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Java Fern melt

Steve wrote:

>Karen, this description of a neglected high light, high growth tank
>reminds me of the situation where a shortage of calcium might develop.
>Dave Huebert mentioned that calcium shortages could lead to leaf
>senescence like you described. Does this sound consistent?

No, the KH and GH were both fine.  Also, when I have (once) had a problem
with calcium shortage in a peat bottomed tank, the first things to show a
problem were the fast growing hygros. The problem also manifested in new
leaves, (curling and deformation) while older leaves were unaffected.

Susan Romano wrote:

>Recently on two separate occasions and in two separate tanks I have
>observed incidents of plant "melting". One was in a bare bottom tank with
>stem plants, 'Nesaea" planted in pots with a high iron content aquatic soil
>and Flourite gravel and the other in my regular planted tank with a sudden
>increase in CO2 brought on by the addition of a CO2 reactor. The affected
>plants in this case were typically some crypts. Horst states in "The
>Optimum Aquarium" that "holes, discolorations and fringing are usually the
>result of water chemistry ...or diseases caused by a lack, or over supply ,
>of nutrients." In both of my tanks the problem was precipitated by an
>overabundance of nutrients, but a sudden lack it would seem could cause a
>similiar effect. I suspect the key factors here may be consistency and

Crypt melt is a phenomenon recognised and discussed for many years.  As you
mention, enviromental changes can easily trigger this in Crypts, although
the typical "crypt melt" is _much_ faster acting than this Java fern problem.

As far as  your "Nesaea" problem is concerned, I think that is something
different as well.  Toxicity from over-rich substates can cause these
symptoms, as can rotting in the confined space of a pot.

As the Java Fern problem has been described to me in the past, and as I
have experienced it in this case, it is specific to this particular
species, and sometimes not to all stands in the tank.  Other species of
plant, including other ferns in the tank seem to be unaffected.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association