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Will my crypt grow back?

brhau

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10 Jul 2020
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Hi all,

I have a Cryptocoryne wendtii that melted as I was adjusting my ferts, which I hear is somewhat common. However, it’s been months now and it doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to grow back. There is a tiny sprout on the root, circled in red. It’s done that once before and melted. The current sprout has been like that for about a month. I added a Seachem Flourish root tab about a week ago without much effect yet. I’ve been hesitant to give it a macro root tab, as I’m worried about ammonia getting into the water column. (When I read reviews of osmocote tabs, I always see a number of people complaining of that.)

Anything else would you recommend I do? The tank has been up for about 6 months, and the plants in this tank haven’t really done well. Could not even get Ceratopteris thalictroides or Hygrophila difformis to grow consistently. The C. thalictroides grew well in the beginning when I was only dosing with micros and iron, but when I started dosing with an all-in-one, it gave up. I didn’t prune it diligently, which may have contributed to its demise. The frogbit are doing OK, and the S. cucullata are finally getting happy, taco-shaped leaves ever since I started doubling the phosphate.

Here are my details.

Tank size: 15 gallon
Filter: Air-driven sponge filter
Lighting: Finnex Stingray, 8 hrs a day (split into two photoperiods)
Substrate: Pool filter sand, 3” deep
CO2: Low tech
Ferts: I use Nilocg Thrive and Epsom Salt to dose to roughly 1/4 EI per week, but I double the phosphate
Water changes: 30% weekly
Plants: 1x Cryptocoryne wendtii, Hygrophila polysperma, java moss, Amazon frogbit, Salvinia cucullata, Red root floaters
Inhabitants: 5x Nannostomus unifasciatus, 5x Corydoras pygmaeus, 6x Amano shrimp
Full tank shot and crypt picture attached. The crypt is circled in red in both pictures.

Cheers
 

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As long as the root system is in tact you never know where plants may turn up if they find the right place to live. Crypts are notorious for sending out a massive root system even though the visible plant isn't doing so well, they can re-emerge nowhere near the original plant and turn out to be one of your best albeit in a place where you didn't want it to live. It's as if they are looking for a better home.

I've had this experience with swords, crypts and nymphea. The Nymph I hadn't seen more for months and has now took up a front and centre position and I've a sword here doing particularly well and its been that long since I saw a sword in here I can't even remember planting any :D Crypts do like stability though, they don't like change.
 
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@brhau if it's any consolation mate imo I think if people are going to use co2 the best way to do it would be to start off with a non co2 tank and easy plants then work their way up to using co2 and more advanced plants when the aquarium is biologically stable.
I suspect a lot of the issues people experience is down to trying to max everything out in a new aquarium usually with plants that weren't grew under water.
 

brhau

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Thanks. I’m not trying to move to CO2. This is a backup tank for my male apisto, and I’m interested in a rooted plant that could oxygenate my substrate. It sounds like I might actually benefit from the roots of this crypt even if I don’t see the tops. I just find it tough to keep even the easiest plants alive, for some reason. I have anubias and java fern going in my main tank which do fine, but interested in a bit more variety.
 
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Thanks. I’m not trying to move to CO2.
Sorry Buddy I was replying to a different thread :D Bloody Mobile phones! Can you get a picture of your Duck weed from the top mate? Crypts are slow growing plants at the best of times that don't like changes too often. Anything you change for the better may take some time to yield results. maybe even months. As for the Osmocote if it is in capsule form just take a couple of small balls out and bury them next to the base of the root. They do contain some ammonia but your tank is well established with floating plants so they will soon mop any excess up. If the duck weed is doing well chances are it isn't a fert issue.
 
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Just to add to that mate it could be because you're using sand. Although plants mainly take their ferts from the water column via the leaves crypts definitely appreciate some substrate dosing.
 

brhau

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Can you get a picture of your Duck weed from the top mate?
Here’s what the frogbit looks like after I’ve trimmed and removed the ones that look snail eaten or yellowed. I trim weekly, and maybe 10% of the leaves aren’t looking great. I’m guessing that’s probably normal. The growth isn’t super robust, though.

