weird plant growth

darren_in_the_marsh

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i am only two weeks into the ei method and my tank has shown a dramatic recovery but i am starting to see some familiar poor growth patterns particularly with hygrophilia polysperma: (in fact there are two different strange patterns)

weirdness 1: there is almost no stem growth, that is, the node length (distance between nodes along stem) is almost zero. new leaves are sprouting (albeit not very frequently and the leaves are 'weak' looking; limp) but literally on top of the one before. all species seem to reflect this growth pattern, inluding ludwigia repens, which now has big fat leaves, but they too are stacking up on one another.

weirdness 2: newly formed leaves on individuals, are truly deformed: super thin, small and curved, and white. these plants are barely a few inches tall and when my tank is really running, i used to prune these things almost daily.

weidness 3: on my sword and ludwigia repens, there are small fractures, 3-5 mm in length, centered within the leaves not eminating from an edge. almost looks like someone took a staple gun to my plants. this is not a frequent occurrence, nor does it happen on every leaf, but it usually leads to the death of the leaf.

any suggestions on a mechanism for these symptoms?

thx darren
 

defdac

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Re: weird plant growth

Yes I agree with Calcium-deficiency.

I can induce Calciumdeficiencies in L. glandulosa and A. reineckii with my tapwater at 2 GH by dosing a lot of phosphate from KH2PO4 (> 2 ppm).

Don't know why that is - perhaps the growthrates get to fast for these two species or if the phosphate uptake competes with Calcium uptake sites?
 

Tom Barr

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Re: weird plant growth

PO4 and Ca are radically different in terms of uptake.

If the H poly is growing weird, that's a sign something's not right since it's the fastest grower in your tank.

CO2? Are your new leaves small as well?
I'd say so based on what you say and assuming you have the dosing correct for EI.

Only something fairly dramatic would cause this.
Adding Sechem EQ or CaCl2/MgSO4 will take care of any GH issues.

I'd focus on CO2.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

detlef

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Re: weird plant growth

Hi all,

here is what I found in an article (in German of course) about what could be causing Ca deficiencies. One Dr.Gerd Kassebeer has expressed his findings here: www.deters-ing.de/Gastbeitraege/Calcium.htm

1. lots of snails 2. addition of Na2HPO4 or KH2PO4 --> phosphate addition favors Ca precipitation 3. lots of humic substances in the filter system which work like peat (cation exchange) --> absorbing Ca

Regards,
Detlef
 

darren_in_the_marsh

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Re: weird plant growth

before the demise of my tank a number of months ago i suspected a ca deficiency was one of many culprits and a run with kent marine liquid calcium did help a bit but since all my other ferts were totally out of whack it didnt do much (although the anubias did quite the turnaround, but nothing like three weeks of EI!).

currently i am not adding any phosphate, something to i will remedy soon, so perhaps we can remove that one from the possiblities of a ca absorber.

humic material...uh...i dont think i have any? i keep my tank pretty clean from debris, but my substrate is nearly 6 years old, so maybe in the darkest corner
there is some decaying vegetable matter

i have stopped using the kent marine liquid calcium but supplement with seachem equilibrium, but at real low doses. the stuff is expensive, and at the required recipe, i would be buying alot of the stuff.

snails, hmmm....i have lots of snails, and there shells recently are white and transparent looking. again, i have seen all this before but now that things are looking up we'll see.

pH and CO2 are good, i think. i am bubbling the hell out the tank into an aquaclear filter, and i know the dKH is around 6. i guess the pH at 6.5.

thx darren
 

Tom Barr

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Re: weird plant growth

detlef said:
Hi all,

here is what I found in an article (in German of course) about what could be causing Ca deficiencies. One Dr.Gerd Kassebeer has expressed his findings here: www.deters-ing.de/Gastbeitraege/Calcium.htm

1. lots of snails 2. addition of Na2HPO4 or KH2PO4 --> phosphate addition favors Ca precipitation 3. lots of humic substances in the filter system which work like peat (cation exchange) --> absorbing Ca

Regards,
Detlef

PO4 and Ca only preciptate out at a high pH and at much higher concentrations of Ca and PO4, not applicable to our situation.

Snails don't remove that much, nor does the filter in a significant manner, unless you never do water changes, eg a non CO2 tank approach, but that is solved by using dolomite/CaCO3 based substrates or adding CaCl2/CaSO4 or seaCehm EQ regularly.

In most cases, folks do water changes, that resupplies the Ca.
The issue for this problem is not Ca.

Especially if you are adding SeaChem EQ even at low dosings.
PO4/NO3 sounds much more like the issue here if you feel good about the CO2.

http://www.towson.edu/~ladon/solprod.html

This precipitation may be especially likely where calcium and high pH additives (like limewater) enter the tank water. The locally high pH converts much of the HPO4-- to PO4---. Combined with the locally high calcium, the locally high PO4--- may push the supersaturation of Ca3(PO4)2 to unstable levels, causing precipitation.

