Deficiency Opinions??? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Deficiency Opinions???

I've been reading and reading, but feel I need to bounce this off of the forum for confirmation so I can proceed accordingly. I feel like I've been having some lackluster/slow plant growth, even with my stem plants. Parameters below were taken first thing this morning (WC yesterday) before I started this week's EI dosing.

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Despite my higher gH out of the tap, I'm wondering if I don't have a Ca or Mg deficiency. STL's water report shows avg. non carbonate hardness (CaCO3) as 86ppm on avg (range 34-143ppm) and Magnesium at 16.4ppm on avg (range 9.9-25ppm), which I believe translates to ~9gH (confirmed by my gH test). Probably leaning towards Mg deficiency at my current gH. Seemed to see overall improvement a while back adding niloCg gH booster (3/4 tsp) after water changes. Wondering if I need to double my dose or add some Epsom salts directly. Thoughts?

My ludwigia sp red's leaves are really curled and growth is SLOW. Bacopa salzmanii's leaves seem to be really narrow, though it is putting on a bit of growth. Even the rotalas and star grass seem to be growing slowly. The slow growth in the tank is leading me to believe there is a limiting factor I haven't been able to connect the dots to just yet.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 02:25 AM
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Hi shamrock62081,

I know what I see, let's see what you see......what type of "curling"...can you describe it?

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
I know what I see, let's see what you see......what type of "curling"...can you describe it?
Well the ludwigia is definitely curling down at the tip, which would lead me to think calcium deficiency. Bacopa is rolling its leaves. But with my gH and local water parameters I second guessed a Ca deficiency.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 03:01 AM
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Hi shamrock62081,

Very good; you have very good observation skills! Yes, the new growth of the Ludwigia is definitely 'hooking downward at the leaf tip" The older leaves of the Bacopa are indeed 'rolling' or 'curling' at the leaf margins (btw doesn't really matter if the curl is upward or downward - seems to be species related).

Depending upon the severity of the deficiency, and the species, plants may show one, two, or several of these characteristics:

The Ludwigia:
Quote:
Symptoms appearing first or most severely on new growth (root and shoot tips, new leaves)

A. Terminal bud usually dies. Symptoms on new growth.

2. Necrosis occurs at tip and margin of leaves causing a definite hook at leaf tip.
Calcium is essential for the growth of shoot and root tips (meristems). Growing point dies. Margins of young leaves are scalloped and abnormally green and, due to inhibition of cell wall formation, the leaf tips may be "gelatinous" and stuck together inhibiting leaf unfolding. Stem structure is weak and peduncle collapse or shoot topple may occur. Roots are stunted. Downward curl of leaf tips (hooking) occurs near terminal bud. ammonium or magnesium excess may induce a calcium deficiency in plants... calcium deficiency

Differentiating between calcium and boron deficiency symptoms: When calcium is deficient, there is a characteristic hooking of the youngest leaf tips. However, when boron is deficient, the breakdown occurs at the bases of the youngest leaves. Death of the terminal growing points is the final result in both cases
The Bacopa:
Quote:
Symptoms do not appear first or most severely on youngest leaves: Effect general on whole plant or localized on older, lower leaves.

C. Interveinal chlorosis. Interveinal chlorosis first appears on oldest leaves.

1. Older leaves chlorotic, usually necrotic in late stages. Chlorosis along leaf margins extending between veins produces a "Christmas tree" pattern. Veins normal green. Leaf margins may curl downward or upward with puckering effect. Necrosis may suddenly occur between veins. Potassium or calcium excess can inhibit uptake of magnesium...magnesium deficiency

When the external magnesium supply is deficient, interveinal chlorosis of the older leaves is the first symptom because as the magnesium of the chlorophyll is remobilized, the mesophyll cells next to the vascular bundles retain chlorophyll for longer periods than do the parenchyma cells between them. Leaves lose green color at tips and between veins followed by chlorosis or development of brilliant colors, starting with lower leaves and proceeding upwards. The chlorosis/brilliant colors (unmasking of other leaf pigments due to the lack of chlorophyll) may start at the leaf margins or tips and progress inward interveinally producing a "Christmas" tree pattern. Leaves are abnormally thin, plants are brittle and branches have a tendency to curve upward. Twigs are weak, subject to fungus infection, usually leaves drop prematurely; plant may die the following spring.
Now it appears you have both problems, is that possible? Certainly, some plants require more calcium than others and some plants require more magnesium than others. I grew up in St. Louis (Webster) and my wife's relatives still live in the area....what has happened the last few months that may have effected your water supply.....flooding! It is possible that all that snowmelt, and rain runoff has diluted the 'normal' amount of Ca and Mg in your water causing these issues. Tested your tap water lately?

