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Are Your Aquarium Plants Turning Brown? Here’s what to do.

It’s very frustrating when you see your aquarium plants turning brown.

Worst you don’t even know what causes this problem.

No worries.

In this blog post, I will tell you the common reasons that cause the leaves of the aquarium plant to turn brown.

I will also tell you solutions to fix the problem.

Now lets jump right into it.

Are Your Aquarium Plants Turning Brown? Here’s what to do.

What are the reasons that cause the leaves of the aquarium plant to turn brown?

There are several reasons that can cause this problem

  1. The most common reason, there’s a high phosphate level in your aquarium.
  2. If you have kept aquatic plants in a newly setup aquarium then it is very common that leaves of the aquarium plant turn brown. It is because the Diatoms grow on the leaves of the plant in new newly setup aquariums. And in this case, you don’t really need to do anything it will go away after some time.
  3. Another reason is that the plants are not getting sufficient lighting. Or it is not getting a full spectrum lighting that a plant requires for its proper growth.

Checkout our lighting recommendation

Now that we know the reasons may be causing the leaves of your aquarium plant to turn brown, let’s dive into what you can do to fix the problem.

As mentioned earlier, if you have kept the aquatic plants in a newly setup aquarium then you don’t need to worry about the browning of the leaves.

Because it is a very common thing in newly setup aquariums.

The plants will turn brown because of the Diatoms and it will go away after some time.

So it is just a waiting game. You should wait for a week or so.

Increased levels of Phosphates can also cause leaves of your aquarium plants to turn brown.

You can easily check the Phosphate levels in your aquarium using a test kit.

We recommend API freshwater master test kit because it is a very accurate and it comes with a very easy to read and follow manual. You can check its price and other information at Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here.

The ideal Phosphate levels are 0.5 PPM or less. If the Phosphate levels are more than 0.5 PPM then lowering the phosphate level is the solution to fix the problem.

To do that you should perform weekly water change regularly.

The leaves of the aquarium plant turn brown if it doesn’t get sufficient light or it is not getting proper spectrum light.

In this case, to fix the problem, you should replace the exiting light with high-quality light that is specially made for plants.

And most likely, it will solve the problem.

6 Tips to Take Care of Live Plants in Aquarium

What precautions you can take to avoid this problem in the future?

First of all, you should introduce your plant once your aquarium is well established i.e. after the nitrogen cycle is completed.

You should regularly perform the weekly water change so that the phosphate level in your aquarium will stay in control.

Performing weekly water change is a good practice for the overall water quality of your aquarium.

Before introducing any plant in your aquarium, you should first know what kind of lighting it requires.

And then you should provide it with proper lighting so that it can thrive in your aquarium.

20 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

Other common problems with aquarium plants

Aquarium plant deficiencies infographic

(source)

The leaves of the plants turning yellow

The yellowing of the leaves of the aquarium plant is a very common problem.

It is caused because the plant is not getting sufficient light for its proper growth.

In this case, first of all, you should know what kind of light your plant actually needs. 

And then you should provide it with the ideal lighting conditions.

Besides, potassium deficiency also causes yellowing of the leaves of the aquatic plants.

In this case, you should supplement your plant with fertilizers rich in potassium such as Seachem Flourish Potassium. It is a potassium supplement for aquarium plant. You can check its price and more information at Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here.

Aquarium plants turning transparent

Usually, the reason behind the leaves of the aquarium plant turning transparent is iron deficiency.

So, in this case, you should supplement your plants with fertilizers rich in iron.

If you have heavy root feeder plants, you can add fertilizers in the form of root tabs.

Or you should use liquid fertilizers if you have floating plants or heavy water column feeders. You can use Seachem Flourish Iron which is an iron supplement for aquarium plants. You can check its price and more information at Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here

Another reason that causes transparent leaves of aquarium plants is low lighting conditions.

If you are using the inbuilt light that comes with the aquarium tank then usually these lights are very weak.

So you should replace them with brighter light to fix the problem. For most aquarium plants moderate light is sufficient.

We recommend Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light. It is a reliable and fully customizable light so you can increase or decrease the intensity of light. You can check its current price and customer reviews at Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here

Aquarium plants turning white

There would be several reasons that can cause white leaves in your aquarium plant.

The first reason is carbon dioxide deficiency.

In this case, you should supplement your plant with fertilizers rich in carbon dioxide. You can use Seachem Flourish Excel which is a Carbon supplement for aquarium plants. You can check its price and more information at Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here

Nitrogen deficiency can also cause the whitening of the leaves of the plant.