You are looking at higher pH, 8-10 range.

Examples:
pH of 8.5 41% of the Ca3(PO4)s is preciptated
pH of 9 85%
pH of 10 93%

Get the picture?
This is for a Ca++ level of 13ppm and a PO4 level of 100ppm.
Quite high. Optimal preciptation is around 9.5, it depenmds on P and Ca concentrations.

I'd not worry much about it.

This is why plants like these forms of fertilizer because the substrate is at a more acidic pH and allows the Ca/PO4 to be released and used by weeds.

CaCO3(solid) also forms and is preciptated along with Ca3(PO4)2 at higher pH's.

The Ca and PO4 dosing is not causing an issue at low concentrations(PO4 at 2ppm or less) nor at the pH 's we use(generally less than 7.4).

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

defdac

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Re: weird plant growth

detlef said:
Hi all,
1. lots of snails 2. addition of Na2HPO4 or KH2PO4 --> phosphate addition favors Ca precipitation 3. lots of humic substances in the filter system which work like peat (cation exchange) --> absorbing Ca
Whoa. I qualify for all three. I also had really large pieces of driftwood.

4-5 tsp och CaCl2 doesn't change anything, nor does 2-3 tsp CaCO3 or 3-4 tsp Dolomite after a weekly large wc.

But I can induce Calciumdeficiencies with a 10 ppm MgSO4-dosage, or keeping the PO4 nice and high (above 1 ppm).

Dose every other day in my 310 litres tank:
3 tsp KNO3
10-15 ml of KH2PO4 (2 tsp in 200 ml)
40 mls of TMG (actually a micro-nutrient much like CSM+B + 3-4 grams of K2SO4 and MgSO4 rendering it pretty much like Tropica Mastergrow)

The CaCl2/Dolomite/CaCO3 are only dosed after wc (I do a wc each week for about an hour with one hose in and one hose out). My tapwater params:

pH: 8,5
Konduktivitet: 18,2 mS/m
GH: 3,6 dH
Alkalinitet, HCO3: 55 mg/l
COD Mn: 1 mg/l
Fluorid, F: 0,13 mg/l
Klorid Cl: 11 mg/l
Sulfat, SO4: 25 mg/l
Fosfatfosfor, PO4-P: <0,010 mg/l
Ammoniumkväve, NH4-N: <0,010 mg/l
Nitratkväve, NO3-N: 0,53 mg/l
Nitratkväve, NO2-N <0,005 mg/l
Järn, FE <0,0070 mg/l
Mangan, Mn: <0,030 mg/l
Koppar, Cu: <1,0ug
Marmoraggresiv kolsyra, CO2 <1 mg/l
Cyanid, total <0,01 mg/l
Silver, Ag: <0.0028 mg/l
Aluminium, Al: 0.0028 mg/l
Arsenik, As: 0.00026 mg/l
Borium, Bo: 0,014 mg/l
Bor, B: 0.014 mg/l
Kadmium, Cd: <0.00002 mg/l
Krom, Cr: <0.00002 mg/l
Kvicksilver, Hg: <0.0001 mg/l
Kalium, K: 1,5 mg/l
Magnesium, Mg: 2.3 mg/l
Natrium, Na: 19 mg/l
Nickel, Ni: 0.00057 mg/l
Bly, Pb: <0.00005 mg/l
Antimon, Sb: <0.001
Selen, Se: <0.0005 mg/l
Zink, Zn: 0.0015 mg/l

Calcium is calculated to about 22 ppm with 2.3 ppm Mg and a GH of 3.6 dH. The pH is about 6.4-6.6 when I come home from work at 18:00 (23-37 ppm CO).
 

darren_in_the_marsh

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Re: weird plant growth

defdac said:
But I can induce Calciumdeficiencies with a 10 ppm MgSO4-dosage, or keeping the PO4 nice and high (above 1 ppm).

are you suggesting high concentrations of Mg and/or PO4 prevent Ca from being absorbed and thus the plants show signs of Ca deficiency, or that high concentrations of Mg and/or PO4 cause symptoms that resemble Ca deficiency?

darren
 

defdac

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Re: weird plant growth

are you suggesting high concentrations of Mg and/or PO4 prevent Ca from being absorbed and thus the plants show signs of Ca deficiency, or that high concentrations of Mg and/or PO4 cause symptoms that resemble Ca deficiency?
None of the above. Alkali elements antagonize eachother:
K >> Na >> Mg >> Ca
http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plants/month.200401/msg00583.html

I've never seen K antagonize Ca, but I can easily antagoinze Ca with Mg from MgSO4.

