Plants are being snipped off mysteriously - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Plants are being snipped off mysteriously

I can't figure it out...
Every morning I wakeup and more peices of vegatation are floating in the corners of my tanks.

I've got a 120 g tank containing
10 Cardinal Tetras
8 Brilliant Rasboras
5 Danios
9 White Clouds
3 Otos
and 30 1/4" shrimp.

The tank was having the weird self trimming issue before the shrimp addition about 3 days ago...

Ph is 6.8-7.1 depending on time of day
10 hours of 3W lighting mixed T5 and Actinic
Dosing 1 ml of eheim plant ferts daily
kH is 10 gm/l
gH is 11 gm/l
(I've got hard water and am slowing bringing these down with each water change as I just bought an RO unit, both gh and kh were over 14 2 weeksa ago)
PO4 is .5
Nitrite is zilch
nitrates are zilch
temp is 79.5 more or less depending on lighting
I don't have any other test kits.

I had a ick problem 2 weeks ago and lost some cardinals... so I turned the temp up a couple of degrees and added a UV sterilizer last week.

The mysteriously trimmed off plants problem has been increaseing as time goes by and this morning was the worse ever... the UV didn't do anything to stop that... but with the introduction of the UV my Wisteria appears to be kinda greyed in color now (maybe some trace element is being oxidized by the uv before the wisteria can get it?). also with the UV seems the hornwort (the submersim species) is looking kinda bad..
But the other plants are all doing much better.

The "trimmings" are from variety of plants but the wisteria has been left alone. The peices of vallisneria are 1 to 2 inches long and look cut off straight across the stem. Then there are snips of ludwigia that are anywhere from a leaf to a 3 inch section of stem. the stem also looks cut clean through. And there are lots of lost little peices of hornwort and camboma leaflets. Also my baby tears has been snipped off, but not as much as the other plants... the peices of baby tears are about 1 to 2 inches long and the stems look snipped.
Nothing looks chewed on...

This is weird... I don't have any major plant eating kinds of fish...

Maybe I've got some weird invert that only comes out at night that I don't know about?

Anyone got any ideas?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Worm Catepillars larval insects

After that post this morning I decided to get more scientific. I scooped out a bunch of hte snipped off plants... and started poking carefully through the mess. then I poked around in the forums here...

I found some ugly wormy catepillar things that must be the culprits.

The ones in my tank appear to be sticking two leaves from Ludwigia (and other plants together) to make a home. I have pulled the leaves apart, they're glued pretty tightly... and the catepillar worm looks fuzzy, Kinda clear/whiteish with brown mouthparts. I can see the bright green plant material in it's digestive gut.

I'm hoping they are just some nymph form and will metamorph and get out of my tank... since my tank isn't outside.. I'm hoping they'll die off.
I guess if I see strange flying insects around I better kill them off before they lay eggs again in my tank.

I think they must have gotten in with plants I added.


I'll see if I can get some macro pictures so maybe someone can help identify these plant munchers.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 09:13 PM
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Ummm... I doubt its your bugs. Keep an eye on them danio's, it will happen in the night.

They are notorious vegetarians.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 01:40 AM
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fish killers?

I know a dragonfly nymph will kill fish. I also read that some can live in the nymph state for as long as 5 years before hatching or whatever it is when they morph into dragonflys. I looked this up when we found a "thing" in the pond/tank at the school. They can bite as well. Dragonfly nymphs are a favorite, hands down, of trout, hence the imitation lures, but they turn the tables on small fish and paralyze them and suck their guts out. Ick.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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I think my husband's going to disown me... he said today that my tanks gets more attention from me than he does... LOL.

Anyway I spent all day researching this weird wormy catepillar critter... I'm very sure it's a caddis fly larvae. They can really eat a lot of vegetation from what I read online. I guess I"ll just start looking for them and manually picking them out. Hopefully they won't turn into adults and relay eggs right back into my tank. I don't want to use chemical since caddis flies are invertebrates, probably anything I would use would also kill my shrimp.

They make little cocoons out of leaves like little sleeping bags and manage to clue the leaves together on the edges. But after picking about 8 of them apart, it is interesting to see that they leave the narrower ends of their home open. I suppose it is so they can eat and pass fecal matter.

So far I've found about 10 of them. I guess I'll just keep looking for more.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 08:31 AM
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BTW the actinic lights do nothing for the plants and should not be included in the wpg calculation.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 11:02 AM
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What planet was I on ?
I completely missed this part... I can see the bright green plant material in it's digestive gut.

