2 Qs: Ferns shedding and cheap soil

aylad

Two questions for folks who know more about plants than I do:

First, my largest java fern (leaves about 3 inches long) is shedding leaves. The "stems" where the leaves come out of the rhizome turn brown and the green leaf just kinda floats away.

The rhizome isn't buried and hasn't changed in appearance since a year ago when I got the plant.

Water params haven't changed noticeably.

This started before I began dosing Prazipro or otherwise changing water additives.

Any thoughts as to why this is happening?

Second, I just got a tiny tank (I think 2.5gal, but I haven't checked) and was thinking about setting it up as a NPT -- not for livestock in the near future, possibly for a few shrimp/snails later or maybe just as a plants-only tank. I didn't want to buy a massive amount of Miracle-Gro organic gardening soil just for this, so I was wondering about using cheap potting soil.

What I already have a supply of is the cheapest imaginable potting soil from Walmart. It does have the little white foam balls, but the bag claims that it is fertilizer-free. I've been using it in an aquatic plant bowl (java fern, wisteria, duckweed, salvinia minima, hornwort) for several weeks, and it works well for that.

If I were careful to get all of the foam balls out and follow these instructions (short version: soak the soil for a few weeks to make sure it doesn't turn toxic later on with livestock in the tank), would this cheapo stuff be safe for possible shrimp/snail inhabitants in a few months?

Thanks for your help.
 

psalm18.2

1st question. Sounds like Java isn't getting enough nutrients. Try using a balanced plant food like Seachem Flourish.

2nd question. Be careful w/ potting soil as it can have wetting agents in it and they are toxic. You can minerilize the soil and then cap with sand, gravel, or stone. Wait a month, test the water, and try shrimp to see if ok.
 

aylad

Fern: I have started dosing Flourish Comp and tiny amounts of Excel since the problem started, but leaves are still shedding.

They might be the leaves whose stems were already dead, though. I'll keep an eye on that.

Soil: I don't know much about mineralizing: how to do it or what the benefits are. I'll have to do some research and come back with more questions.

Thanks for the advice!
 

psalm18.2

Here's a link. You can skip adding the other ingredients.


This is an easier read.
 

aylad

I'll go back and read the first one later when I'm at my PC. Looked at the second one, though, and WOW! I didn't realize mineralizing was such a lengthy process!

Is that always done for soil substrates? I don't think I've heard anyone mention it for Miracle-Gro organic gardening soil. Is it only necessary for the cheap stuff? Is it really necessary at all, or just recommended?

I'm gonna do it right when I do it... I'm not like some, that ask for input just to ignore it... but as I said earlier, I don't know much about this topic, so I'm just curious.
 

psalm18.2

Some do, some don't. The idea behind minerilizing is too make the soil readily available to fish. The process helps keep ammonia etc in check. If you're not adding fish right way you can just skip the process.

Mineralizing the soil allows the bacteria and microbes to be used by plants as nutrients. It keeps the typical algae bloom from overtaking the tank. Plants grow healthier and nutrients last longer.
 

soltarianknight

Take the java leafs, plant them. Lay them across the gravel/soil and weigh down each end, leave the rest of it exposed. Good chance you may be able to get some new plants. My plants will do the same when they die off, not sure what causes it.
 

aylad

Take the java leafs, plant them. Lay them across the gravel/soil and weigh down each end, leave the rest of it exposed. Good chance you may be able to get some new plants. My plants will do the same when they die off, not sure what causes it.

Awesome! I'll try that.

I'll think about mineralizing the soil. Since I might not try to put livestock in the tank for a long time, I might skip it this time. *shrugs* it's good to know all this, though, because I'll eventually set up a soil tank for fish, and I'll need to plan all this out first. Thanks so much!
 

psalm18.2

Welcome.
 

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