Aquatic plants are essential to keeping your fish healthy and your tank water regulated, making it even more worrying when they keep dying. But what can make it even worse is when you can’t figure out why. If your plants are struggling to thrive, and you can’t pinpoint the issue, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few reasons why your aquarium plants keep dying.
You Have a Nutrient Issue
As you probably already know, keeping a tank healthy is a delicate balancing act, and your plants may be dying because they get too few or too many nutrients. Your first step is to investigate your plants’ nutritional and environmental needs and compare them with the nutrient levels in the tank water. There are many test kits on the market that can tell you the micro- and macronutrient levels in your tank.
If your phosphate levels are too high, or a particular plant isn’t getting enough calcium, that’s probably the issue. An imbalance of nutrients is one of the main causes of fish tank algae growth as well, so if algae are blooming rapidly and your plants are simultaneously dying, that’s also a sign of a nutrient issue.
You Need To Adjust the Water Quality
Water quality affects everything in your tank. The reason why you should check your plant’s environmental needs is that your water’s pH, carbon dioxide levels, or general chemistry could be off. Too much filtration can get rid of essential carbon dioxide that plants need to live, while a lack of water changes can cause spikes in ammonia and pH. While your ammonia levels should ideally be at zero, the general pH that plants thrive in is between 6.5 to 7.8.
Your Plant’s Foundation Isn’t Right
Like any other plants, your aquatic plants need a healthy root system to grow strong. They also need the right fertilizer. Again, some plants have different nutritional needs than others. And while some plants may thrive with iron-rich fertilizer, you may also need to pay attention to potassium levels, depending on the plant. Additionally, your plants need a sturdy foundation to grow, and their roots need something to hold onto. If your gravel or substrate is too fine or too large for a plant’s roots to grasp, they won’t be able to absorb nutrients, and they’ll likely float away.
Your Plants Have Some Hungry or Curious Tank Mates
Some fish are just too curious for their own good and love to put whatever they can fit in their mouths. You may also have some bottom feeders that are getting a little too hungry, possibly because you’re not letting enough food sink to the bottom. In these cases, it’s best to monitor your fish for a while and observe their behavioral patterns throughout the day, especially at mealtimes.
No matter why you think your aquarium plants keep dying, your first step should always be to check your plant’s needs, just as you would with your fish. Ultimately, regardless of the issue, you need to make sure you’re giving them what they need to thrive.