All my plants are decaying

Lizardbab

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
16
Location
Boise, ID
Hey there so I just started a new tank like last week and things haven't been going well. It cycled but all my plants are dying. I know they take some time to establish but I have another tank that wasn't this bad before it established.
Basically, all my moss is brown and grey, plant leaves are brown yellow and melting, the wood was rotting like nothing else, diatoms are everywhere to the point they blotch up my hands just sticking them in the tank before cleaning everytime. Some leaves have holes. There's a brown haze around the tank floor. Basically it's a disaster and what's weird is the params are hardly off. There's .5 ammonia but that's it in terms of params being off and I'm pretty sure it's because of all the unexplainable rot going on.

Here's my tank params. 5 gal
7 ph
Under 20 nitrates
78 F temp
0 nitrite
120 kh
75 gh
Ammonia: .5

Water I use goes through a reverse osmosis system.

Filtration: bubble filter with airstone and internal filtration with low flow.
Waterchanges haven't been constant yet but it's around 50% made twice a week because of how dirty it's been. Gravel is vacuumed. Scrubbed all the rot off the wood too.

Ferts: (dosed once a week)
EZ green by co op
EZ iron by co op
No injected Co2

Types of plants:
Water sprite
2 anubias (Nana and bartari)
Microswords
Undulata
Java moss
Wood type: spider wood

No fish present because I wanted to give it time before adding them.
 

Attachments

  • 20210917_085652.jpg
    20210917_085652.jpg
    172.5 KB · Views: 41
  • 20210917_085619.jpg
    20210917_085619.jpg
    301.9 KB · Views: 40
  • 20210917_085607.jpg
    20210917_085607.jpg
    266.6 KB · Views: 39

imw

Fish Crazy
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Messages
237
Reaction score
125
Location
Harrogate
Hi,

I think the RO system strips out all the essential minerals that that plants require and you may be suffering acid build up in the tank - plants will not thrive if this is the case. I am not sure if you have "tap water" where you are, but if you do it may worth stripping all the dead plants and the water in the tank, and re-fill with tap water. I would say I am not sure this is the issue, but it is worth a try I think.

HTH
 
Last edited:

xxBarneyxx

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Messages
3,666
Reaction score
801
Location
Kent, UK
RO water will have no minerals but it looks like EZ Green has trace ferts included anyway so that should be ok.

With the no red plants or high light/high fert set up in my opinion there is no need to dose Iron.

As to whats going on, what kind of light do you have and what is your lighting schedule?

High levels of ammonia can effect plants which could be the case, they will probably recover ok for the most part though if this is the problem.

From the photo it looks like the diatoms are the biggest issue. To be honest in my experience this is just part of the "new tank" process, especially with silica base sand. It eventually with burn itself out.

One more thing I would suggest is upping the water flow as much as you can while there are no fish in there, increased surface agitation will help with gas exchange to keep CO2 levels stable and increased water flow around the tank will help a little dealing with diatoms.
 

Byron

Fish Guru
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
16,576
Reaction score
8,086
Location
CA
Part of your problem is the fertilizers you are adding.

Compare the ingredients of Easy Green [https://www.aquariumcoop.com/products/easy-green-all-in-one-fertilizer] and Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement [https://www.seachem.com/flourish.php].

You willnote more nutrients in Flourish, and the proportions are different. The high nitrate and phosphorus in Easy Green is not good for fish or plants, though having said that, with no fish, nitrogen will be scarce, but plants need ammonia/ammonium for their nitrogen, not nitrates.

The second nutrient issue is the additional iron. There is sufficient in the other products. I have had plants die from excess iron. Too much iron is not only harmful in itself (to plants and fish) but plants will cease assimilating some other nutrients as a result of excess iron. Iron can also cause algae issues, which I think is present here, though photos are not easy to see.

There also seems a lot of organic matter, try to get all of that brown stuff out at the water changes. What is the light specs?
 
OP
L

Lizardbab

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
16
Location
Boise, ID
Part of your problem is the fertilizers you are adding.

Compare the ingredients of Easy Green [https://www.aquariumcoop.com/products/easy-green-all-in-one-fertilizer] and Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement [https://www.seachem.com/flourish.php].

You willnote more nutrients in Flourish, and the proportions are different. The high nitrate and phosphorus in Easy Green is not good for fish or plants, though having said that, with no fish, nitrogen will be scarce, but plants need ammonia/ammonium for their nitrogen, not nitrates.

The second nutrient issue is the additional iron. There is sufficient in the other products. I have had plants die from excess iron. Too much iron is not only harmful in itself (to plants and fish) but plants will cease assimilating some other nutrients as a result of excess iron. Iron can also cause algae issues, which I think is present here, though photos are not easy to see.

There also seems a lot of organic matter, try to get all of that brown stuff out at the water changes. What is the light specs?
The light I have is the stingray clip on light. (I can't remember all the specs rn but you can find it if you look it up on amazon, it has worked well for my low and medium light plants thus far) Are you suggesting I use the seachem flourish instead? I've been using the ez green in my other tank and it's been going well but I can definitely try the flourish the next time I dose.

