Why are my tank plants failing?

Some folks really like to use natural plants in their aquarium and to be honest – it’s easy to tell why. The colors pop more, the tank look more natural and in many ways, the plants are good for your tank, too. That being said, sometimes they can be difficult to manage.

When your plants struggle, you’re probably stuck wondering why. Plants aren’t always the most straight-forward organisms and they don’t get any more straight-forward when you put them in a fish tank.

This week, we’ll be exploring that problem. Here are some of the most common reasons that aquarium plants in your tank aren’t thriving as well as some of the things you can do to remedy those issues. Let’s jump right in.

Slow growth

Plants need three things in order to grow: Carbon Dioxide, nutrients and lighting. If you notice your plants are growing fast enough; or that something like the leaves aren’t growing large enough – it’s likely due to one of those three problems. So the first step in resolving the problem with be to address those basic needs.

Yellow leaves

Aquarium tanks are usually green in color and when they begin to turn a different color – particularly yellow- then there’s a strong indication that there might be a significant problem. Yellow leaves occur when they’re not getting enough light. This can usually be resolved by installing a simple full-spectrum bulb that can give your tank 3 to 5 watts of light. The extra light should help significantly with your plant’s growth.

Brown and black leaves

In order for plants to grow the right way, they need a few nutrients to make sure they’re properly balanced. Those key nutrients are potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. If you notice that your plants are turning black and brown, then the best thing you can do is undergo a full water change in order to improve the quality of the water in your tank. First time tank owners especially – think they can simply fill their tank and get away with it. That’s not the case. Water needs to be changed regularly.

Holes in your leaves

Holes in tank plants are caused due to something called Cryptocoryne Rot. This is a disease that while the exact cause is still unknown, scientists believe is caused by excess nitrate in the water. Poor water quality and poor nutrient enrichment also don’t help. The best way to deal with this problem is to take on a full and complete water change. Vacuum and wash your gravel and essentially – start fresh.

Other growth issues

One thing you’ll always want to keep an eye on is your water temperature. Often times, plants can be fickle organisms and a little too warm or a little too cold and your plants can struggle. Always be mindful of your water’s temperature – as it can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary labor and/or money spent on chemicals you might not need.

Hopefully these tips will help you manage any of the issues you might have with plants that don’t want to grow. Be sure to be mindful of what we wrote about today and good luck in getting your tank plants turned around looking beautiful once more.

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