Aquarium Plant Holes In Leaves (4 Ways To Fix)

People often use aquariums as a medium of decoration in their homes or workplace. Plants in the aquarium play a vital role in this decoration process. Whenever aquarium plants have holes in leaves it becomes a reason for concern.

A common reason why aquarium plants have holes in leaves is a deficiency of potassium. Due to the deficiency of potassium, the plants don’t get proper nutrients as they lack protein manufacture. There is also another reason known as cryptocoryne rot. There is no specific reason for this rotting. But some reasons can be polluted water, excess nitrate, or deficiency of Sunlight. Also, there are some aquatic plants that feed on the plant leaves in the aquarium.

If you are having this problem there is no need to worry. Only with a few measures can you easily solve the issue. But always remember that preventive measures are always better than cures. 

4 Reasons Why Aquarium Plants Have Holes In Leaves

Aquarium Plant Have Holes In Leaves

1. Deficiency Of Potassium

Potassium is a major macronutrient for aquatic plants. It plays a vital role in the distribution of nutrients to the cells of plants. Potassium works as a carrier of nutrients from water to the plant’s tissue. Whenever potassium plants are deficient they lack the other nutrient consumption.

Potassium is also a growth booster for plants. Generates around 60 enzymes that help in protein production for plants. Therefore deficiency of potassium in aquatic plants in your aquarium can cause serious damage to the plant. 

Whenever there is a deficiency of potassium you will see some dots which start as yellow and turn black. If not taken care of in time these spots will grow and will create holes in the leaves. The holes will increase and will spread with time. 

2. Cryptocoryne Rot

Cryptocoryne rot is a health condition of plants. With this condition, plants get holes in their leaves. Unfortunately, there is no specific reason found behind the Cryptocoryne Rot. But experts tried to locate some reasons that can be behind this rot. 

Excess Nitrate

Too much nitrate is one of them. Nitrate is an important factor in plant growth. But too much nitrate in the water can disrupt the functionality of the plant’s health. Causing Cryptocoryne Rot is one of them. 

Stagnant Water

Stagnant water is another major factor for cryptocoryne rot. In stagnant water, there is a lack of nutrients for a plant to survive. Therefore it causes rotting in the plant leaves and spreads to the other part of the plant.

Microscopic Organism

The presence of microscopic organisms like bacteria and fungus in the water can also cause cryptocoryne rot in the plant. If water is not filtered properly then there is a tendency that it becomes the habitat of parasitic animals that can harm the aquatic plants and animals of your aquarium. 

3. Aquatic Animals

In aquariums sometimes we end up having some features or animals that live by eating the leaves of the plants. Fish like Goldfish, Mbuna, Oscars, Uaru spp. Leporinus spp. Common Pleco, Silver Dollars, Buenos Aires Tetras, Scats, and Monos eat up the leaves of the plants in your aquarium.

Also if you have a Snail or tortoise in your aquarium they can also eat the leaves and leave holes in them. There are several ways that these snails can get inside the tank. 

The plants that you are planting, the substrate, or the fertilizers can have eggs of the snails, which can develop when you put them in water. If you want to make your aquarium habitat for the snails then, it is ideal to put plants that are good for your snail. And also prepared to deal with small holes in the leaves.

Ways To Deal With The Holes In Leaves

aquarium potassium testing with kits

1. Test Potassium

The first thing to do after seeing the holes in your aquarium leaves is to test the potassium level. There are several kits available in the market that can allow you to test the potassium level in the water without any hazard.

The level of potassium in the water should be between 10 to 15 ppm. In this range, the plants in your aquarium will be healthy without any holes. Any range below 10 ppm can be a health hazard for the plant. 

Also, the lack of potassium makes the plants saggy and dreadful.

2. Providing Potassium

Only checking the level of potassium is not enough. You also need to provide a proper supplement. 

There are several potassium supplements available on the market. Some are water-soluble and some are in tab form. No matter which one you use, make sure that the supplements are enriched with potassium along with other nutrients. (Our Pick: Seachem Flourish Potassium)

Try to incorporate potassium supplements in the aquarium every time after a water change. Otherwise, the aquarium is bound to have a potassium deficit. And before you take initiative you will have decay in the leaves. 

These supplements are not only useful for plants. They are also very useful for the aquatic animals in the aquarium. But also remember to put only the necessary amount. 

3. Changing Water

One way to resist Cryptocoryne rot is to change the water of the tank. The water should be replaced by mineral and filtered water. So that there is no presence of any microscopic habitat. 

Also if the water has a presence of excessive phosphate and nitrate they tend to block sunlight and carbon dioxide. Therefore the plants get a deficit of necessary factors for photosynthesis. This results in a decay of the leaves and forms holes. Changing the waters regularly will deal with the issue.

It is always wise to change the water of the tank every 2 to 3 weeks. And also try to keep track of the pH balance. Also, you can try to install a water filter in the tank. This helps to prevent any formation of debris and algae in the tank.

4. Choosing the Right Aquatic Animal

If you want your fish, snail, or other aquatic animals to eat up the plant leaves, you need to be selective about what to put in the tank. There are lots of aquatic animals that don’t feed on the leaves of plants.

Also, put proper food in the tank so that fish have enough food and don’t feed on the plant leaves. Therefore you won’t have holes in the leaves.

How To Take Care Of The Plants In Aquarium

keep nitrate and potassium level perfect in aquarium

There can be many other reasons why your plants in the aquarium are having holes in the leaves. Therefore it is always wise to take some preventive measures.

  • Always check the purity of the water in the aquarium
  • Check the nitrate balance in the water along with the potassium level. 
  • Try not to put snails intentionally in the aquarium.
  • Maintain a pH level between 6.5 – 7.5.
  • Use good fertilizer with proper nutrients.
  • Feed the fish in time 


What Is Eating My Aquarium Plants?

A few types of snails certainly lure a new sea-going leaf. Among the plant-eating snails are hare snails and some greater apple snail species. Most snails that bum a ride into your aquarium (and are frequently considered bother snails) don’t practice good eating habits.

How Do I Know If My Aquarium Plants Are Getting Too Much Light?

At the point when your tank begins growing a lot of green algae, you are presumably leaving your lights on for a really long time. An excess of light in the mix with a lot of supplements in your aquarium water makes algae growth develop rather quickly and can likewise influence the shade of the water, making it brown or yellowish.

When Should I Add Iron To My Aquarium?

Iron is a significant supplement in the established aquarium. To keep a sufficient iron focus it ought to be dosed on a genuinely standard premise (every day). Flourish ought to be dosed once in a while (semi-week after week or week by week) since its parts are not quickly drained.

How Do You Identify A Nutrient Deficiency In Aquarium Plants?

One commonplace side effect of a lack of nitrogen is a, by and large, yellowing of the plant, particularly in the more established leaves. Progressively more modest new leaves or injured development can be a sign of a nitrogen deficiency, as well. Some plant species expect a particularly ruddy shade.

What Does A Magnesium Deficiency Look Like In Plants?

The principal indications of lack of magnesium show up on the more established lower leaves as magnesium moves towards new development. As the lack creates, chlorosis can move to the more youthful leaves also. As chlorophyll decreases, a few plants might show red, purple, or earthy colored colors.

Final Words

The plants in the aquarium are often sensitive. The change in water and other environments disrupts the nutrient balance. Thus aquarium plants have holes in their leaves. There are several reasons which can cause these holes. 

It is always advised that before you plan to have an aquarium, try to learn every ins and out about it. Learn properly how to take care of the plants and the animals in the aquarium, together and individually. This way you can know all the preventive measures you need to take to stop the holes from forming.

Howard Parker

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