Okay I will lay off the iron.

Still working on cleaning out the brown stuff lol I've had to clean it everyday but there's always more the next day.
 
OP
L

Lizardbab

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
16
Location
Boise, ID
RO water will have no minerals but it looks like EZ Green has trace ferts included anyway so that should be ok.

With the no red plants or high light/high fert set up in my opinion there is no need to dose Iron.

As to whats going on, what kind of light do you have and what is your lighting schedule?

High levels of ammonia can effect plants which could be the case, they will probably recover ok for the most part though if this is the problem.

From the photo it looks like the diatoms are the biggest issue. To be honest in my experience this is just part of the "new tank" process, especially with silica base sand. It eventually with burn itself out.

One more thing I would suggest is upping the water flow as much as you can while there are no fish in there, increased surface agitation will help with gas exchange to keep CO2 levels stable and increased water flow around the tank will help a little dealing with diatoms.
The light I have is the stingray clip on (I don't remember the exact specs but it's on Amazon) it's been great for my medium to low light plants. I run the light 8 hours a day but since noticing the diatoms showing up I've bumped it to 10.

I've never had high levels of ammonia the most it's been is maybe one but I caught it when it was around .5. I'm working on cleaning it out again because the brown stuff is everywhere.

Do you think the moss is dead? It's super brown and grey with a few tiny green bits. Idk I feel like it's a loss cause but I've heard it come back from nothing in some peoples tanks.

Since there's no fish I might use some dechlorinated tap water in my next water change and see where that gets me. I started up my other tank using that instead of the RO as well as had a fish in the tank for carbon and nitrate so that could be apart of the issue though I wasn't sure.
 
OP
L

Lizardbab

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
16
Location
Boise, ID
Yeah I actually started my other successful tank with dechlorinated tap so I was thinking of using tap with my next water change after cleaning all the brown stuff out!
Hi,

I think the RO system strips out all the essential minerals that that plants require and you may be suffering acid build up in the tank - plants will not thrive if this is the case. I am not sure if you have "tap water" where you are, but if you do it may worth stripping all the dead plants and the water in the tank, and re-fill with tap water. I would say I am not sure this is the issue, but it is worth a try I think.

HTH
 
OP
L

Lizardbab

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
16
Location
Boise, ID
Hey there so I just started a new tank like last week and things haven't been going well. It cycled but all my plants are dying. I know they take some time to establish but I have another tank that wasn't this bad before it established.
Basically, all my moss is brown and grey, plant leaves are brown yellow and melting, the wood was rotting like nothing else, diatoms are everywhere to the point they blotch up my hands just sticking them in the tank before cleaning everytime. Some leaves have holes. There's a brown haze around the tank floor. Basically it's a disaster and what's weird is the params are hardly off. There's .5 ammonia but that's it in terms of params being off and I'm pretty sure it's because of all the unexplainable rot going on.

Here's my tank params. 5 gal
7 ph
Under 20 nitrates
78 F temp
0 nitrite
120 kh
75 gh
Ammonia: .5

Water I use goes through a reverse osmosis system.

Filtration: bubble filter with airstone and internal filtration with low flow.
Waterchanges haven't been constant yet but it's around 50% made twice a week because of how dirty it's been. Gravel is vacuumed. Scrubbed all the rot off the wood too.

Ferts: (dosed once a week)
EZ green by co op
EZ iron by co op
No injected Co2

Types of plants:
Water sprite
2 anubias (Nana and bartari)
Microswords
Undulata
Java moss
Wood type: spider wood

No fish present because I wanted to give it time before adding them.
Edit: Hey so update! I deep deep cleaned and I found that if I rubbed the plant leaves and grass with my fingers the leaves were all still very green! They aren't decaying at all. The only one that's struggling is the Java moss and the water sprite but both appear to be able to make a recovery.They were just coated in diatoms and I found that I used sand with a heavy amount of silicate. When I bought it I didn't know there were sands like that but oh well I'll just work with what I've got and do more cleanings.

I even held the moss to the sun and there's a large patch of green on the inside though it's not a super strong green its still alive! It was harder to tell when it was underwater so I think theres still hope for it.

I also vacuumed up all the organic matter and wiped the glass everywhere and it's looking much clearer. I think the haze was from the diatoms gathered on the glass. So yeah, just needed a clean up. Also I found a baby snail in there. I like the snails in my tanks despite them being pest snails so it made me happy to see him :)

I also am using the dechlorinated tap water and its helping the plants a little. Zero ammonia now too. I'm gonna keep it up so I can add a betta soon :) .

I included some updated photos.
Thanks for the tips guys! I'm gonna get flourish tomorrow.
 

