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Weird staurogyne repens melt - need help

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by mnemonik23, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. mnemonik23

    mnemonik23 Junior Poster

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    Fellow aquarists - I need your help!

    Tank is about 3 months old. I have a hard water but plants were doing just great for about a 2 months and then staurogyne repens started to melt.
    The melt is weird: light brown spots appears on healthy leafs and then they rot/melt.

    View attachment 4219
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    View attachment 4221

    Tank: 90 gallon
    Filtration: 2 x Rena XP3
    Light: AquaticLife T5 HO (3x54W 6500K + 1x54W rosette pink bulbs) - 9 hours per day.
    Temp: 76-78F
    pH: 7-7.2 in the morning and ~6.6 during CO2 injection
    NO3: between 10 and 20 ppm
    PO4: ~3ppm
    Fe: ~0.8ppm
    GH: ~60+ ppm
    KH: ~40ppm
    Weekly 50% WC with substrate syphoning (where possible)

    Stock is not that big at the moment: 23 young harlequin rasboras and 12 rummy nose tetras and 6 ottos.

    Dosing. With API test kit NO3 is always around 10-20ppm so I was not dosing it for some time. Maybe like 1/4 tsp in a few days. Not sure if the API is lying.
    I started to dose around 3/4 tsp of NO3 and test still shows around ~20ppm...

    NPK:
    3/4 tsp KNO3
    3/16 tsp KH2PO4
    1/2 tsp K2SO4 (I have quite a few giant and kompact hygro corymbosas)
    1 tsp of Barr's GH booster after 50% water change every week.

    Micro:
    3/16 tsp CSM+B
    1/16 Iron

    CO2 is pressurized with inline Atomizer and drop checker. Through the glass and water the drop checker seems to be lime green but during WC I can see that it is yellow when water gets below it!
    I was increasing CO2 slowly to the point that fish was hiding in the lowest bottom corner where there is not much flow is reaching out. Though I haven't noticed that fish was gasping. At this point I decreased the CO2 a bit and fish look happy.
    Stargrass, java ferns, rotalas are pearling nicely though I do not see much pearling at all on s. repens. My 4dKh solution is about 2 years old... I add 4 drops of new API pH reagent, so it's dark blue from the beginning.

    When the meltng started the light was about 30" from the substrate. Apogee MQ-200 showed ~72 mmoles on s. repens level. I raised to 33" and now have ~50 mmoles but s. repens still melts.
    Another reason I moved lights up is I started to get BBA and Staghorn on s. repens and java ferns.

    Also added a power head about 4 days ago on the bottom level to increase water movement across s. repens.
    Oh, and I also added a small bag of crashed coral to one of the filter about 2 months ago as pH was close to 6.4 in the mornings.

    So what am I doing wrong?

    - not enough CO2?
    - not enough nutrients? Which ones?
    - need to dose more NO3?
    - more GH booster (magnesium/calcium deficiency maybe)?
    - I was thinking maybe dry ferts are that fall on the leafs are causing it?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I've also seen this in my tank in the past. Small patches that melted down to the root, then started to grow again. IN my case it moved slowly through the whole carpet, like a 2 to 3 inch round spot that was moving around.

    My idea is that it's a fungus or another plant disease, which keeps infecting the plants next to it. I'm not suspecting CO2, because with a CO2 problem mostly all plants of the same species suffer from the same deficiency at the same time.

    You could try using Excel for some time, this works well in case of fungi.

    Maybe you could try an anti BGA medicine, but that's just a thought.
     
    #2 dutchy, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2013
  3. Will Walker

    Will Walker Lifetime Charter Member
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    Seen the same thing

    I've been dealing with this Staurogyne rot for over 8 months now, and can empathize.

    I have read that Staurogyne Repens is a root feeder. It takes several weeks to establish new roots when cultured from cuttings.

    I kept the plant superbly healthy and alive for 6-8 months last year, though the tank had fresh EcoComplete substrate when the plant was introduced. It is possible that even with EI dosing the plant does not do as well without substrate nutrients. Dosing Seachem root tabs has resulted in increased growth but the rot continues. I dose EI and Seachem Flourish, Seachem Iron and Seachem Flourish Excel.

    I have buffered pH with this plant using cuttlefish bone in the filter but most South American plants and fish are said to prefer low pH. I removed the cuttlefish bone during the last filter cleaning and allowing the water to settle at it's equilibrium pH (South Boston supposedly has very soft water).

    Selectively trimming the infected leaves does not seem to stop the infection. I am hesitant to use anti-fungals as I don't want to harm my Apistogramma - anyone have any experience with this, or can recommend a product to try?
     
  4. mnemonik23

    mnemonik23 Junior Poster

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    dutchy, thanks for the info - good point about CO2.
    Will Walker, I do use root tabs (mix of seachem and osmocote)

    Like dutchy said it's moving across my s. repens field... I forgot to mention that I tried Excel for a few days before but with no success. I will try again for a longer period (though, I was not overdosing).
     
