My plants melted
Ok I am currently setting up a 29 gallon tank. It has a piece of driftwood that I'm still waiting for to sink (I currently have it held down with some decor). There is a white fungus around the wood, it has been submerged for a little more than a week and it still hasn't sunk. I have an amazon sword in there, which is doing fine, but I put in some other plants which... look like cryptocorynes... and they melted... and are melting still. I added them about a week ago too. The substrate is fluorite black and I have been adding flourish comp. as well as iron and excel. There is a tetra filter on the tank. No fish are in it yet. The pygmy chainswords don't look too bad. My decorations are 1 big hippo skull, one big crocodile skull and one small crocodile skull..
What type of wood is this? The white fungus may be highly toxic to fish. Mopani wood, manzanita wood and grapewood are all known to carry toxic fungus. I'm not saying that all of this wood does, nor that all fungus is toxic--it depends upon the species of fungus which requires a microbiologist to determine--but it can be toxic and i would not use any wood that secretes fungus. I lost fish from this, and know of others too.
On the melting, this is normal for crypts. They do not like being moved. They will also melt, some species more than others, if the light intensity or spectrum changes, if GH or pH changes significantly (to the plant), nutrient supplementation changes (more or less fertilizations), temperature changes significantly, etc. They should recover, sometimes in a few days, sometimes it takes weeks. Leave the roots alone, siphon out the mush from the dissolving leaves and stems, and await new leaf growth.
On the fertilizers. Flourish Comprehensive is a complete nutrient supplement (except for oxygen, hydrogen and carbon) and on its own is sufficient to balance low to moderate light. You can dose it once or twice weekly, depending upon the specifics of the aquarium. The GH of your tap water, fish load and feeding all affect this, along with the plant species and numbers and light intensity.
Do you know the GH of the tap water? This is the prime source for the "hard" minerals like calcium and magnesium; the levels of these in Flourish is minimal because most tap water in NA has sufficient. The GH will clue us in to this.
I would be careful adding iron. There is sufficient in Flourish to balance the other nutrients, and there is iron in the Flourite substrate. Iron is a heavy metal and thus highly toxic to all life, be it plant, fish, bacteria, whatever. Excess iron will partially be taken up (to store, or as a toxin) by some plants, but as this is another unnecessary risk, I would not add iron individually. Nutrients for aquatic plants must be in a fairly specific proportion; excess of some can cause the plants to shut down assimilation of others.
Final comments on Excel. This is a product I do not recommend. It's only ingredient, apart from water, is glutaraldehyde which is a toxic disinfectant used in hospitals, embalming fluid, antifreeze, and similar. Some plants, such as Vallisneria, will melt completely and die when Excel is used. If it happens to be overdosed, other plants may be affected, and fish can be harmed and even killed. Bacteria will die too. Given the risks, I would not use it. Once there are fish in the tank, organics will accumulate in the substrate and provide a lot of CO2 naturally. Balance the light and other nutrient supplementation to this and you're all set.:-)
The Gh for my water typically measures between 3 and 4. I cleaned out the dead leaves last night. We'll see how the plants continue to do. Also in regards to the fungus. Regarding the fungus on the wood, I witnessed the same issue in some driftwood at the LPS. I asked the guy who designed the tank, and he said that the fungus died off after a while. It seems to happen to at least his driftwood. This is what I'm hoping happens in my case. I cannot really tell you what wood I got since I got it from e-bay, and it was really hard for me to find wood the size and shape I wanted it. The LPS has some selection of driftwood, but they are too expensive for me.
On the fungus, to expand a bit on my previous coments. There are many types of fungus, and most if not all are white or whitish/gray. Some are not toxic, others are deadly so. Without examination by a microbiologist, it is impossible to say which species of fungus this or that might be. And we don't know where precisely any of this wood comes from, and even if we did, it would be impossible to pin anything down.
Mikaila, another of our members, killed off som e of her fish with fungus leeching from I believe grapewood. I had an issue with fungus from what i thought (from the store) was Mopani, but it might have been grapewood. I know of another aquarist who lost his corys from fungus like this, from manzanita wood (or so the store called it). The fungus on your wood may be very different from a fungus on a piece of wood in the store's tank, and both fungi could be very different from what I had or Mikaila, etc. Just understand the risks.
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