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post #1 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Growth problems (twisted leaves, etc)

Hi all,

I've been having some issues with my 40 breeder that I just can't seem to figure out. In the recent past, I had a big problem with BBA, which I've pretty much solved. But now, even though the tank is largely healthy, I've got some plants that just aren't right. Alternanthera reineckii (removed) was growing leaves that looked OK at first but became folded down at the sides as the whole leaf curved to one side. Other than that, color was great and it kept growing. Same issue with Ludwigia glandulosa. A new Ludwigia hybrid I collected has leaves that curl down at the edges and twist. Common theme, as you can see. A while back I had L. arcuata with strangely bent and twisted leaves, but that was before the "improved" conditions I have now. Limnophila sp. 'Belem' (a RIDICULOUS name, as it's strictly an Old World genus) likewise has leaves that curl down but also in pretty much any direction in addition to weird forked tips. It grows fast but is generally a mess. I have regular Hygrophila polysperma that formerly looked really ratty and full of pinholes lower down before I cranked the co2 and added more N. I haven't seen this in a bit, but some leaves had an odd sudden kink and hole along the midrib.

It's probably worth mentioning that I had some of the small form Limnophila aromatica that was pale and chlorotic looking that got fixed after adding Flourish Trace. Some Pogostemon helferi pretty much stunted when I got it but is recovering. Tonina doing well, as do all Bucephelandra (grow all those like weeds) and crypts. Riccardia and Myriophyllum sp. 'Guyana" (an explosive grower) do fine. But pretty much anything that has the potential to grow funky does.


Alternanthera reineckii


Removed leaves


Downcurved leaves


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Water is reconstituted RO. I've had better results with it than the tap water here. Currently, I use a 50/50 mix of Seachem Equilibrium and Aquavitro Mineralize. GH is 6 and kH is 2.

For traces, I'm currently using Flourish, Flourish Iron and Flourish Trace at the recommended levels. In my case, that's 6.5mls of Flourish, 1.25mls Flourish Iron and 20mls of the Trace weekly. Trace two days and Flourish two days. Iron in smaller amounts daily. In the past, I dosed much more heavily, always with Seachem stuff (for a while, Aquavitro Envy) and at one point, 10mls a day.

I add potassium sulfate for K daily, and possibly too much. I'll get into that later. For N, I use Flourish Nitrogen. 9mls the first day after the weekly water change and 5mls daily the rest of the time. Potassium phosphate (dry dosed) .45g the first day and .25 daily other days. I was until recently not adding even close to enough N. Currently, I'm adding 17ppm weekly. Before that, it was 12.64 and before that, even lower. Some clear leaf margins on Nymphaea were fixed when I got on top of that.

Lighting is a fixture I made with RapidLED parts. 24LEDs with 4 blue and the rest a mix of (I think because it's been a while) warm and neutral whites. If turned up all the way (and it is now), PAR at substrate is about 150ish with no lenses on.

Substrate is mostly a mix of Flourite Black and Soilmaster. I will never use the latter again because it's so light. Much of the foreground is pool filter sand; that area was formerly the same as the rest.

Filtration is a Rena Filstar XP2 and a Fluval 306. The Fluval has a surface skimmer attached to the inlet. Plenty of flow in the tank. A few hours after the lights go out, I have an airstone running the rest of the night until when the co2 comes on an hour before the lights.

Co2 is maxed out. It was definitely not enough until recently but now should be. 4mls of Excel added every morning on top of that.

The tank itself is about five years old in its current iteration.

Stocking levels are low. 12 lampeyes, 7 Corydoras habrosus, a Farlowella and a geriatric, 8 year old glowlight tetra. Also a wood shrimp and a ton of Malawa shrimp.

Currently adding in PPM per week:
N-17ppm
P- 8.99ppm
K-37.88ppm
Fe-.7ppm

I know that's a lot of phosphate. If I back off of it I get a green haze on the glass. But really, there's not really any algae otherwise other than some of the non-attaching Cladophora in tiny, inconsequential quantities (but an indicator of high P, I know). I've pretty much eradicated the BBA.

