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Removed wood decor and floaters died

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Hi. So I had gotten some dwarf water lettuce a while back that came with some duckweed unintentionally, but I was cool with it. And it really grew in thick, nice and green in my ten gallon tank, it was just beautiful. I was taking out clumps of this stuff every week.

Well one day I elected to remove some tiger wood I had in the tank that was covered in moss and waaay too much algae. After a lot of trial and error and trying a bunch of different stuff I had come to the conclusion that the tiger wood and the attached moss was just too close to the water surface and therefore the light source which was encouraging the algae.


So upon removing the wood about a week or so later I noticed my dwarf water lettuce was dying and so was the duckweed. I tested my parameters to make sure it wasn't a larger issue and nothing was different. Then I came to the conclusion that maybe without the tigerwood it was a flow issue, possibly because my air stone was too strong since the tigerwood and its moss was absent from the surface? Either way, no Bueno. Reducing the surface agitation did nothing. All of my dwarf water lettuce and duckweed continued to die off. I have maybe a few specks of duckweed here and there.

I am now putting in the tank regular sized water lettuce and am quite afraid the same may happen again since I never really figured out what the problem was. And that would be a bummer because I really want some floaters back in the tank for my betta. So I was doing some googling and got to wondering whether the tigerwood and moss maybe provided some other benefit to the aquarium that just wouldn't show up on normal aquarium test kits?

And on a side note there are other plants in the tank doing just fine that have taken off since the removal of the tigerwood, probably since they have access to more light. I have three different kinds anubias, val, willow moss, and a red tiger lotus.

Edited by SheWhoConquers
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19 minutes ago, Paul_Obermiller said:

I have never had floaters die off unless it was too cold. You could do a big water change and see if there was something in the water that you couldn't test for. Like maybe if when you pulled the wood out it released something that was harmful, other than that I can't think of anything else.

Yeah. I think I'm just gonna hold my breath and see how it goes with these new floaters. Maybe I did release something initially that was harmful. I have since did a few water changes. So hopefully whatever it was is gone...

I just can't imagine that my aquarium can keep a red tiger lotus but not floating plants.

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Sorry to hear, that totally stinks. Do you fertilize the tank with like an Easy Green or something similar? I feel like I'm hearing lots of people having issues with dwarf water lettuce recently, but I find it absolutely thrives in really nutrient rich water. It's possible that removing the wood and losing your floating plants around the same time was a coincidence... But wood can release tannins into the water which affect the pH slightly, plus beneficial bacteria lived on the wood. So it is possible you altered these by removing it. But I would still try to increase nutrients and see if that makes a diff. 

Don't let this discourage you from trying new kinds of plants!! You got this! 🙂

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Floaters are finicky. I once changed gravel substrate to coarse sand and in about a week all the frogbit on top of the tank melted away. My theory was that the gravel substrate accumulated a lot more mulm and nutrients for the floaters and they starved to death upon the removal. I suspect removing the wood could do something similar to your water lettuce. Another thing I learned about water lettuce is that it hates dry air. It dies in two days in my 30% humidity. Does your tank have a lid? 

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You say the other plants have taken off and are growing well, so I suspect they're outcompeting the floating plants for nutrients. Your floaters are likely starving while the other plants feast. People recommend growing plants so the plants will consume nutrients to starve algae. Algae's a plant, so the same thing is likely happening to your floaters. Your established plants are feasting while the floaters starve. You can live with it, harshly prune back/thin out the thriving plants, or add more nutrients to try and help the floaters.

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