Balancing Calcium and Magnesium

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Jul 6, 2009
2,280
4
36
61
The Netherlands
I've tried Mg levels between 2 and 15 ppm, so this influences the ratio's a lot. Although plant growth didn't play a role in this experiment, I never saw a difference.

The biggest player concerning plant growth and health is CO2. Also the easiest one to screw up.
 

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
Sry, if you missunderstand my english. I do not say all this is ca/mg ratio related :eek: I still said "ratio related" and this did include other stuff as well and certainly also the tap water. So for example: If someone has pretty hard tap water, he will also for sure have a hard time with some plants like Toninas and so on. Such issues can´t be balanced by simply adding more Co2 or ferts.

Anything above non limiting is non limiting and thus a ratio will only matter if the range is limiting
I am using liquid trace fertilizers and (nearly) each brand on the market works, but there are differences.
if I dose (let us call it) "NoName" trace fertilizer and having FE levels around 0.3mg/L = plant grow will stunt.
[40mg/L Co2, 25mg/L Nitrate, 2mg/L Po4 were measured and this is not limiting anything]
But on the other side, I can dose TPN trace fertilizer in a wide range betwenn FE 0.1-0.5mg/L = plant grow will always be fine.
So, how can this happen that dosing fertilizier A slows down plant grow and dosing fertilizer B does not slow down anything?
This did not sound any logicial if in both cases nothing is limited, so what is the reason for such issues?


In each picture, a mere change of the light bulb color temperature can actually make the appearance more pronounced
I am using 6K T4 HO bulbs, they are not common in aquaristic use - but produce brilliant red and green colours. And yes certainly, if you put a green plant under a 827 bulb they may not look really vivid green. Here is a nice overview about how different bulb colours enhance or decrease visual appearance: http://plants.aqa.ru/articles/color.htm
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
The biggest player concerning plant growth and health is CO2. Also the easiest one to screw up.
Light and as next Co2 is biggest player, but if it comes to grow rate, things get difficult - because the term "non-limiting" is at last a "wide term":
EI dosing did not recommned additional Ammonia dosing, but this may (in tanks without fish/animals) also limit the max. grow rate from a few plant species. Sure, nearly all plants will grow very fine if dosing only Kno3 - but the grow rate on some plants (not all, but a few) will get a measureable boost from additional Ammonia dosing. (this can easly be proofed by measuring grow rate/day)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

grshs_vny

Prolific Poster
Jan 12, 2011
31
0
6
Did the plant recover with the changes you made?
We had a local claim similar to this and we were able to rule tap water and many other issues.

CO2/light, that's really where it's at, good filters, good clean caring for the tank etc.

ADA talks about it a lot actually, but folks skip over that and think nutrients, other products etc.
Yes.CO2 and light 90% and ratios10%
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
747
113
Ratios themselves have nothing to do with it. This is Liebig's law, the individual concentrations, NOT the ratios, are the limiting growth factors.

1. I can have a perfect ratio and still be "limiting" for example. This goes back the Liebig's law.
2. I can have 25ppm Mg and 2 ppm Ca, no issues, same as above back to Liebig's law
3. I can have 2ppm of Mg and 25ppm of Ca++, no issues.
4. If the ratio is important, how can both cases work equally well?

As long as the nutrients levels are non limiting, they can easily be over a Extremely wide range.
I've had these types of tap water above.
It was only when the Mg was too low have I've ever seen issues.
There is also no research that supports this claim, in agriculture, ratios are use to reduce the COST of wasting expensive fertilizers on crops for specific crops.
Aquarist are not concerned with the small cost factor of dry fertilizer however.
NH4+ is not bad to add small amounts, but that's what the fish load is for.

In plant science, mineral nutrition textbooks also down play the roles of ratios being important, they use Liebig's law and analyze individual nutrients.
In Aquatic biology, they abuse the Redfield Ratio in Phycology and Limnology perhaps more than any other concept.

I think many see some correlation and assume that is meaningful, when they have not demonstrated and tested the alternatives.
Then they assume ratios are important, then this leads to myths.

I've done this for 20 years and falsified many claims about ratios. I've not found any ratios that do as claimed by aquarist.
Ever. Not saying there is not something to them, but I've never once been able to see it in my own tanks.

All it takes is for someone to have a ratio outside the claim and say 10x-100x difference, and the ratio claim is out the window.
This is not difficult to falsify.

