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Old 05-25-2011, 04:24 PM   #16
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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.
No, the pic is with high NO3 and rich N in the soil, and higher light.

The issue is specifically NO3.

In which case, I agree with the OP.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dave-H View Post
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!
Being a Hoppyite (PAR vs. Distance) here is what I have noticed is consistently red, yellowish or pinkish for me and my practices (I do use PPS PRO, though.). Maybe this brief list will help you find that best, easiest red for your set-up. I have direct experience with these.

All Ludwigias seem work out nicely and are consistently, naturally somewhat reddish anyway. My personal favorites are perennis (sometimes peruensis) and senegalensis. Ovalis is more pinkish and orange but very pretty indeed.

Quite a few Roatalas like macrandra (the Cadillac of red plants!), wallichii (metallic pink), hippuris (strawberry blondish?) and rotundifolia (orange!).

Ammania gracilis (hot pink) and Nesaea pedicellata (goldish,orangish, pinkish) are very easy.

And let's not forget our oldest, best friends from time immemorial, Alternanthera reineckii (Scarlet & Crimson!) and Cabombas, especially pulcherrima (purplish).

If you really want some bombast, there are many Echinodorus varieties and hybrids like Aflame, Rubin and India Red.

I hope this helps with your selection.

EDIT: There are also some newer, rarer species that are nice hues of red/burgundy like Hygrophila pinnatifida, Cryptocoryne albida, C. cordata and nurii. My Lagenandra meeboldii is a lovely pink and it sits in deep shade and is becoming more and more available in the S&S. Again, just more ideas to toss out there.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:35 PM   #18
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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.
Ah, but "less light" is a hard pill to swallow.

I'm far from the only one stating this, 15 years ago, George Booth made this same argument. Ole Peterson and Troel Anderson. I dunno.......some folks just do not wanna try things but then tell others it must be bad or produces bad results.

That's the part that is irritating, they tell others based on their belief and ignorance. That does not do the hobby any good, does not teach folks basic logic and stifles aquatic horticulture. Blame nutrients for all that ails thee, never high light or CO2.

If you cannot measure light comparatively, and we really have a huge knowledge gap regarding CO2........then sure, many will say it does not work.
But that's not the ferts' fault, that's the hobbyist.

Few confirm the CO2(no, a drop checker is no able to do this with any degree of accuracy), or the light, but more are measuring light these days at least.

But getting folks to drop the intensity is tough. They just do not want to do it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:44 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
No, the pic is with high NO3 and rich N in the soil, and higher light.

The issue is specifically NO3.

In which case, I agree with the OP.
I stand corrected.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:57 PM   #20
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Carotenoids are produced via the terpenoid pathway, I'm privy to this pathway as Fluridone is an aquatic herbicide I work with and is commonly used with the weeds I deal with in the professional side. Same with the endogenous plant growth regulators, many are made via this same pathway.

A 5 carbon structure called IPP is required to make all of these pigments/ PGR's etc.

This is a reduced CARBON compound. That means without ample CO2........the plant will be very limited to fully develop pigments. Light will play a role, but only if the CO2 is adequate also. The faster rates of growth produced by higher light mean the time it takes to develop Chl a and b and place it into the new growth regions will not mask the Carotenoids, which are always placed there first.

Fluridone blocks carotenoid synthesis at Phytoene desaturase.

Under high light, and fluridone, plants will die faster than at lower light due to a lack of carotenoids and lots of reactive oxygen species from PSII. Plants do not die from light directly(but UV is the exception case where this might occur).

They have a bleached look when fluridone has been applied.

It is a little bit hard to undo light, CO2 and nutrients as whole, but most hobbyist have not mastered and have few ways of confirming good CO2 status for their test.

The best way is simply having it right, nice healthy tank, excellent colors etc......... and falsifying the other claims one by one.

This may seem like a backwards way of testing, but it rules out other factors. You may speculate about other possible reasons etc, but nice coloration and deep reds are and can be produced without high light, and I'll say low light is 40 micromol evenly along the bottom of the tank.

