Plants Melting In A Established Tank - Updated

DCL415

I have a 40 long with amazon swords, melon swords, crypts, jungle val and java ferns.
The swords and the crypts keep melting. The substrate is sand with root tabs.
PArameters are ph 7.9, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10ppm and the temp at 76.
Any ideas?
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415

How established is 'established'...has the tank been set up for more than six months?

Thank you for the nitrates and pH reading, do you have any other water parameters?

dKH

dGH

Is the water in your area considered 'hard', 'medium', or 'soft'?

Could you post some pictures of your plants, both sick and healthy please?

What concerns me is the 10 ppm of nitrates; plants need nutrients to stay healthy and grow. What brand of plant tabs are you using?
 

DCL415

HI Roy,
I will answer what I can today and pictures will follow tomorrow as the light are already out in the fish tank.
The 40 has been running for 8 months now. The water in my area is considered medium. The tank is very lightly stocked, but I will be adding more fish that are coming out of QT.
I do not have dKh or dGH kits, so Ill take a sample to get it at my lfs.
Root tabs I use Seachem or API, depending what's on stock. I am thinking of changing to Seachem Excel and Flourish. NO CO2
 

Fashooga

If you just bought the plants today or recently you should expect it to melt. It's the plants getting used to the new water.

If the plants have been in there a while you might need to look at your light source, it might not be powerful enough.
 

DCL415

Fashooga : The Vals, had 7 months in the tank, the swords aprox 5 months and the crypt 4 months. The light is a 36 inch nicrew with white and blue led on a timer for 6 hours a day.
The tank is a 40 long, so same footprint as a 55 but not as tall
 

bitseriously

You say the swords and crypts are melting. Are they the only ones? Others healthy?
In the plants that are melting, is it all leaves? Oldest leaves? Any new growth? Does new growth look healthy?
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415

Sounds good, looking forward to the additional information!
 

DCL415

bitseriously The swords keep shooting new leaves looks generally healthy, but the crypt is looking smaller and smaller not very healthy looking, also the jungle val leaves are under 5 inches and they used to get to the top of the tank.
I will post pictures tomorrow
 

bitseriously

Seems silly to ask this, but we gotta make sure we’re not missing any of the obvious issues... When was the last time you added fert tabs? Do u put them right under (or near) the plants?
 

DCL415

bitseriously ask away, I am still a newbie at this only been keeping fish for a little over a year.
Root tabs where added 2 weeks ago, I normally do every 2 months. all the swords have one root tab right next to them.
The crypts and vals are in a line at the background and there is a tab every 3 plants, each plant is a prox a inch and half from each other
 

smee82

How often and how large are your water changes. A build up organics or protiens can cause melting and rot.
 

DCL415

smee82 Right now I do water changes every 2 weeks, around 10 to 15 gallons per change
 

Kathryn Crook

Fashooga : The Vals, had 7 months in the tank, the swords aprox 5 months and the crypt 4 months. The light is a 36 inch nicrew with white and blue led on a timer for 6 hours a day.
The tank is a 40 long, so same footprint as a 55 but not as tall
I don't know much about the plants, but a nicrew is pretty much a low light plant light (I have one for my 10 gallon) so any plant that requires med to high light and co2 prolly won't thrive under a nicrew...imo anyway...
 

smee82

smee82 Right now I do water changes every 2 weeks, around 10 to 15 gallons per change
The 1st thing I would do is up your water changes and see if that helps
 

Bryangar

Have you changed anything in your schedule?
 

DCL415

Well I was gone for work 2 months and my wife was taking care of the tank, I used to have spiky moss but it came with ramshorn snail and they were taking over the tank. She kept with a biweekly water change schedule.
When I got back, a month ago, I took the moss out and I have almost no snails left, every couple of days I find some small ones that I take out immediately (The first day I took 60 or more snails out)
The tank has right now 5 Zebra Danios, 1 bristle nose pleco and a mystery snail. In QT I have 6 black neons and 2 ottos that will be moving to the 40 today.
Then tank has 2 filters, an Aquaclear 50 and a Marina S15, to create circulation, I used to have a blue green algae problem that the second filter mitigated.
Here are the pictures as promised.
Thanks for all the tips and advice, I greatly appreciate them

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SeattleRoy

HI DCL415,

Looking at the pictures I think the problem is an overall lack of nutrients but I will wait until you can provide me with the dKH and dGH readings before making a recommendation.
 

DCL415

Thanks, SeattleRoy my lfs didnt have test left, so I am ordering the dkh, gkh test online.
Today I moved 6 Black neons in to that tank that I had in QT and bought 5 porkchop rasboras that are now in QT
 

DCL415

I went to another lfs and they did the test, here are the results:
dGh: 6 & dKh: 8.4
Does this make any sense? SeattleRoy
The test was done with tetra test strips.
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415,

I am not a huge fan of test strips but it dose help. I suggest picking up the following nutrients:

Thrive+ by NilocG Aquatic (available on Ebay Canada)
Flourish Iron by Seachem (available on Ebay Canada)

Start dosing the Thrive+ at half the recommended dose (because the tank is sparsely planted) twice a week and the Seachem Flourish Iron at one capful (5ml) per 200 liters twice a week. Continue dosing everything else the same as you have been.

Now the hard part.....wait.

If we are on the correct path we should start seeing improvement of the new leaves as they emerge within two weeks. The existing leaves will not improve and may in fact continue to go downhill but what we are interested in are the new leaves. They should emerge larger, healthier, and likely greener if we are correct. I am starting us with just a small increase in nutrients so although we may see improvement we may not fully resolve the issues - but we should know if what we are doing is working. We can always increase the dosage if the issues are not fully resolved.
 

DCL415

Thank you, SeattleRoy I ordered those today.
Also I added some water sprite to the tank and more java ferns
 

DCL415

HEy SeattleRoy I got the Flourish Iron and Thrive plus on the mail today, So I did a water change ok 25% and added both but I made a mistake a did a full dose of Thrive + should I do a water change or let it be?
Thanks
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415

The full dose of Thrive+ should not be a problem. Your nitrates were a 10 ppm and the preferred range is 20-30 ppm so I wouldn't worry. Keep us posted as things progress! -Roy
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415,

Next time purchase just plain Thrive, not the Thrive+. Why? Thrive is for all aquariums regardless of the pH however Thrive+ is for aquariums with a pH of less than 7.0 (aka acidic) - also Thrive is less expensive than Thrive+.
 

DCL415

HI DCL415,
Thrive+ by NilocG Aquatic (available on Ebay Canada)

HI DCL415,

Next time purchase just plain Thrive, not the Thrive+. Why? Thrive is for all aquariums regardless of the pH however Thrive+ is for aquariums with a pH of less than 7.0 (aka acidic) - also Thrive is less expensive than Thrive+.

You wrote Thrive plus on the original post! lol no biggie, it should work similarly even with the difference of ph?
Today I measured the nitrates and they are in the 20-30 ppm range. ph still 8.0
Thanks for the help!
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415,

I apologize, that was my error. I relied on my 68 yo memory and forgot that the Thrive was for all pH values and Thrive+ was for acidic (pH,7.0) aquariums.
 

DCL415

HI DCL415,

I apologize, that was my error. I relied on my 68 yo memory and forgot that the Thrive was for all pH valuves and Thrive+ was for acidic (pH,7.0) aquariums.

No worries we all make mistakes, I am going to try the plus and if it doesn't work order the regular
 

SeattleRoy

No worries we all make mistakes, I am going to try the plus and if it doesn't work order the regular

HI DCL415,

The Seachem Flourish Iron contains the same type of iron supplement that the Thrive does so you are covered.
 

DCL415

HI DCL415,

The Seachem Flourish Iron contains the same type of iron supplement that the Thrive does so you are covered.
One stupid question, I do still have to keep up with the root tabs? or the thrive has that covered? SeattleRoy
 

Kalyke

Swords, Crypts, Hairgrass, and many more are grown emersed to speed up growth and make the seller more money. When you submerge the plant it melts and the old (melted) leaves will be replaced with new water-friendly leaves. It is not about the plant not getting anything like "nutrients" it is the natural way that plant leaves adjust to a new environment. I am not much of a crypt person but swords also do this. I have gotten swords and giant hair grass that turned into piles of mush, then came back and were as crispy as new lettuce in 6 months. No fancy lights, CO2, or fertilizer except fish poo needed.

These are easy plants. The fancy CO2, high output lights and fertilizers are for tiny carpets, not so-called easy plants. I think half of the people throw them away when they get to the melting point.
 

