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A. Reineckii Red but Stunted - Enough Light?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by aclaar877, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. aclaar877

    aclaar877 Junior Poster

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    I've read everything I can find on Alternanthera Reineckii and I'm still having trouble growing it. My question is, does a red color indicate it has enough light? I have a combination of 6500K CFLs, T8 colormax and 6500K T5NO over a 155g tank, but bulbs are all older than 8 months. After doing some reading on par levels, they drop off quite a bit toward the bottom of a 24" tank. My A. Reineckii plants are positioned in different places, some under each light, but none are growing at all. Lower leaves are full of holes, falling apart, much like photos in other threads where people have had trouble with this plant. I run pressurized CO2, thru Grigg reactor with the output directed right on the plants. pH drop is 1.2 with the CO2, and I've increased it from 4 bps to about 7 in the past couple days. The bubbles are getting tough to count at this rate, but I noticed increased pearling and no ill effect on fish. Bacopa, swords, crypts, java fern, ludwigias are all growing great and pearling, but reineckii just sits there. I've also tried shading it. Should I turn some lights off and try to grow it even though it may green up? I can't tell if I have too much light for the ferts/CO2 or perhaps too little. The reineckii are all 2-3 inches tall, so my hunch is they don't have too much light. I also notice the reineckii and narrow-leaf ludwigia leaves curling down rather than up toward the light for the whole photo period. Does this fact indicate anything?

    NO3 - 10-20 ppm (reducing it from 30-40 ppm range when I was using full EI - I have good fish load and probably lower uptake than I thought)
    PO4 - 1-2 ppm
    K - dosing at least 10 ppm per week via K2SO4 - no sign of any deficiency in other plants
    Iron/traces - dose every other day, no sign of deficiency
    50 % weekly W/C
    KH = 2, GH = 7, ratio of C to Mg is 4:1

    Thanks.
     
  2. poormanisme

    poormanisme Guest

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    i would continue slowly increasing co2 while keeping an eye on fish behavior. I've found my a. reineckii require lots of co2 to look good and keep algae away.
     
  3. Scnee

    Scnee New Member

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    Hi there, just a thought. I have a feeling that you may have A. sessilis which doesn't fare well completely submerged :( which would explain everything you have said :)
     
  4. Aquarium Plant Swag

    Aquarium Plant Swag Subscriber

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    Yeah, man. That is my hardest plant to grow. I have it growing pretty good now under high light with ample iron dosing and all the tank parameters good. Your GH might be a little high. :eek:
     
  5. dbot

    dbot Member

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    Any pics for us to see?
     
  6. aclaar877

    aclaar877 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the responses. I'll try to get pictures uploaded later this week. I figured I may have a different Alternanthera variety so I got a little gel-pack from Petsmart a couple weeks ago. I also am trying "Kekon's" experiment by getting nitrates to around 5 ppm to see if the plant improves. The small leaves on the new plants (A Reineckii Cardinalis) are red, full, and healthy but no vertical growth yet. The ones I've had for months are pointing up towards light and generally appear healthier, but again no growth. I think I answered my earlier question on the light - I've seen beautiful photos of guys growing this plant with nothing but T8s. Next thing I'll try is turning off some of my bulbs - perhaps other plants are out-competing for CO2 and nutrients and I just need to slow everything down.

    I actually had success with a true A Reineckii years ago in a 55g with DIY CO2. It was under a blue actinic T5 - maybe it was the spectrum but more likely that made it a lower light tank. The tank also struggled with green water from time to time, but the plant did great.
     
  7. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    I have the exact same issue with mine, I am slowly increasing Co2, but so far it is not getting much better... Curious to see if that will work for you.
     
  8. aclaar877

    aclaar877 Junior Poster

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    OK, after a few months I have some photos. The plant has hardly changed at all - the top leaves occasionally do OK but then the rest of it looks awful. Since my original post I added a BML Dutch XB LED fixture to replace PCs. Right now it's around 80% strength, as I don't want to lose some Ludwigia Glandulosa I recently added. As for CO2, I get a pH drop from 7.5 to 6.1 doing a de-gas test. Water flow is good around this plant, and CO2 mist is constantly around the plant. I have CO2 going through two PVC reactors on two filter outflows to ensure good distribution.

