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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! I am new to this forum, and an aquatic plant newbie. I bought some kind of Amazon sword plant from Petco, and have noticed that since I planted it in my small betta fish aquarium (3 gallon), all new leaves are much thinner, almost transparent, compared to the original leaves. What gives? I use API Leaf Zone. I am not sure what else I need to do (or not do) to keep the leaves healthy. Or maybe this isn't a sign of poor health...? I don't know. The plant keeps producing new leaves, they are just so much thinner than the others.

Any suggestions? And remember -- I am a newbie, so even if you think its the most obvious, basic information, chances are I don't already know it! I'll take it!

Thanks!
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Well it could be that the plant was grown emersed and it still has to adjust to being submerged.

Or its not getting enough nutrients. You can put a plant tab under the roots for added nutrients. And how much light is it getting?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So those plant tabs work? And they don't harm the fish? What kind do you recommend? My light is a 9W fluorescent 50/50 lamp, and it is on for 8-10 hours a day.

Thanks for this info! :)
 

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Water Chemistry/ LiveBearer Specialist
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Part of your problem is the 50/50 bulb Ema. Only 4.5W of that bulb is producing any light that a plant can use. The other half is a blue light that does not give the plants any of the light that they need. The first thing I would do is get a single bulb that is not a 50/50. Anything in the 5500K to 10000K range would work much better than the 50/50 bulb. I would also put the light on a timer so that you know that it is on the same amount each day. That way if you got symptoms that more time or less time was needed, you could simply adjust the timer in the direction indicated by the plants themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So thinning leaves means (or could possibly mean) poor or insufficient lighting? And thanks for the seachem suggestion; I will try and find some. I looked in Petco today, but no luck.
 

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Water Chemistry/ LiveBearer Specialist
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You have a small tank with a small light over it, even if you had the full 9 watts effectively lighting the plant. The problem that you are running into is that the watts per gallon ratio implies that you could grow plants in a coffee cup with a night light. The ratio might be OK but the light intensity would grow nothing at all.There is a minimum amount of light needed to grow any plant. Until you exceed that threshold, nothing will grow. Once you have enough light to grow something, you can start looking at whether you have enough light for a particular plant.

It was my opinion, and I am no plant expert, that 4 1/2 watts of effective light is probably below that threshold. Dying plant leaves under extreme low light sound like not enough light, that's all.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, all, for your wisdom. OK, rather than increase my lighting, I think I am just going to yank out this Amazon sword plant because its looking rather bedraggled anyway, and its probably too large for my little 3 gallon. I don't want to increase my lighting because 1) I cannot spend more money, and, more importantly, 2) if I were my little betta fish, I would hate having a light bulb 3 inches away from me for ten hours a day. I feel bad enough with my little weak light on him, but I know that, ultimately, having live plants in his tank are better than fake ones, so its a compromise. Anyway, I would like to add a few small low-light plants. I have two marimo balls in there with him, that seem to be doing well, and a banana plant that seems to be holding its own, but not flourishing. I also have some kind of red lily thing that I got as a bulb from Walmart, which, shockingly, sprouted (the only one out of seven that did). It seems to be doing very well in a dark corner of the tank. It is not planted in the substrate.

Can anyone suggest a few small low-light plants to add to Opie's tank? And do plant tabs only fertilize plants whose roots are buried in the substrate? I am wondering if they would provide nutrients to my marimo balls, banana plant, and un-planted red lily.

Thanks!!
 

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This is very strange, but I have the same problem. I bought an Amazon sword plant from Petco and the leaves are thinning. The difference is that I have a strong florescent light so I don't know what is going on. It seems like the leaves are dissolving.

I was wondering if anything ever helped the problem or if you just threw away the plant and started with others.
 

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What do fish think about?
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A lot of plants like the amazon swords can be grown both partially submerged (emersed, sp?) and fully submerged. When they are emersed, the leaves grow into the air and are therefore adapted to life like most above-water plants. When you take an emersed plant and submerge it, the plant's leaves that are accustomed to living in air will suffocate and "melt". The plant is still healthy, however - it is just adapting to its new submersed environment and will put out new submersion-friendly leaves with time and care. Not sure the exact difference between the emersed and submerged leaves, but I'm sure there's a noticeable size difference, possibly color and texture as well.
 

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in my expereince swords i plant go through an adjustment period. When i first plant them they die off, i trim the dead leaves and newer, much healther ones grow back.
 
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