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Plants turning brown?!

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by dantheman1, Dec 5, 2017 at 5:31 PM.

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  1. dantheman1

    dantheman1 New Member

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    Hi,

    I've recently added java fern and anubias to my freshwater aquarium. Within a few days, they've started to go brown/black in places. What could be the cause of this? I've read phosphates but I have been keeping on top of water changes/ cleanliness etc. There is no algae in the tank that I can see. I don't add CO2 nor do I add any nutrients for the plants.

    Thanks,
    Dan

     
  2. animalisterra

    animalisterra New Member

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    The plants could have a deficiency in some mineral. Are you using and fertilizer? Send some pictures of them.
     
  3. dantheman1

    dantheman1 New Member

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    No fertiliser used. New to fishkeeping and don’t know much on the plants side of things. Just wanted a place for the fish to hide and feel comfortable.

    Pics attached.
     

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  4. animalisterra

    animalisterra New Member

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    The black speckles on the tips are algae. The black spots on the underside of the leaf on the bottom left picture are actually spores that produce new plants. Other than the algae, you plants are very healthy:) Some good algae eaters are Amano shrimp, Nerite snails, and Otocinclus catfish.
     
  5. animalisterra

    animalisterra New Member

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    Also, from the pictures, your tank looks very nice! :fish:
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The first photo is a sword plant, Echinodorus griesbachii, var. bleherae.

    The other three photos are Java Fern, Microsorum pteropus. There is some algae growing on the frond tips (ferns have "fronds" rather than leaves) which is due to bright light. Floating plants are the best way to solve this. Like most ferns, this is a slow growing plant which means less light and nutrients required (than for the sword). Algae inevitably appears when the light is bright.

    The small black dots on the underside of the fronds are not a problem, they are spores. Any larger black patches on the upperside of the fronds cold likely be nitrogen deficiency, but I see none of that here. Nitrogen occurs primarily as ammonia/ammonium, and plants are able to take up quite a bit but with fish present this is not usually an issue.

    Re fertilizer, you may or may not need any, as nutrients occur from fish feedings and water changes. However, the sword would probably appreciate a substrate tab once every 3 months or so, as this is a heavy feeder. Substrate tabs are ideal for swords because they only dissolve the nutrients as the plant needs them, rather than getting into the water column to cause algae issues. Seachem's Flourish Tabs are what I use, and they are excellent. The API brand is not, and can cause various problems.

    EDIT: I see animalisterra posted as I was typing, much the same thing. Just one thing to add...the algae is brush algae, and not much of anything will deal with that, so balance the light/nutrients to keep it in check.

    Byron.
     
  7. dantheman1

    dantheman1 New Member

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    Oh wow, I didn't know it was algae lol. Can it just be wiped off? Also, do you recommend I use fertiliser or nutrients going forward?

    And that's very kind of you to mention.

    With regard to Amano shrimp, there isn't much flat ground due to decorations. Will this be a problem for them?

    Thanks
     
  8. dantheman1

    dantheman1 New Member

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    @Byron Sounds great! I was told by the store I can keep the swords in the small pot it came in as I don't have soil as a substrate. Do you think this is sustainable?
     
  9. Byron

    Byron Member

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    You will find brush algae next to impossible to remove without tearing the frond (or leaf on other plants) off with it. I don't know what your light is, but floating plants are often the easiest solution to brush algae on ferns. Now, if it appears on the sword, you have more of an issue.

    I suggested something on fertilizer in my previous post. Liquid additive can help, but we need to know the plant species if others are involved. The tabs are best for the sword, and the ferns will not likely need anything additional.
     
  10. animalisterra

    animalisterra New Member

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    I would not recommend keeping the plants in pots because the root systems can grow quite large. Amano shrimp will do fine without flat ground, mine like to stay on the driftwood. For my tank I use the plant growth premium fertilizer from tropica. I have a 29 gallon and I just do 3 squirts of it every sunday. I have to 300ml bottle.
     
  11. animalisterra

    animalisterra New Member

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    sorry, i did not see Byrons post
     
  12. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I would not keep the swords in the pots, long-term. It is OK to place them where you think you want them while they are still potted, but once you decide where they are going, it is best to carefully remove the pot and as much of the rock wool (the white or buff or grey foam-like stuff) being careful not to damage the roots. You don't need to remove all of it, just what you safely can.

    Echinodorus are heavy feeders, and like most such plants they develop very extensive root systems. Allowing these to spread is healthier. After a few months, you will find the roots of this one sword extending over most of the tank bottom. Another reason you want to decide where you want it before planting--moving it later can literally rip up most of the substrate.

    Substrate can be sand (ideal), or fine gravel. No need for soil, which has a lot more problems associated with it. The substrate tabs will feed the sword adequately.
     

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