Brown, transparent, dying plants
I just set up a new tank. It has a Dupla heating cable suspended in about an 1" of Quartz fine sand. Next is a 3" layer of clay based iron rich substrate. Finally I have a 1" layer of natural gravel. It is a 70 Gal Tank (20X2018) with a 405 Fluval Filter (no charcoal). Lighting is from 4 T5 Actinic bulbs and 4 T5 10K bulbs. They are on timers so that the tank receives 5 hour light followed by a 3 hour "siesta" and then another 5 hours of light. The water was 50% from an established 3 year old planted tank that is doing great. The other 50% was aged tap water (same as I use in the established tank that is doing so well). I added some of the mulm from the mulm from the established tank to the substrate of the new tank.
After allowing the tank about 60 days to cycle I transfered a few vals, crypts, Java moss and Java Fern to the new tank. It has been a week and all of my plants have turned brown and the leaves are disinegrating. The one exception is the Java Moss - it is doing fine. The val is sending up 'wide' transparent leaves with brown veins. The plants are all bubbling so I assume that photosynthisis is occouring at a high rate.
Does anyone know why the plants are browning, disenegrating and dying in spite of appearing to be photosynthesizing so well? The surface of the tank is covered with a mass of small bubbles that are being given off by the plants.