My tap water is very soft for Ca and Mg. So it is easy to manipulate and test if I wish.
 

ffs001

Junior Poster
Apr 25, 2013
1
0
1
Malta EU
Mg Test Kit & Levels

Hi,

I am new here, (my first post)...

I have been looking around /researching a lot about plant nutrients.. requirements/levels/etc...

After reading many posts I became aware of the importance of Mg...

This week I bought dry-ferts for the first time including Magnesium Sulphate.

I found this in many dosing methods, PMDD, PPS-Pro & Classic, EI mainly.


My problem is that; even in this post everyone is listing very accurate measurements for Mg.


I bought a few test kits, including NO3 & PO4 amongst others but didn't manage to find a Magnesium Test for Freshwater...

I live in Malta EU and the only Mg Test was of Salifert which is inadequate for fresh water as it is not accurate at low levels.



Can you pls let me know what tests you use for these readings? I need to check my current levels as I hate to put something in my aquarium blind folded!

Also what is the recommended Mg level & also for Calcium in a freshwater aquarium.

Thanks,
Frank S
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
747
113
Mg is tested for by testing Ca++, then the total GH(Ca + Mg) and subtracting the Ca++ to get the Mg++.
I'd say roughly anything above 1-2 ppm is non limiting, upper ranges?
I do not know, I've run 25 ppm for long time frames(years), without issues.

Ca++, it's EXTREMELY unlikely there's any issue that will provide a limiting Tap water for Ca++ unless you use pure RO or something.

I've never seen Ca++ deficiency in 20+ years and 400 species of plant.
Not one verified case.

Ever.

Not saying it's not possible, just extremely unlikely.

So like the Mg, 2-3 ppm and up, perhaps 100 ppm + for Ca++.
There's no known upper bound or anyone has tested an inhibiting concentration for aquatic plants.
KH? Yes.

For some species.

So the take home is not to worry about accuracy with the Mg, just add a little bit, just enough to prevent the chance of limitation.
So dose say 2 ppm a week, if you do EI, then 50% weekly water change, this will only ever add no more than 4 ppm extra.
 

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
2. I can have 25ppm Mg and 2 ppm Ca, no issues, same as above back to Liebig's law
3. I can have 2ppm of Mg and 25ppm of Ca++, no issues.

I was all the time curious about if this can really work.
So, I finally tested it out and changed big the Ca:Mg ratio (tank had 25ppm ca and 6ppm Mg all the time)
I changed it to this values:
Ca 50 ppm
Mg 4 ppm

And this are the results:
Rotala Yao Yai:
http://www.nanoplants.de/test/yao.jpg
Plant stundet, tips died
Normally looks like this: http://nanoplants.de/plants/Rotala-yao-yai.htm

Ludwigia Super Red
http://www.nanoplants.de/test/super.jpg
Lost his red colours, looks very strange
Normally looks like this: http://nanoplants.de/plants/ludw-mini.jpg

Didiplis & Araguia:
http://www.nanoplants.de/test/didiplis-araguia.jpg
Didiplis tips died and looking stgrange, Rotala Mexicana Araguia turned dark green and died.
Normally looks like this: http://nanoplants.de/plants/Rotala-M...a-araguaia.htm

Limnophila Hippuruides:
http://www.nanoplants.de/test/limno.jpg
Gets much more sideshoots but all with small diameter & very short leafs
Normally looks like this:http://nanoplants.de/plants/Limnophila-Hippuruides.htm

Rotala H´ra
http://www.nanoplants.de/test/hra.jpg
Get very tiny curled leafs
Normally looks like this:http://nanoplants.de/plants/hra-prevx.jpg

http://www.nanoplants.de/test/nesea.jpg
Nesea golden: No grow anymore, Gets curled leafs

Ludwigia Atlantis, Hygrophilia sp and Rotala Ceylon:
http://www.nanoplants.de/test/atlantis-2k.jpg
This plants were the few plants that remained looking fine.
(but even Atlantis showed a little bit curled leafs)
------------------------------------------


I also added 4 dropcheckers, one near the surface, one in the middle, one directly over the substrate and one between (!) the plants.
Each single dropchecker showed more than enough Co2 in each tank corner.
I also added extra Iron, extra Mn, extra Boron and checked copper to rule this out.
Neither anything changed anything and with this only the changed Ca:mg ratio will be left.
Sry, it really seems not too work that good @each ratio.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
747
113
So explain this tank then, these plants are far more touchy than any listed above:

My Mg is 26 ppm and the Ca++ is 16 ppm,



Outdoor tank with Davis, CA USA tap water(52 ppm Mg, Ca++ at 33 ppm):
L cuba



You will note, I'm not just taking a pic of one individual stem top.

