New leaves torn and ragged


Mar 15, 2008
Hello. My Aponogeton Ulvaceous and Amazon Sword plant are continually putting out new leaves but they seem to start out damaged. They have tears in various areas and are very fragile. Eventually they just tear apart completely. I also have a val. plant th at seams get what I would call water spots or bruises on the leaves and they slowly turn yellow and break off. Help! The rest of the plants in the tanks seem fine - large group of cryptocoryne plants, rotala rotundifolia and water wisteria....

The facts...
My tank is 90 gallons and I have a Coralife Aqualight 6700K lamp with 4 65 Watt bulbs. I am going to be connecting a pressurized CO2 tank but have been using Excel in the meantime to provide carbon (about 26 ml per day). I also use Flourish liquid fertilizer and substrate tabs that are supposed to last a few months.

So as not to stress the fish, I have been changing the water by taking out 5-6 gallons 4 days a week rather than 20-30 gallons all at once. After each little change, I add 1 ml of the Flourish liquid to get to the weekly 4 ml recommended dose on the bottle. I admint I had let the tank go for a while and have started these regular changes and nutrient dosing within the last month. The bulbs were all changed out as well. Substrate is Eco Complete and is about 3 years old. Water chemistry - very soft water, PH about 7/7.5. Tested for PO4 and NO3 and readings were 0 ppm each... could this be causing part of the problem?

Hope to hear from somebody soon so I can get growing :)

Thanks a bunch!


Guru Class Expert
Jun 18, 2007
My swords and A. Undlatus are doing the same thing also. I suspect the loaches, but I don't think thats the problem. Are you dosing NPK at all? Don't trust the test kits unless you have a standard to confirm their accuracy. Umm....maybe lets try upping the NO3 first. My 120 gallon is at 1.6 wpg with pressurized CO2 and I'm adding 15ppm of NO3 3xWeek. I'll try going to 20 ppm and see what happens. You may also want to think about your Ca and Mg levels since you have very soft water. You're using excel! Vals don't last long in tanks with excel. I'm not sure why. I just know that they will eventually die.

Also, on my 120 gallon I change 80 gallons of water at a time with no ill effects on the fish. I guess it may depend on what species you keeping, but my apisto's don't seem to mind.