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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks;

I am new to the world of planted tanks. The water wisteria and rotala rotundifolia in my 55G planted tank seem to be showing some problems and I could sure use your help in diagnosing the problem.


The plant seems very stunted and older leaves are having black edges and curling up. Recently I have also been seeing spots/holes? on the leaves. There are some new leaves but very minimal growth. Most of the plant is bare stem with small crown of new leaves at top. I have also seen base of the stem is black and seems rotten.

Rotala Rotundifolia:

I have been seeing new stems growing at the base, but majority of the original stems are having leaves dying out (black edges on leaves) and small crown of new leaves on stems.

The crypts/swords are doing pretty well. Wasnt able to diagnose what is the problem with above plants:

1. Is lighting of about 2 wpg too little for these plants to survive?
2. Is this some nutrient deficiency?
3. What is causing the black edges on the leaves before they die off?
4. What are those holes on leaves? Not seen fish nip at the leaves at any time. I have seen what looks like trumpet snails on the leaves on several occasions.. Could these be eating the leaves?

---Tank Parameters (55G) cycled and running for last 6 months ---

Lighting: 2x54w T5 HO Hagen Glo (8 hrs a day)
Substrate: Eco complete
Filter: Marineland 330
Temp: 81F
PH: 7.5
GH: 30 ppm
KH: 40 ppm
Nitrates: 40 ppm
Nitrites: 0
Ammonia: 0

Plantex CSM+B: 1/8 tsp 2x a week
Potassium Nitrate KN03: 1/2 tsp 2x a week
Monopotassium Phosphate KH2PO4: 1/8 tsp 2x a week

No CO2 injection:
Excel: 20 ml (sat with wc) + 10 ml (wed)

- 11 black neon tetras
- 12 harlequin rasboras
- 2 platys (+ 3 fry)
- 2 zebra danios
- 3 Otos
- 5 Juvenile Angels

Water Changes: 40% once a week.


3,477 Posts
do you have pics? the black could be algae. it could also be a nutrient def. some nutrients are mobile, when the plant has new growth it takes nutrients from elsewhere (like old leaves) the plant is reabsorbed. holes in the leaves are usually a sign of potassium def.

here is my favorite def chart

i think your biggest problem is lack of co2

5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the information folks.... BTW, I have some links in the original post that show pictures of the plants I was worried about.

Would love to get a CO2 system sometime soon..... In meanwhile, will dose excel daily for few weeks and see if plant shows signs of recovery.

Besides the curling leaves, the base of the wisteria stem right where it is hitting the substrate has turned dark brown/black. The leaves at the crown are fine though. Any idea what is causing this? Should I cut that base and replant the remaining plant?


567 Posts
Instead of the Excel (expensive to dose enough of it in a tank your size, really) you can do very well with a DIY CO2 system, that should be great for you until you can afford to get a pressurized one. There's plenty of articles/posts on here for how to set one up. Do a search for the 'jello method'...I am currently using one of those on my 55 while I wait for my pressurized tank to get refilled and it is working great, much more stable and consistant than the usual way...I'm actually getting the same amount of CO2 out of it that I was getting from the pressurized!

Other than the CO2 lack, everything sounds already said, the holes in leaves can be a sign that you need more potassium. It won't hurt to add a little more and see what happens. If you have snails that are very hungry, they can also do the same...I'm dealing with that right now, ramshorn snails overpopulating and eating holes in my plants!

What is your substrate? You say the stems are black at the base, where they meet the substrate. Sand is notorious for getting nasty rotten pockets of debris and gas in it if it is not stirred around regularly, and this happening at the base of a plant can cause the roots and stem to go black; basically the plant rots from the bottom up. You might try pulling up the black stemes and seeing if the roots are black, and there is a lot of debris under them, or yucky smelling bubbles come up from around them (you'll definitely smell that stuff when it hits the air, it's like rotten eggs) If this is the case, you should start disturbing your substrate more when you do a water change...I have sand, and I take a thin dowel rod and just stick it into the substrate randomly as I change my water...sort of like aerating the lawn, if you've ever done that. Just poke a bunch of holes. Or get malaysian trumpet snails, as the will burrow around in your sand and keep it clean and stirred.
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