So this is way off in terms of a ratio for Ca/Mg.

My tanks in Sacramento Water which is much softer in terms of KH and GH: Roughly 17 ppm for Ca++ and 4 ppm for Mg.




The change you made by raising Ca++ two x does not support the hypothesis, it merely is correlation.
The ratio itself is meaningless.

There are several things going on with the "test" you did.

1. Drop checkers, as we all know on this forum and other forums, are very poor methods to determine CO2/adequate CO2.
2. I only see a pic of one single stem, not the group of plants.
3. Just a few Rotala and Ludwigia species, most of them are pretty easy to grow..........if..........you have low KH...........and given the Ca and Mg levels in your tap water, it is very unlikely that the KH is low, say under 3, or roughly 50 ppm.
4. Checking traces is a minor issue. this is done more by feel, than by a ppm, same for CO2 for many cases.
5. I've shown some examples where the Ca++ was similar to yours, and the Mg was much higher and yet the plants did quite well. Even at very high light values.
6. I've also shown at much lower KH values, that 10-20 ppm of Ca and 2-5 ppm of Mg is able to grow anything pretty much also.

The ratios and the absolute levels are pretty wide ranging in my tanks over the years because I have traveled and lived in areas with very different tap water. If you live in the same place, well, you figure out whatever works best etc.
For myself, it's been mostly a function of KH, and since I dose ferts, the absolute levels are a non issue also, but the ratios have been wide ranging.

I would suggest you stick with whatever works, but it does not support your contention about ratios. I'd say there might be dependence on KH and the Ca and Mg perhaps, changes to other things such as CO2.
I cannot say why you have those results, but I can say why not.

Even if you run a planted tank with the exact same CO2 rate, and dosing etc, things can still go sour. So we are never 100% sure.
But we can rule things at near a 100% certainty. That's all we got really. Try and prove yourself wrong. I've tried on this topic over a decade ago ....and the evidence since has only falsified it further. Some claimed a K+/Ca++ ratio as well.
Same results. Similar falsification.

You might say you "need more Mg at higher KH values", or "more traces at higher KH's", many would agree with those statements.
This assumes that the CO2 is good. Which seems to be an issue for some tap water with moderate to higher KH's, likely from other non bicarbonate alkalinity contributions.
Drops checkers have a host of issues.
 

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
hi,
.if..........you have low KH...........and given the Ca and Mg levels in your tap water, it is very unlikely that the KH is low, say under 3, or roughly 50 ppm.
Here is the local tap water report:

We have KH2 water from the tap. (I never changed anyhting there over the last 5years, because this is "good plant growing tap water")
The tank works with the tap water, but not with any high Ca and low mg.

Drop checkers, as we all know on this forum and other forums, are very poor methods to determine CO2/adequate CO2.
Even if it would be so, it sounds somehow like a generall EI excusion if things go wrong -> "that it must be Co2", because we can´t messure it.
It did not sound any logical if millions ppl. worldwide have tanks without Co2 injection (and healthy plant grow)
There are also other possible reasons for sick looking plants. Also stuff like Mn, B, zn, cu will be at some levels toxic for waterplants. (I am not the first one, who noticed such things )
They were also other ppl. running in such problems: http://www.aquafloranurseries.com/articles.php?article=19
I don´t know who is this guy , but seems to be any breeding (?) company and that they have better test kists if they are able to meassure nutritions in plant dry mass. The hobbiest usually don´t have such possibilities, so it could be also false/wrong just to estimate that it must be in all cases any poor Co2 .
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
747
113
The KH seems pretty low but the Ca and Mg levels are high comparatively.
My Tap is is a little lower KH, roughly 1, but it goes up to 2 some times during the year(Fall mostly).
2 KH should NOT be an issue.

Ca++ and the Mg seem nice actually.
Do you test you tank water for Ca++ and Mg++ or as these just estimations based off the tap water report and dosing?