Without the potassium sulfate, I'm at just over 29ppm a week with all the other K sources. Turns out adding more N did more than all that K. But too much now?

Old overdosing catching up with me? I think Flourish products are more fool proof than CSM+B but I wonder if it might have accumulated in the substrate.

Too much Trace?

I should note that a few years ago, I had REALLY high zinc levels. As in .4ppm or so. I think that was what scared me into using RO.

Just be more patient with the newer regimen? I feel like I'm running out of possibilities here and it's rather frustrating. I've had issues like this to some degree for quite a while now. Help is appreciated.
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post #2 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 08:46 AM
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3 things come to mind: Biomass, Circulation and Iron/Traces.

Not saying this is the issue, but thats where I would start.

ē Biomass: did not your tank, but by reducing biomass (e.g. less stems, shorter stems, less crowding, etc) you reduce competition. Thats a quick test you could do, with almost no drawbacks

ē Circulation: make sure the water is really circulating. I can induce downward leaves on my Ludwigia Palustris just by placing the outflow behind the stems of fast growers. Every time I do that, circulation gets a bit slower, maybe the fast growing plants (mostly rotala colorata) are involved, but anyways, adding an extra pump is another quick test, or changing the way water circulates.

ē Iron/Traces: I will ne very careful here to avoid controversy. I do not believe in micro toxicities in our tanks, with the exception of accidents. That being said, some experient people report to have more success with very little Iron/Traces. Although this is not my path (I dose around the same you do) I tested less in past (around .4 weekly) and it was fine too. Maybe you could try that route and see how it goes. Maybe 2 or 3 consecutive water changes, back to back, and then try it for two weeks, this way you would have a feesh start.

Got curious about one thing: you are dosing almost 40ppm of K, which is pretty rich. But 17ppm of N is really a lot. Do you really mean N or NO3? For NO3 that is not much. Same for P. P or PO4? For PO4 that is okay.

And by CO2 being "maxed out" I would expect a pH drop around 1.2 to 1.5. Is that your case?

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post #3 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 11:30 AM
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Too much co2, posted on apc too

When you float a plant, growth is stunted. Atmospheric ppm's to the limit
This is my observation behind
And that i've always blasted co2, have a lot of stunted plants in the past....



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Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-23-2017 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #4 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrungOut View Post
Too much co2, posted on apc too

When you float a plant, growth is stunted. Atmospheric ppm's to the limit
This is my observation behind
And that i've always blasted co2, have a lot of stunted plants in the past....



belee me dis
This is interesting StrungOut. Never heard of such connection, but I did have issues in past with stunting on AR mini.

So, what do you mean with "float a plant" and atmospheric ppms?

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post #5 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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That's a pic of my Nymphaea that is recovering from what I think was low co2. The leaves with the transparent edges are the old ones. When I realized that growth was speeding up after the co2 increase, I increased the macros to compensate. Despite adding a good bit more, the test reading was the same at the end of the week.

Flow is quite good. In addition to the two filters, I have a Hydor, a small microjet in what was a slow flow corner and the downflow from the co2 reactor. Not turbulent, but definitely not stagnant.

I can't say exactly what the pH drop is. I really need to recalibrate or possibly replace the pH probe on my monitor. I'll get on that.

I think that you actually can overdose on traces, yes. But I think that's more of a CSM+B problem and I haven't dosed really heavily for quite a while. I can say for sure, based on water testing we did on APC via a guy with access to lab equipment, that my tank had a LOT of zinc at one time. Never really did nail down the source, but that would in any case be interesting to look into. I do think it's possible I am now overdoing the K and will cut out the extra potassium sulfate for the week to see if that helps. If I'm down to 29ppm a week of K, I assume that's enough relative the N and P?

I mean N. Half of Flourish Nitrogen is a complexed ammonium and I used the Fertilator to arrive at that number.
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post #6 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed.junior View Post
This is interesting StrungOut. Never heard of such connection, but I did have issues in past with stunting on AR mini.

So, what do you mean with "float a plant" and atmospheric ppms?