Bet you can guess the next question, what course of action would you suggest?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 03:16 AM
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Is that Ludwigia super red mini? If so, I have never seen anyone grow it with flat leaves including tropica, dennerl or any other. I went through all the different things such as adding calcium magnesium boron reduced trace fertilization. It grows fine for me in terms of speed but the leaves look terrible but the color is nice. My calcium levels exceed 100 with magnesium about 20 but even when I added more of both at different times it did not help. I'd be happy to see if you can figure it out


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi shamrock62081,

Very good; you have very good observation skills! Yes, the new growth of the Ludwigia is definitely 'hooking downward at the leaf tip" The older leaves of the Bacopa are indeed 'rolling' or 'curling' at the leaf margins (btw doesn't really matter if the curl is upward or downward - seems to be species related).

Depending upon the severity of the deficiency, and the species, plants may show one, two, or several of these characteristics:

The Ludwigia:


The Bacopa:


Now it appears you have both problems, is that possible? Certainly, some plants require more calcium than others and some plants require more magnesium than others. I grew up in St. Louis (Webster) and my wife's relatives still live in the area....what has happened the last few months that may have effected your water supply.....flooding! It is possible that all that snowmelt, and rain runoff has diluted the 'normal' amount of Ca and Mg in your water causing these issues. Tested your tap water lately?

Bet you can guess the next question, what course of action would you suggest?
This is very much helpful. Thank you! gH is 7 out of the tap right now, which is a big drop from 12gH back in March. Plan on upping Ca in the tank. It's possible with the bacopa that I've been overdosing on K (there's no test!!!!) which is limiting Mg uptake. Doubled down on gH booster and will see how things go.

Nice to me another (former) STL-er! I'm from about an hour outside of STL on the IL side of the river, but have been in the city for a while now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Willcooper View Post
Is that Ludwigia super red mini? If so, I have never seen anyone grow it with flat leaves including tropica, dennerl or any other. I went through all the different things such as adding calcium magnesium boron reduced trace fertilization. It grows fine for me in terms of speed but the leaves look terrible but the color is nice. My calcium levels exceed 100 with magnesium about 20 but even when I added more of both at different times it did not help. I'd be happy to see if you can figure it out
It's not super red mini that I am aware. I think I've just been starving it.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamrock62081 View Post
This is very much helpful. Thank you! gH is 7 out of the tap right now, which is a big drop from 12gH back in March. Plan on upping Ca in the tank. It's possible with the bacopa that I've been overdosing on K (there's no test!!!!) which is limiting Mg uptake. Doubled down on gH booster and will see how things go.
Hi shamrock62081,

My wife and I lived in Belleville for about a year then moved to Smithton (when it had a population of less than 800). I agree that increasing the GH Booster would be a good first step to resolving the problem, watch your new growth for the next couple of weeks and see if it improves. Let us know how it goes!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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@Seattle_Aquarist Something in the tank is definitely hungry for (what I assume to be) Ca. Starting gH of 8, dosed gH booster with test showing increase to 10gH. Two days later it's back to a gH of 8. Plants seem to be responding well from what I can tell thus far, but it's probably too early to tell. Contemplating whether I should buy a Ca test kit, determine tap Ca/Mg concentrations, and maybe just dose Ca (assuming I have high Mg content and low Ca).
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 04:14 PM
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Hi shamrock62081,

Before running out and purchasing a Ca test kit, let's give the plants a week or so to respond and see if we achieve positive results. Whenever I deal with a deficiency I try to allow the plants two weeks to respond and then determine if they look the same, better, or worse because of the change I implemented (I only do one change at a time). Taking a picture when I first notice the issue and one of the same plant two weeks later helps keep my memory from playing tricks on me.....lol.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 04:47 PM
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I live in Fenton and I've encountered this downward curling many times. I would also increase calcium, and also make sure you treat your water when you do water changes. St. Louis water has chloramines, and I've noticed I will get downward curling and leaf droop in ludwigias if I don't use Prime. I deliberately did this a couple weeks ago and sure enough, bad leaf droop and curling.

The local water report has different parameters depending whether water comes from the Missouri River or Meramec River. I'm pretty sure my water comes from Meramec, which has GH of 5.5 with nearly equal ppm of Ca and Mg. (Another Fenton aquarist had a lab analysis which confirmed this). My plants do better when I add about 1 degree of GH from CaSO4. I recently lowered my Ca in attempts to get Ammania Senegalensis growing again (it's presumed to prefer softer water), and I have more leaf curling than usual in Ludwigias. But, I'm also modifying my trace recipe and that could be affecting it as well, so I can't really be totally confident that it's all related to the lower Ca dosing. Some say the Ca/Mg ratio doesn't matter, as long as you have some, but in my experience having more Ca than Mg results in better looking plants and less risk of curled leaves and stunted tips.

I'm interested in trading notes and maybe plants, since you are located near me.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2017, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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@aclaar877 I checked the water report and in St Louis City the water comes from both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. I add Prime when doing water changes, so shouldn't have curling due to chloramines in the water. I have a python, so I just add the Prime directly to the tank before refilling. Definitely up for trading some plants in the future. Hoping some of my other stuff takes off soon and actually looks decent.

