No ferts + low light = hungry snails?
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No ferts + low light = hungry snails?

This is a discussion on No ferts + low light = hungry snails? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Alrighty, my 10G livebearer has been doing great. Lush growth, healthy fish, good ph and kh, etc. Today I was walking by my tank ...

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No ferts + low light = hungry snails?
Old 05-24-2010, 11:32 PM   #1
 
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No ferts + low light = hungry snails?

Alrighty, my 10G livebearer has been doing great. Lush growth, healthy fish, good ph and kh, etc.

Today I was walking by my tank and something seemed... off.

My banana plant has leaves nearly as big as my palm... two huge leaves.. wait- didn't it have three yesterday?

Upon closer examination, one of the leaves has been devoured by my ramshorns. (looks exactly like catipillar damage in my garden- Most of the leaf is simply gone with the remains of the leaf thats still attached very transparent and 'squishy' looking, and covered with snails.

I dropped an algae wafer in to attempt to quench the snails' hunger, and instead the guppies devoured the algae wafer in a matter of minutes. I had just fed them too...

Some of my other stem plants have a few small holes, but I didn't think it was a huge deal until the banana leaf was devoured.

Could it have been the guppies? Are they just craving veggies? The coloration seems good on all the plants, is it safe to assume that it's a lack of fertiliser? (I don't use ferts, but will buy flourish very soon.)

On a related note, the PH has gone from 7.2 2 weeks ago to 7.0 today, but I don't think it's cause for concern. (Probably need a little more dolomite- anyone have some extra if I pay shipping?)

I don't have the money for new bulbs and ferts right now, which should I do first? The little holes don't bother me, but at the current rate the banana plant will be a stump in 3-4 days.
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:07 AM   #2
 
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Well, firstly, PH varies a little bit daily I believe with the amount of CO2 and such during night/day.

About the plants. I'm no expert, but I don't think it would be the guppies. I don't think they would really be able to do much to tough leaves like that. Also, my guppies don't eat my plants. Not sure that the snails could even do something like that, but they might be the culprit. Are they all over the banana plant's leaves? I'd watch them and see if you can see what is nibbling at the leaves. If it is the snails you can maybe put a cucumber slice or something in to lure the snails and when they cover the cucumber take it out and toss it to control the population.

Not sure holes in the leaves are a sign of lack of fertilizer. I think this would be more yellowing of leaves or algae.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:51 AM   #3
 
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Guppies will nibble on plants from time to time but do not usually cause any real damage. Rams horn and pond snails will cause alot of damage and can destroy plants in a few days. I have seen these snails completely destroy a pond full of various plants. I have lost a few of my inventory tanks due to snails eating the plants making them unsellable. We now are using a few methods to control any snails we have.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:09 AM   #4
 
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I have pond, bladder and trumpet snails and they do not eat healthy plants. From my research, ramshorns are the same. Peter Hiscock says large snails will eat healthy plant leaves if overpopulated, but the smaller ones (like those I mentioned) will not. Diana Walstad cites two botanists [RM Newman and RG Wetzel] who state that these snails will eat dead or diseased leaves but avoid healthy leaves [Walstad, p. 44]. Banana plants are not the easiest to maintain, and if weakened may invite snails. Are the tubers above the substrate? Just a thought.

On the pH, it does vary each 24 hour period as Austin mentioned, by as much as .4 so it is important to always test pH at the same time each day to obtain an accurate indication of any fluctuations other than the normal diurnal one mentioned. I would test daily for a week or two with a partial water change mid-way and then decide whether or not additional dolomite is required. A steadily declining pH with no rebound would be the indicator.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 05-25-2010 at 11:13 AM..
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
 
+1 byron

i've got pond, ramshorn and malaysian trumpets and have never had any problems with them eating any of my plants
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:19 PM   #6
 
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I have to believe that I'm the one killing the banana plant, and the snails are "cleaning" it, since I've had all three snails in all three of my tanks for about 4 months now, with no damage until now.

How often to CFLs have to be replaced?

I have 0 algae and good growth on everything else, so if I can't figure out the problem I guess I'll have to just let them eat it or remove it. :(

The tuber is above the substrate, and I've had it for about two months- it had 2 leaves the size of a quarter when I got it, and before the snails started eating it and recently it had 3 the size of my palm.

I installed the bulbs about... well, 4-5 months ago. They still seem really bright... maybe I have too many floating plants?

How can I differentiate between a low-light problem and a fertiliser problem?

The bana plant has sent up two "spikes", so it's trying to grow new leaves....I did witness snails on the banana plant....

If I brushed up against the leaf during maintenance, could that have bruised it and made it irresistable to the snails? I may have... Would also explain why only that leaf is getting eaten.

