View Full Version : A bit of a Catch 22 ...

12-14-2010, 08:45 PM
I recently tore my tank down and thoroughly cleaned it, but preserved as much BB as I could, and this has worked, as it's not doing any kind of a mini-cycle.

I was able to drive the nitrates down from 30-40 ppm to 5-10 ppm. Good for the fish, but here's the catch:

Now the tips of my hornwort are starting to turn brown. Not from lack of light, as this is happening where the light is brightest in the tank -- directly under it, near the surface.

I'm sure the plants helped contribute to the lowering of the nitrates, as well as my cleaning. I did a small water change this morning, and I've been feeding the fish much more conservatively.

Do I simply snip off the browning tips of the hornwort? Would I just use a scissors, or is a special tool required?

Also, how do I keep the rest of the hornwort from turning brown, as I suspect it eventually will?

So far, only the hornwort is affected. The java moss is nice and green, as is the floating anacharis.

Catch 22 -- improve the water parameters, and the plants can suffer ....

-- mermaidwannabe

:fish: :fish2: :goldfish: :fish2:

12-14-2010, 08:50 PM
is hornwort one of the plants that when moved the leaves die, but then come back? I know they love the Nitrates though :)

12-14-2010, 09:40 PM
I have no idea about the leaves dying if the plant is moved. And thus far, it's only the outermost tips. Just would like to know if I need to start using ferts, and what kinds can I use that won't harm either my fish nor my snails, and won't alter the pH in my tank? Maybe just snipping off the brown stuff is all I need to do? Floaters are the only live plants I have in my tank, so am really not that familiar with them except that they can tolerate medium to lower light. The rest are doing fine.

-- mermaid

12-15-2010, 01:00 PM
Hornwort you can just rip in half, and then toss into the tank and let it float. You can bury it into the substrate, but it'll eventually work itself loose once the buried part rots. Whenever I go on a trip for a week or two, I add in a few strands of it into my tanks to help with the water quality. It is very quick growing as well.

If it is browning just remove that part if you want. Sometimes if the clump gets too large or part of it doesn't get enough light it will brown. Can be a bit of a mess when it brown and falls apart.

12-15-2010, 05:28 PM
This is happening in the brightest part of the tank, light-wise.

I am just wondering if the substantial reduction in nitrates might have begun to rob it of nutrients?

If so, I may need to feed it some ferts, but I don't want the parameters in my tank to change too much, as they are at a good level, now.

I'll clip off the browning tips, and watch what the rest of the plant does.

-- mermaidwannabe

12-15-2010, 06:32 PM
Are the tips actually dying, or just changing color? Sometimes plants will show red (or brown) color when they get more light.

12-15-2010, 07:12 PM
Looks like it's just changing color, I see no signs of withering. I did clip off the brown tips.

So, maybe this is just a normal occurrence, and I should leave it alone? The other plant species seem fine. I guess if it was an issue of insufficient nitrate nutrition, they would all be affected.

I'm new to having any kind of living plants in my tank, so not sure what to expect.

Todays' nitrate test read between 10 and 20. Can't really tell which because the colors on the chart are almost identical for both.

-- mermaid

12-16-2010, 04:53 AM
Unless the leaves are falling off they aren't likely to be dying, and particularly not at the tips of the stems. It's usually the older leaves that fall off first.