Holes in plant pleaves--Nutrient definiency? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 31 Old 08-06-2010, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Question Holes in plant pleaves--Nutrient definiency?

Lately I have noticed on some of my plant leaves, several holes right through the leaves. This is only affecting 4-5 leaves in my entire 120g planted tank, but it only seems like it's on the swords (Amazon and Oriental). Below are pictures. The best way to describe it is how you see a caterpilliar eat holes through leaves outside. There is no browning around the holes and the plant continues to grow. You can see, especially in the last picture, that the leaves on the rest of the plant are thriving.

My gravel is Eco-Complete. It is only about a month old. I do not currently use root tabs because of the Eco-Complete, but do have them on hand. I fertilize once a week, the day after a water change with Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive. You can see my stock list in my signature below.

Any suggestions on what might be causing this?
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post #2 of 31 Old 08-06-2010, 09:53 PM
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I'll put my money on your loaches....

My sword plants look exactly like that... did not begin until I added my loaches.

Some people might disagree, but I have read on a website once (sorry, forgot the url) that clown loaches love eating sword plants. Since a lot of loaches tend to have similar behaviors... I would say it is them.

Even if they are not eating it, they are at least punching holes in it. Look at their mouth shape and then the shape of the holes.

10 gallon (Aquarius the betta)
30 gallon tall (currently in progress) 4 black skirt tetras.
55 gallon planted: 4 Three Spot Gourami, 4 young Angelfish, 5 young clown loaches. (don't worry, they are getting a larger tank), 1 bristlenose pleco, 3 otto cats, 4 guppies, & 1 corydora.

Jack (the bunny). Sakura, Mouse, Wookie (the guinea pigs).

My Cats: Yoda (hand raised FCK kitten), Patch (one eyed rescued stray), Charlie, Costello, Blue, Mamma, Dixie , Precious, Sadie (all rescued strays)
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post #3 of 31 Old 08-06-2010, 09:56 PM
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http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plant.../msg00237.html there

10 gallon (Aquarius the betta)
30 gallon tall (currently in progress) 4 black skirt tetras.
55 gallon planted: 4 Three Spot Gourami, 4 young Angelfish, 5 young clown loaches. (don't worry, they are getting a larger tank), 1 bristlenose pleco, 3 otto cats, 4 guppies, & 1 corydora.

Jack (the bunny). Sakura, Mouse, Wookie (the guinea pigs).

My Cats: Yoda (hand raised FCK kitten), Patch (one eyed rescued stray), Charlie, Costello, Blue, Mamma, Dixie , Precious, Sadie (all rescued strays)
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post #4 of 31 Old 08-06-2010, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by isimek View Post
I'll put my money on your loaches....

My sword plants look exactly like that... did not begin until I added my loaches.

Some people might disagree, but I have read on a website once (sorry, forgot the url) that clown loaches love eating sword plants. Since a lot of loaches tend to have similar behaviors... I would say it is them.

Even if they are not eating it, they are at least punching holes in it. Look at their mouth shape and then the shape of the holes.
That would make sense because they do look like new leaves that are being eaten by the pictures, I read a thread a while back about some fish liking the taste of new leaves, but once they grow out they no longer like the taste.
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post #5 of 31 Old 08-06-2010, 10:06 PM
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It's funny too, just like looking at my own tank... lol

That is EXACTLY what my swords look like. However, sometimes they are much worse.

Don't expect to have nice looking swords with the loaches. It's a trade off, I think it's way worth it!

...and I wouldn't get rid of the swords, that might just doom another plant. I would like to believe that my sword plants act as a partial food source for my loaches. They prefer them to other plants, but that doesn't mean they wont eat other plants too.

10 gallon (Aquarius the betta)
30 gallon tall (currently in progress) 4 black skirt tetras.
55 gallon planted: 4 Three Spot Gourami, 4 young Angelfish, 5 young clown loaches. (don't worry, they are getting a larger tank), 1 bristlenose pleco, 3 otto cats, 4 guppies, & 1 corydora.

Jack (the bunny). Sakura, Mouse, Wookie (the guinea pigs).

