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Madagascar Lace Plant dieing, help!
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Joined: 13 May 2012

PostPosted: 2012.05.17(Thu)8:07    Post subject: Madagascar Lace Plant dieing, help! Reply with quote

my lace plant is dieing and I don't know why. I got it on march 27th. it had like 20 full leaves then. now it has like 2-3 baby leaves that will probably end up turning brown. the rest of the leaves rotted off. I tried liquid plant food, which doesn't seem to effect it. my 3 amazon swords are flourishing nicely though! ....oh and my substrate is fine white play sand. I washed it really good before I added it to the tank. had gravel before (last year), but since I got a new background back in January, now it looks like an ocean! lol

iv read multiple sites & forums that contradicted each other on proper amount of lighting. low vs high? which one is it? and should I plant it away from a water current or does it matter? HELP! haha This plant cost me $15!

Current water stats as of May 12, 2012 (which I'm trying to fix):
55 gal freshwater tank (started mid January 2012)

Temp: 70-78F

pH: 6.0 (was 7.4 two weeks ago. I don't know what made it jump down. the only new thing I added to the water was a Nitra-Zorb pad 8 days ago to help with ammonia & nitrates. I didn't read anything on the box that said Nitra-Zorb effected pH. I added pH UP saturday night (May 12th) and got it to 6.4. Tested it sunday morning and it was at 6.0 again.

Side note, Chemi-Pure didn't work to reduce ammonia (even though the package said it would). The only thing Chemi-Pure did was turn my filter pads black & clogged them, and reduced the life span of them. I had to change them before 4 weeks were up otherwise my filter box would have flooded over. Saw the same thing happening with the Nitra-Zorb pad, which is now hanging on the inside of the tank, over a bubble curtain/current, rather than in the filter box.)

ammonia: 1.0 (this actually increased by 0.50 even after I added the Nitra-Zorb pad.)
nitrite: 0.0
nitrate: 40

3 Amazon Swords, 1 Lace Plant, 1 Minnow, 2 Otocinclus Algae Eaters, 3 Kuhlii Loaches, 6 Flame Von Rio Tetras, 5 Harlequin Rasboras, 2 Threadfin Rainbows, 20+ Dalmation Platties/Mollies (3 are adult females, the rest are babies/fry), 2 Dwarf Gouramis, & 1 male Crowntail Betta.

Thanks for your help!
~S. Conure~
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Location: Yokohama, Japan

PostPosted: 2012.05.17(Thu)9:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's work through some of the problems that your aquarium has, one at a time.

Firstly, regarding your Lace Plant; you have not really indicated whether you are following any fertilization regimen (I assume you are not). What about CO2 injection? Most importantly, what kind of lighting (type of bulb, how many bulbs, duration that the lights are on) do you have?

What kind of test kit are you using to measure your water parameters? As a word of warning, test strips are notoriously inaccurate and are generally not recommended for accurate results.

Your pH is a bit on the low side; what is the pH out of the tap? In addition, rather than trying to fight the pH by adding chemicals, you should just let the pH be. Adding chemicals to the water column will simply cause the pH to fluctuate and in addition, cause osmotic stress to your fish due to the increased TDS in the water.

Regarding your filter media (and your filter), most filter media can simply be rinsed in dechlorinated water and then reused. Perhaps the only type of filter media that needs replacement is filter floss, and even then, it can be rinsed several times before it begins disintegrating.

As your ammonia levels are non-zero, it leads me to believe that your aquarium did not properly cycle, even though it has been 5 months. Alternatively, you may have added too many fish at once (or are overfeeding them), leading to an increase in the ammonia levels. As ammonia is toxic to fish, you should immediately carry out several small (20-30%) water changes to lower the ammonia to more acceptable levels.
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Joined: 13 May 2012

PostPosted: 2012.05.17(Thu)18:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkblade48, thanks for your reply.

- I just did a 40% (20 gal) water change today (may 17). the pH is at 6.8...for now. I'm letting it filter a bit before I test the other things.
pH from the tap (city water) is 7.0 & has .25-.50 ammonia in it. I use Prime to remove chlorine & chlorimine, & to detox ammonia, nitrites, nitrates. iv only used pH Down once. I rarely repeat dosage when it doesn't work the first 1 or 2 times.

- re: lace plant: I'm using a liquid fertilizer, API Leaf Zone. its a weekly thing. iv only read bits and pieces about CO2 fertilization. is that expensive? I'm not really sure how it works? I know it can come in cartridges, does it come in tablet form too? I also read that lace plants are root feeders, but everywhere I looked only sold liquid plant foods. so thats what I bought. I figured its better than nothing. haha

- lighting: 1 bulb. 48". Aqua-Glo T8, 40W. 18,000K. its on for an average of about 12 hours.

- test kit: API Freshwater Master Test Kit. all liquid testers. I hate the litmus paper testers.

- my filter is an Aqueon QuietFlow 55/75 Power Filter. usually, I occationally rince the filter cartridges in the tank water. I change them 1 at a time to prevent decline in good bacteria.

- my ammonia levels were at zero at one point. then they've been at a steady .25 for a month regardless of 25-30% water changes. the ammonia in the tap water doesn't help it. After the Prime, I was hoping the filter would take the remaining ammonia out of the water. thats why I was trying all the other filter media (ammo chips, chemi pure, nitra zorb), none of which worked. perhaps ill change my feedings to 1x every other day. would that help? right now its 2x a day, small amounts since theres a lot of fish to feed, plus fry. I have flake food and sinking pellets (enriched with seaweed) for bottom feeders/algae eaters.

- also, my 3 loaches have been acting funny this past week. they normally hide since they are nocturnal, but they have been swimming wildly around the tank, and all 3 have picked the same back corner to swim up and down the glass for most of the day, every day. I thought the pH drop was stressing them out or burning their skin/gills/eyes? when the pH dropped drastically, I immediately looked up each fish's pH requirements. all but one should be able to live in or tolerate 6.0. Platties have a range of 7.0-7.8 yet they are doing fine...the one even gave birth a week ago! maybe they are just very adaptive?

- Side note: just about every fish in the tank has survived part of the nitrogen cycle. even when ammonia was at a constant 2.0 for a few weeks, and nitrites were 5.0+.
~S. Conure~
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Joined: 13 May 2012

PostPosted: 2012.05.17(Thu)21:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, after my 40% water change:

pH: 7.0
Ammonia: 1.0
Nitrite: 0.0
Nitrate: 40
~S. Conure~
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