Cheers
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
I trim weekly, and maybe 10% of the leaves aren’t looking great. I’m guessing that’s probably normal. The growth isn’t super robust, though.
Looks OK, mine rarely looks any better than that, unless I've just given it a bit more nitrogen (N).

I'm not entirely sure that it isn't <"Limnobium spongia">, rather than L. laevigatum. If its L. laevigatum the underside of the leaf will be green, they are red tinged in L. spongia.

cheers Darrel
 
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I'd have to agree with that, they look in decent condition. I would still take a look at some form of substrate fertilisation. Although I maintain around a quarter EI style dosing in my water column and all other plants inc the Duck Weed were in good condition my Sword and Crypts never really flourished until I added a little nourishment down by the roots. I use cat litter in my tank rather than soil, although cat litter is OK at absorbing and storing some nutrients it is just an inert gravel. I would guess sand my be worse, if you can get hold of some substrate pellets of some kind pop one down by the crypts and see what happens, nothing lost.

The nutrients will eventually work their way into the water column from the substrate so if you are slightly under dosing the rest of the plants may show a slight improvement in which case you may want to up your dosing slightly or stick to the current regime but fert the substrate once per month or so.
 

brhau

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Looks OK, mine rarely looks any better than that, unless I've just given it a bit more nitrogen (N).
Yes, I keep nitrogen right on the edge (< 10ppm) since the fish are the priority.

If its L. laevigatum the underside of the leaf will be green, they are red tinged in L. spongia.
They are green, but it's also pretty low light. Will keep an eye on it if I ever see red undersides.

I would still take a look at some form of substrate fertilisation.
Thanks, I've ordered the same all-in-one fert (Nilocg Thrive) I'm using for the water column, but in capsule form. The nice thing about these is that the matrix is clay, so unlike osmocote it's designed for release underwater. Will let you know how it goes! Do you think it's worth trying to revive this crypt, as opposed to just planting a new one?

Cheers
 
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Yes, I keep nitrogen right on the edge (< 10ppm) since the fish are the priority.
My first instinct when I saw your duck weed if that's what it is was they were quite small. That might be a sign of low nitrates, I know @dw1305 likes to run his tanks lean so his are probably quite small as well. Mine not so but I think I run my tank at the higher end of low tech nutrient dosing.
There's no real reason why you should be aiming for such low nitrogen values, the fish can and will be fine at much much higher levels. I don't think you could even measure around 10ppm or lower accurately.

Seems strange that you should want to keep phosphate high but nitrate low. This is generally seen as a recipe for disaster when it comes to algae, plants consume a lot of nitrogen but very little phosphate in the order of 10x the amount.
 

brhau

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There's no real reason why you should be aiming for such low nitrogen values, the fish can and will be fine at much much higher levels. I don't think you could even measure around 10ppm or lower accurately.
Is this true universally? I keep South American cichlids, pencil fish and some pygmy corys, and most people advise keeping the nitrates low for these fish. I understand the testing isn't super accurate. I'm using the API test kit, and the numbers are at least reproducible, even if imprecise. I'm trying to keep the tank in a regime where the measured nitrate is steady from week to week, below 20ppm, and not accumulating. It's intended to be an empirical reference point, not an absolute measure.

Seems strange that you should want to keep phosphate high but nitrate low. This is generally seen as a recipe for disaster when it comes to algae, plants consume a lot of nitrogen but very little phosphate in the order of 10x the amount.
I don't have a lot of experience with plants, so I'm trying it to see what works. For whatever reason, this tank has the least algae of any of mine (almost none). I tried increasing the phosphate based on the result in this thread, though I realize my conditions are quite different. I observe that when I increase either nitrate or phosphate (or both) the S. cucullata do much better. The frogbit looks pretty similar no matter what I do in this tank.

