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additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by yme, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    yme

    hi tom, here am again! It is not going very well. Or at least, my plants show some problems. So lets forget about algae and focus on the plant growth. On your suggestion I raised the PO4 from 0.2 mg/l to 0.4 mg/l. Now, the PO4 is more or less stable for 2 days around the 1 mg/l. (I know it is short) That´s basically the only difference that was introduced. My guess is now that the problems that I observe are caused by a higher metabolism due the additional PO4 and therefore creating some other deficiencies.

    To help you I give again my tank parameters:

    Tank: 100x40x40
    Pomp: eheim professional (containing just white foam)
    CO2: pressurized, administration by wooden airstone
    Substrate: amtra plant depot (1.5 years old)
    Light (30 watt per TL):
    1x Philips TL 840 (middle): 13.00-23.00
    1x Philips TL 830 (middle): 13.30-22.30
    1x Philips TL 830: 19.00-22.00
    1x Philips TL 840: 19.00-22.00
    1x Philips TL 840: 19.00-22.00
    liquid fertilzer: 3-4x/week 8 ml flourish, 3-4x/week 8 ml flourish iron
    pH: 6.4 (degassed 7.6)
    KH: 4.0
    GH: 6
    PO4: 0.4 mg/l/day (the actual PO4 level in the tank now 1 mg/l)
    NO3: 2 mg/l/day (NO3 levels are rising during the week)
    Conductivity: 480 µS
    Water change: 60 litres per week, 30 litres of RO water and 30 litres of tap water (pH 8, KH 7-8, GH 8, 660 µS, NO3 5-5.8, PO4 0, Ca 39-50, SO4 0-59 mg/l, Mg 6-10 mg/l, Na 50-83 mg/l, HCO3- 132-197 mg/l, B 0.03-0.07 mg/l)

    So from the tap water I am adding per week to my 160 liter tank: Ca: 1170-1500 mg, SO4: 0-1770 mg. Mg: 80-300 mg, Na: 1500-2490 mg, HCO3-: 3960-5910 mg, B: 0.9-2.1 mg

    The problems can be seen in the pictures: the arrowed leave of the tonina went brown and transparent in just one day. Previously, some little side shoots “melted” as well. Perhaps that was the first sign of the deficiency? Note as well that there are yellow patches in the leaves. The new leaves in general are not as green as they should be.
    The yellowing of the new leaves can also be seen in the zosterfolia. I must say that this was also before the increased addition of PO4, but it may be more pronounced. Since I add 8 ml flourish iron and 8 ml flourish 3-4x per week I do not think it is an iron deficiency. My guess is that it possibly an S deficiency? I read the newsletter (which was again very interesting) and noticed that especially the new leaves become yellow. And although my tap water contains possibly 50 mg/l SO4, it can also be completely lacking. The huge difference in SO4 values is due to the fact that we can get water out of two pump stations, one that derives it´s water from the dunes and the other from a river.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The other observation is that the new leaves of the proserpinaca are becoming quite small. I have observed that the leaves are just before the lights are on, but not very early in the morning, cupped. Does this indicate a calcium deficiency? After all, I am having approximately 20 mg/l Ca in the tank. An additional observation is that an emers rotala wallichii (planted last weekend) grows now very fast but is beginning to show the first signs of the small leave syndrome…

    [​IMG]


    Well, a long post, but I hope you can help me. You already helped me a lot and I think that eventually I will be able to grow beautiful plants!!!

    Greets,

    yme
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    YME, you are already growing beautiful plants. Now it looks like you are in the final fine tuning stage. You owe yourself a big pat on the back!
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?


    This is the thing, most folks assume that the higher nutrient levels cause the issue, the ones they add, but often it's adding enough of a limiting nutrient=> suddenly everything else starts being used much fast while folks often ignore things like the CO2, NO3, Traces, Mg etc.

    Some folks like to chase one nutrients to the next, personally it's a poor method and over time, a bad method.

    A simple EI routine would like serve you better, I know you prefer using the dosing pumps etc, but you need to start off with 2ppm PO4, 15ppm-20ppm, etc and then add the daily dosing from there rather than trying to build up to it.

