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nutrient deficiency?

Discussion in 'Talk to Tom Barr' started by helgymatt, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I have a couple plants that are performing poorly and I cannot figure out the problem. While all other plants are doing great, Ludwegia repens and dwarf sag are doing poorly. They used to do great in this tank and now they struggle to stay alive. My ludwegia used to reach the top of the tank in a couple weeks and I used to have to split up my sags in less than a months time. Now the sags have almost white leaves, sometimes with a tint of red and I can see through some of the leaves. Ludwegia seems stunted, the lower leaves have all died and fallen off, and new leaves are pale pink color. My anubias petite are also pale and the older leaves have small holes in them. I'm thinking the problem is a nutrient deficiency, but I do not know what nutrient would be deficient. I have read that potassium deficiency causes small holes in leaves.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The rest of my tank! Doing well...for the most part
    [​IMG]

    I am dosing EI with KNO3 and KH2PO4. I am not adding any extra potassium. Could this be the problem? I am also dosing seachem iron at the recommended dose, but twice a weak rather than just once. Should I add more iron? I added more iron before and thread algae appeared. I am also dosing tropica at the recommended rate for EI.

    The only other thoughts I have are that I started dosing excel about the same time this problem occurred. I also switched from using 50/50 RO and tap water to 100% tap water. Could this be the culprit.

    My water parameters
    GH - ~6
    KH - 3
    pH - 6.8
    CO2 20-30ppm using a drop checker with 4kh water

    Red sea nitrate kit says ~10ppm and over 1ppm phosphate.

    Is it also possible that my fast growing Hyrgo corymbosum, vals, bacopa, and swords are using up all the nutrients?

    Please help!
    Matt
     
  2. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    There is also noticable curling on my newly planted Alternanthera reineckii. See left side of middle photo.
     
  3. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    helgymatt,

    Could it be Mg... I know for a long time my sword were doing poorly. I wasn't adding any Ca or Mg because I knew my water was hard. I looked at the local water report and it ended up that my Mg levels were only 3ppm while my Ca levels were somewhere around 25-30ppm. I started adding epsom salts and that made all the difference. My swords are 2 feet tall now :D .

    But I'm sure there are many other things that it could be. Thats just my guess.

    I'm sure Tom will know.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Mg was one of the issues I thought of as well, add some GH booster or MgSO4 to see. Also, things look pale over all, looks like lean low KH/Gh water to me.
    So GH might be better.
    And more traces.
    Those are the most likely two.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Ok, I retested my KH and GH because I havn't done that in a while
    KH is still ~3 and GH is around 10 or 11.

    Two things come to mind.
    1. 11 seems like a high enough GH to me. Is it the increase in GH from "GH Booster" that I would benefit from or is it the Mg that is in GH Booster I would (may) benefit from?

    2. I think it would be easier for me to obtain epson salt if Mg is the issue. How much would you recommend I add and at what schedule to a 55 gallon?

    3. I am adding 12ml of Tropica Aqua Care to this 55 gallon three times a week. Are you suggesting I still add more? Should I add like 10 mls daily??

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  6. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Here is a link to my water quality.
    Drinking Water Supply Characteristics

    Looks like Mg is 11 mg/L and Ca is 152 mg/L. Is this Mg low or some kind of inbalance?

    A note about my swords---I have a rubin sword (seen in the pic) and it does color up nicely, but it doesn't get very tall. Partly that is because I trim off all the older leaves so it stays smaller, but how "tall" should this plant get?
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tropica Aqua Care is the name now used for all of Tropica's plant products. Is it Tropica Plant Nutrition Liquid that you use for traces?
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, assuming the GH is mostly Ca, I'd add some Mg, that seem wise here.
    Add about 1/2 teaspoon 2x a week of MgSO4.

    You should see a response in about 1 week or so.
    Tweak CO2 some also.

    You might run some carbon or purigen for a bit also.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for the recommendations! I'll try some MgSO4 and see what happens

    Hoppy, Yes I am Plant Nutrition for traces!

    One more question...what would carbon or purigen do?
     
  10. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    Rubin's should get as tall as your tank and then try to burst though :D !!! I've mine always stayed short and I think it was due to a Mg defficiency.

    For how much to add, go to Chuck Planted Aquaria pages and use his calculator to make a solution of MgSO4. It has a pretty good solubility so you can add at least 250g/L of DI H20. Then just use the calc. to figure out how many ppm a ml will will add to your tank. I think a good range is around 20ppm, but as long as you don't have a defficiency it really doesn't matter :p .