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When you float a plant have you seen the top growth? how's it look compared to fully submersible? Atomspheric ppms to the limit meaning that aquatic parameters do not reach these ppms

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If there's any room left on that ship, You don't have to save any room for me
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And I will stay afloat - even when it rains, Cause I've got my own boat
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post #7 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 02:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrungOut View Post
When you float a plant have you seen the top growth? how's it look compared to fully submersible? Atomspheric ppms to the limit meaning that aquatic parameters do not reach these ppms
I'm jumping in blind here as ferts are relatively new to me and I would like to learn as much as possible. I'm a bit confused as to what you mean. Do you mean aquatic limits will not reach the atmospheric limits as in ppm of Co2 in the aquarium would not be able to surpass that of the level in the atmosphere? From my research so far (limited) atmospheric levels of Co2 are 7ppm and that of the aquarium can be much higher, or am I getting this backwards?

Added: isn't emersed growth and submerged growth different and this could be the reason for the difference?


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post #8 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Dman911 View Post
I'm jumping in blind here as ferts are relatively new to me and I would like to learn as much as possible. I'm a bit confused as to what you mean. Do you mean aquatic limits will not reach the atmospheric limits as in ppm of Co2 in the aquarium would not be able to surpass that of the level in the atmosphere? From my research so far (limited) atmospheric levels of Co2 are 7ppm and that of the aquarium can be much higher, or am I getting this backwards?

Added: isn't emersed growth and submerged growth different and this could be the reason for the difference?


Dan
Too sciency for me, I thought plants exposed to air were somewhere 220ppm i read somewhere, but i also read 7-8ppm like you stated somewhere too, so I'm just confusing myself now. Hope someone else can chime in.

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post #9 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by StrungOut View Post
Too sciency for me, I thought plants exposed to air were somewhere 220ppm i read somewhere, but i also read 7-8ppm like you stated somewhere too, so I'm just confusing myself now. Hope someone else can chime in.
Sorry about the sciency stuff I'm just trying to wrap my head around all these individual chemical reaction threads I have been reading on ferts and how they interact so I can understand and apply them for my own set of variables rather than rely on EI or PPS pro and if I don't question I don't learn. I have a sick obsession to understand the why in everything.

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post #10 of 63 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 07:49 AM
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Ok, let me help here.
CO2 in the atmosphere will balance itself with CO2 in water. When we add CO2 to the water we throw the balance off, and that is why the CO2 will leave the water after some time: it is balancing itself.

CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 0.04%, or 400 ppm by mass. Henry's law says that the partial pressure of a gas over the water surface will define how much of this gas will get into the water. Aplying it gets you around 0.5 ppm of CO2, from atmosphere alone. Studies have shown that an indoor tank (indoor CO2 concentration is usually higher) with active fish and bacteria (which contribute to CO2 content) is around 2ppm.

So the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is way higher than what we inject, e.g. 400 ppm against 30 ppm.

That being said, what confused me is the statement of too much CO2 in the water. Of course emersed leaves are different from submerged leaves, but I never heard of too much CO2 before being an issue for PLANTS. For fish, shrimp, etc, that is pretty clear an issue.

I grow a lot of my plants in both emersed/submerged forms, and I never stunting in emersed growth. They might dry out initially, if one is not careful, but that is something else entirely.


Really looking forward to learning something new about the stunting
The Lythraceae family stunts for several reasons and I am always trying to understand it better.

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post #11 of 63 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 05:06 PM
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This is a problem that has a very simple or complex answer. Is there a reason you havenít ditched the substrate and started over? A lot can happen to a high tech tankís substrate in five years. Thatís the simple solution. Iím pretty confident the issue lies in the substrate.

Letís say you have no substrate as a reserve for nutrients. The plants are relying entirely on the nutrients contained in the water column. In an aquarium like this, plants respond very quickly to dosing changes. Add CO2 as you have and weíre talking days instead of weeks. This alone tells me itís not a dosing issue if all these changes havenít had any results.

The complex side is figuring out whatís actually going on, more importantly prevent it from happening again.

