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Holes in leafs

MichaelJ

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9 Feb 2021
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Location
Minnesota, USA
Hi,
I am starting to see some holes developing on some of my crypts - see attached picture. I am curious to what kind of deficiency (if any?) that might cause this.
My two 40 US Gallon tanks are low-energy but heavily planted: No CO2 injection, relatively low light, but on 11 hours/day and low fertilization (24 ml Tropica Premium after weekly 40-50% WC and 20 ml Tropica Specialized mid-week). I used to use dose Nitrogen and add root tabs but haven't done so for a long time.

Cheers,
Michael
 

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MichaelJ

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If it is a deficiency it is usually potassium that causes holes. Could it be mechanical damage?

@Nick potts Thanks. I am almost certain this is not a potassium deficiency issue. I use 50/50 Tap/RO and my tap is softened with our household water softener using Potassium Chloride, so I am dumping a lot of K in the tanks every week and my current mineralizer (soon to change) contains a lot of potassium as well.... Potassium test?

Searching around did bring up some articles blaming potassium deficiency and some say phosphate - my Phosphate levels is quite high as well (probably in the +20 ppm range). I do not know my Nitrate levels or my trace levels except from what I can derive from the fertilizer contents. I also saw a mention of manganese deficiency causing the holes, but that seems a bit of a long shot given how small the necessary amount is.

As for mechanical damage? You mean snails / fish? I was kind of wondering if it could be snails - I have some smaller Ramshorn snails and mystery snails, but I doubt it... never seen them on the crypts either. None of my fish are going for the plants - except to pick up some stray flake food - and not big enough to cause this kind of damage I think.

Cheers,
Michael
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Could it be mechanical damage?
I think it might be mechanical damage, it occurs as the new leaf unrolls, and could just be from the sharp edge of a grain of grit etc. I think this partially because the plants look pretty healthy.
I was kind of wondering if it could be snails
I don't think so, mainly because the holes don't look ragged and they look like they have a smooth edge?

cheers Darrel
 

MichaelJ

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Minnesota, USA
Hi all,

I don't think so, mainly because the holes don't look ragged and they look like they have a smooth edge?
@dw1305 right. They are smooth edges. I haven't seen my snails munching on the crypts either - They love my slower growing Anubias thought where they seem to have more luck finding algae - and my Anubias all look healthy as well. Now that I have a picture of the Crypts of that particular spot I can see how it evolves over time.

Cheers,
Michael
 

MichaelJ

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Don't suppose you have a pleco in that tank?
Mine tend to chew on the plants and put holes in them from time to time
No pleco...in this particular tank I only have an angle, cardinals, black neons, a pair of golden rams and a some small otocinclus. And smaller ramshorn and smaller mystery snails.

Cheers,
Michael
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
I am starting to see some holes developing on some of my crypts - see attached picture. I am curious to what kind of deficiency (if any?) that might cause this.
My two 40 US Gallon tanks are low-energy but heavily planted: No CO2 injection, relatively low light, but on 11 hours/day and low fertilization (24 ml Tropica Premium after weekly 40-50% WC and 20 ml Tropica Specialized mid-week). I used to use dose Nitrogen and add root tabs but haven't done so for a long time.

Cheers,
Michael
Hello,
Holes in leaves, if not due to predation, can only be caused by insufficient CO2. Potassium has nothing to do with this symptom. Since this is a non-CO2 tank the only option is to reduce the demand for CO2 by reducing the light intensity.

Cheers,
 

MichaelJ

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@ceg4048 Thanks. Yes, im totally ruling out K and predation as well. My vote is currently for mechanical damage along the lines of what @dw1305 suggests above considering that the plants in general are doing very well... Another thought is that the holes (which I haven't noticed before, but might have been there all along as the leaves grew) may be a sign that my plant mass is getting excessive for the available CO2 and/or fertilization? The tanks are quite quite heavily planted - I am going for the overgrown jungle-scape look - which might have its limitations without injecting at least some CO2 ?... As for light, its quite low intensity already, but I might have to cut back the hours an hour or so to lower the growth/metabolism a bit. CO2 is definitely on my mind, but I am not sure I want to deal with the complications. It just seems like it would opening up a whole new set of challenges for me, getting the dosing of co2, light levels and fertilizer right, but then again, I suppose that depends on how much CO2 I would dose.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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ceg4048

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Another thought is that the holes (which I haven't noticed before, but might have been there all along as the leaves grew) may be a sign that my plant mass is getting excessive for the available CO2 and/or fertilization?
Hi Michael,
Yes, it's a distinct possibility that the holes were there unnoticed from before but it's more likely that they recently developed as the available CO2 supply dwindled due to increasing mass. Lack of fertilization does not cause this, only lack of CO2.

I agree that there is no rush to implement CO2, which has massive headaches. Sometimes we just have to live with these faults and carry on. You can perhaps also trim and thin out the plants to reduce the mass. Crypts and swords develop massive root systems and those roots are built and maintained by CO2 as well, so it's not just what's above the substrate that counts in the total mass.

Cheers,
 

MichaelJ

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Hi @ceg4048 Thanks for the advice. Yes, I am going to trim and thin out the plant mass a bit - there is a good deal of margin for that while maintaining the lush “overgrown” look that I strive for. Also, I think I've read that for non-injected tanks you can increase the co2 "levels" a bit by increasing the surface agitation - whether this idea carries any merit I do not know, but its probably marginal if so (?) - and my Frogbits may not care for it.
Cheers,
Michael
 
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ceg4048

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Hi @ceg4048 Thanks for the advice. Yes, I am going to trim and thin out the plant mass a bit - there is a good deal of margin for that while maintaining the lush “overgrown” look that I strive for. Also, I think I've read that for non-injected tanks you can increase the co2 "levels" a bit by increasing the surface agitation - whether this idea carries any merit I do not know, but its probably marginal if so (?) - and my Frogbits may not care for it.
Cheers,
Michael
Yes, agreed, there is likely a marginal benefit but worth a try if your frogbit can cope. Good old airstones may achieve the same without the conflict as well.

Cheers,
 
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