    >Water change: 60 litres per week,

    Try doing more, say 100liters.
    When things settle down, you can go back to 60-80 liters.

    >The problems can be seen in the pictures: the arrowed leave of the tonina >went brown and transparent in just one day. Previously, some little side >shoots “melted” as well. Perhaps that was the first sign of the deficiency?

    Generally shading, light related issues, it hates to be crowded. This plant loves very high light and is prine tro melting, the fragments will send up side shoots though, float the stems in good nutrients and CO2, the high light will cause the stems to form new side shoots.

    The only places and times I ever get this is due to low light, with good CO2/Light NO3 etc, it grows 2-3" weekly, more if I coddle it.

    >week I do not think it is an iron deficiency.

    Neither do I.

    > My guess is that it possibly an S deficiency?

    No, I doubt that would be it.

    > I read the newsletter (which was again very interesting) and noticed that >especially the new leaves become yellow. And although my tap water >contains possibly 50 mg/l SO4, it can also be completely lacking.

    Possible and a simple soultion: add some SeaChem Equilibrium or Greg's GH booster. Add about 3.4 teaspoon after your water change once a week, that will rule out the Mn/Mg/Ca/K, SO4 issues.

    Tap water varies season to season, be careful with that assumption.
    Some places are very stable, some change a lot.

    Well, there you go.


    >The other observation is that the new leaves of the proserpinaca are >becoming quite small.

    Likely sounds like NO3/CO2 related.
    Adding PO4 will increase demand for both CO2 and NO3.
    The cells can use the CO2/NO3 rapidly if you give them enough PO4.


    >observation is that an emers rotala wallichii (planted last weekend) grows >now very fast but is beginning to show the first signs of the small leave >syndrome…

    Then it's very likely CO2.

    Just think about it, when you relieve the PO4 limitation stress, you fully expect the uptake rates and demand of the other nutrients to increase, the plant will not take up nearly the same amount of NO3 if the PO4 limitation is strong.

    Adding more light will increase uptake etc.

    You fully expect the uptake rates of everything to icnrease the closer you get to maximizing the growth rates.

    Now many folks whine and moan, complain, cry, tell me they don't want faster growth, so I tell them this: add less light but maximize the nutrients/CO2.

    This slows growth rates down, but prevents any deficiency, but then they complain that want the high light for the fast growth:)

    Okay........... :rolleyes:

    Plant do very well with less light with good nutrients.
    You can do a high noon blast for a few hours to make up for this trade off, say 3-4 hours of high light then back down to 2w/gal.

    The mermaid weed pic and the color suggest very low NO3 ranges.
    Add more nutrients.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    Yea tell me about it... If you could know the time and effort I have put into things for the past year..... and then see my tank.... the plants look horrible, they hardly grow. I have tried everything I can think of and done countless hours or research only to come up empty handed every single time..... Now I am on the last attempt to grow healthy plants by ditching my tap water thinking there may be something in it causing my problems.... and going RO and building the GH back with known parameters....

    Your plants are healthy and beautiful over all, Give your self a bit of credit for even being able to grow these trying species.... and remember there are some of us out there, who though have knowledge of what it takes to have healthy plants..... still cant get things like hygro species to thrive in thier tanks.....
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    Many folks are fine with the status quo, they have their reasons.

    I prefer to use many little hammers to beat algae, and many little steps to improve growth of the plants.

    This successive step wise approach yeuilds the best results and you can further tweak and play around with things at the finer tuning stages.

    Larger issues, these can be determined fairly quick if you have algae etc, if the plants are not growing as well as you want, then the tweaking begins.

    Generally, and I say it so often folks are immune, CO2.
    You have to be very critical of that if things are not going well, you are using a method such as EI, adding some excess Mg/Ca etc and doing routine maintenance, cleaning and pruning.

    The huge water change to clean things out and re set the tank may be needed every so often, or if things are/where bad, do 2x a week water chnages and clean each time good till the algae is beaten back, plants
    are growing better, if the tank looks much better after the water change that night, then slopes off the next 1-2 days, it's generally a CO2 related issue.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    @VaughnH:
    yeh: I really think that I am at the right track. the tank has really improved thanks to tom and apc. In the past, the hygrophila difformis showed even deficiency problems...

