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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently set up a 2.5 gallon minibow planted with anubias, lucky bamboo, and anacharis. The water initially wasn't heated, as I was waiting for the heater to come in, so the tank was probably around 65-70 degrees. I put the heater in a couple days ago and set it to 79 to heat up overnight. The next morning the water was pretty cloudy, and the anacharis appears to be melting or rotting. Many of the leaves are turning transparent or brown, and appear to be dissolving. I tested the water yesterday using the API master test kit, and the ammonia levels were too high to be able to put the betta in, between 0.5 and 1ppm. I did a 50% water change which had no effect on lowering ammonia.

The tank has been set up for 4 days, filtered with no fish in it, as the betta was in a quarantine tank. I put a couple of root tabs in when I set up the tank.

Currently, Ammonia levels are between 0.5 and 1.0 ppm, nitrite is 1ppm, and pH is 7.8. Would the melting/rotting anacharis cause the ammonia spike? I would think a 50% water change would have lowered the measurements. The anacharis still has some green chutes at the ends of some of the stems, and the other plants appear to be doing ok. There is also some brown gunk on the filter cartridge wherever the water runs over it. I tried adding some more Prime and retesting the water a couple hours later, but ammonia was pretty much unchanged. The tap water reads between 0 and 0.25 ppm ammonia.

I was hoping to try and cycle the tank, but don't feel comfortable putting the fish in with these ammonia levels.

Help would be appreciated.
 

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The water change don't help because the plant matter is still stuck under the substrate. Try vacuuming instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I sort of vacuumed the first time but didn't have much time before the siphon took too much water out of the tank. I vacuumed again today using a turkey baster for about 25%, and added some more prime, but ammonia is still the same between 0.5 and 1.0ppm. Is ammonia supposed to drop after you add prime or does the prime just detoxify but not change the test results?

The other problem is when I vacuum or disturb the water, some of the melting anacharis leaves come off the stems and fill the tank with leaf debris again. There are definitely bright green leaves at the ends of the stems which appear to be fresh growth, but the original leaves are mostly melting. I understand this can be normal while the plants adjust, but I'm still worried about the ammonia which is keeping me from trying to start the fish-in cycle.

This is what it looks like right now, not sure which variety it was, but it was at Petco and looked pretty healthy when I bought it.
 

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From what I heard, Narrow leaf Anacharis doesn't go through initial melt. But at the same time, yours look a lot like mine, which are definitely narrow leafs. Do you think they're... Well, dying? Like, I don't know, because of incompatible pH or any other reason? Either ways, it's probably a good idea to quarantine the Anacharis until they finish melting at this point. That is if they're not dying ._. And I don't think Prime changes ammonia readings. I use Prime when I do fishless cycling and it never seem to mess with my readings
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well the bright green parts at the end make me think that it isn't really dying, and the stems are still mostly green and not mushy, so I think most of it is still alive. If I quarantine it until it finishes melting, wouldn't it start melting again when I put it back into the tank due to water differences between the quarantine and main tank?

I could also rip off all the dead/dying leaves and put the stems back in the tank to prevent them from rotting in the tank.
 

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The stems below the green are probably dying if they can't maintain viable leaves. Dying plant material zaps the nutrients the green part needs and increases Ammonia. You can strip the leaves from the stems but the plant in that area will probably not fill in. In addition, the leaves will most likely keep dying.
 
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