My Cats: Yoda (hand raised FCK kitten), Patch (one eyed rescued stray), Charlie, Costello, Blue, Mamma, Dixie , Precious, Sadie (all rescued strays)
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post #6 of 31 Old 08-06-2010, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting link. I have loaches, but not clown loaches. I have 8 Burmese loaches and 8 Zebra Loaches. However, the holes only started a couple weeks ago and that is right around when I added my loaches. Something to think about and observe.
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post #7 of 31 Old 08-06-2010, 10:25 PM
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This is most interesting. Just did a quick search and apparently adult clown loaches are quite notorious for eating some plants, and Echinodorus (swords) seem to be a favourite.

However, Lisa has Botia kubotai and B. striata (and B. histrionica?). I did track down one reference to any loach sometimes doing this to swords especially. This I hadn't realized. My B. kubotai have not touched the plants that I am aware of, but there are no swords in their tank. I gather Anubias and Java Fern will be left alone, and some stem plants. I've had them in with crypts, Wisteria, Aponogeton for a year and no evidence of such damage.

The good news is that it is not nutrients, and I think that from the photos alone; I would have guessed something was munching into the leaves, perhaps large snails if you had any, but I wouldn't have guessed your loaches. We never stop learning, as I often write. The solution suggested elsewhere is to provide vegetable matter regularly.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 31 Old 08-07-2010, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Byron, I have 8 Zebra Loaches and 8 B. Histrionica (Burmese Loach?). My crypts and my anubias have not been touched. I assume they do not have a pleasant taste. It is only my Amazon Swords, Oriental Swords and Ruffle Swords. I only have one nerite snail in the entire tank. If I did have snails that rode in on the plants, I think my loaches probably took care of them.

Currently I feed the bottom feeders 3-4 shrimp pellets, sinking granules, or 2-3 algae wafers, rotating food daily. Perhaps that isn't enough for 16 loaches? I always have fresh vegetables on hand. For loaches, would it be smarter to put the veggies in overnight and take them out in the morning or during the day for 10 hours or so? Now I'm wondering if I should keep fresh veggies in there a majority of the time now but still feed them when I feed the rest of the tank too. A fat loach is a happy loach, right? haha. Only a few leaves are affected right now, but I can see this growing into a concern once 16 loaches get larger...
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post #9 of 31 Old 08-07-2010, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by LisaC144 View Post
Byron, I have 8 Zebra Loaches and 8 B. Histrionica (Burmese Loach?). My crypts and my anubias have not been touched. I assume they do not have a pleasant taste. It is only my Amazon Swords, Oriental Swords and Ruffle Swords. I only have one nerite snail in the entire tank. If I did have snails that rode in on the plants, I think my loaches probably took care of them.

Currently I feed the bottom feeders 3-4 shrimp pellets, sinking granules, or 2-3 algae wafers, rotating food daily. Perhaps that isn't enough for 16 loaches? I always have fresh vegetables on hand. For loaches, would it be smarter to put the veggies in overnight and take them out in the morning or during the day for 10 hours or so? Now I'm wondering if I should keep fresh veggies in there a majority of the time now but still feed them when I feed the rest of the tank too. A fat loach is a happy loach, right? haha. Only a few leaves are affected right now, but I can see this growing into a concern once 16 loaches get larger...
If another member who's had experience with this comes along we may get a better solution. But in the meantime, I would increase the veggie stuff (cucumber, zuchini, blanched spinach are all recommended for veggie-eating fish) and see if this satisfies them. I think it is going to have to be fresh veggie and not dried foods to entice them away from live plants. And feed in the morning, not at night; these loaches are not nocturnal--mine definitely sleep at night, they get so tired out chasing around during the day that by the time lights go out they are on the substrate flopped on their sides to rest.

As for the plants, I would leave the leaves with holes (as long as they are still green as they seem to be); a leaf here or there with holes is better than holes in more and more leaves. If the beggies work, then remove the leaves.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 31 Old 08-07-2010, 11:08 AM
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That's exactly what my leaves look like on my swords in my display tank where I keep clowns and yoyos. I had always thought it a nutrient deficiency but the anubias and crypts are healthy, no holes. I just transferred a nice huge sword from another tank, where is had grown to tall for the tank that it was in. Two days later I had the same type holes that you have in your pics. That confirmed to me that it was indeed the loaches and not a lack of nutrients. The solution for me is to get rid of the swords and just plant more cyrpts. I don't like the look of tattered plants.

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