@Seattle_Aquarist Completed a WC this afternoon, but jury is still out on how new growth will look on the ludwigia. Did notice more pearling in the tank overall last night. I had only seen pearling on the anubias nana prior to that. Hopefully a good sign I'm on the right track with adding more gH booster.

Question: I've seen various suggestions on how much gH booster to add while doing some forum searching. The bag I have says 1/4tsp per 10 gal. I had previously been dosing per that guideline, but if what I've been seeing in Ca deficiency in tap water with high gH (assuming high Mg), that gH booster dosage obviously isn't enough.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2017, 11:59 PM
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Deficiency Opinions???

Quote:
Originally Posted by shamrock62081 View Post
@aclaar877 I checked the water report and in St Louis City the water comes from both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. I add Prime when doing water changes, so shouldn't have curling due to chloramines in the water. I have a python, so I just add the Prime directly to the tank before refilling. Definitely up for trading some plants in the future. Hoping some of my other stuff takes off soon and actually looks decent.



@Seattle_Aquarist Completed a WC this afternoon, but jury is still out on how new growth will look on the ludwigia. Did notice more pearling in the tank overall last night. I had only seen pearling on the anubias nana prior to that. Hopefully a good sign I'm on the right track with adding more gH booster.



Question: I've seen various suggestions on how much gH booster to add while doing some forum searching. The bag I have says 1/4tsp per 10 gal. I had previously been dosing per that guideline, but if what I've been seeing in Ca deficiency in tap water with high gH (assuming high Mg), that gH booster dosage obviously isn't enough.


To answer your last question. That is just a guideline but here is what I do to determine How much to add. First I got my water report to see what my ca and mg levels are with my 3 GH. I know I want to have at all times 5 GH in my tank which gives me the level of ca and mg I want to ensure I do not get deficiencies. So I then used zorfox calculator and it helps me figure out how much gh booster to add to get my level there. For example to add 2gh of nilocG gh booster to my 60 gallon I calculated I have 52 gallons of water so I then calculate for 52. That means I add 5 1/4 tsp to get my tank from 3 to 5 gh. Now keep in mind on water change day what your current gh is at and what you want it. So say you are at 5 gh and do a 50% wc and lets say it gets your gh down to 4. You then want to calculate to get it back to 5 so then you would just need to add 2 3/4 tsp to get it back to 5. I know it sounds complicated but it's really not.

EDIT. Tired and read post again. You want to get a detailed report of what your levels are. You may want to use part RO water and then add some ca to get it to the level you want. Typically they say 3:1 ca:mg. Somewhere around there is what I would shoot for. Just get ca separately and do just that.

Link to @Zorfox calculator which I use for all kinds of stuff. Very handy. http://www.zorfox.com/plantedtank/


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-03-2017, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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To answer your last question. That is just a guideline but here is what I do to determine How much to add. First I got my water report to see what my ca and mg levels are with my 3 GH. I know I want to have at all times 5 GH in my tank which gives me the level of ca and mg I want to ensure I do not get deficiencies. So I then used zorfox calculator and it helps me figure out how much gh booster to add to get my level there. For example to add 2gh of nilocG gh booster to my 60 gallon I calculated I have 52 gallons of water so I then calculate for 52. That means I add 5 1/4 tsp to get my tank from 3 to 5 gh. Now keep in mind on water change day what your current gh is at and what you want it. So say you are at 5 gh and do a 50% wc and lets say it gets your gh down to 4. You then want to calculate to get it back to 5 so then you would just need to add 2 3/4 tsp to get it back to 5. I know it sounds complicated but it's really not.

EDIT. Tired and read post again. You want to get a detailed report of what your levels are. You may want to use part RO water and then add some ca to get it to the level you want. Typically they say 3:1 ca:mg. Somewhere around there is what I would shoot for. Just get ca separately and do just that.

Link to @Zorfox calculator which I use for all kinds of stuff. Very handy. Zorfox's Planted Tank Calculator
Really don't want to venture into RO water territory. Hopefully a little more Ca in the water column will get me where I need to be. Water quality report here http://www.stlwater.com/ccr.pdf shows high total hardness, but specifically non-carbonate hardness CaCO3 in the water has a very wide range... I have a feeling @Seattle_Aquarist was thinking in the right direction re: flooding and its impact on Ca/Mg in the water vs. other times of year. The two could be at opposite ends of their yearly ranges for all I know. Will wait and see how the tank reacts to the additional gH before I determine next steps.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-10-2017, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Things seem greatly improved. Ludwigia really colored up though the leaves still seemed curled. Did a big trim today to help reset the playing field so that I could monitor new growth a little more easily. Hopefully on the right track. Will post some pics in a week of new growth for evaluation.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 07:37 PM
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how can one have a Deficiency when they are using EI? same goes for calcium, how can one have calcium with such a high Dgh, maybe in this case one can have low Mg but never a Ca Deficiency.

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