And also, like Detlef said but got refused by Tom, high PO4 levels seems to make Ca-deficiencies worse near the strong lights where the growthrates are very high. In the shade I have no Calcium deficiencies. Compare to bitter pit where the tree have problems transporting all Calcium if you use fast nitrogen like ammonium and high levels of PO4. I think Tom said somewhare this can't be the case because Ca is all over the place (in the water surrounding the leaves).

Anyway.

I recently removed all of my large portions of driftwood (they can act as peat, removing Ca) and it seems to have gotten somewhat better. Yesterday I cleaned out the filter and snails are not as much of a problem since the last redesign.
 

Tom Barr

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Re: weird plant growth

D

Try using Ca(NO3)2 or CaSO4(not particularly souble but okay) etc instead of CaCl2. Just try it and see. Then you can rule out higher Cl levels.

You do not need a lot of Mg really but you might see some reaction from adding too much. I've had trouble inducing Mg deficiencies that made the plant look bad, eg yellow veining.

Na and Cl are not needed in higher amounts, Ca is fine as well as K+.
Mg perhaps has a narrower range than Ca I'd suspect.

That might be why all those people thought their high K+ was causing the Ca issue, it was really Mg.

There are issues with that notion also though.........


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

detlef

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Re: weird plant growth

Hi Tom,

could you please elaborate more on the Mg issue? Can you nail it down to the notion: there is evidence for Ca uptake issues if Mg gets (too) high relative to Ca?

To me it seems as if the line gets finer the less Ca the aquarist has in his tank. With low Ca (say < 2-3° dGH) all nutrients, MgSO4 in particular, should be added with great care.

Daniel raised Mg from 2,3ppm (tap) to around 12,3ppm (+10ppm) --> 5,3-fold the initial amount which made _SO4_ also jump from 25ppm (tap) to around 65ppm (+40ppm) --> 2,6-fold the initial amount. Can you rule out SO4 issues for his plants?
Sorry for bothering you, but I suspect there are uptake problems which we don't have an explanation for as far as Ca/Mg (SO4) are concerned. At least in low Ca surroundings.


Regards,
Detlef
 

Tom Barr

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Re: weird plant growth

detlef said:
Hi Tom,
There is evidence for Ca uptake issues if Mg gets (too) high relative to Ca?
Not surwe, Mg is rarely "too high". I'm not sure how much Mg relative to Ca is needed, but 2:1 ratios at say 100pm of GH seems fine.

To me it seems as if the line gets finer the less Ca the aquarist has in his tank. With low Ca (say < 2-3° dGH) all nutrients, MgSO4 in particular, should be added with great care.

Perhaps............but folks have been dosing MgSO4 fairly liberally with the low GH tap water in the bay area for many years and I have not seen evidence nor have any of us noticed an issue.

Of course we are not adding load and loads of Mg either.......we do add plenty for the plants to a considerable excessive level, but just not 50ppm etc of Mg etc.

Daniel raised Mg from 2,3ppm (tap) to around 12,3ppm (+10ppm) --> 5,3-fold the initial amount which made _SO4_ also jump from 25ppm (tap) to around 65ppm (+40ppm) --> 2,6-fold the initial amount. Can you rule out SO4 issues for his plants?
Sorry for bothering you, but I suspect there are uptake problems which we don't have an explanation for as far as Ca/Mg (SO4) are concerned. At least in low Ca surroundings.
Regards,
Detlef

Well, SO4 is seldom ever tested and is often the anion.
Excess has never been documented in aquatic plants. I don't know what it would look like.

Ca/Mg ratios can be manipulated but there is a huge issue with testing Mg and Ca.

Folks seldom keep stable CO2/light/NO3/Fish load/PO4/K+/Trace levels at the same time.

If that is done, then you manipulate things, only then will you be able to see any differences.

Truthfully, I've seldom seen anything I could relate to plant health when the GH is above 3-5 degrees.

I did manage to induce Mg deficency in Anubias once. I was able to correct it also by adding a little MgSO4.

In any event, Mg/Ca testing will not be easy.

Some like to assume it is and they can fill in their spreadsheets, but the reality is something more complex.

But the observations I've seen and discuss with other folks with both high GH's and low ones, seems to suggest trace metals in softer water play a large role as well as KH.

So called soft water plants(R macrandra, wallichii etc) seem to do better with high to moderate GH's and low KH's.

Ruling out Cl vs SO4 is fairly straight forward test.
Use a control and add more Cl to one and more SO4 to another test tank series.

You need a number of replicates to do this.
You also should/need remove fish/critters to make things simpler in terms of N/P and herbivory.

I see folks hoping to answer some questions without consideration for many confounding factors.

Be careful in the conclusions/interprtations.

That's what got folks saying PO4 and NO3 excess causes algae or plants prefer RO water or excess K+ causes Ca++ blocking etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr