Toxic Riparium Plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Toxic Riparium Plants?

I have long had an issue with Nerite snails and Amano shrimp in a particular tank I have, with plants growing above the water surface. I have recently upgraded my tank to a larger size, and started running all external in-line equipment. The only thing in the tank is pretty much my emerged plants and rock substrate (no dirt). I am having the same issue so I pretty much have come to the conclusion it is one of my plants that is toxic.

Amano shrimp stay in the corner by the intake tube, and their lungs turn white on the sides of their heads before they die. They do not really graze or swim, just stay by the intake until they die as if they want maximum water flow. The Nerites die within days, sometimes within hours. I am running an air pump attached to a cergas reactor so I know O2 is not an issue...the water is very oxygenated now to remove a variable.

I know Dracaena is toxic to some house pets, and I do have that in there. I will list out my plants tomorrow to see if anything rings a bell for anyone.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-29-2016, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Okay so here is a list of plants I have in this tank, anything with an asterisk (*) is toxic on some level according to Google.

* Dracaena
* Pothos (two species)
* Arrow Head
* Ivy
* Dieffenbachia (Dumbcane)
Garlic
Wandering Jew
Anthurium
Croton
Button Fern
Dwarf Palm (Areca)
Fittonia
Spider Plant
Prayer Plant


Not sure about the others, most research is done for house pets and not aquatics. My grandmothers 5 gallon planted shrimp tank is losing RCS one by one, seemingly a week or two after I added a planter with Pothos and Peace Lily...so I think one of the two plants in that planter are killing the RCS...but not affecting the snails.

In my riparium it is a different story, both shrimp and snails die. The shrimp in the riparium do not even eat they have an empty digestive tract. I have three more plants not on the list I can not identify, see the photos below. I have a watermelon looking vine, something that resembles a corn stalk, and some sort of grass I got from a pond edge.


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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 01:50 PM
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All the houseplants I know of as being toxic, you've already noted on your list. I saw your posts before about the nerites dying and wondered if it was the dieffenbachia or pothos.... but I never heard of them being toxic to inverts, just housecats or kids that chew on them....

Have you tried removing the known toxic ones, or putting the nerites into a tank that doesn't have the riparium plants?

The first pic of unknown looks like wandering jew plant to me, but you already say you have that one under the identified list, so I don't know what it is- unless a different variety of the same type of plant? Curious, because it's pretty.


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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Yes removing them keeps them alive, it is one of these plants (or a combination). It is very frustrating because this could be a very long process of trial and error.

I think you see the purple wandering jew in the background, I blurred it out. I am talking about the green plant that looks like a watermelon.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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I removed the two baskets on the left side, that have Dracaena, Arrowhead, Ivy, and Dieffenbachia (Dumbcane). I did an 80% water change and added a Nerite and Amano. It has been 12 hours since I added the Nerite and it is showing signs of closing up, only an hour since I added the Amano. I am now looking at the remaining plants and I am eyeballing the Croton now...not a common riparium plant yet Google says it is very toxic.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teebo View Post
I removed the two baskets on the left side, that have Dracaena, Arrowhead, Ivy, and Dieffenbachia (Dumbcane). I did an 80% water change and added a Nerite and Amano. It has been 12 hours since I added the Nerite and it is showing signs of closing up, only an hour since I added the Amano. I am now looking at the remaining plants and I am eyeballing the Croton now...not a common riparium plant yet Google says it is very toxic.
Not if it's this style of croton:


I've had this one for months with snails, shrimp and fry in the tank. Even had leaves fall off and decompose fully in the tank.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Dammit! That is the Croton I have, only I have the thin and narrow leaf version. A dwarf if you will. This is so frustrating, I wonder if plant toxins are stored in driftwood like a sponge even if I removed the bad plant. I noticed my Amano shrimp do not eat, their digestive track slowly goes clear after I add them to the tank and they sit still, no grazing. This tells me something is irritating them, and possibly causing nausea. The snails die fast, I have other tanks with the same tap water with no issues.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 02:48 AM
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After a quick search Anthurium is also supposed to be toxic. I would try removing this plant if you have not tried that already.
It is related to the peace lily.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Oh really? I have to remove another basket to find out and I will. I removed the snail that seemed to have died and it took about 8 hours for it to bounce back in another tank.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Still continuing this journey, by removing the two left baskets I was able to get Amano shrimp to live longer and have an appetite, and be active, however ultimately dying quickly when they do go out. This however did not help me keep Nerites alive so there is still a troublesome plant somewhere. I have finally removed ALL the baskets and did a 50% water change, I will see if I can get a Nerite to live in there now and if not...another water change.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 04:50 AM
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I know you said oxygenation isn't an issue, so I assume you're not using the pressurized CO2 under the tank?
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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No I am not using the CO2 yet, however I am not using oxygen right now either so that could be an issue I am overlooking too.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Angry

All the plants are removed, I did a 99% water change in the tank. However I left the water in my canister, reactor, UV and heater + lines. It still kills Amano shrimp and Nerite snails!



I think the remaining water is the system is highly unlikely to cause this same issue, unless it is a virus or fungus or something that regenerated from the bottom system. I tested the water, no ammonia or nitrites. I am using the same "Primed" tap water I use for my other tanks. I am feeding an air pump into the reactor right now, no gas. Now I am looking at potential issues with the UV I may try unplugging it to see if it is a factor here...another thought was my canister media being contaminated. It is just sponges, floss, and Purigen. If something like metals entered the water and the Purigen soaked it up, if it hit its holding/absorption capacity would it then begin releasing them back into the water column after water changes?
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-27-2016, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I am still fighting this, with all the plants now in a tub of water I added a snail to the tub and it has been alive for weeks now...I am ruling out toxicity of all my plants.

Looking over my system I found some red growth between my canister pump and CO2 reactor. It looks very much to me like saltwater coralline algae. Any idea what I am dealing with here?! This very well may be the factor!

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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-28-2016, 01:03 AM
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Do you have any copper plumbing or aquarium products that contain copper? I think I see some shiny bits in your under-cabinet setup.


Stop testing the water with expensive Amano shrimp! Don't you have some trumpet snails you could use?
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