If the tank is shallow...........well, you will have higher light intensity vs a deep tank with the same light obviously, but.....if the plants are allowed to hit the surface, what gas do they now have plenty of?

Is it easier to add CO2 to a lower light tank or a higher light tank?

I think most will agree nutrients have little to do it, we can find cases where you get good reds regardless of NO3. But...........if you drop the N to very limiting levels, the Chl a and b will take a hit and no longer mask the carotenoids. This will make the plants appear redder, but you stress them and they do not grow as well, as large(this leaf area is easy to measure and see on a N deficient plant).

I know some good hobbyist who run N deficient tanks, their same plants are pale and 1/2 the size as mine. Their reds are decent and nice. Their plants are at the surface as well. Mine have 2-3x less light submersed.

People have messed with this for the last 15 or more years with more success during this time. I o no worry about it, I just grow the plants generally rather than playing these games. Myths come and go, and there's little end in sight on this one.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:04 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ukamikazu View Post
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.
Yep, I agree here.........now for something you have not heard about red plants..........


...........along your same reasoning and rational, wouldn't limiting Mg also produce intense reds without the expense of N limitation??? Since it required for Chl a etc.........

What does this appear like?

What does Mg limitation look like? Got any pics of aquatic plants that lack Mg??

How about red plants that lack this?

We cannot limit Carbon obviously since carotenoids are made of mostly reduced carbon and many of the enzymes that make reduced carbon require a lot of N, but not much Mg..........

Chew on that cattail.
I've done this, but not critically or assayed it well.

But it is something to think about. Mg is poorly tested and measured in this hobby.(Something else to ponder)
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:20 PM   #22
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Here's a red plant tank with several classics and a gradation of light:



A. reineckii is on the bottom, L. cuba is near the top, wallichii is at the top on the other side.

You'll note deep rich red color in the reineckii.
It does very well shaded and at lower light, but good CO2 is critical.

In lower light tanks, the cuba got larger and yellow, which was interesting and pleasing I thought. As it approached the surface..........what occurs with respect to light if you are a Hoppyite?

Light increases exponentially to the square right? So more light = what exactly?

Well.........faster rates of growth.
Faster rates of growth = less time for chl a to develop and be planted in the new tip region of the shoot. So this is function of the rate of growth and less to do with the carotenoid production at higher light really per unit area of leaf. It's both factors in other words, not just high light.

If you limit N, but not bottom it out, then you get along fine with coloration.
If you use less light and do not limit nutrients, then you make up for it with faster rates of growth, results in a similar coloration if not deeper and redder.
Fert limitations often produce a lighter color, less intense reds etc. Some plants are okay with this, others less so.

FYI, PPS pro is exactly what Paul Sears and Kevin Conlin called PMDD 15 years ago, it's stealing other peoples published work and calling your own.

Paul never said to bottom out of not add PO4, only to keep it low in the 0.1ppm and 0.2ppm range. While the reasoning for doing this was falsified for algae, the method is no different than what Ed calls PPS pro, no credit was and or ever has been given or acknowledged. And that is plain steer manure.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:21 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Noahma View Post
I stand corrected.
Don't ya go fretting none about it
It's good you thought about it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:38 PM   #24
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Yep, I agree here.........now for something you have not heard about red plants..........


...........along your same reasoning and rational, wouldn't limiting Mg also produce intense reds without the expense of N limitation??? Since it required for Chl a etc.........

What does this appear like?

What does Mg limitation look like? Got any pics of aquatic plants that lack Mg??

How about red plants that lack this?

We cannot limit Carbon obviously since carotenoids are made of mostly reduced carbon and many of the enzymes that make reduced carbon require a lot of N, but not much Mg..........

Chew on that cattail.
I've done this, but not critically or assayed it well.

But it is something to think about. Mg is poorly tested and measured in this hobby.(Something else to ponder)
I think I can do this .

Mg is preferred as a mobile cation and is important as an enzyme cofactor besides being a major component of chlorophyll. It must be in balance with K and Ca. In toxic levels, it can interfere with the uptake of other cations like Ca, K and NH4. Reduced growth rate is a symptom of deficiency and toxicity of Mg.