As far EI, we KNOW what we add for fertilizer.
We cannot be that certain that a specific ppm of fertilizer will be enough, but I've not seen any plant than cannot be grown at an optimal level yet usign EI ranges even under extremely high light.
CO2 is the single hardest thing to learn and address, as we can measure light relatively well using PAR.

Good gardening skills, filtration, current, water changes and other aspects factor into all this also.
I cannot, nor can EI say anything much beyond that it is not the ferts. So it's an issue if falsifying step wise, not showing "cause".
CO2 is always suspect.

Plants still grow in a non CO2 tank, but they compete much more for that limited resource. I could not have the 120 Gallon tank I have now today without CO2 enrichment.
There are obvious caveats to broad (too broad) generalizations with regards to CO2. If non CO2 methods are so good and CO2 is not an issue, why do we and most of the planted hobbyists worldwide use it?

CO2 is used to prevent CO2 competition between and within species and increase the rates of growth.
Plants will still grow if you have low CO2, but they will compete strongly between and within species.

What is the classic CO2 deficiency?
Stunted tips and progressively smaller tip growth.
You can test this and get this same observation.
You can also add CO2 only in the latter part of the day. Some plants will do okay(more competitive species), others will not.
Same in a non CO2 tank. Walstad attributed this mostly to allelopathy. I do not.

I have not stated that is must be CO2, I just have said that it's about 90-95% of the issues folks have if they make the lighting and the fertilizer independent.
This is based off helping folks for 20+ years now. There are still many ways to mess up however!
Some have water softeners on their tap water lines and do not know it or failed to tell me about it.
Some have few plants, too many fish, not good gardening skills, and 1001 other issues.

Not easy to get to the bottom of it.
But I know plants and I know what CO2 deficiencies can look like.
My ranges and ratios are over 4x what your Ca and Mg are.

I can not dose Ca and Mg for 2-3 weeks without issues, there's enough in my tap.
Sometimes, the Mg will bottom out and you think you have enough. Ca++, not so much.
So I add a little bit into the trace mix. Just in case.

Recovery for Mg is rapid though.

You might focus there and see if just adding MgSO4 etc resolves it or produces the growth you are after, it might be that also.
Fairly simple to do.

Tim, the owner of the linked nursery above, even states that 95% of the issues are CO2 related, his own and other's also confirm this.
I and many others looked for everything else before getting around to this. But once you realize and see it, then you have a pretty good idea.

Maybe it's not, but.........most cases, it is, it would be rare, possible, but rare and I'd be very suspicious of my own tanks before I'd say Mn.
I use CMS+B and add more Fe, and I dose pretty rich. Given the various brands and various % of the traces added, it's possible, but CMS+B is the cheap default that most hobbyists use that I know.
Cheap + works+ widespread use. I've grown a lot of R. nanjenshan.........I found it to be a very easy plant, same for D. diandra and the others.

I would not discount CO2 as a reason ever.
Mg is another than gets overlooked.

Like varying the Ca and Mg, you can vary the CO2.
A good way to do this as a standard method is to use mls of CO2/minute.

Invert a graduate cylinder and remove the air bubbles underwater. Then bubble the CO2 into the cylinder and measure the volume.
Say your tank now is adding 20mls/min of CO2. Try adding say 23 and 25 mls and see what the responses are.
Then try say 15mls and 10 mls.

You can use slow progressive increases and note the health of various species.
This needs done slow so you can see the results.

Many hobbyists use the fish and the plants in such a way to get their CO2 target.
Some times it is 20 ppm, sometimes, 30 ppm, sometimes, 40 ppm, sometimes it might be 50 ppm etc, or a mls/min equivalent.
Hard to say, depends on the species, the lighting, other tank issues, degassing rates and scum surface layers, fish considerations etc.

Not a simple issue. I think off hand, many say CO2, but..........that's not an easy issue to address.
Some struggle for 5 years or more with it.
Amano said it took him about 10 years.
Took me 3 years at least.

I was at the end of my rope back then, I cannot imagine 10 years.

Just try it and see, Carbon is 40% of the plant's biomass so you'll see pretty fast responses.
 

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
Hi Tom
You know I keep a wide plant variety in my tanks and would not succesfully do this, if I would be totally clueless. If you look around, you will not see so much ppl. keeping plants (for many years) like R. Araguias, Occulitfloras, Nesea golden, Limnophila Genuia Broad Leaf, Tonina & so on - because some plants will simply not grow like weed if you never take care about any water parameters. There is not only a Liebig Minimumlaw, there is also an optimum nutrition law for plant grow.