I need a break... LOL

Is there any chance you can get a picture of these things , this sounds almost eerie !
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-14-2005, 04:31 PM
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i think your plants would do better with a little more nitrates in the water.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-14-2005, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
BTW the actinic lights do nothing for the plants and should not be included in the wpg calculation.
Dunno 'bout that:

"Plants have two types of chlorophyll; a and b. Chlorophyll a absorbs light at 405 and 640 nm. Chlorophyll b has a peak absorption at 440 and 620 nm."

"Actinic lights, for example, produce only light at a specific wavelength - 420 nm. This peak wavelength value, which produces a very blue light, was chosen because during photosynthesis chlorophyll a absorbs light near this wavelength."

http://www.marineland.com/reports/3lighting.asp

TW
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-14-2005, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck
danio's...are notorious vegetarians
Are you serious???

Goog grief...I am a big fan of Longfin Zebra Danios and I always have a bunch in my tanks. I never noticed any danio-sized nips in my plants, not even my dwarf hairgrass.

Do they like anything in particular...?
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-14-2005, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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I was gonna wait and post when I found my camera cable so I can show you guys the caddis fly larvae...

I do need to correct my earlier post.. the bright big lights on my tank are metal halides. I think the blue t5's also contribute some for the plants.. but mostly I just like the blue color enhancing effect on the fish. The cardinal tetras look like they are practically generating their own neon blue from their blue lateral line stripe. Amazing. It really makes their colors pop. I should also probably mention my danios are those genetically engineered ones used in water quality testing that have the anemone red pigment gene in their muscles. The red color really benefits from that light too.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-14-2005, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Caddis fly larvae images

Okay pictures of my hairy little catepillar like caddis fly friends are here.

I circled the little leaf 'sandwich' that the critter made his home in in the first image.

The second image of his little home stripped open so you can see him.

The third image is a close up of this guy. It was hard to see the hairs on him so I side lit the little glass dish he was in.


I picked 15 more out last night... They seem to really be doing a job on my ludwigia... I found only one on my cabomba in the very top center end of stalk. And I found only one on the Wisteria, again that was a the top center where new growth occurs.

I'm getting better at finding these little critters, they camoflouge themselves pretty well. Quite a few had made their little leaf nests out of ludwigia leaves with other leafs from assorted plants kinda glued to the top wider open end of their nests. A lot of them were stuck in the middle of the bacopa. I"m guessing that they were caught in there by the current and they glued themselves to the bacopa.

But they certainly prefer the ludwigia leaves as their primary material.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2005, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWood
Dunno 'bout that:

"Plants have two types of chlorophyll; a and b. Chlorophyll a absorbs light at 405 and 640 nm. Chlorophyll b has a peak absorption at 440 and 620 nm."

"Actinic lights, for example, produce only light at a specific wavelength - 420 nm. This peak wavelength value, which produces a very blue light, was chosen because during photosynthesis chlorophyll a absorbs light near this wavelength."

http://www.marineland.com/reports/3lighting.asp

TW

Gee... it did not support your argument so you left off the last line.

Quote:
To promote photosynthesis in reef coral actinic lamps are used. Some lamps have two, or even three, peak wavelengths.
If you are growing corals actinic lights work great. But they don't do much for plants. Don't believe me? Set up a tank with nothing but actinic lights.

And by the way. That article is 5 years old. Which makes it almost prehistoric in this hobby.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2005, 12:12 AM
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Great photos !
My question to you now is how did you get these in your aquarium ? Do you collect native plants ? Did you recently buy plants? This "bugs" me... LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by spinjector
I am a big fan of Longfin Zebra Danios and I always have a bunch in my tanks. I never noticed any danio-sized nips in my plants
They are fine as youth's...its when they mature , much like my Congo tetra's I was warned about. When these fish hit maturity and breeding age their diet expands.
You will know when its their time ...
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2005, 01:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
Gee... it did not support your argument so you left off the last line.
Um, no, I was trying to point out in a concise way that plants can use light in the spectrum that actinics provide. The rest of the article is linked for the fuller understanding. He's just saying that actinics work well -in particular- for corals. (Because they only get the blue end of the spectrum at their depth in ocean water.)

I've seen a planted tank with 25% actinics plus 10,000K lamps on it, and it looked great. Sort of dark and broody because the human eye doesn't see the light that the plants 'see'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
If you are growing corals actinic lights work great. But they don't do much for plants. Don't believe me? Set up a tank with nothing but actinic lights.
That's not the suggestion, but nice knock-down of a straw-man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
And by the way. That article is 5 years old. Which makes it almost prehistoric in this hobby.
The physics of light and the biology of chlorophyl hasn't changed much since then.

TW
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