Dust like stuff covering leafs - El Natural - Aquatic Plant Central

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El Natural Diana Walstad's low-maintenance, soil-based 'El Natural' method for keeping plants and fish.

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Old 03-12-2020, 08:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dust like stuff covering leafs

Hi there,

Im into 8 weeks of Walstad Tank.

I see dust like stuff covering plant leafs, but I can remove by hand. It occurs again in few days. I attached couple of photos for reference. Can someone help me figure out what's going on?

Also, I see new growth, but some of my plant leafs turned yellow or decay. Please help me.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dust like stuff covering leafs

How are your fish behaving? Eating normally, swimming happily? How about water measurements? These could give you an idea of what could be going wrong I guess. Unfortunately I have no experience of this, so I'll wait for other members to say.

By the way, is that a pot that plant is in? Do you have a specific reason for keeping it that way?
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dust like stuff covering leafs

It looks like a fungus to me, but is probably a mix. Anubia are slow-growing, so their leaves cannot outgrow attached algae, bacteria, and fungus like faster growing plants. An old leaf will accumulate more of this stuff.

I would clean off its leaves, do a water change, and not worry. The photo shows the other plants doing fine.

You might want to move the Anubias into a shadier place in the tank. It is a shade plant and can't use excess light. If you had an Amazon Swordplant in this well-lighted central position, I doubt you would see epiphytic growth on its leaves.
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Old 03-15-2020, 05:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dust like stuff covering leafs

It looks like Calcium deposit to me. Some hard water plants can photosynthesize by spliting CO2 from CaCO3 leaving Ca behind. What plants do you have and what are your gH and kH.
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dwalstad View Post
It looks like a fungus to me, but is probably a mix. Anubia are slow-growing, so their leaves cannot outgrow attached algae, bacteria, and fungus like faster growing plants. An old leaf will accumulate more of this stuff.

I would clean off its leaves, do a water change, and not worry. The photo shows the other plants doing fine.

You might want to move the Anubias into a shadier place in the tank. It is a shade plant and can't use excess light. If you had an Amazon Swordplant in this well-lighted central position, I doubt you would see epiphytic growth on its leaves.
Thank you, Diana! Its always good to hear from you. I did a water change yesterday. I see the dust particles on other plants too. It was not visible on the pictures. I have a 5 gallon tank with different organic soil, without filter, and does not have similar issue.

Also, my vallisneria is not growing as much its growing on my other 5 gallon tank.
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tiger15 View Post
It looks like Calcium deposit to me. Some hard water plants can photosynthesize by spliting CO2 from CaCO3 leaving Ca behind. What plants do you have and what are your gH and kH.

I don't have a way to test my water quality here.

Plants used:

Rotala Rotundifolia "Pink"
Ludwigia Repens
Bacopa Caroliniana
Cryptocoryne Spiralis "Green"
Cryptocoryne Wendtii
Ludwigia Palustris
Vallisneria Nana
Echinodorus sp. "Ozelot"
Amazon Sword
Vallisneria Sp. Mini Twister
Sagittaria sp. Dwarf
Indian Fern
Frogbit
Anubias
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Old 03-16-2020, 06:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dust like stuff covering leafs

Among the plant species listed, Vals and Saggitaria are hard water plants that can split CaCO3. But your Vals are not growing, so they can't be splitting much CaCO3. Another scenario is that if you have very hard water, photosynthesis can raise pH and precipitate out Ca. What are your pH, kH and gH.

It's my speculation it the white dust is indeed Ca, but it can be something else.
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dust like stuff covering leafs

PLEASE! Aquatic ferns, mosses and most stem plants cannot use bicarbonates. So whatever is going on this tank is probably not calcium deposition due to bicarbonate uptake.

Much more likely... excess nutrients are stimulating a bacteria/algae/fungus biofilm. I saw this kind of thing when--long, long ago and never to be repeated--I added vinegar to lower the pH. Everything became covered with a whitish biofilm. I realized that the acetic acid in vinegar is DOC and a food source for bacteria.

It may be that this different soil needs a little more management and extra cleaning until tank stabilizes. I would peel what you can off of Anubias leaves, change water, poke soil gently with sharp object, etc.

Also, if your Val is not doing well, it may be that your new soil doesn't contain enough Ca? It would help to know the GH. If your old soil had a calcium additive, could it have compensated for soft, Ca-deficient water?

Rule of thumb: If you live in Seattle, Portland, Raleigh, etc with plentiful rain, city water is soft and Ca deficient. In contrast, if you live in a dry region and/or use groundwater, Ca deficiency would be less likely.

If you have a good tank going, I trust you will sort this all out.
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Old 03-19-2020, 01:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: Dust like stuff covering leafs

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjcvijay View Post
Hi there,

Im into 8 weeks of Walstad Tank.

I see dust like stuff covering plant leafs, but I can remove by hand. It occurs again in few days. I attached couple of photos for reference. Can someone help me figure out what's going on?

Also, I see new growth, but some of my plant leafs turned yellow or decay. Please help me.

Thanks in advance!
First time I see something like that!
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Old 03-20-2020, 08:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dust like stuff covering leafs

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Originally Posted by aaronstar View Post
First time I see something like that!
Welcome to APC, aaronstar!
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