This is similar to something I learned back in junior high school, cowboy and spacemen economies. A cowboy economy is one where the natural processes can keep up with the impact people make in an environment. A spaceman economy is when the natural process cannot keep up with the impact from people. If we add more nutrients than plants can process we enter a spaceman economy. Without water changes nutrients would continue to rise eventually killing everything. EI is a good example of a spaceman economy whereas the Walstad method would be more of a cowboy economy.

The EI method relies on water changes to remove excess nutrients. On the surface it seems pretty straightforward. However, when we add fertilizers, a portion of each dose will end up in the substrate for many reasons, chemical reactions being the main culprit. For example, we all know not to dose phosphate and iron at the same time. If we do theyíll react with each other forming new complexes which precipitate and fall to the substrate. The same holds true for most of the trace elements. When the chelate becomes unstable the nutrient will become unprotected leading to reactions, i.e. iron oxidizes and falls to the substrate. As you can see this ďspaceman aquariumĒ needs the trash taking out from time to time. How often would depend on many things so there isnít a simple answer.

Something few of us give much thought to is the chelates we use. I donít mean which chelate to use such as EDTA or DTPA. Iím referring to what happens to it when we add it to our tanks. Itís also a chemical just like our nutrients. In fact, we add far more of this than anything itís protecting.

When a chelate becomes unstable, such as EDTA at high PH, the bond releases leaving the nutrient and EDTA. The free chelate is now capable of bonding with other things. All chelates are different but all are more attracted to some elements than others. This is a list of what EDTA is attracted to, in order of highest attraction to lower.

Iron (Ferric)
Copper
Nickel
Cobalt
Iron (Ferrous)
Zinc
Cadmium
Manganese
Magnesium
Calcium

Suppose we added a huge amount of EDTA to our tanks. What would you expect to happen?

Typically, it causes nutrient deficiencies because the chelate is basically scouring all the nutrients it can hold. This essentially deprives higher plants. It can also disturb the availability of individual nutrients based on the chelates affinity for that nutrient. In the list above for EDTA we would expect to see the free ferric iron bind before Calcium. Likewise, since we have more Calcium than anything in that list in our tanks we would expect to see a larger amount of complexed Calcium.

Hereís the rub with traditional chelates. They are not biodegradable! In fact, several countries have banned its use in detergents for this reason.

Wikipedia, environmental fate of EDTA
"EDTA is in such widespread use that questions have been raised whether it is a persistent organic pollutant. While EDTA serves many positive functions in different industrial, pharmaceutical and other avenues, the longevity of EDTA can pose serious issues in the environment. The degradation of EDTA is slow. It mainly occurs abiotically in the presence of sunlight."


It may sound worse for our tanks than it is but Iím not sure. Chelation chemistry is very complex and Iím certainly no chemist. I would expect the chelate to remain soluble, therefore, would be removed with water changes? This would still pose a problem for those that dose fertilizers and do no water changes. It appears we will be using different chelates in the future such as EDDS and IDHA?

I do find it interesting that you had toxic levels of Zn and no major die off. Were you protected by excess chelate? Or was it the interaction between P and Zn? Impossible to say.
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post #12 of 63 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Since I last responded, I stopped dosing the potassium sulfate so my npk ratio is at least a bit more in line. Also got some new Alternanthera (of two types) that has been growing normally along with some arcuata I got to test. But none are rooted in the substrate. I just kind of stuck them in between other things.

I agree that toxic buildup can happen, but I have some questions. First, if it happens, is it only a detriment to things rooted in it, or does it also affect the water column? Secondly, if you never overdosed micros, could the tank go on indefinitely or is there a lifespan for tanks with high CEC substrate? Or all of them?

I was actually thinking of replacing the substrate because I'm not a fan of the soilmaster's lightness and I think that even though I clean it when I can, it's just way overfilled with waste. I actually did replace the foreground and that was surprisingly big mess. Not sure what I'd use if I don't go the Aquasoil route (I like to be in control of all parameters).

So I guess that if the K reduction doesn't do it (actually, probably anyway), I'll replace the substrate. Then there would at least be one less variable.
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post #13 of 63 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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I replaced the rest of the substrate with some Flourite Black my friend had. What a mess! Really glad to be rid of the light weight soilmaster. Thinking too that cleaning that up will reduce the acidification present in old tanks and help out the autotrophic bacteria a bit. Something I was going to do anyway and one less variable to worry about if things don't correct right away.

