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Angelfish eating plants?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Carissa, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I have had a problem with my hygrophila for the past two months or so. At first, I blamed it on a deficiency. But I've been doing EI and probably overdosing everything for a while, at least three or four weeks, but the issue hasn't changed. The leaves look like they have pieces missing from them. Well the other day I was sitting there watching my tank out of the corner of my eye, and suddenly it dawned on me that one of my juvenile angelfish was actively trying to take a chunk out of a hygro leaf. I've seen them playing with floating leaves a few times before, but never actually seen them attacking a leaf attached to a plant. Could this be the issue with my plants? I also have three oto's in the tank, would they eat my hygro if they didn't have enough algae to keep them busy? I cut back on the photoperiod a bit when my hygro started looking funny, since there is also some algae growing on some of it too. Maybe I'm not growing enough algae for the oto's. I've had the angelfish for maybe four months, they are not full grown yet. This would have been my last guess, first would be deficiencies, but I'm dosing everything and it's not co2 or light (I've seen co2 deficiencies before on this plant...this isn't it; and I've had lots of photoperiod changes too, with no obvious effects on this plant before other than increased or slowed growth).
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Carissa,

    I bet it is the angels... Hygro is a soft leaved plant and beloved by snails and many fish.

    How many do you have?

    Juvies esp will try to eat ANYTHING. Never seen a pig quite like angels.........

    Could also be some small food on the leaves that they are going after??

    If they are not holes caused by snails, I doubt it is the ottos. They have scraping type mouths and would not cause this type of damage IMO.

    My african dwarves are currently eating my new (soon to be gone) Heteranthera like it was candy. Just ripping into the growing tips of the plant. I have leaves floating all over the place. It seems so be like catnip or crack to them, as I have a 1/2 dozen tearing at it and fighting over the privilege no less at the same time.

    Try feeding the angels a bit more.....

    Also, based on their age, angels like to use broad leaf plants for egg laying. Angels can mature rapidly in good conditions. I have had mine lay on swords, glass side, hygro, crpyts, jave fern, filter tube is a fave......

    So they may be imitating the adult behaviour of cleaning the breeding site, and not actually eating it per se.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I have three in a 30g tank. I watched them for a while last night and they never did anything to the plants, but maybe they just do it when they're hungry (I had just fed them). There are no snails in the tank, so it's either them, or a deficiency of some kind. The damage is pretty extensive, pretty much every leaf has pieces out of it. That's why I thought it was a deficiency originally. I guess I'll have to watch and wait to figure it out. Maybe I could put some in a screened off area and see if it develops the same damage.
     
  4. Henry Hatch

    Henry Hatch Guru Class Expert

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    Carissa,

    I've seen my angels nip at plants, but I never saw the kind of damage you described. I would be surprised if the Ottos were causing the problem. I might try isolating the angels to see what happens.

    Henry
     
  5. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Well I'm kind of leaning back toward a deficiency of some type. I just don't see them picking at the plants enough to cause the extensive damage that I have.
     
  6. Lars

    Lars Junior Poster

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    Hi,I have hygrophila as well as angel fish in one of my tanks. Yes they do eat big chucks of leafs off all the time. I don't mind, it is a fast growing plant. :)
     
  7. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Ok, here's a picture of what I'm talking about. It's kind of hard to see how extensive it is, but pretty much every single leaf on every hygro plant is like this. There is also algae growing on some of the leaves, and bba on the edges that were 'damaged' or whatever happened. I never, ever used to have algae on this plant whatsoever. That's partly why I started off thinking it was a deficiency. But if the plant is getting damaged, maybe that's weakening it and causing algae as well?

    IMG_0174.jpg
     
  8. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    The damage in the photo is pretty clear.

    1. Does the leaf melt a little first, and then the damage? Or does it just show as damage? Trying to eliminate a deficiency.....

    I would say the algae is SECONDARY, due to the physical damage to the leaf.

    If all other plants are doing well, I doubt it is a deficiency, ESP if you never had an issue. Did this show up AFTER the angels??????

    However, hygro is a VERY fast grower, so it is possible, but I don't think so.

    I think it is the angels........

    Very nice fish BTW!
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    It doesn't melt first. It's like it was never there to start with. I thought the leaves were just growing deformed.

    I only have anubias, java fern, and one stem of ludwigia in the tank, none of those plants grow fast enough to really show a deficiency or other issue even if there was one. They all look normal. Back when I had co2 deficiencies, the hygro was the only plant that ever showed symptoms.

    I've had the angels for about 4 months. This issue started about two months ago.

    I've been watching them on and off all day. Never once did I see them go after a leaf. Weird. Maybe they only do it when the lights are off. I did see one pick a leaf, once, but since then, can't seem to see them doing anything.
     
  10. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    The other thing is, the plants are pearling. I was hesitant to believe this because my diffusion method causes a lot of microbubbles so I thought I could be mistaking these for pearling; but this morning, looking at the plants right after the lights came on, there are no microbubbles under the leaves yet. Hence, they are pearling. Do deficient plants pearl?
     
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