Crypt problems

Subject: Crypt problems

>   I am having some problems with one of my tanks and hope someon
> help.  I have a 20g tank with 4 clown loaches and various plants
> changing to crypts which are a more familiar plant to the loache
> the val. and hygro I have had in there.  Currently I have plante
> tank two A. crispus (hybrids, possibly), rotala macrandra, C. we
> cordata, and a big clump of green hygro.  I have two 15w bulbs o
> tank, a gro-lux and a cool white.  I am not particularly happy w
> lighting, but the hygro and A. crispus are doing fine, as is the
> The crypts, however, are not growing very well at all.  The cryp
> when I first got them, which didn't bother me too much.  They ar
> slow coming back, however.  
> I think nothing can be too wrong since the hygro, Aponogeten, an
> are doing OK.  Are the crypts being outcompeted by the faster gr
> plants?  How long does the melting act last?  I could just be ov

> (useful tank info snipped)

If I had to make a guess, it would be that your nitrate level is 
the problem.  If your UGF is old and dirty, this could be a 
cotributing factor as well. Crypts _do_ melt down sometimes, some 
species are worse about this than others.  But the fact that you 
don't mention any species names makes me suspect that the Crypts 
you are working with are the "generic" Crypts available from most 
pet stores.  More often than not, these are a variety of C. 
wendtii (there are several) and are _very_ hardy.  They are also 
usually emerse grown, and don't tend to melt when placed in a tank 
with good conditions.

The most important things to remember about Crypts is that they 
require CLEAN water and STABLE conditions.  Most species are quite 
adaptable to different water chemistry, lighting conditions and 
fertilization regimes AS LONG AS the water is clean and the 
conditions are kept constant.

> PS.  I recently bought a crypt, about 6-8 inches high, leaves gr
> top and red on the bottom.  The leaves are about 50% stem and ar
> slender.  This is a C. affinis and not a C. wendtii, as the stor
> advertised, correct?

There are C. wendtii with with a similar color pattern, so to 
identify the plant from a sketchy description is almost 
impossible.  C. affinis usually has a very strong vein pattern on 
the tops of the leaves, C. wendtii usually doesn't.  But Crypts 
are so variable, that experts usually won't make a positive ID of 
any plant without examining the flower.  If it _is_ C. affinis, 
that might be an added clue to your problems, since this is one of 
the species that is more likely to "melt".