all java fern QUICKLY AND SUDDENLY dying
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:19 PM   #1
caykuu
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all java fern QUICKLY AND SUDDENLY dying


The java ferns in my tank are all quickly browning, leaf by leaf.... they've been in the tank for at least a year with no problem.

What is going on? Do I actually need to change the bulb or something (it's 2 and a half years old)? I doubt that's this reason.

All of the java ferns in the tank are quickly browning, not just one patch.

EDIT: The majority of the java ferns in my tank are now over 80% brown, just over the past four days. I'm also having a sudden death problem on all of my Taiwan moss, though it's not as severe as the java ferns. If anyone knows what's happening, PLEASE tell me.

Last edited by caykuu; 06-28-2013 at 01:49 AM.. Reason: title
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:49 AM   #2
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trim it all the brown/black leaves, if the symptom happens pretty fast; Im sure it is related to Java ferns melts.. Do some water changes about 50%, and I don't think it got to do with your lighting system..
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:26 PM   #3
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I just did a 50% water change a few days ago, but it started browning before then.
I trimmed down the leaves yesterday, but when I woke up this morning, there were more brown leaves.

Anyone else know the cause?
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:42 AM   #4
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90% of the java fern in my tank has died in the past few four days.

If anyone has ANY idea what's happening, please let me know...
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:43 AM   #5
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oh no. seems like youve been havving problem with this tanke for several weeks. hope it turns around for you soon.

How is the water temp?
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-29-2013 at 02:26 AM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:08 AM   #6
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Do you have enough nitrates (not nitrites)? I have read that java ferns can brown if they do not have enough nitrates...
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:17 AM   #7
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Maybe you need to add fertilizers?Anyone know how long the nutrients in the substrate last?
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:26 PM   #8
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Let's go back to basics:

What are your parameters?

Also, as a side note, bulbs do change quite a bit as they age, especially fluorescent. Might not be a bad thing to R&R the bulb.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:31 PM   #9
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It is my understanding that fluorescent bulbs need to be changed once a year for a planted tank. Even if a light appears bright it might not be putting out the light (wave length/spectrum) needed by plants to grow.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caykuu View Post
The java ferns in my tank are all quickly browning, leaf by leaf.... they've been in the tank for at least a year with no problem.

What is going on? Do I actually need to change the bulb or something (it's 2 and a half years old)? I doubt that's this reason.

All of the java ferns in the tank are quickly browning, not just one patch.

EDIT: The majority of the java ferns in my tank are now over 80% brown, just over the past four days. I'm also having a sudden death problem on all of my Taiwan moss, though it's not as severe as the java ferns. If anyone knows what's happening, PLEASE tell me.
Hi caykuu,

I feel your pain having gone through this a few times over the last four years; here is a thread that is a couple of years old that may help....you will find my post (#6) about 1/2 down the first page. Most recently it happened again about 2 months ago. It wiped out about 80% of my 'Trident' and 'Windelov' before I got a handle on it. The good news is your plants can recover.

My first thought was it was a disease but I no longer believe that. Replacing the lamps in my fixtures had not effect; my most recent outbreak happened with lamps that were two months old. My third thought was that it might be 'seasonal' but I had some tanks remain unaffected and other tanks suffering with the problem. Now I am strongly leaning toward nutrient deficiency, most likely one of the following:
Magnesium
Calcium
Potassium
Manganese

I suspect it is a deficiency of one (or a combination) of the nutrients above. We have very soft water where I live (<1.0 dKH; <3.0 dGH). Whenever I have the 'melting' problem occur it is usually due to my laziness. Typically when I do my water changes I add sufficient Seachem Equilibrium to raise my general hardness to at least 4.0 dGH (which was recommended by Tom Barr at a talk at our club a couple of years ago). I also add a small amount of baking soda (NaHCO3) to raise my carbonate hardness to 2.0 dKH. When I fail to add those nutrients eventually the 'melt' will show up and remind me.

My plants are all now recovering, here is what I did.

1) Removed any leaves that show any brown discoloration at all (so I can see if the deficiency continues or is resolved). Don't worry if the green rhizome ends up with no leaves; they will grow back
2) 50% water change to 'reset' the tank
3) Continued my normal fertilization (EI) dosing
4) Added sufficient NaHCO3 to raise dKH to 2.0 after every water change
(I use this baking soda / dKH calculator)
5) Added sufficient Seachem Equilibrium to raise dGH to 4.0 after every water change
(I use the Seachem calculator)
6) I also added 1/8 tsp MgSO4 (Epsom salt) and 1/8 tsp CaCl (calcium carbonate/Dri-z-air/dissolve in before adding to tank) per 15 gallon weekly after doing my water change. Adding equal amounts of MgSO4 and CaCl helps to maintain the 3.3:1 Ca:Mg ratio.

Before 'melt'
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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 06-28-2013 at 04:08 PM.. Reason: grammer
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:45 PM   #11
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I dosed two capfuls of Flourish Comprehensive last week.

Temperature is 78.

Thanks for the post Aquarist. I don't currently have the equipment to test for KH and GH, though I'm sure the water that comes through my faucet is also soft... since we have a water softener.

Not sure where to get MgSO4 and CaCl specifically. Is it a dry fert? I currently only have flourish comprehensive and a bottle of flourish iron.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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Hi caykuu,

Most LFS will test your water for little or no charge.

Seachem Equilibrium is available at most better LFS

MgSO4 is Epsom salt available at drug stores or sometimes even grocery stores; less than $2 per pound

CaCl is found in Dri-Z-Air available at hardware stores as a dehumidifying chemical; less than $2 for 13 oz bag.
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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 06-28-2013 at 04:56 PM.. Reason: added pic
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:05 PM   #13
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If your water is softened what happens is calcium and magnesium are removed and sodium replaces it unless your softener uses a potassium salt as some do. Softened water isn't good for aquariums, plants need those minerals and don't need sodium. If you could get water before it goes through the softener that would be much better.

Try that for a while, your plants should have enough calcium and magnesium if you do that and your water really is hard.

MgSO4 [+a lot of H2O molecules] is Epsom salts. I just bought plain stuff at the $ store, beware - scented Epsom salt is also sold there. I think CaCl is actually plaster of paris, no CaSO4 is POP and would work scary sounding though it is. Again, be absolutely sure it is pure and plain POP. I happen to have a couple pounds of calcium carbonate left over from cooking dog food and use that.

I thought I had hard water as I am in southern California but my plants do better with a bit of epsom salt at water change time and I add a bit of calcium carbonate as well mostly because I have it on hand.

I have had a bit of fern melt and thought it was diseased. Cut out the dead stuff and the plant recovered. Since the plants do better with added hardness it is perfectly possible the hardness dipped a bit too low as was Seattle Aquarist's experience.
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:28 PM   #14
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Yeah, that water softener is bad news for the plants.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:39 AM   #15
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Did a 50% water change yesterday again using the tap from outside before going through the softener.
Hopefully things will get better...? Though I suddenly don't think it will...

The thing is, this browning problem started occurring on the moss BEFORE I did a water change last week- and before that, I didn't do a water change in 6 months, and the plants were growing very well. It occurred quite suddenly, before I did anything new to the tank, (just dosing Flourish comprehensive once a month or so) which makes me think it's a disease... though I'm not really qualified to come to a conclusion like this. Any more pointers?

Thought I would note that the dwarf sag is not affected at all by any of this. Only the Taiwan moss and java ferns are all browning and dying.. VERY quickly...

Last edited by caykuu; 07-01-2013 at 02:49 AM.. Reason: edit
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