Help with Ca deficiency(?) and red plants going green - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Help with Ca deficiency(?) and red plants going green

I’m new to planted tanks, and I seem to be having a micro-nutrient deficiency off the bat in my three week old tank. I was wondering if some veterans could help me out. (Please excuse the novel-length post.)

Quick summary of my tank (happy to supply more details if necessary)

40 breeder, hard tap water, low light (one 36” fugeray—my best guess is around 20-30PAR at the bottom and 50-60Par at the top of the stems), low flow (fixing this soon), aggressive CO2 injection via Rex Grigg-type reactor, pool sand-capped boiled MiracleGro Organic Potting Mix substrate, fully planted with ½ carpet plants and ½ stems off the bat, light sprinkling of green dust and diatom algae, only a few hitch-hiked snail and copepod residents.

Fertilizing routine

A good sprinkling of osmocote under the soil + (what I believe to be) standard EI with
-¼ teaspoon KNO3 + 1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4 on MWF
-1/16 teaspoon CSM+B on T,THU,SAT
-50% WC + 1/16 teaspoon K2SO4 on SUN

Problem 1
I’m seeing some white-ish leaves on some plants, particularly new growth. Most prominent is the white, “chalky” looking new leaves on my hygro sunset, which seem a bit deformed (crumpled). New growth on my Myrio mattogrosense and Hydrocoytle tripartita look a bit washed out as well. My HC looks a little white-ish and “dry” over the whole plant, but this may be because of emmersed growth/acclimation—they are very new.



Based on my internet search, I think it’s Ca or Zn deficiency. Ca makes the most sense. Thinking of adding some crushed coral to the substrate (just sprinkle a hand full or two on top) and cutting out the K2SO4. I know my water is plenty hard, and I hear too much K can cause Ca deficiency (is this true?). Not sure about how to deal with Zn, but I think the CSM+B should be covering this.

Problem 2
All of my red plants are growing in green. The new growth has a noticeable change of color. It’s particularly noticeable on my Didiplis diandra, but also on all of my red rotala and lugwigia varieties. The growth itself seems healthy, and I’m seeing good growth with new leaves, roots, etc., but I would like to have some red plants.



I think this may be because the iron in CSM+B is EDTA-bound, and it’s not available for long in my hard water. I’m thinking of supplementing with DTPA-bound iron or root tabs. Any suggestions? Or is this more likely a different issue, such as low light?

Problem 3
My Lindernia rotundifolia leaves seem to be melting. There's new growth, but a lot of melting. It's the only plant that currently has a significant problem in my tank. I have no idea what's causing this... (I thought this would be the easiest plant to grow and was counting on it to suck up the early macro-nutrient excess.)

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm... Having a little trouble with the photos.

White Hygro sunset


Green growth on red plants


Melting Lindernia
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 09:18 PM
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Help with Ca deficiency(?) and red plants going green

If you're sure it's a Ca deficiency, you can get liquid calcium at any reef shop.

Luke
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Help with Ca deficiency(?) and red plants going green

Thanks Luke. I'm far from sure... It's my best guess based on descriptions of deficiencies online. (And some wishing that it's something easily fixed.)

I'll try adding Ca and see what happens. It can't hurt, can it?

Any advice on the red plant issue?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 03:49 AM
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You are using hard tap water, you said so.


Ca deficiency anywhere in TX? Not unless you use pure RO, even then, it'd be tough.

Light is little weak on the lower side.

But CO2 is the typical issue when folks claim Ca deficiency or any number of traces.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Help with Ca deficiency(?) and red plants going green

Well, given your experience I'm sure it's CO2... Do you think it's worth dosing additional Fe?

I agree that there is no way that Ca is lacking in my water. There are some posts floating around saying that overdosing K somehow limits the availability of Ca, which got me worried. (Although, admittedly, even if this is the case, it's questionable whether adding more Ca will solve the problem.)

Unfortunately, I can't even ballpark CO2 because my drop checker is in transit over the pacific...
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 07:18 AM
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Fugeray doesn't have enough red spectrum light to grow red plants. Check out the lighting subforum for more info.

Fennex Ray 2 for red plants

That thread should help...

Last edited by theericafish; 05-06-2013 at 07:20 AM. Reason: etc.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theericafish View Post
Fugeray doesn't have enough red spectrum light to grow red plants. Check out the lighting subforum for more info.

Fennex Ray 2 for red plants

That thread should help...
+1 on that also.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Help with Ca deficiency(?) and red plants going green

Thanks theericafish. I wish I'd read up on that a little earlier, but c'est la vie.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 06:02 PM
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Ca deffieiency at what ppm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
You are using hard tap water, you said so.


Ca deficiency anywhere in TX? Not unless you use pure RO, even then, it'd be tough.

Light is little weak on the lower side.

But CO2 is the typical issue when folks claim Ca deficiency or any number of traces.
At what level does Ca become an issue? I have <3ppm coming out of my tap.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by root3 View Post
Unfortunately, I can't even ballpark CO2 because my drop checker is in transit over the pacific...
sure ya can! ...but it will be a ballpark, since you're testing tank water and not a standardized 4dKh sol'n.


Also: I read a post somewhere recently regarding red coloring missing from plants that, aside from the obvious possible Fe deficiency, growth may be the culprit... if the plant isn't growing fast enough, it won't get red. This is where co2 will come in, to help the plant grow to it's potential!
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 07:40 PM
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I'd say 40-50 ppm is a better target personally.

10-20 ppm is too low for most tanks IME.

Note, those ppm's are based off lighting intensities from like what? 20 years ago when folks had T12's........

Much less light= much less CO2 is needed to reach a decent level.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasterMake View Post
At what level does Ca become an issue? I have <3ppm coming out of my tap.
I've yet to see Ca even become an issue with anyone's tap, ever.

Not saying it could not happen.......3 ppm is a lot as far as plant growth is concerned.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theericafish View Post
Fugeray doesn't have enough red spectrum light to grow red plants. Check out the lighting subforum for more info.

Fennex Ray 2 for red plants

That thread should help...
i don't think a red spectrum is needed to grow red plant, but it does help show them off better.
ludwigia red in my shrimp tank grows at 18 PAR and is still red but because the bulb selection and color is terrible, they look more brown and less red, this is also due to reduced lighting as well..
this is a great plant to see these kinds of differences because it stays red under most circumstances
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
I'd say 40-50 ppm is a better target personally.

10-20 ppm is too low for most tanks IME.

Note, those ppm's are based off lighting intensities from like what? 20 years ago when folks had T12's........

Much less light= much less CO2 is needed to reach a decent level.

i agree - i also run a lot higher than 30ppm - i just grabbed the first chart that came up on a google search. thanks for bringing that up.
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