The Myth of Low Nitrates and Red - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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The Myth of Low Nitrates and Red

Water parameters:

40 Nitrates
2 phos
KH-4
GH-8
20 Gallons of water
Dosing regimen:
1ml of Iron Soln.
EI dosing as per Tom Barr's liquid formula.




In person the color is much more red, almost scarlet. But you get the picture. At first I didn't believe it but, you really don't need low nitrates for some nice reds.
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post #2 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 05:15 AM
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enough said

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #3 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 05:54 AM
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I am with tom on this one. I cut my nitrates in half and my stelata is turning VERY bright red, over the greenish yellow it was before with full EI nitrates (40ppm)
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post #4 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 07:19 AM
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The OP says he got great reds without cutting nitrogen. I didn't see Tom disagreeing if I correctly understood his example picture and response.

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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioaficionado View Post
The OP says he got great reds without cutting nitrogen. I didn't see Tom disagreeing if I correctly understood his example picture and response.
in his title he stated "The Myth of Low Nitrates and Red"

in which Tom showed a picture of a plant he has grown with lower light, and low nitrates. So low nitrates bringing out Reds is not a myth.
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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 01:22 PM
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I doubt thats what he meant.

I have the same plants that red if not more so with 80ppm nitrate, is that low too?
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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 02:53 PM
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I think that sometimes people (Tom included..though maybe I sell him short) attempt to over simplify cause and effect here....

The theory that has been followed is to eliminate uncontrolled variables and only change one at a time to see which has the desired effect. To date, we haven't exactly nailed down which variable this is.

What has not been addressed is that it is then highly likely that it is not a single variable that is the cause, but the complex combination of 2 or more that result in the desired outcome (more red in this case).

EX: Its like a combination lock. If the code is 34, and you try 31, you can not say 'well, I know the first digit isnt a 3!'.

What has ALSO not been addressed is that there is a good possibility that there are different combinations of these complex variables that result in the same end. More then one way to skin a cat?

EX: If you are hungry, you eat a burger. You are full. You get hungry again, and you eat a salad. You can not conclude "oh, I guess the burger wasn't what filled me up the first time, because I didnt eat a burger this time, and I got full"

Nor can you eliminate a piece of the burger at a time until you are still hungry and say it was that piece that was the cause...

EX: Controlled burger experiment..
Remove bun and eat. Full. = Bun does not contribute to fullness
Remove bun and onion. Full. = Neither bun nor onion contribute to fullness
Remove bun onion and pickle. Hungry. = Pickles are what fill you up.


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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noahma View Post
in his title he stated "The Myth of Low Nitrates and Red"

in which Tom showed a picture of a plant he has grown with lower light, and low nitrates. So low nitrates bringing out Reds is not a myth.
Actually I was following Tom Barr's suggestions of using higher CO2 and lower light and more of everything else. He has repeatedly said that you DON'T need low nitrates to get red, just healthy plants. And it really is seeing is believing.
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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:20 PM
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I had once setup two identical tanks. Both new setups with Aquasoil. The only difference between the two was the height of the tank. Same water, same ferts (high-end EI). I had L. Aromatica in both tanks. In the taller tank I could only get the tops of the Aromatica to turn red. In the shorter tank the red continued down most of the stem.

Not saying some plants can't turn more red based on water parameters, but many of these stems that are typical greenish like Rotala, Limnophila turn red due to stress from high light. If it was a chemical thing with these plants why are the tops that are closer to the light red in marginal light situations.
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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:46 PM
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Lightbulb

Seeing as how the production of carotenoids to make those reds is a function of dealing with the stress of higher light, I would also posit, as illustrated in some extraordinary examples of ordinary green plants like Blyxa sp. turning blood red, that the myth of going lean on nitrogen, and in some other misguided cases phosphorous, most likely contributes to the stress which may help the red along.

My reasoning for this is that nitrogen is especially important for all chlorophylls (chlorophyll A being universal to all plants) because thats what really binds the massive hydrocarbon chain to magnesium. Reduce the ability to create more chlorophyll with lower nitrogen while at the same time the plant is bronzing to protect its organelles and tissues may be the key to really getting some of those reds that you swear must be photoshopped. In short putting stress upon stress to get them to redden. Not being a professional like Tom, I can only hypothesize. In fact, Tom if you're out there still, I'd like to hear you discourse on this statement, however brief it may end up being . The root of the mechanism is light, though. That we can all agree on, I think.

My personal statement, is yes, absolutely correct that you can get reds with everything in balance but in generous proportions, light, CO2 and ferts. My other personal statement is be happy with healthy plants. If they color up, great! Just don't go chasing the dragon and setting yourself up for mass deficiencies and an algae explosion for a cheap wow factor or for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses.

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post #11 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:53 PM
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Well said, but I'm chasing that dragon anyways. I am set on getting some nice reddish plants as a background in my tank. I just put some nice L. Aromatica and 80% of the red/pink faded away in the first few days (EI, CO2, med light). The plants look super healthy and happy, and appear to already be growing a bit after only 5 or 6 days which I'm happy about.

But I am wanting that red color bad


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post #12 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave-H View Post
Well said, but I'm chasing that dragon anyways. I am set on getting some nice reddish plants as a background in my tank. I just put some nice L. Aromatica and 80% of the red/pink faded away in the first few days (EI, CO2, med light). The plants look super healthy and happy, and appear to already be growing a bit after only 5 or 6 days which I'm happy about.

But I am wanting that red color bad
You're not wrong for that. It is the tempting apple of the hobby.

"You are much better off with no numbers than meaningless ones. The minute you believe numbers uncritically, that is, without understanding how they're calculated and how well they measure whatever they're supposed to measure, you will generate a breed of employee who will produce numbers and not results. Your data-processing system will then serve not to describe reality but to lie about it."

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post #13 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for understanding

But, there is only one plant in my tank that is consistently red and I can't remember which one it is I think it's a ludwiga perunsis (sp?) that was left over after I removed my ludwigas because they were excessively 'rooty'.

My tank is 18+ inches from the substrate to the rim, so I'm trying to find plants that will be both tall and red AND will do well in my tank. Still looking!


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post #14 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ukamikazu View Post
You're not wrong for that. It is the tempting apple of the hobby.
Well yes, same with pearling. Some aren't happy unless their plants are super happy by pearling. I actually don't think the plant really cares, but people have setups for all sorts of reasons, some want reds so you can't judge them on that. I believe the most direct way to red is stronger light and a shallow tank will make it that much easier to get there regardless of your other parameters.
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post #15 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
Well yes, same with pearling. Some aren't happy unless their plants are super happy by pearling. I actually don't think the plant really cares, but people have setups for all sorts of reasons, some want reds so you can't judge them on that. I believe the most direct way to red is stronger light and a shallow tank will make it that much easier to get there regardless of your other parameters.
Agreed.

"You are much better off with no numbers than meaningless ones. The minute you believe numbers uncritically, that is, without understanding how they're calculated and how well they measure whatever they're supposed to measure, you will generate a breed of employee who will produce numbers and not results. Your data-processing system will then serve not to describe reality but to lie about it."

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