EI + demanding plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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EI + demanding plants

Is it possible that EI dosing doesn't cut it for certain plants? I have some rotala nanjenshan and macranda (Japan) that's been in my tank for at least a few months that were doing decently enough (or so I thought) and then suddenly started stunting and turning for the worst. My fault for not realizing how demanding they could be, or maybe just in my tank.

I feel like I'm regular enough with dosing and weekly water changes (tho I don't always remove 50%) but it didn't seem to be enough. I use nilocg EI.

I remembered that I had some seachem root tabs from a while ago and stuck one under the sad plants. It's been about a week and I'm already noticing a huge turnaround in the plants. Where the macandra was hanging on for dear life, it is now reaching for the lights and sprouting new shoots. Even is becoming red for once. Nanjenshan is finally getting out of its stunting and growing bushy again.

I finally found a small note somewhere online describing that nanjenshan suffers from nutrient deficiency when it stunts and blackens. Which makes me think that maybe EI isn't enough for those two plants.

10g
Light: Planted+
Ph: 6.8
Gh: 9
Kh: 7 (I think, checker is always yellowish)
Ammonia/nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 40ish+
Phosphate: 2-3 (I know this is high, still working on it)
Various other plants that don't have the same problems




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Last edited by guvmarley; 08-24-2017 at 06:31 PM. Reason: forgot my light
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 06:21 PM
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Well the whole idea behind EI is your dosing in excess so nothing runs out. What are you dosing for micros/trace? Most root tabs are mainly micro/trace.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
Well the whole idea behind EI is your dosing in excess so nothing runs out. What are you dosing for micros/trace? Most root tabs are mainly micro/trace.
Dosing same (nilocg) micro as macro, and same dosage amounts based on the recommendation on the label. So I know that some micros are getting in there. Or possibly they have a shelf life that doesn't apply to the macros. It does take me a while to get through those both of the ferts on a 10g.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 07:09 PM
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Most fertilizers including Nilog and most other EI brands don't have Calcium, Chlorine, Nickel, and Cobalt. Some don't even have sulfur. All of these nutrients are required for plant growth. Most tap water has enough calcium and chlorides (Chlorine salts). But with CO2 and bright light growth rate may exceed the amount of nutrients a 50% water change can supply. Calcium and sulfur are the most likely ones to deficiency symptoms. Nickel and cobalt are only needed in about 0.001 ppm level which tap water may may be able to supply.

try adding Cacium sulfate to your tank. Only enough to increase the hardness 2 degrees.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 07:37 PM
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i think your best course of action here is to take pics so people can better diagnose your specific deficiencies/toxicity issues vs just making blind assumptions on what you should or should not dose more of.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Surf View Post
Most fertilizers including Nilog and most other EI brands don't have Calcium, Chlorine, Nickel, and Cobalt. Some don't even have sulfur. All of these nutrients are required for plant growth. Most tap water has enough calcium and chlorides (Chlorine salts). But with CO2 and bright light growth rate may exceed the amount of nutrients a 50% water change can supply. Calcium and sulfur are the most likely ones to deficiency symptoms. Nickel and cobalt are only needed in about 0.001 ppm level which tap water may may be able to supply.

try adding Cacium sulfate to your tank. Only enough to increase the hardness 2 degrees.
I assume this means that not all plants need the same quantities of these traces. For some reason my two rotalas might (maybe the calcium or sulfur like you say), but monte carlo and others in my tank seem like they don't need them as much. I'll try to post some pictures when I get home today.

Random other observations:

We dose to the water column with EI but I wonder, perhaps, if some plants prefer some nutrients through the roots instead. Or can deal with them easier. Could explain my deficiency. I've already looked at deficiency charts, convinced it's not a macro problem. And micros, not sure but I would imagine that the liquid fert solution has that covered.

And also, if EI is intended to create an abundance of nutrients, then I'm not sure why I would be running out of micros if I'm dosing the correct amount, even if the rotalas are heavy micro feeders.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-25-2017 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 08:48 PM
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Pic as mentioned would be helpful, but how strong is your light. If your light is strong, co2 strong and good plant mass you might need to go a little higher on co2 and ferts. EI is meant so nothing falls short but it is estimative, every tank is somewhat differrent.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 08:51 PM
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Some plants are heavy root feeders, so liquid ferts dosed in the water column will not give these plants what they need. That's where the root tabs come in.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 09:01 PM
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I remembered that I had some seachem root tabs from a while ago and stuck one under the sad plants. It's been about a week and I'm already noticing a huge turnaround in the plants. Where the macandra was hanging on for dear life, it is now reaching for the lights and sprouting new shoots. Even is becoming red for once. Nanjenshan is finally getting out of its stunting and growing bushy again.
sorry I couldn't respond that that line in your post earlier. However after looking at the Seachem web site you shouldn't need to try adding any Calcium sulfate.

Seachem root tabs contain Calcium, sulfur, chlorine, and cobalt which are nutrients that are missing from the Nilocg. I would expect continued rapid growth while the plants use up some of the excess Nilocg nutrients that the plants couldn't use earlier. However as nutrient levels start to stabilize plant growth should slow down somewhat but still at a rate faster than they were before adding the root tabs.

Phosphate levels should now come down now without any extra water changes. I don't know how much phosphate is in Nilocg but I wouldn't be surprised to see the phosphate level stabilize at 1 ppm. Nitrate should also drop some. I generally try to keep it below 20 ppm due to some information I have seen that above 20 ppm it could have adverse effects on fish. But some people naturally have water with high nitrate.

Quote:
I assume this means that not all plants need the same quantities of these traces.
I assume the the same thing. But I have found no studies regarding this using common aquarium plants. However I do know that algae can continue to grow when most plant cannot get enough nutrients in the water due to a nutrient deficiency. So algae appears to do very well with very low nutrient levels while most plants would struggle.

Some plants probably get most of their nutrients through the roots, Others mostly through the water column. Others are probably a mix of both. Again little information available on this.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Well that's really interesting. I didn't realize those micros weren't in nilocg. Maybe most aquariums have no need. I pulled up seachems details on their tabs after you said that, Surf, and equilibrium to compare too. I was using equilibrium but never noticed a difference in plants. However the tabs have much more calcium.

I'm going to keep an eye on nitrate, phosphate, and calcium to see what those two rotala need.

Photo from before tabs:


Photo from today:




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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 02:39 AM
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@Surf what kind of tank are you running? i.e. hi-tech, low-tech
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 03:34 AM
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your plants are generally not looking healthy and are showing deformed, stunted, and/or abnormal older growth.

new growth on your rotala looks a lot better. i would consider trimming the healthy tops off eventually and replanting.

if you are not running CO2 some of the 'harder' species of rotala are not gonna fare so well no matter what IMO. I've never had much luck with them personally.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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Agreed. Going to trim the tops and re-plant them at my next water change. Definitely running co2 and have been for a while consistently, so I know that's not the issue. It's got to be traces.

I have another tank with similar parameters that has one of the rotala in it as well. I'm not going to add root tabs there but might try dosing a little extra calcium to see if that's what the deficiency was.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 09:50 PM
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think you're on the right track. traces could be an issue or an imbalance between macros.


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