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Plants losing colour

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by EssexPete, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. EssexPete

    EssexPete Prolific Poster

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    A couple of weeks ago I planted ROTALA MACRANDRA (RED BACOPA). All the new leaf growth that has appeared so far is green/yellowish, not red.
    Also I have HYGROPHILA ROSANERVIS (PINK VEINED HYGROPHILA). Again when planted about 4-5 weeks ago it had deep pink veining in the leaves. This veining has since turned white.

    I'm using Nutri-Calc to dose EI.
    I use trace mix as supplied by Aqua Essentials in the UK, which comprises-
    Boron 1.06%
    Copper 0.23%
    Iron 8.2%
    Manganese 1.82%
    Molybdenum 0.15%
    Zinc 1.16%
    3/8 tsp 3 x week
    I also add Flourish Iron (10ml) 2 x week.

    100 UK gall tank - approx 77 galls H2O
    3 x 36w triton tubes - 12 hrs/day
    2 x 150w metal halide lamps - 9hrs/day
    Eheim 2329 wet/dry (bio) filter
    Eheim 2217
    Pressurised CO2 when the MH lamps are on (around 10 bubbles/sec (?)too fast to tell really)
    pH of outgassed tank water ~7.6
    pH before CO2 switches on ~7.1
    pH at lights out ~6.4
    (pH values from pH controller)

    What do I need to do to get the red back in these plants please?

    Thanks
    Pete
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Unless I missed something you aren't dosing nitrates and phosphates. Your plants will starve without those basic foods. I suspect that is the problem, and given the high light intensity and long lighting period you use, you will have to start doing the added fertilizing or some big algae problems will also crop up.
     
  3. EssexPete

    EssexPete Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Thanks Vaughn, I did mention that I follow Tom's EI dosing regieme. Specifically I dose -
    1 1/8 tsp KNO3
    3/8 tsp K2SO4
    5/16 tsp KH2PO4
    3 tsp MgSO4

    3 x / week
    Do you feel there's something missing?

    You're quite correct about the algae. I've been dosing EI since 1 Aug, but the algae still keeps coming. The plants are growing very well, but a day or 2 after a new leaf appears it's covered in algae, and I have to clean the glass daily.

    Thanks
    Pete
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Well, not much left except CO2 then.........the symptoms sounds serious/rapid, so that's about the only thing that will do that.

    The lack of precision and rigor with CO2 is the Achillies heel.
    That's what EI does very well, shows what is the issue, generally CO2.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. EssexPete

    EssexPete Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Thanks Tom - so what do you suggest?

    CO2 is being delivered via an Aqua Medic Reactor 500 and I use the output of my 2217 (~1000 L/hr) into the AM 500.
    As I mentioned it's running at something like 10 bubbles/sec and some undisolved CO2 (a few small bubbles every few sec.) does escape from the base of the AM500.

    Generally plants are growing like crazy and the tank looks like a champagne glass when lights/CO2 are on. I'm just loosing the red from 'red' plants.

    One point that may assisit - whenever I dose Flourish iron, the water takes on a milky haze for about 12-20 hrs. I don't know if this is iron precipitating out.

    Thanks
    Pete
     
  6. fresh_newby

    fresh_newby Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    plants like Limnophila aromatica get redder with lower NO3 from my experience. I dose a lot of NO3 right now to keep an old cyano situation at bay, so my Limnophila has gone from a deep purple to greenish/yellow
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Sometimes it is much easier to answer a question not asked, than to answer the question asked! So, with that in mind, it sounds like you are also fighting with green dust algae on both the glass and the leaves. If so, why don't you try the "let it live out the life cycle" method to get rid of it. Just ignore the algae for 2 to 3 weeks, and it will live out its cycle, then go away. When I did that, my plants were looking very good again, after 3 weeks being unable to even see them for the algae. The algae on both the glass and the leaves went away.

    Back to the question you did ask: my red colored plants, Alternathera Reinickii v.Roseafolia and Blyxa japonica maintain their color best with high light, high fertilization and high CO2. When I had them with 1.75 watts per gallon they were struggling to be other than green, but at my current 3.8 watts per gallon they are very well colored.
     
  8. Wet

    Wet Lifetime Members
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    In regards to color, crashing N has been more effective than higher light for me. However, its good that you're running NO3 a little rich while figuring out the algae. Beat that first, then worry about color. With a low algae tank crashing nutrients is easier because A) you've learned how to beat algae and can move more quickly when you see deficiency and B) know the other nutrients are in-line.

    Its absolutley normal for H. polysperma 'Rosanervig' to have white veins by the way. I believe this is some sort of mutation specific to that variant. What's out of line is that you got it with pink veining: maybe this is an emersed growth thing. The leaves of this plant are relatively easy to get pink/red once it gets going.

    R. macrandra is a hard one. After you address CO2 and EI as planned, its one you may need to spend some time on to look great. If you're keeping it growing you're doing better than many. Again, I suggest you worry about getting color from it after you beat the algae. Its a fun one to mess with later :)

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. EssexPete

    EssexPete Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    That sounds like GDA to me. BGA, when I have had it, was very blue green, not just dark green, and it was jelly like, slimy and tended to totally enclose some growing tips of low plants. I found it very easy to recognize.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Green dust is only 1 mm at best. Oedogonium is about 5-8 mm long.
    GDa will reattached rapidly, within a few min to 1 hour or so.
    Generally on the glass.

