Fungus/melting in new vivarium - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Fungus/melting in new vivarium

I just completed a new vivarium build (30G cube). I have sealed off the top with hinged glass and used double sided tape along with saran wrap to seal off the rest. There is still a small amount of gas exchange around the glass and where the wires go out of the tank.

The plants have been in there around 10 days and most have started losing leaves. The plants in the top half of the tank dry out while the ones in the bottom half seem to be succumbing to some sort of fungus. The HC I put in the tank is just a smear of disgusting fungus right now.

How do you deal with this? Is it just a matter of getting the plants to adapt to their new environment?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 03:27 PM
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There are two issues at hand here...

One, you need to get the plants to adapt and grow. Main variables here are light, temperature, moisture. Not too much/high, not to little/low. For example, it can be easy to keep water at 75F with a heater, while an airspace tends to heat up with lights on and cool down rapidly at night.

Second issue is that in emersed setups, dead leaves decay much slower than under water, where snails and micro-orgs finish them up rather quickly. Above water, you will have fungus (like Botrytis) eat them/turn them to mush. This can spread to and affect even healthy plant tissues. So removing diseased plant parts is important, also don't put too much plant mass in there in the beginning, since it will prevent air flow and make it harder to keep things clean.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a safe fungicide I can use while the plants are adapting?

Right now it is just plants and I would be OK with not being able to add any frogs for weeks or months even as long as it would help the plants.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ive been researching botrytis. It definitely appears to be the culprit for most of the problems in my tank.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 06:29 PM
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Can you post some pictures and more details about your setup? What kind of drainage system did you include?

A certain amount of fungal growth to be expected for new dart frog vivs, just like algae is common in new aquarium setups. You might see it begin to abate on its own. Have you considered adding any beneficial microfauna such as springtails?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 06:36 PM
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This setup might also benefit from a CPU fan for air circulation. In my experience plants really appreciate extra air movement in high-humidity enclosures.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Can you post some pictures and more details about your setup? What kind of drainage system did you include?

A certain amount of fungal growth to be expected for new dart frog vivs, just like algae is common in new aquarium setups. You might see it begin to abate on its own. Have you considered adding any beneficial microfauna such as springtails?
I may try to post some pictures after work.

I have a 4x18W T5HO light fixture on for 9 hours a day. It is also supplemented, for even lightedness throughout the tank, by a cheap standard flourescent fixture that is like 8W or something. No temp control right now. The ambient room temp is about 72.

The problem plants are all on my titebond III/coco fiber background. Some are rooted in potting soil and some on driftwood pieces. The plants really getting hit hard by the fungus are cardinal plants, hygrophila 'compakt' and HC.

Drainage is a ~3" layer of ecocomplete upon which the "background" sits. The "background" slopes to cover almost the entire footprint of the tank near the bottom of the tank. Water remains below the top of the ecocomplete and is drained when necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
This setup might also benefit from a CPU fan for air circulation. In my experience plants really appreciate extra air movement in high-humidity enclosures.
Ill look into this.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 07:26 PM
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Are you going to put animals in there? For dart frog vivs it is pretty standard to use a false bottom made of egg crate in combination with ABG mix. Plants love ABG mix and it has very sharp drainage so it doesn't get waterlogged.

Please do consider adding a fan. It makes a huge difference.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-10-2012, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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Long term I do want to keep dart frogs in the tank. However, the main focus of this tank for me is the plants. So I want them to be thriving before I start adding to the tank.

As long as the water level remains below the substrate level then it should be functionally the same as ABG mix, at least in my mind.


Im curious about these fan setups. They are putting computer fans into tanks sitting near 100% humidty.. ? That just seems a little dangerous to me, but Im not an electrician, lol.

Here are some pics of the tank. It looks horrible... Today I removed as much of the slimy fungus tissue as possible and then misted with a 30% isopropyl alcohol solution several times.




The middle of the second picture is a large slick of HC that was completely wiped out by the fungus. The plants look so small and droopy because they have already lost 50% or more of their foliage.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-10-2012, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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I ordered the fan and a power adapter. Now I just need to figure out a good way to mount it.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-13-2012, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Hmmm, it just keeps getting worse. Now I am wondering if I have too much light because now even my anubias low in the tank seem to be burning???

is 4x18W T5 too much light for a vivarium? I just assumed it would work since it was working great for freshwater planted, but now im thinking its probably too much.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-13-2012, 07:18 PM
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What is under that coco?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-13-2012, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
What is under that coco?
Its all polyurethane foam covered with coco/titebondIII. I mistakingly put some top soil in the planter holes, which I think contributed to the rotting/fungus issue because they were not draining (ugh, major noob mistake). I have since punched small holes that allow them to drain and replaced with a peat/sand/soil mixture.
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