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Help! Cryptocoryne Wendtii Melting!


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When I started my 29 Gallon tank at the end of the summer I got a Cryptocoryne Wendtii red. It really became one of my favorite plants, my Pygmy Corydoras love resting in it’s leaves and my Kuhli Loaches also rest near the bottom of it, hiding in the plant.

I have small rounded river stones over some special plant eco complete substrate. Recently I made a few changes in my aquarium and suddenly the Crypt started melting like crazy. It’s been depressing to see how bad it has suddenly gotten compared to how vibrant and lush it used to be,

Note it’s a red Wendettii but is mostly green, that’s because I don’t dose Easy Iron, just Easy Green. I had decided it wasn’t worth adding iron for just that plant, and my understanding was that the plant would be fine it would just be mainly green instead of red if it didn’t get enough iron.

-Past parameters (About 3 weeks ago):

Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: 0 PH: 7 KH: 40 GH: 60   

-Current parameters (Today):

Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: 0 PH: 7 KH: 0 GH: 30

 

The attached pictures show the progression:

1. After first planting in the end of the summer of 2020, 

2. Two to three months later

3. Sometime after I added a sandbed near it and it started to melt, 

4. Today after I removed all the leaves that melted off. 

 

That’s some Val grass on the right of it. I have had an algae problem for a while and I’m finally getting some Easy Carbon to add once the shipment arrives. (Half dosage so as to not kill the Val)

 

NOW - Why is my Crypt melting?

I think it’s because of the addition of some sand substrate but here are some possible culprits:

-I recently dosed Fritz Paracleanse in the tank then did a 25% water change afterwards. None of the fish looked or seemed sick, I just did it as a precaution.  

-Fish overuse it. I have pygmy corydoras and kuhli loaches, a huge mystery snail that is always getting on it and pushing the leaves down with its weight. The Kuhli loaches may sometimes disrupt the top parts of the roots.

-I haven’t added any new Easy Root Tabs in over 4 months. 

 

Now the main culprit and probably only culprit is the new sand substrate, my KH is 0, down from 40. The Ph is still 7 though.

I got some Habrosus Corydoras a few weeks back and felt they would prefer some sand substrate to rummage for food in, and they do sure love it! I only added a small patch. I would have added it in the corner where the Crypt is but I didn’t want to disturb it! So I added it just by it in a small flat area that was clear of plants..  

The sand I got is  “CaribSea Super Naturals Moonlight Freshwater Sand” I see now that it said on the bag that this sand was a “Perfect way to detoxify metals” I’m wondering if that is what lead to the drop in the KH? 

Any plant experts would have any guesses or think that is definitely what happened?

Will it ever recover? Should I add crushed coral or wondershell now so i don’t get a sudden PH drop?

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I am far from an expert but I did notice you are using easy green. I believe your plant is a root feeder primarily and that could be the problem. It could fall into coincidence with everything else. I would add some root tabs into the substrate around the plant. It may have used all of the nutrients in the substrate and is starving out. I hope this helps, and please keep us posted!

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It's a toss up between the of the change in parameters and lack of nutrients near the roots or a combination of the 2. I'd add some root tabs every few months under the crypts. 

Your crypts will bounce back as long as their roots are healthy. 

You may also want to consider using something to boost your kh. Tanks with very little or no kh can be at risk for swings in pH. 

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Thank you everyone for the feedback and suggestions. I am definitely ordering more root tabs and some wonder shells.@Cory before I place my order I thought I'd try and see if it was possible you might have a minute to weight in and let me know if there is anything else I may need.

In my next order I'm also going to buy a PHOSPHATE PAD because I had the pleasure of meeting with Eric Bodrock over the weekend (Thanks to learning about him from your channel! It was amazing!), we talked about our local water and he thinks that the major culprit behind my out of control algae is probably the excess phosphate in our water.

I also have a 10 gallon pea puffer tank with Anubis Nana. It's a low light (cheap LED) tank with only sand substrate. Are there any plants you'd recommend I get to plant in the sand?   