    Hope that helps.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    When reading water tap reports, realize that is just an average.............year long etc. when spring rains, thaw, snow melt, opther seasonal changes to the water supply occur, these values for GH/KH Change.

    So while it says 11 ppm, it might not be at this point and time.

    Do not make that assumption.
    Some have suggested stunting due to Mg dosing above 10ppm, yet my tap had 50ppm.

    It was the KH, not the Mg that caused the issue.

    High GH and KH correlate.

    Still, adding this amount will do no harm and rule out things, give it at least 1-3 weeks before seeing results.

    Tweak CO2 is always a good thing.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Although I realize tap water reports are most likely an average, its seems to me it is unlikely that there are many seasonal affects when the water comes from underground wells. The only reason I see there to be any changes in the water is when the treatment plant is making changes or because of accepted variation.

    Tom, what exactly do you mean by "tweaking CO2"? I hear people saying this a lot. If my drop checker is green, what else do I need to do? Is there a certain color green I should look for or is there another way to check my co2 levels other than a drop checker. Please explain.

    Also, I still have two questions that remain unanswered.
    1. You suggested I add more traces...I am adding 12mls 3x a week to my 55 gallon. Do you still suggest more? This already seems way over the recommended doses on the bottle.

    2. You suggested I run carbon or purigen for a bit. Why?

    Finally, Quote from Tom "Some have suggested stunting due to Mg dosing above 10ppm, yet my tap had 50ppm" From this thread I was understanding that a magnesium deficiency should cause stunting, not a toxicity....
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    My point is that added Mg will do not negative harm.

    Do not assume the drop checker to be perfect, assume what the plants look like to be the end all test.

    Mixing of the tank water, simply trying it and seeing, CO2 misting directly at a specific area etc. Note differences etc

    Carbon will remove most things that might be unknown that might affect the plants in the tank or tap water.

    Regards,
    Tom barr
     
  14. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for clarifying that Tom. Maybe you can help me understand how I may be able to mist co2. Currently I am disovling co2 in an inline reactor with my xp3. What would I have to do in order to continue doing this and also mist parts of my tank? Perhaps there is a link somewhere that explains all this...which I couldn't find through a quick search???
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You may use a small powerhead, eg a maxi jet 600-1200 range and drill small holes into the impeller or make a mesh type impeller, add CO2 into this and place the powerhead into the tank.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    Heglymatt,

    I think I gave you some bunk info. I tried to make a MgSO4 solution. I didn't realize its solubility was so low. So instead is used Chuck's calc. using a volume of 1ml to calculate dosing to figure out how much to add. Sorry about that. 9grams for a 30gallon tank gives you about 13.~ ppm of Mg if my calclations are correct.
     
  17. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    thanks creighton,
    I added 1 tsp earlier this week (55 gallons). I havn't seen any changes yet, but it is probably to early to tell. That should have added about 2.5 ppm. I thnk I'll add another tsp now...this should put me at least up to 6ppm.
     
  18. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    My problems seem to be solved and the plants in question are beginning to grow very nice. My Alternanthia, in particular, no longer has curled leaves and is quickly shooting to the top of my tank. I'm not sure the exact fix to these "deformed" looking plants but here is what I did.

    1. Dropped my GH down to 8 by using 50/50 RO and Tap water. It was above 13 before.

    2. Started adding Mg and K before doing number 3.

    2. After two weeks without any improvement of the first two steps, I switched to PPS-PRO. I switched for two reasons. One to see if it would solve my problems, and two, I was tired of the weekly water changes with EI. Whether it's different ppm of various ferts, addition of K to my fert regime, or a switch from Tropica to CSM-B, I don’t' know.

    A little more about what I already like about PPS-PRO..... The solutions are very easy to mix AND dose. I can mix up a solution, put it in a pump bottle and do a pump or two a day of each solution into my tanks. With EI, I was dissolving dry ferts in water each day and this got very tiring after a almost a year. I'm sure I could have made solutions with EI as well and used a pump, but PPS-PRO lays it all out very easily, especially with the calculator I downloaded.

    IF you read this Tom, perhaps the EI concept could be revised into "solutions" rather than prescribing a teaspoon or gram amount to dose every three days. For me its just easier to know I have to dose 1ml/10 gallons of a macro and micro solution rather than 1/8 of a teaspoon in this tank of KNO3 and 1/2 tsp in another tank, and 1/16 of KH2PO4 in this tank and 1/32 in another, etc. Just my opinion.


    Matt
     

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