I use CMS+B and add more Fe, and I dose pretty rich.
The questions is "how rich"?
I also watched some treads like this: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...m-help-11.html
Some off those water analysis shown copper @0.33ppm and imo going too heavy with some nutritions will not work in the long run. (Copper shoots down the plant photosynthesis if the level is just high enough, what high zinc, Mb levels and so on do, I don´t know)
I had red plants looking for years great and after changing the fertiliser, I also had seen red plants turning green.
I also had ugly scum layers on some tanks and other bs - today I know, many off this was just fertiliser related.

Recovery for Mg is rapid though.
You might focus there and see if just adding MgSO4 etc resolves it or produces the growth you are after, it might be that also.
Just try it and see, Carbon is 40% of the plant's biomass so you'll see pretty fast responses.
I hadn´t changed the Co2 and still maked few days ago a water change, so that I could easily & fast go back to my old Ca:Mg ratio. The plants showed 3days later first signs off recovering and everything should be fine, soon.
So at last, I think planted tanks are a little bit like a PC:"Never change a running system"
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BenFishin

Lifetime Members
Lifetime Member
Jan 15, 2014
104
6
18
Fishers, Indiana, United States
It's funny how we can get so side tracked with getting our ferts right and doing tests because we think something has changed. We think our column ratios are out of whack.

I jump on here a lot, especially when I see a little algae pop up. I always lean towards a fert def, and time and time again I read through a post and see Tom say CO2. I have no idea why it is the last thing on my mind. It's that thing that I feel is a set it and forget it type of thing.

If I could say one other thing that I think gets over looked way too often and usually even after someone mentions it. Flow. I watched my HC rot away while the massive Crypt Blassii next to it compounded daily. After it was too late for the HC I really started focussing on the water flow to notice how much the neighboring crypt stopped the flow. Getting close and looking where the mist is going, or in this case, where it is not.

As for the Ca:Mg ratio. Am I correct in assuming the following analogy? If a plant prefers 3xCa and 1xMg, then we can assume it just needs enough of both in the column, but not to a specific ratio. It would be like me saying, "I eat 3 pieces of bacon and one egg for breakfast every day." Then following with, "If it so happens my wife cooks 3 pieces of bacon and 2 eggs, then I don't eat breakfast."

Hence the EI method of making sure there is an abundance and resetting weekly.

Ben
 

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
The Ca:Mg Uptake rate is low. Perhaps 0,5-1ppm Mg uptake per week in a medium planted tank, Ca uptake somehow similar low.
So the question is not if you need 10ppm or 50ppm.
I guess more that any strange Ca:mg ratios may block other nutrition uptake inside the plants.
It is known from landplants that for example high CA soils require other Boron levels as soils with low Ca.
Certainly, there may be plants which really don´t care about it, but you do not make anything wrong if you use good balanced nutrition ratios even @planted tanks.
Doing so will help getting better overall appearance + more vivid colours out off yours plants.

About flow;
yes you are certainly right there.
Any worst water flow rate is in most cases not that good.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
747
113
Hi Tom
You know I keep a wide plant variety in my tanks and would not succesfully do this, if I would be totally clueless. If you look around, you will not see so much ppl. keeping plants (for many years) like R. Araguias, Occulitfloras, Nesea golden, Limnophila Genuia Broad Leaf, Tonina & so on - because some plants will simply not grow like weed if you never take care about any water parameters. There is not only a Liebig Minimumlaw, there is also an optimum nutrition law for plant grow.

I've tried to induce Ca and Mg issues for a few years, I've NEVER once been able to verify that they independent of other causes, do anything negative to plant growth.
If folks cannot replicate the effect under other conditions, then that condition MUST be dependent on other factors than Ca and Mg ppm's or ratios.
I can be sure of this, I cannot be sure of what all is going on with your own tank. This is why falsification is a powerful tool. It rules out something specific.
Science is based on this and basic logic. I am ruling out an assumption(Ca and Mg ratio or excess or blocking transport). Not stating WHY you have issues.

The questions is "how rich"?
Some off those water analysis shown copper @0.33ppm and imo going too heavy with some nutritions will not work in the long run. (Copper shoots down the plant photosynthesis if the level is just high enough, what high zinc, Mb levels and so on do, I don´t know)
I had red plants looking for years great and after changing the fertiliser, I also had seen red plants turning green.
I also had ugly scum layers on some tanks and other bs - today I know, many off this was just fertiliser related.

