Aquarium Plants Melting: Causes and Fixes

Your aquarium plants are prone to melting by changing their original color to brown before becoming translucent. Some leaves and branches can fall off while others remain on the plant, making it lose its original splendor. Given the time and effort channeled towards introducing these plants in the tank and caring for them, you can easily be discouraged when they start melting. 

Melting in aquarium plants is when they lose leaves or branches. They melt due to transitioning their environment, poor nutrition, damage, low carbon dioxide, poor water quality, and Anubias rot. Prevent melting by providing nutrition, lighting, carbon dioxide, and exchanging the water often.

While the melting of some leaves is a natural and common occurrence, it’s alarming when this continues in all plants, and your fish tank starts losing its beauty. You can seek help controlling this and bringing your aquarium’s aquascape back to its former glory.

Aquarium Plants Melting: Causes and Fixes

Why Do Aquarium Plants Melt?

Among the reasons causing your aquarium plants to melt include damage, transitioning from their previous habitat, lack of proper nutrients, low levels of carbon IV oxide, and poor conditions in the tank.

1. Transitioning Plants to a New Aquarium

Some aquarium plants like Pothos are first planted on the land surface above water before being transferred to the tank. This style helps them grow quicker, protecting them from algae attacks. Immersed plants also have high survival chances, explaining why aquarium plant farmers prefer to grow them on the ground.

However, the plants have difficulty transitioning from land to the aquarium and some parts exhibit their resistance by melting. Adapting to their new submerged state takes time, and the plants with weak parts decay faster. 

However, you should not be alarmed when this occurs since a new and more adaptive leaf often grows sooner to replace those. The melting becomes an issue if it spreads to a bigger portion of the plant and should be curbed before it causes worse damage.

2. Low Supply of Nutrients

When your plant is not getting enough nutrients, it’s likely to melt and change its original color. You can easily notice these changes when the plant appears weak and less colorful than it previously was. 

Aquatic plants require manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, nitrogen, and more minerals. If your fish tank has a shortage of these, your plants will react by melting and weakening until they can derive them again. 

3. Damage

Due to how delicate they are, plants get easily injured and damaged to the extent of melting. This may result from being chewed by fish or if the plant was not handled with care from its original location to the new fish tank. 

After undergoing severe damage on a specific part, your plant cannot circulate nutrients to that section, causing it to weaken and wither off. Too much damage can spread to other parts of the plant, jeopardizing its chances to live to its term.

4. Low Levels of Carbon IV Oxide (CO2)

Plants need air to thrive in any habitat. Your aquarium plant may be melting due to its lack of adequate CO2. They cannot make food as this is an essential requirement, further weakening them and interfering with their growth. A plant with a low supply of air is prone to melting.

5. Poor Condition of Aquarium Water

Suppose your aquarium has a high concentration of waste, ammonia, and other organic dirt. Plants need a neutral habitat with balanced parameters to thrive. When these conditions are not maintained, your plants will start melting until you can reverse the pH, temperature, ammonia levels and clean out the waste in the fish tank.

6. Anubias rot

Anubias rot occurs when the rhizome of an Anubias plant turns mushy then starts rotting. It occurs when the rhizome is planted too deeply into the substrate which causes it to rot.

Plants suitable for betta fish and other pet fish can melt makign the auqrium dirty and unsightly. Luckily, the fixes are quite easy to implement.

How to Prevent Plants from Melting

The easiest and most applicable way of preventing your plants from melting is maintaining a hygienic and well-balanced habitat, proper lighting, adequate CO2 supply, and being cautious when transferring your new plant from the shop or farm to the aquarium. Pruning and trimming your plant also comes in handy to prevent infected parts from spreading the infection and melting the rest of the plant.

Causes of meltingFixes 
Transitioning to a new aquariumHandle new plants with care
Low supply of nutrientsSupply plants with the required nutrients
Damage Handle new plants with care
Low carbon dioxide supplyInject carbon dioxide into the water
Poor condition of aquarium waterMaintain good aquarium conditions
Anubias rotUse suitable substrates
Low light in new aquariumInvest in LED lights
Plant was already meltingPrune and trim the damaged parts

1. Maintaining a Hygienic and Well-balanced Habitat

You should maintain stability in your fish tank at all times for both the fish and aquarium plants to remain healthy. Check the water conditions to ensure the pH, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and other substances are not too concentrated to interfere with the health of your aquarium.

