Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   My Amazon Sword... (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-planted-aquarium/my-amazon-sword-35117/)

Kelso 01-10-2010 10:46 PM

My Amazon Sword...
 
It seems like it is dying...or at least having a very rough time in the new substrate, the sand I had recently replaced with my old gravel. The leaves are turning translucent gray...it used to flourish in my old substrate, granted there was lots of fish waste underneath it all when I redid it, and that might have been a key factor in it's stunning growth, but now all my amazon swords are dying...I used some fertilizer, hoping it'll help. Please help. I'm hoping my plants can get over this hump...

stephanieleah 01-10-2010 10:49 PM

Have you ever used those fertilizer sticks? Maybe that will be a temporary substitute for underground fertilization until the fish waste builds up down there. Byron has mentioned that he uses them I believe.

Kelso 01-10-2010 10:55 PM

Hopefully Byron comes along and suggests the brand he uses or something else...I don't want all these plants to go on me =(

Angel079 01-11-2010 09:43 AM

I'm not Byron....but I can tell you Swords are heavy root fedders, so either you need a base such as flourite for them, or go ahead and buy root tablets / sticks and add one to each big Sword to feed.
These sticks are offered by API, Nutrafin, Jungel etc and are usually needed to be replaced (or rather add a new one) 1-2x year
That'll make your Sword grow again, but the leaf's that are already dead now you can trim off, these will not come back sorry to say that.

Kelso 01-11-2010 10:28 AM

Alright thanks. So my sword is still gonna make it then you think?

Angel079 01-11-2010 10:58 AM

I hadn't personally seen your Sword, but if the inner leaf's are still good looking and its not like the whole Sword is already 'rotten' away, yes it'll make it. Just pinch off the outer 'broken' leafs and add the root sticks and give it time to grow back (not amongst the "fast growing" plants keep in mind).

I actually once got a bare root Sword from a friend, totally neglected plant, I cut all leaf off except for a very few in the dead center and placed it in my 55g, thing came back nice and new over the next few weeks.

Byron 01-11-2010 12:44 PM

Good advice already, so I'd like to help you figure out what happened, especially since the swords were fine before. Changing from gravel to sand should not have been problematical; I have frequently moved swords within a tank and even to a different tank and the plants never respond negatively to a move, although I have never used sand I admit but others do with swords.

There are several possible factors, so here come the questions. What was your fertilization regime previously (what did you use and how often)? Did you continue it after changing to sand? Have your water parameters (pH, hardness, temperature) changed at all from before to now?

Swords almost always require fertilization, they are heavy feeders and there simply won't be enough minerals in tap water and fish food to keep them healthy. At least this has been my experience. Using a good comprehensive substrate or liquid, or both, fertilizer should allow the plants to recover with new growth. As Angel correctly says, existing damaged/yellowing/gray leaves will not recover and should be removed if you see new green growth from the centre of the crown.

Byron.

Kelso 01-11-2010 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 304082)
There are several possible factors, so here come the questions. What was your fertilization regime previously (what did you use and how often)? Did you continue it after changing to sand? Have your water parameters (pH, hardness, temperature) changed at all from before to now?

Unfortunately my last test was used up when I changed substrate to determine hardness, but if I recall correctly, it was a negligible amount in change. pH has risen from 6.1 to 6.3. Temperature at the ever steady 81.5 (28 Celsius) degree Fahrenheit mark. I had never used any sort of fertilization, ever. My plants flourished in that old substrate I had without my aid. As far as light, it's 15 watt and 5500 K. It's what it has always been, so I don't see a problem there. The sword had new shoots every few days and even outer leaves were doing well, only a few dying within every two weeks.

Maybe I just got lucky with the sword before because a lot of fish waste was underneath the tank and probably acted as a fertilizer and it's root system was VERY extensive, covering about 60 percent of the tanks bottom.

Byron 01-11-2010 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelso (Post 304103)
Unfortunately my last test was used up when I changed substrate to determine hardness, but if I recall correctly, it was a negligible amount in change. pH has risen from 6.1 to 6.3. Temperature at the ever steady 81.5 (28 Celsius) degree Fahrenheit mark. I had never used any sort of fertilization, ever. My plants flourished in that old substrate I had without my aid. As far as light, it's 15 watt and 5500 K. It's what it has always been, so I don't see a problem there. The sword had new shoots every few days and even outer leaves were doing well, only a few dying within every two weeks.

Maybe I just got lucky with the sword before because a lot of fish waste was underneath the tank and probably acted as a fertilizer and it's root system was VERY extensive, covering about 60 percent of the tanks bottom.

Thanks, this helps. A pH change of .2 is not an issue for plants (or fish come to that), and I doubt hardness is an issue with a pH in the low 6's (which is excellent for swords). However, I stand by my comment that you need fertilization. In a balanced aquarium, no sword should regularly be losing leaves every couple of weeks. This is a clear indication to me of lack of nutrients. I agree, the fish waste and an established substrate provided some nutrients (minerals), as did the fish food, but obviously not sufficient for the sword's long-term health. And now that the little nutrient there was is gone, even more-so.

If other plants seem OK in this tank, substrate fert will suffice for the sword. I use Nutrafin's Plant-Gro sticks because they are less expensive, supposedly last a year, and they certainly work; the swords with one of the sticks doubled, and one tripled, in size within 3 months. Alternatively, they will do fine with liquid fert, which also benefits the other plants. A complete comprehensive liquid is all you need, added once a week after the pwc, or twice depending upon the plants' response. If I don't use liquid twice a week, I get yellowing leaves on some of the swords, and after more than a year with three rounds of experiments, I determined twice weekly fert keeps them happy (plus the sticks). I have very soft water, no mineral whatever, so this is mandatory for me.

Byron.

Kelso 01-11-2010 01:58 PM

Thank you very much. I thought it was natural for swords to lose the outter most leaves as new ones continue to grow in the middle. My temple plants are still growing very well, as is the fern...so hopefully the fert sticks do just what I need. Thanks this really does help.


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