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@Candior @Lizzie BlockI don't mean to be too demanding by tagging Cory as I know he's crazy busy. Would it be possible for either of you or a store associate to help me with my question about what else I may need to purchase for my next shipment? 

Or is this the kind of thing I should email the store about instead of posting on the forum?

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1 hour ago, Candi said:

@Slash what is your question? 

@CandiTo summarize everything: I think my Crypt melted because of the KH going way down and a lack of new root tabs. Everything else still seems fine and somehow my PH is constant. In addition to Root Tabs should I get Wonder Shells or Crushed Coral to bring up the KH? 

Second question: Should I get a phosphate pad for my hang-on back filter to reduce phosphates in my water to get a handle on the massive hair algae problem I have or will that hurt my plants because they need some phosphate (Val, Annubias, Christmas Moss, Crypt, Marimo Moss Balls and guppy grass)?

Third question: What plants should I get for a different tank I have to plant in a SAND substrate? It's a 10 Gallon Pea Puffer tank. Low light.  

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23 hours ago, Slash said:

@CandiTo summarize everything: I think my Crypt melted because of the KH going way down and a lack of new root tabs. Everything else still seems fine and somehow my PH is constant. In addition to Root Tabs should I get Wonder Shells or Crushed Coral to bring up the KH? 

Second question: Should I get a phosphate pad for my hang-on back filter to reduce phosphates in my water to get a handle on the massive hair algae problem I have or will that hurt my plants because they need some phosphate (Val, Annubias, Christmas Moss, Crypt, Marimo Moss Balls and guppy grass)?

Third question: What plants should I get for a different tank I have to plant in a SAND substrate? It's a 10 Gallon Pea Puffer tank. Low light.  

@Slash I wouldn't overthink it - my guess is that your crypt melted due to the drastic change in water hardness and buffering capacity (KH). If I were in your shoes, I'd go with crushed coral to bring that up as it lasts way longer than a wonder shell. Therefore getting more bang for your buck. The one key with crypts is absolutely no change in parameters, or you will likely get melt. Long term, best way to keep them thriving is not to change anything.

Next. Phosphate pads will not hurt your plants - I mean, I wouldn't run them forever in the tank, because it's usually not necessary. And because yes, it's true that plants need a small amount of phosphate as nutrients. But this is a very small amount we're talking. Maybe just give one pad (you can cut it down to size) a try over the course of a few weeks or so to see if that makes a dent in the hair algae. If not, it's something else. Excess nutrients, light, too much iron there are a number of causes for hair algae. You'll have to trial and error: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/pages/algae-identification-guide-1

Third question - Pea puffers looove plant cover. I'd go with some java fern, anubias of different varieties, maybe some water sprite. If you're content on the sand substrate, I would add root tabs if you want to plant into the sand. But the plants I have just listed don't even need to be. If you go to our website, you can filter plants by low light to see all your options 🙂 https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collections/live-plants/light-requirements_low-light-plants

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36 minutes ago, Lizzie Block said:

I wouldn't overthink it - my guess is that your crypt melted due to the drastic change in water hardness and buffering capacity (KH).

I'd second this as a possible cause.

I've had this happen in my tank when the params suddenly changed, like when I ran out of CO2 for a few days. All my crypts melted back to nothing.

I've had them melt away to nothing twice (once from sudden param changes) and another time due to a plant unfriendly med.

The good news is they do come back, in my experience, if you stabilize the environment.

I went from melted mush to having so many that I actually had to throw some in the compost pile when I thinned them out the other week (I know, shameful).

People claim that crypts hate having their roots disturbed, and melt in response to that. But I have uprooted mine many, many times and re-scaped, or potted them and moved them to other tanks, and they never melt (all my tanks have approx. the same water params). Maybe they lose a few leaves, but not melt.

For me they melt when their environment drastically shifts.  

Also, as someone else said -- root tabs. They love root tabs.

Edited by tolstoy21
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I've experienced massive loss of crypts after temperature changes, a power outage even as small as 3 hrs left me with a tank full of cooked spinach.  The down side of beautiful crypts. They took months to return and have never achieved the lushness of the first established planting even with root tabs every 3 months.   Moving them has never been a problem.  

Edited by Trish
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