Plant deficiencies, not sure what's up. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Plant deficiencies, not sure what's up.

I'm at the end of my rope with this tank. Every time I set it up, the exact same thing happens, over and over, and I'm trying to pinpoint what is going on.



Both my Rotala wallichi and Rotala nanjenshan look like this. Every stem I've planted before ends up doing the same thing. Even my crypt and marselia leaves are small and twisted up like this. I change things up, nothing.

I just set this tank back up about three weeks ago. The rotala have been in there for two weeks. They came to me in good shape with full leaves.

Tank specs:

Tank: 29 gallon tank (30" x 12" x 18")
Lights: 3x 18w T5NO lights (2x 6700k, one rosette), directly over the water line, 6 hour light period
CO2: Pressurized co2 via Rex Grigg style DIY inline reactor
Filter: Eheim 2213, Koralia Nano 425 for extra flow
Ferts: EI for dry ferts, and 1.5 capfuls of Seachem Trace every week. There are some pFertz root tabs under the plants.
Substrate: Flourite Dark and Flourite Black. A small amount of crushed coral was accidentally mixed in (my daughter was "helping" me). I tried to remove as much as I could.

pH: 7.0 when co2 is off, 6.2 when co2 is on
GH: 7
KH: 6
Ammo: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~20ppm

Temp: 76

The water is pure RO with Equilibrium (I did add a few gallons of tap when I first started the tank up, my tap water is like concrete). KH is from the initial set up and the crushed coral. KH went up when I started injecting co2.

Flow is good, all the plants are moving. The co2 is cranked up pretty high, the drop checker with 4dkh water turns bright green. There are no fish or shrimp in this tank, only snails. They seem largely unaffected by the co2. By the time the lights turn off, the tank is FULL of bubbles sticking to everything, including the glass.

The plants are suggesting a calcium/magnesium deficiency, judging by the deformed new leaves growing, and some plants have pale old leaves with dark veins. But I find that hard to believe, with the hardness of the water. I started adding Seachem Trace, thinking maybe there was something missing in the dry trace, but it's not helping anything.

I'm starting to wonder if it's the lights. I have them directly resting on top of the tank, but even then the DHG in the tank is struggling to grow. I have a hard time believing that the lights are too intense. The bulbs are old, I have not replaced them. Right now I'm wondering if I should buy new bulbs or just a new fixture (replacing it with a T5HO fixture). I can raise the lights above the tank, but that will probably be the end of the DHG. The stems are still fairly short, they are only about five inches closer to the light than the failing DHG.

Anyone see any red flags I'm missing?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Rita Mae Brown

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 09:47 PM
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Is it possible that the small amount of crushed coral remaining is buffering the hardness and therefore masking the possible calcium/magnesium deficiency?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 10:59 PM
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Try dosing Epsom Salts and see what happens.

Hang in there, don't give up.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 11:30 PM
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maybe its the 6 hrs of light doesnt seem like enough
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlouisan View Post
Is it possible that the small amount of crushed coral remaining is buffering the hardness and therefore masking the possible calcium/magnesium deficiency?
I think Ca/Mg could easily be the culprit, but i doubt the coral, if it's truly a small amount, is buffering it that much. What about Fe?
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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I'd guess there's about half a teaspoon of crushed coral total, so it's not a ton. I'm hoping it'll burn out before too long. Shouldn't crushed coral be adding calcium? It's calcium carbonate...

I'll try adding some epsom salt to see if it helps.

I had the time down on it due to how freshly I planted the entire tank. I was going to bump the time up on it, but seeing as how I'm having issues already, I'm not sure if I should or not.

Iron could be a possibility. If the epsom salts don't do anything to help out, I'll start dosing iron.

It seems like a severe problem, but I have a hard time trying grasp why. Eq has calcium, magnesium, and iron in it, and I'm not stingy with it (1tbsp to 12 gallons of water at every water change). The lights really shouldn't be intense enough to over drive the plants. The co2 is cranked up pretty high. I dose a full line of ferts...

I'll pull the lights up a couple inches and see if it helps relieve some of the symptoms...

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Rita Mae Brown

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 02:20 PM
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Idk much but it seems like the closer it is to the light the thicker it looks I personall would try bumping light to 10 hrs I don't think u can have too much light.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 02:36 PM
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He mentioned he's using Seachem equilibrium to his RO water and with his GH now 7, definitely not a magnesium of Calcium problem.

With a KH 6 & PH 6.2 all your fish would be dead , so I suspect the drop checker is mounted high and Co2 bubbles skewing the results. But since you are misting and based on your description I'm gonna guess you should be good Co2 wise.

Seachem Trace should be used in conjunction with Flourish, so I'm not sure when you say 'trace' which product you are referring to as some loosely use the word in error. Either way get whichever you do not have.

In the end you should consider getting rid of that substrate because it will only make growing most of the soft water plants somewhat difficult.




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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:57 PM
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I have this problem with the same plants when I don't add enough CO2.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 08:33 PM
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also another idea is someone said red light makes plants grow taller or something and more blue makes grow busher or something like that. lfs said idk
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 09:17 PM
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Blue promotes vegetative growth, red promotes flowering. Although it shouldn't matter in this case.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkookm View Post
He mentioned he's using Seachem equilibrium to his RO water and with his GH now 7, definitely not a magnesium of Calcium problem.

With a KH 6 & PH 6.2 all your fish would be dead , so I suspect the drop checker is mounted high and Co2 bubbles skewing the results. But since you are misting and based on your description I'm gonna guess you should be good Co2 wise.

Seachem Trace should be used in conjunction with Flourish, so I'm not sure when you say 'trace' which product you are referring to as some loosely use the word in error. Either way get whichever you do not have.

In the end you should consider getting rid of that substrate because it will only make growing most of the soft water plants somewhat difficult.
*She uses Equilibrium with her RO

No fish in the tank. Not too worried about gassing anything as of yet. I do have the drop checker up pretty high, I need to drop it down at the next water change.

I'm using Plantex CSM+B as my main trace. I was adding Seachem Trace (Trace, not Flourish) in the event that the Plantex was failing on something. Either way, it's not helping, so I'm going to stop dosing it.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Rita Mae Brown

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 11:22 PM
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Keep dosing it. Stopping it will only make it worse. I'm pretty sure this is a CO2 problem. Most problems of this nature are CO2 problems. Also a little crushed coral in the tank isn't going to be the problem now or ever. I hear that people have better experiences dosing flourish trace than CSM. I can't substantiate that though since I've used both with similar results.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Is it possible that my water is too hard for these rotalas? I don't think that's the deal, but I'm no expert.

Bumped the photoperiod up to seven hours today. I'll slowly bump it up to eight hours, I don't really want to go longer than that.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Rita Mae Brown

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffww View Post
Keep dosing it. Stopping it will only make it worse. I'm pretty sure this is a CO2 problem. Most problems of this nature are CO2 problems. Also a little crushed coral in the tank isn't going to be the problem now or ever. I hear that people have better experiences dosing flourish trace than CSM. I can't substantiate that though since I've used both with similar results.
I'll bump up my co2 some more. I'm also going to set it on a timer to go on an hour before my lights. Right now they are turning on at the same time.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Rita Mae Brown

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