Also, iron deficiency can also cause the whitening of the leaves.

So, as you can see, to fix the problem you should supplement your plant with fertilizers that contain iron, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide in good quantities.

You can add fertilizers in the form of root tab if you have a root feeder plant in your aquarium or you can add liquid fertilizers if you have water column feeders for floating plants in your aquarium.

Aquarium plants disintegrating

Before the aquarium plants start disintegrating, you will notice some holes on the leaves of your aquarium plants.

This is a very common problem in aquatic plants, especially in the Cryptocoryne genus.

In fact, that’s why it is also known as Crypt rot.

Though this disease can also be found in other plants beside the Cryptocoryne genus.

Usually, this disease is caused due to a sudden change in the water parameters.

So, in this case, as far as the roots of the plant are healthy the plant will revive again once the water parameters become stable.

Potassium deficiency can also cause holes in the leaves of the plant.

So, in this case, you should supplement your plants with some fertilizer that is rich in potassium like Seachem Flourish Potassium.

Brown spots on aquarium plants

There are several reasons that can cause brown spots on the leaves of the aquarium plants.

The most common reason is brown algae.

If the light is not getting sufficient lighting then it causes brown algae growth on the leaves of the aquarium plant.

If you are using the inbuilt light that comes with the tank then chances are it is very weak and it is not sufficient for the plant.

So, you should replace it with full-spectrum strong light. We recommend Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light. Check its latest price and customer reviews at Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here

Another reason for brown spots on the aquarium plant is a high level of nitrates in the water of your aquarium.

The simple solution to lower the nitrates level is to perform weekly water change regularly.

Chlorine can also cause brown spots on the leaves of your aquarium plant.

So, in this case, while performing the weekly water change you should first remove all the Chlorine from the water and then put it in your aquarium

Removing chlorine from water is very important because it can cause health issues to your fish. To dechlorinate water you can use a dechlorinating agent like Seachem Prime. You can buy it at Amazon.com here and Amazon.co.uk here

Over-fertilization can also cause this problem. 

So if you are aggressively supplementing your aquarium plants with fertilizers, you should cut down on fertilizers.

Aquarium plant deficiencies and supplements to provide infographic

12 Benefits of Live Plants in an Aquarium (Pros and Cons)

FAQ

Why is my aquarium plants dying?

There could be a few reasons that your aquarium plants are dying.

The thing is plants require some nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, iron for their proper growth.

If it doesn’t get these nutrients then its growth will be affected and if it doesn’t get these nutrients for a long time then it will eventually die.

So, to cope with this problem., you should supplement your plants with regular doses of fertilizers.

On the other hand, when aquarium plants get nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium in a very high quantity, it can also affect their health.

For example, if the aquarium plant is getting a lot of phosphate or nitrogen then its leaves will start turning brown or black and eventually, it will die.

So, to cope with this problem, you should regularly perform a weekly water change.

How to know if my aquarium plants are dying?

Plants show various signs well before it dies.

There are various deficiencies that cause the death of aquarium plants.

  • The yellowing of the leaves of the aquarium plant is an early sign of nitrogen deficiency.
  • When you noticed your plant is producing tiny leaves it is a sign of severe nitrogen deficiency.
  • When you notice, the newly growing leaves of your plants are twisted then it is a sign of calcium deficiency. 
  • Overdose of magnesium or potassium also causes twisted leaves.
  • Yellowing or whitening of new leaves suggests iron deficiency.
  • When you notice the veins of the leaves of your aquarium plant are of a dark color and the leaf color is light green then it is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
  • If you notice small pinholes on the leaves of your aquarium plants, it is a sign of potassium deficiency.
  • When you notice brown spots on the leaves of your aquarium, it is a sign of phosphate deficiency.

So these are all the deficiencies and signs of these deficiencies.

As soon as you notice any sign of the deficiencies, you should take proper action to fix the problem.

Most of the time it is usually performing a regular weekly water change or supplementing the aquarium plants with fertilizers is the solution.

Can dead plants kill fish?

Yes, dead plants can kill fish. 

When the plants are dead, it later decomposes in the aquarium which causes low oxygen levels in the aquarium.

This can potentially cause the death of the fish in the aquarium.

Conclusion

So as you can see there a few reasons that can cause the leaves of your aquarium plants turn brown.

The first step is to identify the cause and then apply the solution accord

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