Plant Trouble

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by funkman262, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    I've been noticing my plants getting covered in these brown spots. Strangely, the leaves that are getting stronger light seem to be affected more (might just be coincidental or something). I've read problems that others have been having and heard of diatoms but my nitrates aren't high, my ph isn't above 7 and I couldn't just wipe it off. Any suggestions as to what it could be and what I should do to fix it? Thanks.


    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    Nitrate: 5-10ppm
    pH: 7, kH: 3 degrees (making CO2 about 9ppm)

    Amazon Sword (planted in flourite black sand)

    Anubias (attached to driftwood)
  2. ilikefishValued MemberMember

    I believe this is a common symptom with unfertilized plants...

    had something look EXACTLY like that... After the brown spots appear they will get slightly larger until they are little holes in the leaves.... Anyway...

    I had this happening to my banana plant... I fertilized and by the next week the new leaves coming in stopped having holes! The old leaves died off though...

    I believe the reason the plants receiving the most light have this occurring the most is because they are doing the most photosynthesis (using up minerals that they don't have) and then experiencing the symptoms the soonest... Though I'm no plant expert... Nutter should be along to help you out soon. He's the plant expert.
  3. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking something like that too but the sword plants are planted in black sand flourite (which should have plenty of nutrients) but maybe someone can let me know if there's a specific compound that the plant is lacking that I should supplement into the tank.
  4. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    If it's not diatoms, (sometimes you can't remove them), then I'd be betting on it being a deficiency of one of the micro nutrients. Probably Magnesium, Zinc or Molybdenum if the damage is restricted to the older growth. If the damage is also effecting new growth then it could be Manganese, Copper or Sulphur. It would also pay to pull up one of the effected plants & make sure that the roots are white & healthy & that there are new roots growing. If the roots are brown & damaged, that will effect nutrient uptake & cause problems. If the roots are in bad condition then it is an issue with the substrate. Most likely the substrate being too compacted. This shouldn't be an issue for you at this early stage in your tank though so I'm leaning toward the deficiency or perhaps even a form or algae.
  5. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    Ok thanks for that info. I did split the amazon swords before planting them so maybe I damaged the roots when I did that. I thought I was careful in using a sharp blade and making a clean cut but ya never know. I'll check the roots and start dosing those micro-nutrients and see if they get better.
  6. NejiValued MemberMember

    That's true... I had brown spots on my plants too but I always fertilize them now :) I guess a lot of plants lack nutrients and therefore need to be fertilized since they don't have the nutrients that they have out in the wild :)
  7. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    I still don't know what the problem was but I've gotten new growth on all of the plants and none of the new leaves have been affected (maybe stress from the move?). Also, I keep getting nitrate readings between 5 and 10. Should I be keeping it around 15 for the plants (I think that's what I heard) or is ok where it is? Thanks.
  8. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Sounded kind of like diatoms, they usually show up ina fairly new tank. They will go away on their own.
  9. Nate McFinWell Known MemberMember

    I agree it looks like Diatoms. It is also emersed (partially submerged)growth as well. Notice the leaf shape. The new leaves will have a different more elongated (sword like) shape to them. It is very common for emersed growth to have problems when submerged. Eventually you will have all submerged growth and the emersed will die off.
    Are the leaves on the sword slightly white or clear? It is hard to tell in the picture for sure. If they are remove the leaves as they are using the plants energy to repair rather than stimulate new growth. If the new leaves turn the same opaque (with main veins remaining green) and possibly cupping you may have a problem with Calcium or Magnesium as Nutter suggested.
    My swords never faired well due to low calcium levels and new growth was always somewhat opaque.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  10. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    Here's a comparison of old and new:

    Picture of anubias from original post:

    Picture I just took:

    You can clearly see the new growth in the middle.
  11. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    I see what you're saying about the amazon sword plant...I never noticed before but some of the leaves are short and others extend from closer to the base and are really long. The short leaves are more yellow and those are the only leaves that have been affected by the brown spots. The elongated leaves are more green and look perfectly healthy (at least from my untrained eye lol). None of them are slightly white or clear though. Should I still cut off the short affected leaves? And if so, where do I cut it (right below the leaf, at the base...)? Thank you for your help.
  12. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Cut as close to the base as possible :)
  13. NejiValued MemberMember

    I wonder if there are any types of fishes that will eat that stuff on the leaves then? Or is that not possible?
  14. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Otos will eat diatoms but it's not fair to the fish to buy it to solve a problem and then maybe not want it after the problem is solved.

  15. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    I've been thinking about putting some type of algae eater in the tank. I was thinking some type of bristlenose pleco would be good in there but some otos might work too. And whatever I choose, they would stay in the tank so don't worry about that Carol ;). I just need to get more information on those species and figure out what would be best for the tank.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  16. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    A group of otos would be really cool and will keep your tank nice and clean ;)
  17. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Good advice above. I find nitrate levels unimportant in planted tanks. I've been doing perfectly well for years now with all my plants in tanks with readings of 0-0-0. The most nitrates I've ever had in a planted tank is 5-10ppm. I think that has alot to do with stocking levels & regular fertilisation though. I keep fairly lightly stocked tanks so the plants absorb all of the ammonia, rather than there being too much ammonia for the plants to process & it getting turned into nitrates. The API root tabs I use are fairly high in nitrogen to & I do Flourish Comprehensive doses every 3 days.