    I know nitrate test kits aren't precise, but my API kit reads beet red, even using only half the reagent. I did strict EI for the last two weeks, and the plant didn't really improve at all. So, given that nitrate reading I'll try modified EI, withholding KNO3 and maintaining K thru K2SO4. I may reduce CSM+B a bit, just because my tank is moderately planted and it seems like after 1/2 tsp in 155 gallon tank I get GDA within 24 hours on glass and some plants. This week I'll do 1/4 tsp doses and see how that does. I have no stunted tips in anything or any signs of iron deficiency. PO4 levels are around 2-3, dosing 1/4 tsp three times a week.

    Any thoughts here? Should I further dim the LED to save the A Reineckii? I want to keep L Glandulosa if possible. It's growing slow, but top is nice deep red. Its shed about 1/2 its lower leaves transitioning to submerged growth, and the bottom leaves I still have are a dark color, not red, with some dust or spot algae on them. Any recommendations here? I'd like it to keep lower leaves and have them red, if possible.
    View attachment 5185 View attachment 5185
     

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  9. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    I can't see your pictures... Ideas?
     
  10. aclaar877

    aclaar877 Junior Poster

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    Not sure - they showed up in my draft post. I'll try again.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Use flicker or photobucket to link and insert images.
    The A. "mini" reineckii form is the nicest of the bunch and varieties to be honest.

    Do not move it, plant and leave it be, trim off the tops, the new side shoots will grow in nice.
    Pinch any ugly leaves.

    Do not uproot though.
     
  12. aclaar877

    aclaar877 Junior Poster

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    Here are photos of the plant: https://www.flickr.com/photos/13284466@N03/15124516759/in/photostream

    Since taking the photos I have increased PO4 a bit, which has helped a little with the GSA. I had zero GSA on glass during last water change. The issue is growth - the plant doesn't do anything. Once in a blue moon it puts out new leaves, only to have the other leaves wither away. I have not dosed KNO3 in three weeks, as API kit readings are still beet red, 40-80ppm. I only feed modestly once a day, too. I have been doing 50% weekly water changes and all other plants are doing fine, even Ludwigia Glandulosa has been growing slowly. My only guess at this point is I have too much light for the AR. I have some in heavy shade that don't look any different than these, however.
     
  13. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Andy, how is your plant mass? From that picture I don't understand how dense is your plant mass. That also could help to stabilize the system in my opinion... My AR are slowly getting better since I have "stabilized" the tank. If they continue this way, I will post a picture of them soon. Also, I got a new batch of them and see how those will go. I will keep you posted.
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Does not look like much is growing in that tank. Do water changes 2x a week, say 50-80%, dose afterward each water change.
    Adjust CO2, deep vacuum a section, say 1/4 of the tank, once a week, till you have cleaned up the tank's sediment well, clean filters often.
     
  15. aclaar877

    aclaar877 Junior Poster

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    Here is an update - the plant finally started growing. I even had a stem tall enough to top and replant. Leaves got nice and big, some nearly 3" long, though some of them got some holes and GDA, but hey, at least they are growing. I was more diligent with cleanliness, and I also raised KH to 5, added a powerhead for more surface movement, added osmocote+ root tabs and started dosing more nitrate and traces in line with EI levels. Lots of shoots and new leaves are developing from the main stems, so I hope to keep these looking healthier.
     
  16. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Great news! Glad to know that.


    Just to give an update to all readers since my last post here, by doubling my micros and adding a little bit of Fe DTPA, my AR got back into growth, and now they are doing very well. I have also increased surface agitation, mostly at night, plus aeration via micro-pore air stone I side the sump, and all plants got much better.
     
  17. Chris Noto

    Chris Noto Lifetime Members
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    I looked at your Flickr pictures, and the difference between the full tank shot of 10/6/2014 and 10/27/2014 is amazing. Congratulations.
     
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