Why my aquarium plants are dying?
Freshwater aquariums have untold value as both a living, breathing ecosystem in your own home for educational purposes as well as a gorgeous home decor item for your pleasure. There are a vast array of decorations you can put in your aquarium ranging from store-bought ceramic statues to driftwood, but the favored addition for many are plants. Beginning aquarists frequently opt for plastic or silk aquarium plants because they have a beauty similar to nature and are presumably easier to take care of than live plants. However, many have found that hardy live aquarium plants rarely require more maintenance than fake plants, and they really aren't that difficult to keep. Having trouble with plants dying and don't know what's causing it? There are a number of common, easy-to-fix causes of plant death.
By far the most common affliction for live plants in a freshwater aquarium is the light level. When selecting your plants, make sure that they all have similar lighting requirements, and that your aquarium can provide the ideal light level. In general, most low-light plants still grow in higher lighting -- although many can grow out of control -- so your best bet is to increase the lighting. If the style of your light fixture allows, this could be as easy as lining the bulb housing with aluminum foil to increase the amount of light reflected into the water.
The next concern is the nutrient level and water quality. Plants require nitrates as well as various trace nutrients in order to grow. They may also require CO2 injection into the tank, especially if your aquarium is well-aerated and has quite a bit of surface agitation as this will help the CO2 gas off quickly. Poor water quality (in general) can have a detrimental effect on aquarium plants; if the water isn't within healthy parameters for the fish living in the aquarium. It's not healthy for the plants either. Water quality can be ensured through regular water changes and/or with a high-quality water maintenance product such as EcoBio-Block. EcoBio-Block contains beneficial bacteria to break down ammonia and nitrites into plant-usable nitrates as well as essential trace minerals to ensure the water stays at an optimal level between water changes.
Medications may also be to blame for plant problems. Many aquatic treatments and medications are harmful to invertebrates such as shrimp and snails as well as any live plants in the aquarium as they contain copper; these include any kind of algae destroyer as well as many ich medications, fungicide, and antibiotics. EcoBio-Stone or a similar water maintenance product may reduce or eliminate the need for any of these treatments, as high water quality is critical for healthy fish. However, if you must use medications to treat the water, EcoBio-Block should be removed during the process as the live bacteria could also be harmed.
There is a lot that can be learned about what conditions might be ailing a particular plant by the color and pattern of blemishes and the way in which it dies that can help diagnose the issue; however, in the majority of cases the problem is one of the above which can easily be corrected.
It seems that I begin many of these letters by quoting from some correspondence. After all, what better or more practical source of inspiration can there be? In this instance, the point is one that is brought up rather frequently by beginners in aquarium care, who have not been very successful after having seemingly followed the primary instructions gleaned from books or our dealer friends. They give recommended foods in conservative amounts, have good light and temperature control. But here is where trouble starts, through the acceptance of a fallacious signal as to what constitutes “overcrowding." The signal watched for is when the fishes gasp at the surface of the water, "blowing bubbles." That is a carry-over from the days when goldfish was King. Goldfish and other cool-water fishes are very sensitive to any shortage of oxygen in the water, or the presence of too much carbon dioxide. They quickly express their distress by breathing at the surface. Incidentally, I have often wondered how fishes, never before in such a situation, know enough to get a fresh supply of oxygen at the surface of the water. Warm-water fishes are better equipped to get along in oxygen-deficient conditions. In a tank containing both goldfish and exotics (a combination not recommended) the goldfish will invariably be the first to register discomfort from overcrowding. The point that I am stressing is that “Tropicals” are apt to "suffer in silence." When they come to the surface and stay there, conditions are not merely bad, but very bad. Undetected crowding has been present for some time past, indicated by the poor condition of the fishes. Of course such symptoms can come from other causes, but crowding is one of the first to look for. That suspicion can be confirmed if frequent partial changes of water relieves the condition. Water changes help keep the parameters within acceptable limits, help remove excess organic material such as waste and uneaten food, and also replenish required minerals in the water that the fish use up over time. If you prefer not to do as many water changes or are physically unable to, there are alternatives that can reduce your labor. My favorite is the EcoBio-Block, which is an aquarium care product that introduces beneficial bacteria into the aquarium (which keep the biological filter healthy) and slowly leach necessary minerals into the water to keep fish healthy and help beginners become successful aquarists. Advising a new aquarist at the height of his frenzy to go slowly in building up his tank of fishes is like talking against the tempest. Recently I fitted out a grandson with an aquarium and a suitable collection of fishes. All was lovely for a few weeks until he was bitten with the desire for more and more. The dealer could not be blamed for selling to him, but the result was not hard to foresee – a general attack of "Ich." Overcrowding does not necessarily cause that disease, but reduces the vitality of the fishes so that they are more subject to it. The elder Rothschild is credited with the wise crack "Nobody ever got poor taking a profit." I would paraphrase that in reverse: "No aquarist ever got into trouble by having too few fishes:"