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Holes in my Anubias make me a sad man.


Evening

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Lately my anubias has started developing little holes in the leaves, starting as small pinpricks then expanding, brown around the edges.

I noticed the same effect on my java fern as well, and the leaves aren't growing as well as I'd like. I thought it might be a lack of phosphate, but I don't want to saturate my tank with fertilisers if it's going to start a big algae bloom.

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Gosh, I guess I am lucky I have 5-6 Anubias (1 pretty good size then they graduate down to 2 small ones) and a good size Java Fern. I haven't even thought of adding ferts! Ever since I changed my tube lights to "plant tubes" they have flourished. I'm gonna go check my stash to see if I still have some Ferts!!

Woohoo! I have a big bottle of Flourish!! So I added some!!!!

Edited by Jeana727
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What's your lighting? If I had to guess, it's lack of light. True, anubias like being shaded, but if your java fern (which can be grown in hi light) isn't green in most leaves, it may not be getting enough light. I don't dose and my java ferns are green with low-medium light.

Goldfish poo is enough for my anubias... they do grow curly from lack of calcium, though.

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Same question really: what is your current lighting set-up like? If this has started recently, the first thing to look at would be whether you have changed anything.

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The lighting is three 24 inch T8's over a 40 gallon breeder; the swords in particular are right under the bulbs. They aren't anything special though.

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You're looking at medium to low lighting then—either way you should be seeing growth without the die off. Out of curiosity, how long is their current photoperiod? Also, how old are the amazon swords? If they are new, did you buy them submerged? If not, then it is entirely possible they were grown emersed. If this is the case, the leaves are dying off and adapting to being submerged.

If, however, it is none of the above, I have to wonder whether anything has changed recently. Has the amount of fertiliser, or, for example, the bulbs you use changed recently? Sometimes plants can be finicky and respond adversely to the smallest of changes. If this is the case, you are looking at three possibilities:

  1. Lighting deficiency.
  2. Nutritional deficiency.
  3. All of the above.

There are a few methods you can try. Firstly, you can try altering your dosing schedule and/or adding root tabs. Amazon swords are heavy root feeders; thus, they grow best when sustenance is delivered through their root system. The last course of action would be to up the lighting over your tank; however, I really don't see the point. Amazon swords should be growing under your current set-up. For this reason, I suspect they are suffering a nutritional deficiency of some sort (unless, of course, they are new and were grown emersed).

Sorry for the twenty questions, but as with anything, the more information one has, the easier an analysis is.

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If by "Photoperiod" you mean how long the lights are on, typically from 8-10 hours.

They were indeed grown emersed, but they've already gotten all their new leaves, which are what are currently looking so ugly.

They're also in dirt, so that shouldn't be an issue. That's why I thought of phosphorous first, since it's more easily absorbed through leaves.

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Hmm.

It is possible; a phosphate deficiency will cause plants to die off. Seachem make a potassium phosphate fertiliser, although I have no experience with it. I believe it's called Flourish Phosphorus or something along those lines.

Yes, by "photoperiod" I meant how long are the lights on. They're certainly on for long enough, so that factor can be dismissed.

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I've been using API ferts. They're all I can get. I -think- they have phosphorous in them, but I ran through my whole bottle recently and it got thrown out.

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Drat, I thought we'd solved the mystery. :rofl

I did some perusing, and everything I read seems to suggest you are experiencing a nutrient deficiency. I really do think this can be rectified with root tabs. Whether you are using soil is irrelevant, heavy root feeders, in some cases, may require more nutrients than the soil provides. Amazon swords require macro and micro nutrients. The macronutrients you will find in most root tabs. API tabs, for example, contain nitrogen, phosphates, iron and potassium. Seachem's root tabs on the other hand, do not contain nitrate or phosphates; however, they contain a wide array of micronutrients.

Oh, I can't believe I forgot to ask this, but what is your pH? In my experience it tends to prefer a pH under 7.5-7.6. Also, they like to be buried deep in the substrate.

Edited by dan in aus
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I have the same thing happening to mine but I know why mine is. I'm about to have to cut it back and start over with it :(

I was my plants in a container with some water while I was cleaning and changing the substrate. This was right after Cosmo died so no fish. Anyway I took too long and when I went to get the plants some of the leaves and wilted and somewhat dried :( I put it back in the tank in the water and it tried to come back but to never looked the same again and soon little brown spots started and are now growing larger and larger.

.

Edited by Daniel E.
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My PH trends a bit high, toward 7.8, which might contribute to it. So which is it missing, macro or micro?

I wouldn't worry about a pH of 7.8. If anything its impact would be marginal.

As for your other question, that's pretty impossible to answer without test kits. If you're really good at EI dosing (Estimative Index) you can figure it out without kits, but that comes with years of experience and the study of plant growth patterns. This isn't a high tech planted tank so there's little need to worry about EI dosing. I would just stick with a broad spectrum liquid fertiliser and some root tabs. The latter you can even make if you don't want to buy them. Osmocote plus in 00 gel caps make for excellent root tabs. The only caveat is you have to ensure they remain buried deep in your substrate. If not, they can leech into the water column and produce some fairly catastrophic ammonia spikes.

Edit: To clarify, the macronutrients will predominantly come from the root tabs, whereas the micros will come from the liquid fertiliser (for example, Seachem Flourish). Also, should the leaves start to seriously brown (like this) trim them. The plant is wasting substantial energy keeping leaves like that alive; best to trim them and allow it to develop new leaves. :)

Edited by dan in aus
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