A couple other plants have holes, and one of them is the aponogeton- maybe because they're root feeders they're the worst affected?
Perhaps I will get some root tabs...

The other plant affected is a rotala. *shrug*. Maybe a serious iron deficiency?
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:27 PM   #7
 
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Many issues could be involved. On the banana plant, all authors say this is not an easy plant, and rarely lasts beyond a year. I had it years ago and this was certainly my experience. The shoots are the plant sending up surface leaves which it will do, and leaves at the tuber will not appear, so that may be happening.

On the light bulbs, I would expect them to last for years. There are many who wait for bulbs and tubes to actually burn out before replacing. Others recommend 3 year replacement of T8 or T5 tubes, one year for T12. Haven't yet found a recommendation on CFL bulbs.

"Problems" being light-related or nutrient-related is not always easy to explain; I think we build up an intuition over time from our experience. If you want to post a photo, I may see something. [I'll be offline momentarily until tomorrow].

Byron.
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Old 05-25-2010, 04:49 PM   #8
 
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I wish I had a camera... :-/

I've been meaning to buy ferts for a while, so I guess I'll go ahead and do it.
I'm also going to assume that the leaf was bruised- it seems logical... The one leaf is almost completely gone now, but the others are untouched and still growing...

One more question- I know plants don't like being moved, but would it kill it if I moved it to my 50 gallon when I get it going? (Plan on getting it going in the next 2-3 weeks)
I just want to build a stand for it first.. Probably going the cheapest route- cinderblocks and thick high-grade (so it's smoother) wood. I'll also get a sheet of stryofoam to go under it.
Actually I have a big foam pad that used to be covering a mattress.... I might use that. It's really soft and about 4 inches thick- might double it over and put it under the tank.

I'm also going to use a soil-based substrate, since my 5 gallon is doing incredibly well. Might even experiment with high light levels, (since the shop light has two slots, I'm going to start out with one, let everything establish, and add a second one and monitor closely. Especially since I will be growing a few things emersed.

Don't know why I'm posting all this here.. *shrug* lol. I think I'm going to move most of the 10G plants to the 50G, and make all three of my tanks biotope tanks. :) (thinking, the 10G will be south/central american, 5G will be asian swamp, and 50G will be african lowland swamp. (will go with african tetras and barbs more than likely.)
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:46 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
I've been meaning to buy ferts for a while, so I guess I'll go ahead and do it.
I'm also going to assume that the leaf was bruised- it seems logical... The one leaf is almost completely gone now, but the others are untouched and still growing...
There are very few setups complete enough to not require some sort of fertilization. I highly recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. It only takes a half-tsp per 30 gallons once (or maybe twice) a week so it lasts a long time. And it does do the job.

Quote:
One more question- I know plants don't like being moved, but would it kill it if I moved it to my 50 gallon when I get it going? (Plan on getting it going in the next 2-3 weeks)
Assuming this is the banana plant, one move shouldn't do much harm. It needs to develop proper roots (below the tubers) in the substrate, so I wouldn't move it around much. Some plants actually benefit from being moved occasionally; swords are one, and if the roots are trimmed a bit at the same time can actually benefit with improved growth. Crypts though resent it and will usually melt.

Quote:
I just want to build a stand for it first.. Probably going the cheapest route- cinderblocks and thick high-grade (so it's smoother) wood. I'll also get a sheet of stryofoam to go under it.
Actually I have a big foam pad that used to be covering a mattress.... I might use that. It's really soft and about 4 inches thick- might double it over and put it under the tank.
I have this stand arrangement under my 70g, works fine and has for years. Plywood on its own is fine, there is enough "give" in wood that a foam pad is not necessary, so you can save that money. I have foam under my tanks on metal frames.

Quote:
I'm also going to use a soil-based substrate, since my 5 gallon is doing incredibly well. Might even experiment with high light levels, (since the shop light has two slots, I'm going to start out with one, let everything establish, and add a second one and monitor closely. Especially since I will be growing a few things emersed.
Just remember that more light requires more nutrients in proportion. Soil will provide some.

Quote:
Don't know why I'm posting all this here.. *shrug* lol. I think I'm going to move most of the 10G plants to the 50G, and make all three of my tanks biotope tanks. :) (thinking, the 10G will be south/central american, 5G will be asian swamp, and 50G will be african lowland swamp. (will go with african tetras and barbs more than likely.)
I like biotopes, but because I like lots of plants and a variety I tend to stay away from true biotopes which are this or that river or stream, since in such areas only one or maybe two plants and only a couple of fish species would be authentic. Geographic tanks, which to me means everything comes from a general area, like my 90g flooded Amazon forest tank, can be more interesting. Maybe this is what you have in mind.

Byron.
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:25 PM   #10
 
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Yea, I was thinking regional biotope.
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