Attachments

  • 20210917_213732.jpg
    20210917_213732.jpg
    387.4 KB · Views: 27
  • 20210917_213724.jpg
    20210917_213724.jpg
    302.2 KB · Views: 23

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Aficionado
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
4,226
Reaction score
5,527
Location
UK
Edit: Hey so update! I deep deep cleaned and I found that if I rubbed the plant leaves and grass with my fingers the leaves were all still very green! They aren't decaying at all. The only one that's struggling is the Java moss and the water sprite but both appear to be able to make a recovery.They were just coated in diatoms and I found that I used sand with a heavy amount of silicate. When I bought it I didn't know there were sands like that but oh well I'll just work with what I've got and do more cleanings.

I even held the moss to the sun and there's a large patch of green on the inside though it's not a super strong green its still alive! It was harder to tell when it was underwater so I think theres still hope for it.

I also vacuumed up all the organic matter and wiped the glass everywhere and it's looking much clearer. I think the haze was from the diatoms gathered on the glass. So yeah, just needed a clean up. Also I found a baby snail in there. I like the snails in my tanks despite them being pest snails so it made me happy to see him :)

I also am using the dechlorinated tap water and its helping the plants a little. Zero ammonia now too. I'm gonna keep it up so I can add a betta soon :) .

I included some updated photos.
Thanks for the tips guys! I'm gonna get flourish tomorrow.

This was a really nice update to see! Tank is looking great, and weirdly, I kinda like the look of the moss where it's brown?! :lol: It makes it look more like a piece of wood that has been there for years, a little eerie and eldritch... I like it!

But I've heard the same from others, that moss can look totally brown and dead, then spring back to life months later, so I'd hang on to it too, especially since you can see new growth :)

I'm curious, I think I've read that spiderwood does tend to give off a lot of biofilm and gakkiness, compared to other woods - have you used spiderwood before? Do you think it might have contributed at all? Along with the silicates and high iron of course. Maybe the combo of things did it. I have a small piece of spiderwood, but haven't used it yet, so wondering whether it's true that it can be messier than other woods.

Glad your problem was sorted! Tank cleaned up great, share pics of the betta when you get him please! :D
 

xxBarneyxx

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Messages
3,666
Reaction score
801
Location
Kent, UK
That's great news. I did think it was mostly just diatoms. One of the downsides of sand but it will always sort itself out eventually.

I have a small piece of spiderwood, but haven't used it yet, so wondering whether it's true that it can be messier than other woods.
Spiderwood will normally form fluffy mold looking gunk but won't cause diatoms. Again though it normally burns itself out eventually.

Diatoms come from excess silicates which is normally from the sand but have seen it from the silicone on a new tank as well. It looks ugly and can cover plants enough that they can't get light but other than that they are harmless and will burn out in a couple of weeks normally.
 
OP
L

Lizardbab

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
16
Location
Boise, ID
This was a really nice update to see! Tank is looking great, and weirdly, I kinda like the look of the moss where it's brown?! :lol: It makes it look more like a piece of wood that has been there for years, a little eerie and eldritch... I like it!

But I've heard the same from others, that moss can look totally brown and dead, then spring back to life months later, so I'd hang on to it too, especially since you can see new growth :)

I'm curious, I think I've read that spiderwood does tend to give off a lot of biofilm and gakkiness, compared to other woods - have you used spiderwood before? Do you think it might have contributed at all? Along with the silicates and high iron of course. Maybe the combo of things did it. I have a small piece of spiderwood, but haven't used it yet, so wondering whether it's true that it can be messier than other woods.

Glad your problem was sorted! Tank cleaned up great, share pics of the betta when you get him please! :D
Yeah I think the combo of things did it too. I have some plants in my other tank that really like iron (moneywart and the weird octopus one) so I thought that the stem plants in here would be the same especially since I use RO but turns out not. My octopus grass grows like crazy with the addition of iron. It's like a forest in there.

Also the spider wood does give off a crazy biofilm. I wondered if the wood was bad because I have another piece of drift wood in my other tank that had some rot but not nearly as much. Its another reason I like the pest snails because they like to eat all the unsightly goo. The spider wood had so much goo that I ended up taking it out and scrubbing it with a bristle brush. A straw cleaner really helps for all the nooks and crannies. It might help to boil it for a few hours too before putting it in. I did that to my other piece of wood and it minimized the rot I think.

I will send pics of the betta when I get him or her :)
 
OP
L

Lizardbab

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
16
Location
Boise, ID
That's great news. I did think it was mostly just diatoms. One of the downsides of sand but it will always sort itself out eventually.


Spiderwood will normally form fluffy mold looking gunk but won't cause diatoms. Again though it normally burns itself out eventually.

Diatoms come from excess silicates which is normally from the sand but have seen it from the silicone on a new tank as well. It looks ugly and can cover plants enough that they can't get light but other than that they are harmless and will burn out in a couple of weeks normally.
Yep just a lot of diatoms :) I've had plants coated in them before. I'm just glad they're easier to remove than green algae haha. That stuff is like trying to sand paint off a car.
 

Most reactions

Top