Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jsm11482 01-01-2007 07:39 PM

Plant Dying
One of my plants is dying all of the sudden, leaves are NOT becoming transparent but holes are appearing in them and then i pluck the dead stems out and they basically fall out of the substrate. Only one type of plant is affected. I think it's probably just that this plany can't take the mid 80 degree heat anymore. It is a Red Melon Sword (echinodorus barthii) and they can tolerate temps up to 82. Antyhing else it could be?


Lupin 01-01-2007 07:46 PM

Sounds like a case of Cryptocoryne rot.:squint:
I was reading this information.


A lot of things can cause crypt rot. I think a better name for the
condition is "meltdown". I don't think it is a bacterial or viral disease
because the plants can, and almost always do, recover completely.

Going from low CO2 to higher CO2 can cause it, especially if the light is
low. When the light is increased along with the CO2, the meltdown is very

going from a very low nutrient supply to a higher one can cause it.
However, if you keep the nutrient levels higher, the plants will recover
and grow well.

If you have been growing your crypts without any fish, and then you add a
fish or two, meltdown will often occur.

If another plant, such as Hygrophila is 'taking over' the tank, the crypts
will sooner or later have a meltdown.

if there are no water changes in a tank for a long time (a year or more),
meltdown is likely.

Something decaying in the tank, such as a dead fish, can sometimes set off
a meltdown, especially if the amount of decay is enough to make the water

Crypts are more sensitive to meltdowns from a variety of causes when they
are crowded in a tank, as opposed to being sparsely planted.

Meltdowns do not kill crypts, provided that the decaying crypt leaves do
not lower the oxygen content of the water so much that the rhizome is
killed. If you can keep the water aerobic, the rhizome always lives and
soon sends up new leaves.

However, the information is based mostly on Crypts rather than the Echinodorus but I think it can be possible. I had Cryptocoryne rot before and it killed most of the Cryptocoryne crispatula. That was 3 years ago though.

Aquaticmoon 01-01-2007 09:54 PM

Its not the heat or crypt rot. IMHO
I think its the pleco as they are know to eat holes in echinodorus.
What ferts are you using? Sword are heavy root feeders.

A photo is worth 100,000 words.

herefishy 01-01-2007 10:51 PM

Sounds to me like the problem could be one of three problems. Lighting,or lack thereof, improper Ph, too high or too low, or lack of food(fertilizer). The pleco may be munching on your plant, they are herbivorous by nature. Snails can also do damage to plants.

Aquaticmoon 01-01-2007 11:05 PM


Originally Posted by herefishy
. Lighting,or lack thereof, improper Ph, too high or too low(.

Lighting may be a problem (I've grown beautiful swords in very high and very low lighted tanks) but I think you would see its efects in other plants first.

Most plants don't care about the PH.

jsm11482 01-01-2007 11:15 PM

Well I don't think it's the plecos since i rarely see them on the plants. Snails, maybe but no other plants are affected like this. It could be the fluctuation in CO2 since I am currently using a DIY kit. I can post pix but not untill tomorrow night (tonight, I guess). Thanks for the info!

fish_4_all 01-01-2007 11:22 PM

I have a red melon sword that I used to be huge. I got the holes in it all the time before I started to give it root tabs. Once I started, the leaves were alot more sturdy and didn't get the holes as often.

Something to remember with a large sword is it will start to dedicate nutrients and energy to new growth and the older lower leaves will start to die off. It took about 3 months for mine to really start showing signs of this. The temperature probably is the reason but could be the cause. In warmer temps, the plants can use ferts much faster and will grow a lot faster. When I would remove the older leaves they would simply pull right off and almost appear like they were rotting in the bulb. I actually pulled mine up about every 3-4 weeks and trimmed the lower leaves off and trimmed the roots. Helped to slow the growth and made it look better.

Give it a root tab if you have any, place it directly under the bulb and see if the growth steadies out some. If you can, lower the temp, if not, be ready to deal with the growth rate and keep the lower leaves in check or they will rot.

I know you said there are no other problems but what other plants do you have? They could also be outcompeting the sword for nutrients. Also, what type of substrate do you have and how deep is it?

jsm11482 01-06-2007 08:17 PM

One of my other plants is showing more signs of death now too! It was beautiful just the other day now not so much, see pics:

I think it might be the CO2. I am going to look into setting up an actual CO2 system when I get back from vaca.

fish_4_all 01-07-2007 12:25 AM

To me it looks like both an iron and potassium deficiency. Iron from the transparency ofthe leaves and potassium because of the holes. Dose more potasium sulfate or some other potassium and up your iron dosing. Potassium can't really be overdosed so I dose 10-15ppm every other day. I still wouldn't exceed 60ppm weekly just to be safe. I would start with the potassium as it seems a more likely culprit by itself but both can be dosed together. Also, do not dose your micronotrients with your phospahtes, it can and will cause a deficiency. I don't know the science but phosphate can cause iron to precipitate out in a form that is not usable by the plants.

I dose 0.3ppm iron and 10-15ppm potassium sulphate 3x a week on different days. It could be a nitrate deficiency but if you have good growth I doubt it. Calcium is a possibility also but start with the other two and I think it will help a lot.

jones57742 01-07-2007 08:02 AM

F4A obviously has way more experience than I do but when I observe the atypical reddish and brownish/blackish spots indicated on your first photograph and the leaves thinning and cracking as indicated in your 2nd photograph I begin dosing with Flourish at greater than my normal rate:

Twice the recommended rate the first week;
The recommended rate for the second week and
then back to my typical 1/2 the recommended rate.

Within two days during the first week the spots begin disappearing.
During the second week I observe significant new leaf production which is much greater than the typical new leaf production.

At the following url is indicated the constituency of Flourish:


One other item

I obviously do not have a high tech planted tank but I have never needed to induce CO2 in order to generate plant health and growth.
When I observe minor plant distress (not the spots or the cracking leaves) I do turn on the air to diffusers which I have in the tank at night for several days.

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