    #4 mnemonik23, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2013
  5. mrkookm

    mrkookm Guest

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    The plants/leaves that is not affected looks healthy which tells me it's not a nutrient lacking issue or even Co2. Move it away from the current location and replant in a section that has no tabs (the Osmocote) and see how they respond.




    from my iP 5 via Tapa.
     
    #5 mrkookm, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Still could be CO2. Like Crypts, they have large root systems, this does not imply they prefer root feeding or water column feeding.
    Just means they have large root systems and rhizomes, rootcrowns etc.

    These are more like storage organs, than some sign they prefer ferts via the roots.
    They also come from areas where there is high current, you do not want to get uprooted.

    I've had the entire tank melt like a bad Crypt melt a couple of times.
    Has not happened in a long time, maybe 18 months or so.
    CO2 has been steady in the tank though.

    The leaves did not stop melting, it was independent of nutrients.
    Sediment? ADA AS, so that's root feeding thing is not it.

    Fungus?

    I do not think so either, those are very rare that might attack just the leaves.

    Stems/roots/crowns are not effected. They resprout and grow back after losing most of the existing leaves.
    I think it's a simple response to some environmental change, light/CO2 mostly, maybe the filter. Maybe plants will auto fragment or drop their leaves(like Crypts) and then resprout new leaves when conditions are favorable.
    This also seems to be a delayed response. So something you may have done 1-2 weeks ago seemed to cause it perhaps.

    This is an excellent response to environmental changes for Crypts and likely the same thing for this plant.
    Like trees losing their leaves in the winter.
     
  7. mrkookm

    mrkookm Guest

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    Yes I understand all of the above as being a possibility, but the only change I can see possibly causing that sort of breakdown is the crushed Coral, which BTW is unnecessary and IMO should be removed.

    He could do a simple check and uproot one of the plant/bunch with good rootmass and smell/inspect it to see if it's black or smells of H sulfide.
     
  8. dtang21

    dtang21 Junior Poster

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    I had a bad melt too. Only ~7 stems survived from my batch of 30.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've never seen H2S in any Starougyne that has melted.
    The crushed coral could alter the pH and if the pH is used for CO2.........well.......trouble for sure.
    Agreed: no need and to remove it.

    I think it's more a response to change, most general changes etc, not a disease etc.
    It's more inline with the other plant traits and responses when they fragment and die back and then resprout.
    Their way of finding a new location that's (hopefully) better.
    I've yet to find any example of disease/pathogen that attacked any submersed hobby plants.
    Not saying it is not possible, just that the present observations and knowledge do not support it.
    There are quite a few plants over wide range of families and genera that behave this way.
    That does support the contention that it is a generalized response to environmental change like Crypt melt etc.

    Could be several things.

    In my cases, I have had 2 such events, they grew back 100%. But lost leaves gradually over about 3 weeks.
    It was a messy slow process, leaves clogged my prefilter almost daily.
    Regrowth, resprouting was slower than I expected. No other plants were affected.
     
  10. Will Walker

    Will Walker Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have observed stargrass melt in the vicinity of the staurogyne (primarily older leaves) simultaneously. This problem has lead me to take detailed growth notes on all plant species in my tank, and compare growth rates to dosing, tank maintenance, lighting times and other factors. Hopefully some form of the scientific method will prevail.

    Is there a typical amount of time to test a new regime in a tank before drawing conclusions one way or another?
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You can do repeated test, you can also try to induce the effect on purpose, that's one of the most powerful methods, but hobbyists rarely try to induce algae or bad plant growth because that is not their goal nor learning more about the plants for that much risk.

    I've learned a lot by inducing algae or trying to stunt plants.
    Often, it's harder than the myths suggest.

    Stargrass is a squirrely plant and can die back due to low N, or CO2 and is a very fast growing plant.

    If you start with say 10 grams of dry weight biomass, which then grows to 30 groams dry weight over 2-3 weeks, this is a lot more uptake and demand.
    Then you get autofragmentation.
     
  12. mnemonik23

    mnemonik23 Junior Poster

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    Removed crashed coral today - thanks for the suggestion!
    Also, checked the roots of melted s. repens - look healthy and no rot in the roots.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The plants will grow back, that's the good news.
     
  14. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I thought about a disease because crypt leaves melted simultaneously BUT ONLY WHERE THEY GOT INTO CONTACT WITH THE MELTED STAURO. Other crypts, next to the stauro but without direct leaf contact, where doing fine.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    In an aquarium, the disease hypothesis would mean the plants are exposed and in a medium that could/should spread everywhere, but does not.

    A lull in growth, like the a loss of a few leaves on a single plant, Crypts/Starou have many stems and leaves attached to a singular tree like prostrate "mat", and these are all "interconnected".
    So if something happens the plant does not like, "the tree" can lose a few leaves here or there.

    If the plant is a healthy and stable conditions are present, root systems will add a stable amount of O2 into the rhizosphere.
    If conditions for growth are not stable, then you have variation in the O2.

    This in turn may cause changes in the bacterial colonies, which in turn cause more changes in O2 levels, making it harder to form new roots and more difficult for root respiration.
    Plant response: loose some leaves for the time being, grow back once the demand for O2 is reduced.
    Whether this is an interconnected mat, or whether it's a single tree or stem, will not matter.
     
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