-estimative-index-ei-fertilization-method/
Also with good results (and easier to do).

| improve this answer | |
  • "start with the easy plants, like Java fern or anubias." I've tried several different low maintenance fast growth species: java moss, marsilea minuta, hornwort, anubias, amazon sword, moneywort, etc. However, the pattern was the same: in 2 weeks they were all dead. – Mark Messa Jun 13 '18 at 0:06
  • "the plants I just mentioned don't want their roots in the soil." Curiously, but the java fern and the anubias I've got were inside a small plant vase. I just left there. The others I just follow what the fish store did, ie, bury their roots in the soil (except of course the java moss, which I use a rubber band and a rock). Next time I would try your suggestion. – Mark Messa Jun 13 '18 at 0:14
  • "The smaller the container, the more difficult it will be." In order to be concise, I've didn't mentioned that I've also tried a similar experiment with a nano aquarium (5 liters) with an external filter (waterfall type). Even so, the pattern was the same (cycled or uncycled tank, low or high water circulation): after 2 weeks the plants were dead. – Mark Messa Jun 13 '18 at 0:16
  • "Place it in a dark corner with the artificial light." All I know about my artificial light is the following: 2x 3W, 3000K, 200 lumens / 2x 3W, 10000K, 100 lumens. However, not always I used them all or in full intensity. I've tried different configurations/schedules (including dimmers to fine tune their intensities, and also direct/indirect sunlight). Of course, without any light the plants die even faster than 2 weeks. But there is a kind of threshold, beyond 4hr daily of low light the pattern is quite the same (some differences related to algae bloom and bubbles): they all die in 2 weeks. – Mark Messa Jun 13 '18 at 0:19
  • "If you expose it longer, they will also require more fertilizer and Co2." AFAIK, if there is CO2 but no light, plants just stop the photosynthesis and wait for light to come back. However, the other way round is the same? ie: light but no CO2, the plant just stop photosynthesis and wait until CO2 buildup? Or it starts some weird behaviour like melting away? – Mark Messa Jun 13 '18 at 0:24

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