You can introduce non-toxic bacteria that help break down the excess chemical substances causing your plants to melt. It is also beneficial to maintain a clean aquarium and eliminate excess waste materials for aquarium plants like water lily to thrive in a healthy environment.

2. Pruning and Trimming Your Plants

Old and damaged leaves are at a high risk of spreading these effects to other healthy parts of the plant. You should prune and trim them before this happens to pave the way for a more viable replacement. 

Additionally, the damaged leaves cannot manufacture nutrients that are essential for the other parts of the plants. This results in nutrient deficiency since the food makers are fewer than the parts requiring the nutrients. Nipping off the sick and old leaves helps maintain a balance and proportionality for the plant’s health.

3. Supply the Plants with Adequate Nutrients

Your plant needs enough nutrients to remain healthy and stop melting. If the organic nutrients in the aquarium seem inadequate, you can add fertilizer and other boosters recommended for such conditions. 

Among the substrates you can use for this condition include Controsoil which is ideal for improving the nutritional value within your aquarium. The roots draw in the substrate and distribute the nutrients to other parts of the plant, preventing melting.

4. Invest in LED Lighting

Proper lighting plays a major role in your plant’s health. Ensure the light is neither too much nor too little. The former leads to an influx of algae, leading to the competition of nutrients and the melting of your plant as it becomes unhealthy. The dangers of too little light in the fish tank include melting and stunted growth for your plant. 

Investing in quality LED lighting prevents this and helps your plant maintain its healthy state. The plant also remains healthy and colorful, adding to your aquarium’s splendor.

5. Inject CO2 into the Aquarium

If your aquarium has too many plants competing for CO2, you can give them a boost by injecting more of that into the water. This increases the supply, and each plant has enough air to manufacture food. Healthy plants are unlikely to suffer from the melting condition, and the nutrients made using adequate CO2 come in handy. 

6. Handle New Plants with Care

When transferring a new plant from the shop to your aquarium, you should handle it carefully to avoid scrapes and damages that result in melting. Ensure its roots are healthy enough to withstand the new habitat and supply nutrients to all parts.

After your plant is well settled and adapted to the new environment, avoid moving it unless it’s necessary. This reduces the chances of shaking its roots from the substrate and interfering with the rooting process. 

7. Use suitable substrates

At times, the melting comes about due to a poor substrate. To prevent Anubias rot, for example, plant Anubias on wood or rock to avoid submerging its rhizomes too much into the soil.

What do you do to melting plants?

If your aquarium plants are melting, you can trim the affected parts, remove the whole plant or change the water parameters to be more conducive for your plant’s health.

1. Remove Them

Removing the melted plants is advisable to prevent the spreading of this condition to other healthy plants. Such plants can harm your fish or release toxins in the water, worsening the situation. If the melting plant is beyond repair, getting rid of it may be the only viable option.

2. Change the Aquarium’s Water Parameters

Your aquarium plants may be melting due to poor living conditions. Reversing these parameters can change the outlook and help the plant regain its health. Ensure the pH, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and other parameters are conducive to helping your plant thrive.

3. Trimming the Melted Parts

Melted parts of aquarium plants distort their beauty, giving your fish tank an undesirable look. You can deal with this by trimming and adding more nutrients to assist in the growth of new parts for replacement.

Conclusion

Melting plants is a familiar occurrence in the aquarium, and its effects range from mild to severe. It would be best to understand the causes before looking for remedies to salvage the remaining healthy parts. Avoid moving your fish tank too often to ensure the roots remain intact and that the other parts receive the necessary nutrients to prevent melting.

References

Exploring Our Fluid Earth. What Are Aquatic Plants and Algae?

University of Illinois. Plants getting food under water.

University of Florida. Hydrilla verticillata.

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