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weird plant growth

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by darren_in_the_marsh, May 4, 2005.

  1. darren_in_the_marsh

    darren_in_the_marsh Junior Poster

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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
     
  2. Ian H

    Ian H Guru Class Expert

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  3. defdac

    defdac Lifetime Members
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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?
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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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
     
  5. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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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
     
  6. darren_in_the_marsh

    darren_in_the_marsh Junior Poster

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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
     
  7. Ian H

    Ian H Guru Class Expert

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    Re: weird plant growth

    The poor state of the snail shells is another indicator of calcium deficiency.

    Ian
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: weird plant growth

    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
     
  9. defdac

    defdac Lifetime Members
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    Re: weird plant growth

    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).
     
  10. darren_in_the_marsh

    darren_in_the_marsh Junior Poster

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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?

    darren
     
  11. defdac

    defdac Lifetime Members
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    Re: weird plant growth

    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.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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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
     
  13. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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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
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: weird plant growth

     
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