SeattleRoy

One stupid question, I do still have to keep up with the root tabs? or the thrive has that covered? SeattleRoy

HI DCL415

Yes continue the root tabs, dose the Thrive+ at full recommended dosage (monitor nitrates not too exceed 40ppm), dose the Iron at one capful (5ml) per 200 liters twice a week. Looking forward to your updates! -Roy
 

DCL415

SeattleRoy Update,
The melt on the crypts doesn't seem to be as evident, there is still a little but I don't come home to 2 or 3 leaves in the crypts floating around the tank.
Nitrates now are in the 20-30ppm range with weekly 25% water changes to keep them that way.
I cut all the dying leaves in the Melon sword, which constantly seems to me releasing new leaves.
Now the hair grass seems to be growing some black algae and I get a small patch of what seems to be blue green algae that I have been removing manually.
The vals haven't grown much or at all
I added 1 banana plant and 4 rasbora heteromorpha.
I have been dosing as recommended
Tomorrow I will post some pictures
 

DCL415

Here are the pictures SeattleRoy
 

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SeattleRoy

HI DCL415,

The new leaves on the Melon Sword and on the Ozelot Sword look much, much better as do the new leaves of the cryptocoryne. It has been a little over two weeks and so far so good. You said you have Vals but the narrow leaf plants look more like a Elecocharis (hairgrass) species to me. If it is hairgrass was likely grown emersed so do not be surprised if all of the original leaves die, hopefully you will get new leaves and runners.

The tank looks pretty "bright". What light (type, manufacturer, model) are you using and how long is your photoperiod?
 

DCL415

SeattleRoy The light is a Nicrew 36 inch with white and blue LED, and according to the manufacturer is 7500k.
The photoperiod is 7 hours divided in 12 - 3 and 5 to 9.
 

SeattleRoy

SeattleRoy The light is a Nicrew 36 inch with white and blue LED, and according to the manufacturer is 7500k.
The photoperiod is 7 hours divided in 12 - 3 and 5 to 9.

HI DCL415,

No necessarily a 'high output' light so your 7 hour photoperiod should be fine.
 

DCL415

It has been a little over a month, the excessive melt has stopped and that makes me really happy.
I keep my dosing and water changes regular and I made a couple of changes in stocking and plants.
Now the stocking is:
9 Zebra Danios
5 Harlequin Rasboras
6 Black Neon Tetras
2 Otos
1 Bristlenose pleco &
1 Golden Mystery Snail
In the plants I took the Green Ocelot (was getting lost in this bigger tank) and Hair Grass (was getting BBA but in the new tank doesn't) moved to them to my rescaped 10 Gallons and I added 7 branches of Scarlet Temple and a Big Sword plant.
Thank you SeattleRoy
Here is a picture of the aquarium this morning

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SeattleRoy

HI DCL415,

Obviously the tank needs to fill in but it is looking good. Do watch your Bristlenose pleco, they can do damage to plant leaves; especially broadleaf plant leaves like swordplants. Typically for my cleaning crew I use 1-2 Corydoras per 5 gallons (keep detritus stirred up so the filter can remove it); 1 Otocinclus per 10 gallons (great at eating diatoms/brown algae); and one Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus oblongus - NOT CHINESE Algae Eater) per tank which do a good job eating soft flat algae and hair-type algae.
 

DCL415

HI SeattleRoy,
I was already thinking of adding some Green Corys maybe 4 to 6 and 2 more Otos, but SAEs are hardo to get I my area and now that the temps are in the freezing again I'm not going to order them online.
I'll keep you posted in a couple of weeks on how things progress.
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415,

Yes, winter does tend to set in early up there doesn't it? lol
 

DCL415

Yes it does , It has been raining for 5 days and now the snow is starting!
 

DCL415

Update SeattleRoy
I got some Green Corys and they are in the 10 Gallon for a couple of weeks until they pass the QT, I will be progressively addin until I have around 12.
This tank is a rescape so I moved some media from the 40 to cycle it, that's why I didn't want to add more than 4 this first time until the bacteria colonized the Flourite.

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On the 40 Gallon, now there are other problems (never ending battle) I seem to have BGA (Blue green Algae) that I have been manually removing, but keeps coming back and back. I do have Erythromycin in hand but I am hesitant to use it on healthy fish. Some string algae that I mainly remove manually. I upped the light hours to 9 per day.
The Sword has holes in the leaves, maybe Manganese deficiency? I don't see my bristlenose on it even at night when the lights are off. The new growth seems healthy. What do you think?

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The Scarlet Temple is doing very poorly as well.
What other things I can do? I'm still dozing Thrive plus at 50% dose twice per week and Iron once per week. Weekly water changes of 30% weekly also.
Any other tips?
As always thanks for your help
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415

I'm sorry but I am getting confused.

Is your concern the 40 gallon? Did you move plants around and/or change substrates?
 

DCL415

SeattleRoy Sorry if I wasn't clear enough, the 10 gallon does awesome, it has not troubles at all. The 40, same as usual has different issues that I can't seem to stabilize.
I haven't changed the substrate, is is still pool sand mixed with Aragonite. The first 2 pictures are from the 10 gallon that I use as QT. The following 3 are from the 40. I only added some jungle Val that is sending runners like crazy. The Crypt is doing way better as the Melon Sword.
It is the regular sword that is full of holes in the old leaves. The new leaves seem intack so far.
Yesterday I did a 35% water change and removed as much as I could of the BGA and string algae.
Let me know if it is more clear now, sorry my English needs some work.
Diego
 

SeattleRoy

HI DCL415

Your English is excellent, it is my old brain that sometimes gets confused. Did you post the tank water parameters? I cannot locate the pH, dKH, and dGH information.
 