How about .4ppm per day of Fe for 3 weeks as CMS? That's at least 2x what even the most hungry planted aquarium could use.

Copper at 0.33 ppm is pretty rich, but is this chelated copper or free copper?
Might want to check, it'll make a big difference.
Copper is pretty toxic and no one would have any shrimp at such levels. Many plants would respond poorly I'd say.
Generally for killing algae, 0.4 ppm is good for Komeen copper herbicide, for aquatic weeds, roughly 1.0 ppm is required to kill them.

Sediment will bind metals, so things like Clay based soils such as ADA, will hold a considerable amount.
I measured Copper in the ADA older sediments in my 180 Gallon tank, they rose slightly over time along with most things except.............NH4.

Plants will grow well in less ferts, but they also should do fine in higher levels also.
The copper is an entirely a different set of issues and not specific to this discussion about Ca/Mg independent of other factors, perhaps copper and Ca/Mg are dependent, I cannot say, I have not tested that, likely will not either.
I do not dose Copper specifically, at least not in the last 18 or so years when Neil Frank suggested it.
We used it as a method to kill BBA and not kill the Crypts, which seem tolerant of it at lower ranges compared to other plant species.

Such issues suggest to me that there's other issues going on with the ferts you use.
I've used the following for 20 years: Tropica master grow and CMS+B and some extra Fe as DTPA and Gluconate.
These are common and were used the most by hobbyists I've known over the years/decades. I used them by default and cost. CMS is much cheaper and is the widest usage of the trace mixes among most Hobbyists I know.

I hadn´t changed the Co2 and still maked few days ago a water change, so that I could easily & fast go back to my old Ca:Mg ratio. The plants showed 3days later first signs off recovering and everything should be fine, soon.
So at last, I think planted tanks are a little bit like a PC:"Never change a running system"

So that sounds like Mg, not Ca if I were to guess, Ca recovery of tip growth supposedly takes a lot longer.
CO2 can and does change over time. What might be okay for a new planted tank and grow in phase might not be what a mature tank needs.
Something as simple as slightly hitting the regulator operating pressure and making it go from say 9 psi to 7 psi can have a profound effect.
End of the gas tank dumps seem to occur often for many folks. Dual stage regulators rule that out though.

Degassing rates change when the water level changes due to evaporation. Nano tanks have issues more than larger tanks due to this and also due to heat changes I suspect.
Most of it is simple stuff we overlook. I use sumps, so the degassing rates are very stable.

I start looking for things real quick if I see any poor growth, algae, fish, shrimp health issues etc.
Most of the time, 95%, it's something stupid I overlooked. It happens to me, it happens to Amano, you name the aquarist, it's happened to them.
Check valve, clogged diffuser, hit the operating pressure on the regulator etc. I have done most of the common mistakes maybe 50X over the years, maybe more.
But I know these days what I know I can rule out.
So my choices are much smaller when trouble shooting.

Now...............if we lived close to each other, we could come over and see one another's tanks and system and then likely have a much higher chance at figuring out what is going on.
But the web...........this is much much harder to figure out differences.
 

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
Hi Tom
I never dosed such high 0,3ppm copper levels in my own tanks.
It was just an example what other ppl do: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fertilizing/88403-trouble-farm-help.html
The guys on this tread dosed a lot and where running in some problems.
(look at their water analyses)

I am dosing copper between 0,0006-0,0018ppm (depending on the tank)
Doing so works fine, imo.
My daily iron dosing is 0,04-0,1ppm, if I use any hard chelated stuff (DTPA or so), Ferrous Gluconate I dose higher.


So that sounds like Mg, not Ca if I were to guess, Ca recovery of tip growth supposedly takes a lot longer.
Yes, I also think mg was the main problem if nearly all plants recovered quickly.
There were still a few which recover badly like Nesea Golden. It seems this plant needs for any reasons much longer to recover.
All other were doing quickly.

Now...............if we lived close to each other, we could come over and see one another's tanks and system and then likely have a much higher chance at figuring out what is going on.
Yeah, thats so sad - I would really like to see yours tanks in real life.
And if there would not be the language problem, we could obvisously much bettter exchange plant growing hints. :)
(my english is worst and ppl. sometimes missunderstand what I want to say)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
747
113
Petex, your English is far better than my German. My Dad spoke excellent German however. Neither language is easy.