Cheers
 
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Is this true universally
It's a biggy in the aquarium game mate. I've been keeping fish for probably about 30 years, I've read so much about keeping nitrates down for the sake of fish health and about some species being more sensitive than others yet I have yet to see anything that conclusively shows that nitrate at any level resulted in the death or Ill health of a fish. There are just so many other things that can kill or cause I'll health to fish especially over the long term as a fish ages or gets weaker or even gets exposed to more things.
A lot of stuff in this industry originated from fish only systems that don't apply that much in planted aquariums and I fear even though there is little scientific evidence to support the claims they get propagated by companies who just happen to sell products that prevent it or measure it.
You could say the same about co2, the fish don't want it and it's harmful in certain concentrations but we still pump it to benefit plants at levels that could kill a fish.
We allow nitrate to exist in certain concentrations to benefit the plants even though we know that having 10x that concentration the fish are still happy and will even breed.
Who knows mate?
 

brhau

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Who knows? Not me! I don't seek information from companies that sell aquarium products. I read what the Apistogramma experts and breeders have to say, and take it with a healthy grain of salt. A lot of things we do in this hobby don't necessarily have rigorous science behind them, so we rely partly on experience and what's been observed empirically. I don't think we know, for example, why certain species only breed in low conductivity. Or why alder cones acidify water. But we try to replicate conditions that appear to "work." Sometimes it's snake oil, sometimes it works for reasons we don't understand.

All that said:
  1. There is at least some scientific basis for very high levels of nitrate (much higher than what I'm measuring) being harmful to fish. Whether certain fish are indeed more sensitive to nitrate I don't know, but it seems a number of species experts believe it to be the case. They could be wrong.
  2. It makes a lot of sense to me that a high nitrate level derived from fish waste in a plantless tank is much different than directly adding, say, potassium nitrate to a healthy tank. So it could be completely harmless to add more ferts.
One of the reasons I have plants in the first place is to have a sink and export vehicle for nitrogen. It's a bit counterintuitive to me to add any nitrate at all, but I do add some, because of the other benefits that come with having live plants. I choose not to saturate the tank with nitrate until it's no longer limiting, because I think that would remove one of the benefits of keeping the plants. Similarly with other ferts: my fish definitely prefer lower conductivity, but I add some ions because I believe on balance it is better for them if the plants are happier.

Does what I do make sense? Maybe? Maybe not? I just try, fail, ask questions, learn sometimes, repeat. Hopefully not repeating too many of the wrong things. :)
 

sparkyweasel

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It makes a lot of sense to me that a high nitrate level derived from fish waste in a plantless tank is much different than directly adding, say, potassium nitrate to a healthy tank. So it could be completely harmless to add more ferts.
My belief is that the difference is; when we add potassium nitrate we add just potassium nitrate. When nitrate builds up from fish waste etc, there are lots of other substances coming from the same source. We (hobbyists) can't easily test for these other things, some of which are harmful to fish and/or other livestock.
So, a tank with poor fish health due to waste build-up will have high nitrate, even though that is not the cause of the problem.
A big water change will reduce the level of harmful waste, and the level of nitrate. Only the nitrate shows up on water testing, so it looks as if reducing nitrate fixes the problem, therefore it looks as if high nitrate caused the problem.
 

brhau

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That's certainly a reasonable explanation, and what I was getting at above. I'd be willing to bet that BOD tends to be higher when nitrate builds up from fish waste, so those two things may be correlated. It doesn't necessarily eliminate the possibility that nitrate has some toxicity at low dosages, however (say, 25 - 50ppm). We seem relatively confident that ammonia and nitrite are toxic at very low levels.
 

Karmicnull

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With the voice of inexperience I would chip in and suggest you also plant a handful of different 'easy' plants - in my case I found some that anecdotally were unkillable didn't stand a chance when up against me, whereas others that were ostensibly a bit more sensitive have grown like weeds. And (channelling Alan Tichmarsh) don't waste your time trying to grow things that don't like growing in your garden!
 

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