Aquarium plants dying? Here's why.

Aquarium plants dying? Here's why.


Sounds familiar?

It is to me. But then I am on the receiving end but if you go onto forums you'll see this sort of statement all the time. I often here the same reason as to why aquarium plants are dying and it's normally due to the fact that they have algae. They've been told (normally by shops) they need to starve the algae. Advice like this is sooooo old school yet the message is continually advised from shop owners who in my opinion clearly don't know what is best.

So hobbyists follow the advice given to starve their algae and totally stop the nutrients they are putting in. Algae dies back a little and plants totally disintegrate - the reason why is simply


you've just starved your plants to death...

My advice to anyone who is looking for advice is speak to experts, like us (and a few others) who know what is best, and not generic shops which peddle out these toxic messages. If your plants are dying you need to first work out why. First, are they actually aquatic plants? Sounds a funny thing to ask but there are still a lot of shops that sell non aquatic plants! This only adds to confusion to hobbyists who may be doing everything else right. Below are pictures of a few non aquatic plant - looks nice heh?

Problem is they will last a couple of weeks then start breaking down. These plants should live in your garden or conservatory, not in your tank. So if you have a plant that looks like these (normally they come without plant labels for identification), remove them and start again.

Secondly, are your plants getting the right nutrients? I'm recommending Neutro T for non CO2 tanks and Neutro+ for CO2 infused tanks.Your plants need no other nutrients with these ferts below.

You add these ferts daily because that's what plants want. Just like us, they want feeding every day - not so crazy is it? Feeding weekly is nuts and just marketing spiel to make it appear that the fertilisers are more economical then they actually are.

Are you providing your plants with carbon is gas or liquid form? If not, why not? Carbon is the backbone of plant growth and without it, your plants will suffer. Try Neutro CO2

Are you performing weekly water changes of at least 30%? Plants need clean water unless you want to grow algae and I'm guessing you don't.

If you follow these very basic steps I guarantee that you will have success with the majority of plants. Some that you might struggle with are advanced one's but we'll get onto that at another time.

If you're still having troubles, reply to this post.



How much water are you actually changing?

Why is power head only on for 2 hours per day?

Are you using Neutro T?

HOw long is your lighting on for

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Hi Richard,

I need some desperate help with my tanks. i am injecting co2 giving around 10 hours of ligjt and providing macro + micro nutrients and potassium as well..
my plants are still dying and algae is growing wildly.

m using montecarlo as carpet, alternanthera reinicki, cryptocorine wendtii as background plants.

the seem to be going brown and algae seems to be growing on stem plants.

kindly help me. also lemme know if u r available on whatsapp so i can video call and show u condition of my plants.


Allan long leg
Allan long leg

Hi, still a learning curve for me, just want to add I do weekly water change on my 55 gallon, have a 1250 external and 200lph power head (on for couple of hours a day). I did run power head longer and BBA took over. Amonia is the catalyst, small amounts over time and before you know it, an absolute mess. My garden centre aquatic sold me a product for plants, I told them my inhabitants and the said it’s ok, erm all my snails died. I want to retaliate I’m fuming. Trying to keep fish alive constant fighting, luckily I was transferring bigger fish to new tank,dead snails leaching from external filter. BBA everywhere. Any advice welcome, tank 2 years old. Oh and BBA loves higher water changes.

Jonathan bell
Jonathan bell

Hi there just a question about plants. I have a planted tank and I use dennerle fertilisers and dennerle co2 booster and all so dennerle food balls that goes in the gravel and I also use co2 pressurised gas can. I am feeding my plants as the instructions says but my plants still seem to be dying? I have my lights on for 7 hrs a day. Dennerle fertilise is a weekly dosage shall I split it down so I do a dosage everyday and can you tell me why my plants are dying or where I’m going wrong please and thank you.


Heh Tom

Holes in leaves always indicates a nutrient deficiency.

Phosphate is essential for plants so don’t use an RO unit.

Increase your water movement with a circulation pump

Double the amount of Neutro T on a daily basis and get some fresh stuff if yours is over a year old.

Don’t test for nitrate – it’s a waste of time as your plants will tell you if there’s an issue.

Hemianthus will only do well with Pressurised CO2 and A LOT of it.

Keep trying, keep experimenting and you will succeed.

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