I had some of my CO2 tanks run out today and refilled them.

CO2 was off line for maybe a little under a day, but since I have high light, the response is rapid if there's anything wrong. The Ludwigia "red" had the most noticeable response to this:


I've seen such responses many times as I change CO2 gas tanks often on many aquariums every year. My own tanks can go through a 10lb gas tank in maybe 6-12 weeks. So I chaneg them more often than many folks. Which is to say I can see what happens when there's no CO2 and which of my plants responds negatively.
None of the other plants really cared that much except this Ludwigia.
It's one of the faster growing plants also and right under the light and in the current.

Another plant that responded a little, but not quite as much was the L. sphaerocarpa, but only a couple of tips.
The tips are the key to spotting a CO2 issue.

If another day had gone by without fixing the CO2, other species would have had similar issues or more permanent stunted tips.
These will recover, but would take a bit.

Client tanks that I service once a week can run out of CO2 mid week between the services.
I use to change the tanks before I knew they'd run out, but I added an automated tank switch.
But prior, the tank always had some species that would stunt and had issues.

Since the tank is automated for dosing the ferts, and the water changes are consistent, as the gardening is.......most everything else is CO2 or the feeding routine.
But they do not over feed very often.

Not checking to see if the CO2 gas tank is out of gas or not is a common theme for many hobbyists.
Plants are not growing as well, algae, tip growth issues, curved leaves, BBA here and there, fish being more active than normal during the day, all pretty good indications of poor CO2.

Certain species like the Nesea may takes weeks or even months to recover.
Cuphea is somewhat slow to recover, same with R macrandra and Erio setaceum type 3 etc, they pretty much do not recover the tip, but rather, they send up side shoots that become dominate later on.

Those new shoots can be trimmed a few weeks later and then discard the ratty lower portions with stunted tips.
So each time something goes wrong, it can set back the nice looking garden you spent a lot of labor developing and maintaining.
Many hobbyists get stuck in this cycle and NEVER are able to fully enjoy the gardening and scaping side of the hobby.
Other hobbyist are forced to use only certain species.
Others happen upon some delicate mix that keeps things going okay, but this often fails at some point.

A method should be robust. There will always be folks who cannot pinpoint their issues at some point along the way, but those that keep after it, do eventually enjoy success.

I would try to stick with what other folks have used successfully.
ADA aqua soil, Tropica master grow if you like a brand name, or CMS+B if you like DIY.
These are proven products.
This helps narrow things down more

CMS+B's old recipe included more MgSO4 in the PMDD recipe from the mid 1990's.
But since it's widely used, I use it myself and have for about 10 years, I see nothing I can say that's an issue with it.

CO2/maybe Mg(the most overlooked nutrient I would say), that's where I might work on things. I doubt you are trace limited.
If you increased the traces by 2x or say even 50% more, this should no harm at all. Mg, I have gone up to 25 ppm with touchy plants, and 50 ppm for more robust plant species.
I've never hit an upper bound for trace dosing though. I'm certain it can be done, but I think you would have to go out of your way and not do many water changes etc to do that.

I do not read APC forums, I have not gone there in nearly 4-5 years I guess now.
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
747
113
Petex, your English is far better than my German. My Dad spoke excellent German however. Neither language is easy.

I had some of my CO2 tanks run out today and refilled them.

CO2 was off line for maybe a little under a day, but since I have high light, the response is rapid if there's anything wrong. The Ludwigia "red" had the most noticeable response to this:


I've seen such responses many times as I change CO2 gas tanks often on many aquariums every year. My own tanks can go through a 10lb gas tank in maybe 6-12 weeks. So I chaneg them more often than many folks. Which is to say I can see what happens when there's no CO2 and which of my plants responds negatively.
None of the other plants really cared that much except this Ludwigia.
It's one of the faster growing plants also and right under the light and in the current.

Another plant that responded a little, but not quite as much was the L. sphaerocarpa, but only a couple of tips.
The tips are the key to spotting a CO2 issue.

If another day had gone by without fixing the CO2, other species would have had similar issues or more permanent stunted tips.
These will recover, but would take a bit.

Client tanks that I service once a week can run out of CO2 mid week between the services.
I use to change the tanks before I knew they'd run out, but I added an automated tank switch.
But prior, the tank always had some species that would stunt and had issues.