    @tom:

    thanks for the long answer!

    yes, but that is also a necessity. I can be away for 3 days in a row. and I like stable nutrient levels...

    oke, I will do that en reset my NO3 and PO4.

    ah, that´s it then! I relocated the plant from the right corner (before the difformis) to the center of the tank. In the corner I had an extra 11 watt pl to compensate the lower light levels due to the ending of the TLs. I thought that the relocation would result in more light. maybe it is not and maybe it is just the relocation. Whatever the cause is, it is not shading:

    [​IMG]


    well, degassed my pH is 7.6 while in the tank it is 6.4. I would love to believe that that is too little CO2. the only problem is that nearly my shrimps (40?)were crowding together on a single spot near or above the surface when I lowered the pH to 6.3. I do´n´t think that they liked the lower pH. So what to do if my CO2 is still too low?

    oke! *writing down that S is not a problem*

    I know, but I can only order it via internet and not in the lFS. and the delivery costs are 10 euro´s. (and I just ordered flourish and flourish iron). and since I have CaCl2, K2SO4, MgSO4.7H2O... the only thing that I don´t have is Mn*something*

    well, I did some final tests with my fotospectrometer and I think a have a HUGE NO3 problem. I didn´t tell you this (yet), but the amounts of NO3 added daily did not quite well respond with the measured levels. So I began reading the manual and read that iron could influence the result. So this is what i did. I administered 8 ml flourish and 8 ml flourish iron on monday. measured my NO3 on tuesday: 29.3 measured my NO3 on wednesday: 27.3. So I use 2 mg/l/day. that sounds reasonable. But than I added directly after the measurement on wednesday again 8 ml flourish and 8 ml flourish iron, waited for 10 minutes and measured NO3: 40 mg/l!! So I think that the iron (or at least some component of the fertilizers) caused my high "NO3", while the actual level is too low...

    that is my I lighten the the tank with only 2 TLs for about 7 hours and than have an evening burst of 5 TLs for 3 hours. 1 TL less and my elatine tiandra is growing vertically. I haven´t tried a shorter burst. I could try that. But for me, the high light is absolutely not for a fast growth! just for keeping the forground plants vertical and the "red" species red. (and I know that I have only one twig of elatine tiandra...)

    I already added 10 mg/l NO3. Do you also mean more micro´s? I must say that the red colouration of the proserpinaca is way more in the picture than in real live. but it is quite red.




    So: again a very long post! and thanks again!!

    greets,

    yme
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    Since you do not have access to SeaChem Eq or GW, you have MgSO4?
    Add 1/4 teaspoon 2x a week.

    That will rule out SO4 and Mg.
    Add 1/4 teaspoon of K2SO4 also.

    Add Trace elements on the opposite days that you add or test NO3.
    CO2 sounds about right, just prune and stay on top of cleaning and maintaining the same plant biomass space. I think just do larger water changes here for a couple of weeks and clean well, add enough KNO3, and go from there.

    You can skip dosing for up to 3 days BTW, Just make sure you dose before and after.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    yes, I have MgSO4.7H2O, CaCl2, K2SO4 and MnCl2.2H2O as well.

    if it it possible to dose just once every 3days or so, I guess I am just lazy using dosing pumps...

    btw: on the computerscreen at work, the proserpinaca is coloured as in real live. so maybe it is my screen makin things way too red. But if I may ask: how did you diagnose that the pros. was nitrogen deficient? was it the leave size?

    greets,

    yme

    ps: I can not answer this evening, my girlfriend has no computer...
     
  9. turbomkt

    turbomkt Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    Most likely due to the deep red coloring. In a lot of plants the red coloring is due to a lack of NO3.
     
  10. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    hmmm, just the red colour?? in every tank that I have seen this plant was quite red. not much more red than mine now.

