Help! Melting Plants! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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I added some new plants to my new 20G tank that's been cycling for almost 4 week (and ammonia and nitrite just went down to zero today!) I have bacopa australis, bacopa carolina, luwigia repens, creeping jenny, brazilian pennywort, foxtail green, hornwort, varies anubis and moss, as well as some riccia floating (restricted to a corner) on top of the tank. Most of the plants are from planted aquarium central.

All the plants start showing signs of melting after a few days. Some of the plants are melting from the stems, especially the part of the stem that I buried under the substrate. So far, most of the bocopa have completely melted, the luwigia had lost most of its leaves and stem starting to turn black and rot, the brazilian pennywort is growing new leave but all the old leave and bottom of the steam are browning and melting with some of the new leaves starting to melt as well, the hornwort is growing longer but also experiencing melting at the same time as it grow. The creeping jenny seems to doing fine, some of its older leave melted but it's growing new leaves and looks healthy for now. The anubis and moss looks fine as well, but the riccia had turned yellow except for the tip.

I have 3-4 inch of eco-complete substrate, I added 4 seachem root tab to the tank before I add the plants, and I dose Flourish comp weekly and excel every other day. My nitrate level is around 20 PPM right now. I don't have a test kit for kh and gh, but I tested the water in petco and the alkalinity and hardness are both on the low end. The melting are especially worst this week when my nitrite and nitrate beginning to spike.

Anyone have suggestion on how to save my plants or anything I can do to make sure my plant can survive if I order some new ones?

So i proceed to clean my tank when I got home, most of the plants would just melt completely on the touch, so I end up taking out all the dying plants since there were dead plant floating everywhere in my tank after the stir up. After a 50% water change, there are still lots of dead plant pieces floating around but I will just let them settle and suck up by the filter. At the end, all the luwigia, bocopa, and pennywort are now gone, the hornwort is still alive but the whole plant is yellowing and small leaves are falling apart, most of the leaves on the foxtail turned black and fall easily so they are just a bare stem now. Even my anubis nana lost 4 of the 7 leaves (the leaves were very loose and came off when I take it out of water, but the leaves look perfectly healthy, it just fallen off the rhizome). The only plants that seem to be in great condition is the creeping jenny (despite a few melting leaves at the bottom), and the moss stones that I made.

I been doing some reading, am I think my kh and gh might be the reason for some of the plants dying. I have very soft tap water, and I bought my water to petco for a water test, the gh/kh reading was below 2, is this too low for a planted tank? Would this explain for all the meltings? If so, what are some safe way to raise my kh and gh?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 05-20-2018 at 10:30 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 06:49 AM
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Where the stem plants you got emersed? That would be the number one reason for the melt.

If your water is acidic and/or your light is at the lower end then the melt would be even more pronounced.

If you try again, let some stems float where they get more light and co2.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 10:13 AM
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Were there weights on the bottom of the stems when you got them? Did you remove any weights and trim the bottom of the stems before planting? In the past I neglected to remove weights and trim and experienced what are are now. When I remove and trim I have much better results.

Also, the comment above about emersed growth is spot on too. If the plants are not used to being under water and now have to adjust to it the existing growth tends to melt. I agree with trying to float some to give better CO2 access and an easier time transitioning.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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My ph is around 7.4 with temp at 76 F, and been pretty stable throughout the cycle process. I have 18 bright LED lights but not sure the wattage and i keep my light on for 12 hrs during the cycle. I do remove the plant weight and trim the bottom before i plant them, and the melting is not just from bottom, some of them melt from the top of the stem down as well.

I guess I should let the plant float for a week or two before I plant them and maybe go with hardier plants like anubis and java ferns for my tank.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 04:52 PM
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Hardy plants are never a bad idea! That said, unless you're dealing with plants that have a strong reputation for melting (I'm thinking of buce and crypts right now) you're probably dealing with a transition from emersed to submersed form. Many sources sell plants in their emersed form since they're cheaper and faster to produce that way.

I'm not sure the extent to which you're aware of this, but I'll give you a little background. Most of the plants we know in the hobby as "aquatic plants" grow both above and below the water (hence submersed and emersed forms). In general, plants grow faster above the water, since they have more ready access to light and carbon dioxide, two of the three essential components of photosynthesis. The same plant is often capable of surviving a transition to.emersed life (such as might happen in the wild as water levels change throughout the year) but the process can entail fairly massive physiological changes to the plant, hence the melting. Often (though not always) a plant will be able to survive the transition, as long as some roots survive. The moral of the story is don't give up right away! Often a plant that appears dead can recover, although certianly not always.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your help, wish I had know better when I order them online, I end up taking out most of the dying plants, here is a picture of my tank right now, the creeping jenny (left back corner) is the only healthy plant from my online order. I added some more of them (center front) off clipping from my friend's lawn so I will see if these will survive. On the right side is my foxtail and hornwort, the foxtail is pretty bare but at least the main stem is healthy, so hopefully it will grow new leaves, the hornwort is yellowing and very week and the leave can easily break off.

At least I am glad the cycle is completed so I added a zebra danio and a few ghost shrimp just to make sure they can survive before I purchase more expensive fishes.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/737p2miknm..._0193.jpg?dl=0

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 07:27 PM
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I suggest buying plants from other hobbyists on the forum/trusted lfs.

Then you know what you're getting since you're going to be able to see it/a picture of it before you buy!

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