Since the tank is automated for dosing the ferts, and the water changes are consistent, as the gardening is.......most everything else is CO2 or the feeding routine.
But they do not over feed very often.

Not checking to see if the CO2 gas tank is out of gas or not is a common theme for many hobbyists.
Plants are not growing as well, algae, tip growth issues, curved leaves, BBA here and there, fish being more active than normal during the day, all pretty good indications of poor CO2.

Certain species like the Nesea may takes weeks or even months to recover.
Cuphea is somewhat slow to recover, same with R macrandra and Erio setaceum type 3 etc, they pretty much do not recover the tip, but rather, they send up side shoots that become dominate later on.

Those new shoots can be trimmed a few weeks later and then discard the ratty lower portions with stunted tips.
So each time something goes wrong, it can set back the nice looking garden you spent a lot of labor developing and maintaining.
Many hobbyists get stuck in this cycle and NEVER are able to fully enjoy the gardening and scaping side of the hobby.
Other hobbyist are forced to use only certain species.
Others happen upon some delicate mix that keeps things going okay, but this often fails at some point.

A method should be robust. There will always be folks who cannot pinpoint their issues at some point along the way, but those that keep after it, do eventually enjoy success.

I would try to stick with what other folks have used successfully.
ADA aqua soil, Tropica master grow if you like a brand name, or CMS+B if you like DIY.
These are proven products.
This helps narrow things down more

CMS+B's old recipe included more MgSO4 in the PMDD recipe from the mid 1990's.
But since it's widely used, I use it myself and have for about 10 years, I see nothing I can say that's an issue with it.

CO2/maybe Mg(the most overlooked nutrient I would say), that's where I might work on things. I doubt you are trace limited.
If you increased the traces by 2x or say even 50% more, this should no harm at all. Mg, I have gone up to 25 ppm with touchy plants, and 50 ppm for more robust plant species.
I've never hit an upper bound for trace dosing though. I'm certain it can be done, but I think you would have to go out of your way and not do many water changes etc to do that.

I do not read APC forums, I have not gone there in nearly 4-5 years I guess now.
 

Petex

Member
Jan 1, 2011
256
0
16
Germany
hi,
I would try to stick with what other folks have used successfully.
ADA aqua soil, Tropica master grow if you like a brand name, or CMS+B if you like DIY.These are proven products.
Yes, those products are proofen but like you mentioned in another tread, those product are not based on any real analyses.
So why not trying to mix own mirco ferts? My plants like it. Certainly my first fertiliser needs some more tweaking, but it would be stupid to stop working on a project if it makes progresses. I am not in hurry, it doesnt matter how long it takes to make the fertilsier even better.
Mixing my own stuff, will save me at last (dosing) time + $$$ in the long run.:)

The Ludwigia "red" had the most noticeable response to this:
Hmm, attached is an image from my Ludwigia Red and they are sitting in my 14G Lowtech tank. And yes, they do not grow any bushy there, but for me they have "normal sized leafs" and I cant see any major problems by keeping this plant even under bad Co2 conditons.

About plants and their "real life" colours:
Yours Ludwigia pic has a little bit colour correction in it and my Ludwigia pic as well.

The second pic you see shows my Mini Butterfly "digitally untoched" in my 3Gal nano tank (24Watt HighLight).
My Butterflys look in real life exactly like seen on the image and you will never get those colours without having tons off light. So dont get fooled if you see any tank pics where any tiny plants show the most craziest red, magenta or pinkish colours under any lame stock lighning , because 90% off them are only thx. to Photoshop.

Mg, I have gone up to 25 ppm with touchy plants, and 50 ppm for more robust plant species.
I understand what you want to say and it may be possible that you grow plants even at 50ppm Mg or whatever so, but you will for sure grow the same plants a lot better if you take care about Ca:Mg, different Nitrate sources and so on. Increasing Co2 over 40ppm will also not push plants grow further, if want really to push the overall grow rate, dose Ammonia + Urea combinated. If you want slower grow, just use Kno3.
I really share 100% the base idea from the Estimate index concept, but the concept lacks on a few things.


Fullsize:
http://img5.fotos-hochladen.net/uploads/ludwigalb9wxmi2zs.jpg
http://img5.fotos-hochladen.net/uploads/macrandraqfaly1ju23.jpg