    By the way, virtually all the growing tips of the tonina have melted. but since I now see some holes in the old leaves of the stargrass, I think it is very likely that I just had an NO3 issue. Basically the jojo-effect: when you add more PO4 or NO3 you bottom out the other. So I hope I will be able to see new healthy growth within a week or so. (I have good hope)

    But for the testing with the photospectrometer: since the high dosage of iron gives me high readings when I am having actuallly a shortness of NO3, can a remove/precipitate the iron and get an accurate NO3 reading? p.e. add some active carbon to the sample... (I know that tom suggested to measure one day after the iron addition, but that still ggives me readings that are too high)

    greets,

    yme
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    Rather than using the test kits methods to define your method of fertilization, just use the EI type of method.
    Add 3x a week, that will give you one 3 day peroid to not add anything.
    This will get away from the yoyo effect of NO3/PO4.
    Just plenty of both. Add a little more CO2 as well.

    Now after the plants perk up, then you can go back and see what helps the plants.

    This is a much better approach at solving what makes a plant grow best.

    I do not think test kits are useful for maintaining a method, just seeing how the method behaves. This removes the assumptions we place on parameter values.

    The focus is always on the visual test of the plants themselves and much less so on a test kit reading.

    Tonia likes low KH's.
    This one in particular.
    The other types of Tonia are more flexible.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    a few days further and I can see things are changing...

    the degredation of the tonina has slowed down and the new tops look "greener". So I think this will settle down eventually. The proserpinaca is beginning to loose it's deep red colour and I think that the new leaves are now a bit bigger. So I think it is fair to say that I had a no3 issue here.

    On the other hand, the wallichii is not doing well. the new leaves won't fold together when it is dark and the new growth is distorted. I know that you are going to say: low CO2. For the moment I do not to lower the pH because of the precious observation that the shrimps didn't like it.

    I read the E.I article again and decided to follow it my way: using dosing pumps. If I calculated everything correctly, I should add per week 8.4 mg/l PO4 and 25 mg/l NO3.
    every week a 50% waterchange. Add back 15 mg/l NO3 and 2 mg/l PO4. Then every day I add, using my home made dosing pumps, 0.6 mg/l PO4 and 2.5 mg/l NO3. This would cover the NO3/PO4 needs.

    For the CO2 issue, I thought that I could temporarily start adding excel (at the recommended dose) to the tank. Then I would theoretically be able to see wether the wallichii has a lack of C.

    taken together: I am going to follow more or less the e.i.!!

    greets,

    yme
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    Well, the R wallichii should bounce back, once it gets growing, it's very easy.
    Sometimes it'll take a little while.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: additional PO4 introduced more deficiencies?

    Hi tom,

    First I want to thank you for this months barrreport: it is great!!!

    I read it and understood most of it, but one statement in the report raises a question with respect to my tank. In the report, you state that the ratio Fe:Mn should be 1.5-2.5:1. I wondered whether this is in the water column or inside the plant. In respect to my tank, I dose 0.7 mg Fe/l every other day, while I dose 0.063 mg Mn/l every other day (tap water contains no Mn). This is nowhere near the suggested ratio. Therefore, I was wondering whether my situation could (theoretically) lead to Mn deficiency. Should I lower my iron dose?

    Secondly, I am a day further in the process of increasing my nitrate and I see that the nitrate level has increased: the proserpinaca is less red and 1 branch is even starts to look green!

    [​IMG]

    So far so good…..but:

    The tonina is melting quicker and quicker. The new growth doesn´t look so bad, but not as good as it supposed to be. And what I am afraid of, the decaying of the somewhat older tissue is so rapid that I could possibly loose the plant…

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The starrgrass is now as well starting to get large holes in the somewhat older tissue. Is this a result of the previous nitrate deficiency or is something else happening?

    [​IMG]


    The wallichii is looking (as you say): ratty. But on the other hand, this plant is new so I don´t know whether it would grew at all under my previous conditions. Time will learn…

    [​IMG]

    One other observation is that I now since a very long time see green spot algae! While my PO4 level was never that high. 0.5-1 at maximum previously and now it should be around 2 mg/l! I wonder whether the PO4:NO3 ratio has something to do about it. That´s because I added almost 20 mg/l NO3 and “just” 1 mg/l PO4 to get a level of 2 mg PO4/l. So the ratio has moved towards N a lot. Could this be the cause of the green spot algae growth?

    I hope that things will start to look better….

    Greets,

    yme
     
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