Deficiency is seen first in older leaves as chlorosis, necrosis in severe cases, and new leaves are severely puckered.

So, Mg is merely a cofactor in carotenoid production but only when it is mobile, so the Mg in chlorophyll is locked away so instead when we see a Mg deficient plant we are looking at the affects of low mobile Mg+ which would not effect existing chlorophyl... ...so we would expect a Mg deficient red plant to still be red but with ugly twisted little new leaves because what Mg is in chlorophyll is fixed.

Therefore, excess Mg might facilitate chlorophyll production and enzymatic actions but would have a negligible at best affect on carotenoid production though it would cause other problems by inhibiting the efficient uptake of Ca, K and ammonium, which would lead to other problems.

Is that where I should be thinking? Am I even on the map ? C-/D+ for effort at least ?
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:42 PM   #25
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FYI, PPS pro is exactly what Paul Sears and Kevin Conlin called PMDD 15 years ago, it's stealing other peoples published work and calling your own.

Paul never said to bottom out of not add PO4, only to keep it low in the 0.1ppm and 0.2ppm range. While the reasoning for doing this was falsified for algae, the method is no different than what Ed calls PPS pro, no credit was and or ever has been given or acknowledged. And that is plain steer manure.
I did not know that and I do value and enjoy uncensored, unvarnished history.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:32 PM   #26
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I have had these Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia going here for a while and I definitely see more of the pink coloration on the undersides of the leaves when the water is cleaners and when the temperature is lower.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:41 PM   #27
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This is perfect timing for this thread to appear as I am in the process of trying to tease reds from my plants. I have a bunch of questions and ramblings...

I currently have Alt. Rein., Rotala Rot., L. Aromatica, Rotala Wallichii, Ludwigia repens, sunset hygro. The only plant that is showing red from the new growth at the moment is my Alt. Rein.

Would it be safe to assume that some plants will redden more easily than others based on their ability to take in reduced carbon? Could this be why I am seeing red from just one of my plants?

Also will simply increasing CO2 increase the likely hood of the other plants showing reds? I realize it is difficult to know exactly what the CO2 conc. is with just a drop checker but if you are close to 30 ppm and you still don't have red in your plants, would you recommend decreasing your light instead? Is decreasing the intensity more important than just decreasing the photoperiod or does it amount to the same thing?

Is it possible to get reds from plants in a non CO2 tank? The growth is much slower so I would assume that the plants would not be able to grow faster than chlorophyll can be produced.

This thread has already been a huge help!

There should be a mythbuster section on this site with just a bunch of stickies related to debunked myths.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:12 PM   #28
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Some plants are simply red, have red in them under many conditions regardless, other's not so. If I have L. Aromatica in two identical setups and the only difference is the light intensity the one with the more intense light has more red even if they are the same distance from the surface. Why would that be? I think the principal of Occam's razor applies here and the plant is simply reacting to intense light and turns red.

Low, med, high light what does that really mean? For me high light is whatever makes your tank non-limiting in terms of species and correct growth. I am a big fine of the midday burst. I have found keeping your tank low/med most of the day and than given them even just 2 hours of intense light creates a non-limiting tank without adverse algae issues. I'm not a big fan of all these T5HO lights that only have one switch. Many are afraid to run both all day (don't blame them) for fear of algae issues and end up going too low and have a limited setup. The burst for me has always brought out the best with little downside.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:39 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by ukamikazu View Post
I think I can do this .

Mg is preferred as a mobile cation and is important as an enzyme cofactor besides being a major component of chlorophyll. It must be in balance with K and Ca. In toxic levels, it can interfere with the uptake of other cations like Ca, K and NH4. Reduced growth rate is a symptom of deficiency and toxicity of Mg.
No one in this hobby has ever once seen toxicity, that much I assure you.
Regarding Ca and K, these references are from terrestrial soils where salts can increase due to irrigation 10-2000X more than we might EVER see.