    10 bubbles per second CO2?

    Something is wrong here.
    3 per second is all I need for a 150 gal tank using a AM 1000.

    Focus on the CO2.
    The rest should follow.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. quenton

    quenton Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    When there is an issue with bubble-count (tom uses 3 per sec, someone else sees 10 per sec and seems to need more) -- I always wonder about the diffuser. I have tried a number of things
    - hagen ladders (I now have 3 in my "might use it sometime" basket)
    - I tried building tom's venturi design, but never got an accumulation of CO2
    at the top, so not sure they are working well (I have 5 2L DIY bottles on my
    65g).
    - I now have 2 of the bottles feeding directly into the intake of a 600gph
    power head -- and that ups the CO2 enough to bother the fish if I leave
    it on 24h -- so now its only on with the lights.

    So maybe at the 10 bubbles per second you are losing 7 or 8 of them?
    Or to look at it the other way, maybe only 2 or 3 are disolving in the water?

    Now I have not used pressurized CO2, so this question may not be worthwhile, but is there any reason that the bubbles could not differ in size between two people who are having differing bubble counts??
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    The bubbles do differ in size considerably. If the tube the CO2 comes out of into the bubble counter has a large ID, the bubbles are large. If the tube has a small ID, the bubbles are small. When I had two bubble counters connected at the same time, I had twice the bubble rate on one as on the other, because of that effect. Bubble rate is just a way to compare your own CO2 flow to the flow at a different time.
     
  14. fresh_newby

    fresh_newby Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    The smell is a dead-giveaway.....over-ripened/rotten cucumbers
     
  15. EssexPete

    EssexPete Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Many thanks for all your advice.

    Several helpful and interesting points have been made...

    Overall most the tank looks great; the red in the plants may or may not improve (I hadn't realised the pink veins in my hygro only appear in emersed conditions) - thanks czado.

    The dark green algae doesn't really smell of much - a bit grassy maybe..
    I think Tom's suggestion of Oedogonium is right for the algae that appears so quickly on new leaves - I done an image search on Google and it looks a close match - any specific suggestions to help here would be appreciated.

    I've attached a pic of both the 'hairy' algae (Oedogonium?) that forms swiftly on new plant leaves. Also in the pic is some driftwood that is covered in the dark green furry stuff that grows slowly but surely.

    I think Quenton has a point - there are quite a few bubbles escaping from the base of my AM500, (the whole reactor is a mass of bubbles) but then I've got the pH down to 6.3, the fish didn't seem so active at this level, so I've re-set it to 6.5. Tap water round here is often not far off 8 !
    In order to improve CO2 distribution and even the load, I've just ordered an Aqua Medic reactor 500M - same as the 500 but with a built-in pump. I'll leave the existing 500 in 1 corner of the tank and install the 500M in the other.
    I'm hoping that I can just cut the CO2 hose that comes from the needle valve and insert a 2-gang adjustable air valve (the little green plastic ones with screw tops, used with air pumps) so I can split the CO2 between the reactors.
    Is this method OK?


    Just a thought re. my apparent excessive use of CO2.
    I use an Eheim 2329 bio (wet/dry) filter - as this is continually 'breathing' I guess I'm losing some CO2 during this process - is it likely to be significant?

    Thanks all for your continued help,
    Pete
     

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  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Air valves are not really suitable for metering CO2. Check out Rex Grigg's manifolds with needle valves at: http://www.rexgrigg.com/sale.html
     
  17. EssexPete

    EssexPete Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Is there a reason that they're not suitable?

    Thanks
    Pete
     
  18. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Air valves usually leak a little bit, which isn't a problem with an air pump, but it will deplete your CO2 tank pretty quickly. They also are not sensitive needle valves. And, plastic valves don't last long at all with CO2.
     
  19. EssexPete

    EssexPete Prolific Poster

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    Re: Plants losing colour

    Thanks Vaughn - fair comment.

    I may have a go with a Y junction and a couple of clamps initally.
    But I guess I'll probably have to take the more expensive route.... hey ho

    Best wishes
    Pete
     
  20. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Plants losing colour

    A two outlet manifold would be pretty easy to make if you have any mechanical skills, and an electric drill plus a tap for small pipe threads. Take a brass bar, drill a hole down the middle almost to the end. Drill two holes into the side intersecting the hole down the middle (or just run that down the middle hole all the way thru.) Then tap all three holes for small pipe threads and screw in two needle valves and appropriate fittings. If my experience is any guide, a DIY project like this would likely end up costing about the same as buying the manifold, but you would have a world of fun!!

    Another thought: I was shopping for a variety of little fittings today at the hardware store for a continuous water change system I am making, and I recall seeing a tee with male pipe threads on all three legs. With a few adapter fittings that would work well as a manifold. It is also possible to get a tee with all female pipe threads, making installation of needle valves easier.
     
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