DCL415

This are the parameters:
7.9, ammonia 0, 0, 30-40 ppm and the temp at 76 dGh: 6 & : 8
 

Kalyke

That is odd. What do the new, inner leaves look like? Did you leave the plants out of water for any long period of time? (enough time to dry the leaves?) How much time between the time you put the sword in, and the time the leaves started to show holes-- also, were they in another tank, or did you just get them (that is not clear in your original post). A picture search on google shows a deficiency in one of the NPK fertilizer. If so, basically you need to watch the new growth. In other words, what is done is done, and the new leaves will come out normal when you take corrective action with NPK fertilizer, but the old leaves are gonners. Some root tabs might help. I do DIY tabs with gell caps and osmokote but I also have new eco-complete.
 

SeattleRoy

HI dcl (aka Diego)

Alright, let's put it all together.

Tank = 40 gallon (48.25" x 12.75" x 16.875" high); set up 8+ months

Light =
The light is a 36 inch
Is this the light?

Photoperiod = 6 hours

Dosing = Root tabs, Thrive+ @ 1/2 recommended dosage twice a week, 5 ml twice a week

Water changes = 25% every two weeks

Water Parameters =

pH = 7.9
dGH = 6.0
dKH = 7.0

I also noted that you have a bristlenose catfish (plecostomus / Loricariidae sp) and a Mystery (Apple) Snail in your tank. Most of the Loricariidae are herbivorous (plant eaters) with a typical diet of 85% plant matter and 15% other. They are good algae eaters but my experience has been that they are better plant eaters. I had one when I first started planted tanks 10 years ago and after 3 weeks gave it back to the store because it was eating my plants. Mystery Snails (Pomacea bridgesii) are supposed to not eat plants, although most of the snails of that genus (Pomacea) are plant eaters. The reason I bring this up is the older leaves on your swordplant appear to have been eaten (physical damage), not a nutrient deficiency.

I found some PAR (light intensity) information on the subject light. On a 18.75" tall tank the light intensity = PAR@20 (very low light). On a 12.75" tall tank the light intensity is PAR@50 (medium light). On your tank, if we interpolate the numbers at a depth of 16.87" the light intensity is likely PAR@35 (low light).

There is Aragonite mixed in with your substrate. Aragonite is naturally occurring crystal forms of calcium carbonate, CaCO₃ which will increase the hardness and increase the pH in your tank. It is typically used in tanks with African (Rift Lake) cichlids or saltwater tanks.....it is something that should not be used in a freshwater tank unless we have Rift Lake cichlids (btw there are basically no plants in the Rift Lakes). Hard, alkaline water makes it very difficult to grow plants which prefer medium to soft water and an neutral to acid pH.

If it were me I would change out the substrate, sand is too fine and we don't want the Aragonite. We want a substrate with a grain size of about 2 mm, something like Black Diamond Blasting Sand or a natural gravel about that size. Remove the plecostomus and probably the mystery snail as well. Plants species such as cryptocorynes, Microsorum pteropus (java ferns), and bolbitus may grow well if placed under the light and the plecostomus is removed however the amount of light along the two sides of the tank may be insufficient to grow plants.

I don't like to be the bearer of bad news but until some changes are made it is likely that your tank is about as good as it is going to get.
 

DCL415

Kalyke The Sword has been approximately 2 months in the tank, Got it at petsmart and rinsed it tab water to get rid of any pest they might have hitched a ride in the plant. The new growth looks great so far. Here is a picture of the new growth.

DSC_0202.JPG
I use Seachem root tabs that are replaced every 2 months.
 

DCL415

SeattleRoy I have been wanting to change the substrate and light for a while now, maybe go to Flourite that works so good in the 10 Gallon. But it's a little pricey so I have to save for it.
For the Pleco you may be right, I will try to increase the amount of algae wafers so see if I can get him full and he would stop eating the Sword. If not I will have to figure out what to do with him.
The snail I have never seen this one eat the plants but I had a black one that I had to return bc he ate all my Vals and Java Ferns.
What light would you recommend? That was the light I could afford at the time.
I am planning a 20 gallon for Multis (neolamprologus multifasciatus), to use the Aragonite. I just have to sell it to my wife that she doesn't want any new aquariums in the house.
 

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