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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone!

After about 8 months of my new setting booming with growth. I finally decided to propagate and spread out the overgrown plants that were previously shooting towards the top of the tank.

So last night I got into it and spent about 3 hours situating everything and come to find out on some of the plants that weren't growing that well but still alive had black roots that were still in tact.

I'm just curious if this is a bad thing for the plants. I have black substrate .. Will that cause this problem ? Or is this normal ?

Appreciate any feedback :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
What kind of plants?

Java ferns and probably some other epiphytes have naturally dark roots. Otherwise healthy roots are generally white.

Substrate color has nothing to do with it.
The plants I'm experiencing this with are these. Water Wysteria, Bacopa, Frill, Jungle Val, and Wendtii Green.

Now its not all of the roots but select few only.

I dose with seachem Iron, phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, excel and trace. Including seachem Root tabs.

Dirted tank with organic mineralized miracle gro.
and
Finnex 24/7 planted + for 7.5 hours with C02 setup as well.


Do you think running the C02 to long would cause it ?
 

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An anaerobic substrate can cause black roots. I am not entirely sure if the black roots are alive and just coated in anaerobic bacteria (cause the roots to look black) or if the blackened roots are dead (due to the anaerobic conditions, since roots need oxygen).

If you have light colored substrate and you see black (dark green/blue) areas in the substrate, that is anaerobic bacteria (meaning your substrate has anaerobic areas).

As Burr pointed out though, some plants naturally do have black roots (Java fern). Though in this case, the OP's plants shouldn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have researched a bit about anaerobic bacteria and I cant seem to wrap my head around it. Does this mean the roots dont have enough oxygen in the substrate in order to fully form hence the black roots ???

I have one air stone in the tank and it is running 24/7. Its placed right under where the canister filter blows water back into the tank. Along with a powerhead that is on for about 6 hours to cycle the water around. I've had no issues so far. My plants grow strong and vibrant and I dont really see any signs of oxygen deficiency. Unless the black roots has to do with it.

Again like burr said I have a deeper substrate than most since its a dirted and capped type of tank.

At this point im wondering if I should somehow set up an airstone underneath the dirt.. hmmm
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmm I guess it's just a normal thing with a dirted tank than. especially with the Anaerobic bacteria. I just hope the roots will still grow. I know my plants look amazing but It seems like it's taking forever for the roots to grow !

I have a new schedule for the next month so hopefully I will see some different results !
 

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The way I understand it, black roots are dead roots. They die because anerobic conditions allow anerobic bacteria to flourish which produce hydrogen sulfide as waste which builds up and kills the roots. The main way to diagnose this is to poke the dirt and smell any bubbles that rise. if you smell a normal garden/compost pile then fantastic. You have nothing to worry about. If you smell something similar to your overweight uncle's flatulance after eating 2 dozen hardboild eggs, then you have a problem.

The very same hydrogen sulfide sometimes caused by similar bacteria is actually a major concern for crude oil pipelines. The hydrogen sulfide is absorbed into the metal pipes causing them to become brittle, crack, and further deteriorate.

Areate your soil until you get lots of healthy root growth from your plants and you should not have a problem again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I actually have quite a few snails in my tank. I have 3 hairy snails and about a whole bunch of smaller baby snails that just started to show up. I've never used trumpet snails though. Why do they work so good ?

I'll have to do that on my next water change. I do have to say though when I went and propagated everything recently I was moving around the soil and dirt a lot and I did not notice any nasty smell. I definetly have a good nose too !! I'll have to take a second look.

Thanks guys ! :D
 

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MTS primarily live in and aerate the substrate, only coming out at night in well oxygenated tanks (when they clean the glass). They reproduce asexually, and you won't ever get rid of them once you've got them. They're often recommended for dirt tanks, especially at setup to avoid anaerobic conditions. I'm a big fan, others hate them!

See my post when deciding whether to use them and other members' comments:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/100-low-tech-forum/893713-trumpet-snail-not-trumpet-snail.html
 
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