How dead is dead, can some of the inside...

SpongeBob SquarePlants

Prolific Poster
Dec 11, 2006
I have a friend with a 90g planted tank, I've been coaching him for about 3-4 months on his tank and it has been rocking and rolling. Until 2 weeks ago, he did his weekly water change about 60%, he did his de-chlorinators, added EI fertz for 90g, some GH booster, did NOTHING different. But 2 days later almost all his plants were destroyed!!

I went over and checked everything out, nothing looked out of place, he has an automated CO2 setup. Now he does not have any glass CO2 indicator solution but he keep his bubble counter cranked up just to whered the fish dont gasp, his PH controller will read 5.80 most of the time. He has been having great results and growth, no algae to complain of and he his only has a few small fish in there like 6-8 raboras and some Flying Foxs.

Anyway I took over and did a water change and just made sure EI/CO2/Lighting was in place, and everything looked good to me. Basically ALL his stem plants rotter and floated to the surface, all his amazon swords became like transparent, even that weed wisteria rotted away and he had a pretty decent amount, but the dwarf sagitaria, the anubas, moneywart, and some plant I don't know name of look fine, no damage???

I accused his wife of pouring some cleaning chemicals in there because she hates his fish tank lol...

Anyway, here is my question... I am trying to nurse his tank back to health and I am keeping a strict eye on everything. But he has so much plant damage should I just pull them and replant with new ones or can these be saved?

Here are some pics of the swords:



He used to have a nice back ground layer of amazon swords, now some of them seem to be coming around. But the ones in the picutres, are they too far gone to be saved? should they be pruned or pulled or with proper light/CO2/nutrients will they recover?


Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Even CO2, like as in none being added at all can do this.

This is a chemical type of burn.
It's not a dirty filter, organic build up etc.
Even Chlorine burns are not quite this bad.

Was the KNO3 really KNO3 and not Triclopyr(A herbicide)?
Stump removers are sometimes sold with that or another herbibide.

Tap water differences are the other thing......sicne it was correlated with the water changes.

So tap or the mix up of stump remover.
Maybe the spouse.

Something that beats up the swords inside of 2 days that where doing well is something like adding lots of salt etc type of thing.

It's not nutrients/CO2/light................

Tap can change when they switch over, but the dechlor tends to get any of that unless they switched from Chlorine to Chloramines and he uses Sodium thiosulfate etc rather than Prime/Amquel etc.

Tom Barr

SpongeBob SquarePlants

Prolific Poster
Dec 11, 2006
His dosing is EI with all Greg Watson Macro KNO3, Phos and GH boost etc and he uses CSM+B (and even with 25ml TMG x3 a week for the heck of it) The formula he had/has for the tank was working WONDERS for months. I mean he would prune 5-6" off the top of the Wisteria weekly.

I did find this out today, that after he filled the tank with hose water like normal he ran his diatom filter for over an hour because he said he had alot of sediment on his leaves that the cyphon couldn't get, so he got the circulation going and the filter basically made the water crystal clear. He then added dechlor, ferts, GH boost etc etc...

Is it possible that the diatom filter could have affected the water like you mention? I've used my diatom XL filter in the past to clear up water after re-aquascaping and never had any issues. Can the powder in a filter like that filter out or change the Chlorine in water? I always thought that the powder was permiable enough to not strip the water of that stuff?

I've never done this before but I am going to go check out what kind of reports I can get from the city water treatment, in the event they decide to do something maybe a heads up or something might help, or at the least find out how crappy the tap water here really is. My friend lives about 1-2 miles away so most likely its the same treatment plant.

Anyway, whats the verdict on running the diatom filter, good, bad?


PS.. oh yea, what about the recover of the plants... do they look too far gone to regrow?


Lifetime Members
Lifetime Member
Aug 25, 2006
Linköping, Sweden
(I took a scissor once and cut off all the leaves of a Echinodorus subalatus as close as the substrate I could because I was tired of it. Essentially I wanted to kill it. A couple of days later it started sending out leaves like mad from the very much alive root system...)