(sigh) Watersprite Keeps Dying

  • #1
It is a long story but I originally purchased some water sprite (indian fern?) to go into a 5.5 gallon betta tank to give my fish some natural plants.
I weakly bleach-solutioned the plants (and found two tiny snail shells at the bottom of my bucket). And placed them into the tanks for a couple days before I added my betta to his new home. The bleached bits browned off and new green sprouts started to show, but the green sprouts never seemed to catch up with the plant mass that went brown and limp.

Two weeks after the plants were added the betta came down with a single pop-eye, perhaps from a scratch and died in two days. His immune system might have been weak from living in a bowl for too long (I got him from someone else). Or the dying plants might have contributed to too much bacteria in the water. Overall water condition were measured twice a week and were fine.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to make sure the watersprite were thriving or balanced before I added any more fish to the small tank. However, the watersprite has continued to grow slowly and mostly rot away until there is barely any green left in there. I have been adding ammonia to keep the cycle going and provide nitrate for the plants in the absence of fish. I also started adding plant food one a week.

Heated to 78 degrees
Light is florescent strip, 14w, 8000k - about 7 hours daily.
Filtered (removed the separate carbon filter after fish died)
Substrate is standard aquarium gravel, not sand.

Any guesses would be appreciated.
  • #2
Hi, I have a similar problem. My water sprite was partially brown when I bought it, so I took most that part off, and it was doing okay, until it just started browning more and more and more >.< I have about a quarter of the original plant left and I noticed it browning again today (meanwhile my anubias are fine - go figure).

So basically, I'm posting here to remind myself of this thread in the hopes that whatever answers you get might help me! Best of luck.
  • #3
Are you using any fertilizers to feed the plant?

I myself cannot grow watersprite. I have lots of plants and 4 planted tanks.
I've read a lot of people w/ well water can't keep watersprite alive.
  • #4
I grow it just fine floating. Since it's at the surface it's getting highlight and I dose the water column with dry fertlizers - Macros and Micros. Happy plants.

Interesting thing is that older plants brown and I remove them time to time but there's new plantlets floating around.
  • #5
I have a similar problem... can't grow watersprite either. I don't know what it is. I have tap water and NPTs. Can't keep it under low, medium, or high light or even with added fertilizer. I have tons of different types of plants and they all thrive so I just don't understand it when it comes to this plant. It slowly turns brown until it fades away in my tanks. I would love to figure out how to grow it so I'm interested to read other replies.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I don't have well water. (NYC tap, little bit of salt, treated and sits for a week)
The plant food I have been using is .
I honestly don't know why these poor things hate to live. Why is there such a variance between folks who say it grows like a weed and folks who say it always melts into sludge? Could it be something odd about my PH balancer or some other creepy little thing? Maybe it doesn't like Brooklyn.
  • #7
Wow. I couldn't stop my watersprite from growing if I wanted to! Mine grow fantastic floating or anchored. It's normal for parts of the plants to turn brown. I usually go in and trim those branches once a week, but the new growth far outperforms the old stems dying. I've been adding flourish and excel the last few weeks, but even before that it was doing quite well. I started adding the supplements for my java fern which is having a bit of a hard time.

I wonder if it's a water hardness issue. I suspect my water is pretty soft because my pH changes pretty easily when adding rock and driftwood to the tank, but I haven't gotten a tester for that yet.

One thing I noticed about the OP, are you actually burying your watersprite? While you can do that, it's better from everything I've read to leave the roots exposed. If you want to anchor it to something like driftwood or rocks, you can. I have mine tucked into some ceramic cave things, and I also have a bunch free-floating.

Just to compare particulars:
Temp 79
pH 7 (last I checked about a week ago)
Light about 9 hours a day (T5 Dual Lamp with 10,000k and 6,700k bulbs)
  • #8
That's it. I remember reading watersprite does poorly in hard water. A lot of well water is hard.
  • #9
My Watersprite was kept in a pH of 7.6. KH 3-4* GH 7-10* temp 78, 6500k and pink rosette bulbs and highlight.

I've just started injected CO2 on Friday so parameters are changing.
  • #10
My Watersprite has more than doubled in the two weeks I've had it. It's in a 6.3-gallon Betta tank, too. Some of the older growth had browned, so I just trimmed it with my plant scissors. It has now reached the top of my tank, 14", and has begun to spread horizontally across the surface. I do use Flourish twice a week and Flourish Excel about every other day. I only have the one fish (Betta), and I siphon out his poop and any uneaten food daily. We have a water softener, so our water is very soft. I use Prime as my conditioner. Our pH is naturally high at 8.2, but I don't mess with it; since I acclimate my fish over several hours, they have all adjusted and thrived. I just have a clip-on LED light with 30 LEDs. Temp is 80 degrees; Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are all zero in that tank. I also have some Water Wisteria plants in that tank that are growing very well too. The Java Fern is sloooooowly doing "something" I think ... and my Anubias Nana is still waiting to show me any signs of new growth. Moss ball is fine too. Oh, I do have an airstone too, set on a very gentle flow (for surface agitation). I truly believe it's the Flourish and Excel that are helping my plants grow.

I also use Excel in my 30-gallon tank, where I recently added (about two weeks ago) some Amazon Swords, Wisteria, and an Anubias Nana that I bought from those "tubes" at PetSmart (I was thrilled to actually find AQUATIC plants for once!). I have not used Flourish in this tank (yet), because it's a very established 4+ year old tank with six fish in it, unlike my 1-month-old Betta tank that I remove waste from daily. This tank has NO LIGHT WHATSOEVER, so I had little hope for the plants, especially the Amazon Swords. But I have new growth on all plants in there now, with an average of 3-4 new leaves on the Swords in particular.

I give all the credit to Flourish and Excel. But you have to dose correctly. Since I'm using both in only a 6.3-gallon tank, I had to do the math; and figured that the dose for an approximately 5-gallon tank would be 0.5mL. Well, I have no shortage of tiny oral syringes, between kids and pets that all needed meds at some point; but they had all been washed with SOAP and water, so I couldn't use them. So what I did was buy a plain old glass eyedropper at the local pharmacy to use for my Flourish and Excel. I discovered that 10 drops from the eye dropper pretty much equals the 0.5mL dose I needed; so I do 5 drops on either end of the tank. Some days I may only do like 6 drops total. Sure beats trying to pour the liquid into the cap and "guesstimate" how much you're using; then worrying about overdosing! Oh, and I have not been refrigerating my Flourish (it says refrigeration is recommended, but not required). I'll try to see if I can post a "just planted" pic and a "now" pic for comparison.

Good luck! Watersprites are sooooo pretty when they're all spread out and growing well!
  • #11
OK, the picture on the left was taken right after I planted all my plants. The Watersprite is the little one hiding behind the Java Fern in the back corner on the right side of the tank.

The picture on the right was taken just now, a little over two weeks later (16 days). The Watersprite has doubled in size; and the Wisteria plants all have new leaves and roots growing out of most of the leaf nodes. I must note, I did put a different moss ball in there; the new one is a little smaller than the first one. And the one new leaf that was growing on my Anubias in the first pic (it arrived with the new growth) promptly died, so the leaf is now gone. Java Fern is mostly still the same, except there's a little "something" growing taller near it, in the back, like maybe the rhizome? Or possibly a new leaf?

Flourish and Excel totally rock!


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