In otherword, all the mumbo myths on aquatic plants sites are grossly misapplied. There is no factual support over the concentration levels we see in aquariums.

I tested this a lot, and have not found any evidence to support it with a wide range of suspected sensitive plants.

Edward made a bunch of claims as to Mg being toxic above 10 ppm, see the pic of the pantanal? 25ppm with nothing but hard to grow weeds looking might nice. This clearly falsifies such this myth, ignorance is no excuse.
You no do, you no say.
It's that simple.

I am not certain at what upper range we will see toxicity, but it's a lot more than 20-25ppm. I have not dosed that high and few folks will ever experience Mg in that range. So there's little point to go farther.
See what the ppm's level are for hydroponic solutions for N, K, and P:
210ppm, 235 ppm, and 31ppm for most modified hoagland's solutions.
About 5x more than EI would ever get close to.

Mg levels are 52ppm............pretty juicy.

What does Tropica and Oriental use for their nutrient solutions for growth?
I'll let you guess.

Quote:
Deficiency is seen first in older leaves as chlorosis, necrosis in severe cases, and new leaves are severely puckered.

So, Mg is merely a cofactor in carotenoid production but only when it is mobile, so the Mg in chlorophyll is locked away so instead when we see a Mg deficient plant we are looking at the affects of low mobile Mg+ which would not effect existing chlorophyl... ...so we would expect a Mg deficient red plant to still be red but with ugly twisted little new leaves because what Mg is in chlorophyll is fixed.
Why would it be twisted? There's little reason for stunted tip growth, mostly just a lack of pigment color from Chl a.

New growth is where the N limitation occurs, likewise, since the old Mg is locked in Chl a, and the new growth is limited........not much will translocate to new growth which would result in redder leaves.

Recovery from Mg deficiency is rapid also.

The older leaves can easily supply the reduced carbon to the region of new growth, so carotenoid production is not affected much here.

Quote:
Therefore, excess Mg might facilitate chlorophyll production and enzymatic actions but would have a negligible at best affect on carotenoid production though it would cause other problems by inhibiting the efficient uptake of Ca, K and ammonium, which would lead to other problems.
And N limitation does not do this or have much effect on enzymes.....??
Comparatively speaking, Mg would offer a far better candiate if you go with the pigment method of nutrient limitation.

For Ca, K and NH4, the transportors can simply use H+ and ATPase's, Mg is required for some things, but a limited range should be similar to a N limitation.

Quote:
Is that where I should be thinking? Am I even on the map ? C-/D+ for effort at least ?
Naw, I'd give you an A- hehe

I'm hard teach, but grade easy. If you survive the first few weeks
Got to put the fear of poor grades(the great motivator) in new students. They are there to learn and make mistakes, not suffer grade wise if they work hard.

The co factor aspect and mobility are good ideas and relevant, all the Mg is not in the Chl a, but the same can be said for N. I'm not aware of anyone that has writtren abiout Mg limitation or tried this critically.

That is interestinjg in and of itself.

I managed to induce Mg limitation but it was long ago, I have been interested in toxic and inhibiting levels at the other end mostly.
NPK, Fe etc.........I've done those nice and low..........but not Ca++ and Mg++ at the low end limiting.

These tend to be tough without some RO and serious modified dosing and decent controls prior. Even my DI/RO like tap has too much to run strong limitations. We did some in SF in the 1990's. But not individual nutrients.

So it's a knowledge gap.

No one really knows if the red can be popped out using Mg limitation.
Might be easy.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:41 PM   #30
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Here is where I test my understanding of the theory. The higher light increases the growth rate of the plant, and the chlorophyll cannot keep up with rapid growth therefore the red pigment comes through. The reason that plants near the top of the tank turn red is because the increased light leads to increased growth rates.

BUT it is not the light per se that is making the plants red, it is the rapid growth with sufficient CO2 to produce the red pigment. In a healthy low light set-up with high amounts of CO2, the plant is growing fast enough to reproduce the same results. So high light is not necessarily the requirement, healthy fast growing plants are.
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