And man! I cut the biomass WAY, WAY down. Anybody need a pound of Theia blue? I wouldn't be surprised if my problems stem at least in part from too much competition. Is it somehow not the case that just adding more of things can help out weaker competitors?

Also, how does using Flourish and Flourish Trace at recommended levels compare to CSM+B dosing? Isn't the latter more concentrated? Keep trace dosing the same despite biomass reduction? Going to for now, I think.

One stem of the new reineckii looks kinda stunted but the rest look...pretty normal. Fingers crossed.

Hopefully if things go well I'll try the ramosior from Florida (the red one) and Gratiola viscidula again. Kinda sucks to go out and get these cool new plants and see only other people grow them! Hopefully, that will change.
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post #14 of 63 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 01:46 AM
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Growth problems (twisted leaves, etc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinanti View Post
I replaced the rest of the substrate with some Flourite Black my friend had. What a mess! Really glad to be rid of the light weight soilmaster. Thinking too that cleaning that up will reduce the acidification present in old tanks and help out the autotrophic bacteria a bit. Something I was going to do anyway and one less variable to worry about if things don't correct right away.



And man! I cut the biomass WAY, WAY down. Anybody need a pound of Theia blue? I wouldn't be surprised if my problems stem at least in part from too much competition. Is it somehow not the case that just adding more of things can help out weaker competitors?



Also, how does using Flourish and Flourish Trace at recommended levels compare to CSM+B dosing? Isn't the latter more concentrated? Keep trace dosing the same despite biomass reduction? Going to for now, I think.



One stem of the new reineckii looks kinda stunted but the rest look...pretty normal. Fingers crossed.



Hopefully if things go well I'll try the ramosior from Florida (the red one) and Gratiola viscidula again. Kinda sucks to go out and get these cool new plants and see only other people grow them! Hopefully, that will change.


Flourish and flourish trace is not all you would need for all the micros. You would need the other Flourish products like iron, pottasium, nitrogen, etc. yes the other stuff is more concentrated. You are paying mostly for water with seachem.

Just keep dosing the same. Weekly water changes would clean out if any extra nutrients.

Hoping it works out. Fingers crossed for you.


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post #15 of 63 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 02:02 AM
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Flourish Comp has a LOT more Fe relative to the other micros than csm-b.

Here's a comparison figured at .1 ppm Fe (arbitrary amount just to compare)

Quote:
csm-b

B 0.012251149
Cu 0.001378254
dGH 0.017911315
Fe 0.1
Mg 0.02143951
Mn 0.02863706
Mo 0.000765697
Zn 0.005666156
Quote:
Flourish Comp

B 0.0028125
Ca 0.04375
Cl 0.359375
Co 0.000125
Cu 0.00003125
Fe 0.1
K 0.0959375
K2O 0.115625
Mg 0.034375
Mn 0.0036875
Mo 0.00028125
N 0.021875
Na 0.040625
NO3 0.09625
P 0.001375
P2O5 0.003125
PO4 0.0040625
S 0.08665625
Zn 0.00021875
No idea whether that's good or bad really.

Also Im pretty sure the Fe in Flourish is gluconate, dont know about the other micros.

The only way I can keep sensitive species from twisting and stunting is with very low micros, like .01 csmb and .02 Fe dtpa 3x week. My substrate is inert sand, so Im sure that play a big role.

Intersting stuff on chelates @Zorfox . Ive been thinking a lot about such things lately. Trying to figure out why my tanks (4 high-tech) seem to be so sensitive to micro and Fe dosing.

Reducing bio-mass can work a miracle no matter whats going on. There comes a point where larding on more ferts and CO2 just wont help.

We call it reduced competition. I believe it also has a lot to do with better circulation in and around plant groups. Meaning the individual stems/plants come into contact with a higher volume of water. Makes sense to me because plants can only absorb what they come in contact with, right?

Anyway Im following this thread with interest. Please continue to share what happens!
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