Plant deficiency identification : Help please! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Plant deficiency identification : Help please!

Hello,

I'm having trouble even after lots of research online, to figure out what causes the problems I see with my plants. I assume it's a deficiency of some sort.
The new leaves grow transparent on the edges for the anubias, java fern, octopus. I also see transparency on a red plant, some leaves are curly as well.






I am kinda dosing EI although I lowered KNO3 a lot recently because my nitrates are going up too fast to my taste.
GH : ~10 dGH (but I donTt know if I got enough Ca and Mg in it)
KH : 6

It's a mature tank but I rescaped, added plants, pressurized CO2, Finnex Ray2 (10h/day) 1 month ago.

I hope this is a common issue easy to identify..
Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 08:52 PM
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What are the ppm you are dosing for Phosphate and potassium? And your co2 ppm? All these might cause those symptoms

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so you're thinking macro nutrients!
From memory, 1/2 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4, 1/8 tsp K2SO4 (3x per week, weekly water change)
For the CO2, I measure it with the dropchecker, I have it green, but maybe as the plants grew I should have added more because now it's a darker green. Should I aim for almost yellow?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:32 PM
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Hi Glade,

Along with the typical 'leaf tip hook' evident in the first picture; you also have the 'abnormally green leaf margins' noticeable in your 2nd and 3rd pictures; both are characteristics of a calcium (Ca) deficiency. In the first picture you have necrosis (dead tissue) between the veins of the leaves although the area of the veins still look viable, a characteristic of a magnesium (mg) deficiency. If it were me I would add 3 teaspoons (or one tablespoon) of Seachem Equilibrium per ten (1) gallons of water to your tank. It will increase the dGH by about two (2) degrees and add needed Ca, Mg, potassium (K) and iron (Fe). Then watch your new growth as it emerges and matures, have the issues been resolved or improved? If so then you know you are on the correct path. Leaves that are already showing deficiency will likely show little to no change. BTW, the last picture looks like it may be a new Microsporum (java fern) leaf, that appearance is normal for new growth. Keep us posted on your progress.

Typically on new leaves:
Quote:
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. Premature shedding of fruit and buds is common. Downward curl of leaf tips (hooking) occurs near terminal bud. ammonium or magnesium excess may induce a calcium deficiency in plants... calcium deficiency
Typically on older leaves:
Quote:
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.

Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 09-15-2017 at 10:41 PM. Reason: ..
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Glude View Post
Ok so you're thinking macro nutrients!
From memory, 1/2 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4, 1/8 tsp K2SO4 (3x per week, weekly water change)
For the CO2, I measure it with the dropchecker, I have it green, but maybe as the plants grew I should have added more because now it's a darker green. Should I aim for almost yellow?
for your macros, you'll have to tell us in ppm. As for you CO2, if your dropchecker is using 4dKH solution, then you're aiming for lime green at the very least (please do watch your fishes for any stress, back off the co2 if you do)
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Seattle_aquarist, thanks a lot for the detailed answer and the references. My own research led me to the same conclusion (Ca & Mg) although I wasn't sure because I didn't find resources as clear as the references you gave me. I was also suspecting Ca and Mg since those are the only nutrients I do not dose because I thought my tap water would already contain high enough levels, and it's already kinda hard water (10 dGH).
Do you think going to 12 dGH will be ok for the fish, shrimps and plants?
I have at my disposal equilibrium, MgSO4 and CaCl2. It's less maths for me to dose equilibrium, but if there is any drawback compared with the other 2, please let me know!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Glude View Post
Seattle_aquarist, thanks a lot for the detailed answer and the references. My own research led me to the same conclusion (Ca & Mg) although I wasn't sure because I didn't find resources as clear as the references you gave me. I was also suspecting Ca and Mg since those are the only nutrients I do not dose because I thought my tap water would already contain high enough levels, and it's already kinda hard water (10 dGH).
Do you think going to 12 dGH will be ok for the fish, shrimps and plants?
I have at my disposal equilibrium, MgSO4 and CaCl2. It's less maths for me to dose equilibrium, but if there is any drawback compared with the other 2, please let me know!
Hi Glade,

Your water may be 'hard', and it may contain Ca and Mg, but the nutrients may not be in a suitable form for the plants to uptake, As I said, try it for a few weeks and see how the new growth looks. BTW, if you do a water change, add 3 teaspoons of Equilibrium for each 10 gallons of new water added.

I have dosed Epsom Salt (MgSO4 + 7H2O) and I have dosed calcium chloride (CaCl2). Both are acceptable but can cause problems if not dosed in a proportion of about a 3:1 - 4:1 ratio of Ca:Mg. (Seachem Equilibrium is approximately 3.3:1). I mix my own GH Booster using CaSO4, MgSO4, and K2SO4 in approximately the same proportions as Seachem Equilibrium except with less potassium (K). The only times I use MgSO4 or CaCl2 is when it is obvious that I have only one deficiency.

By the way, CaCl2 creates an exothermic reaction (generates heat) when it comes in contact with water - never dose it directly into your tank if a fish were to eat it they may not survive. I fully dissolve CaCl2 in water before I add it to a tank.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, I did my 50% water change then added 80 grams of equilibrium. Now the water is all clouded but I see some nice pearling.
I think I just added a massive load of potassium so I wonder if I should even continue dosing potassium with my other dry ferts anymore..
I will post an update with pictures when I have new plant growth to show.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glude View Post
Alright, I did my 50% water change then added 80 grams of equilibrium. Now the water is all clouded but I see some nice pearling.
I think I just added a massive load of potassium so I wonder if I should even continue dosing potassium with my other dry ferts anymore..
I will post an update with pictures when I have new plant growth to show.
Potassium is something you can certainly be on the higher range. I personally kept a tank with a high concentration of potassium and it grew plants really well. The Mg and Ca level were elevated too in this case. I think it was 40 Mg, 80 Ca and 110 K (tested on a Hanna HI-83200). Tank TDS was around 650 ppm (coming from a 60 ppm tap). This was a tank that grew my best stems of Sygonanthus belem. 2 Inch crowns that were really healthy and a lot of side shoots.

I've seen good growth at 20,40 and 60 ppm. I personally aim at around 30-40 ppm but again this is with matching higher levels of Mg and Ca in my tank.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glude View Post
Alright, I did my 50% water change then added 80 grams of equilibrium. Now the water is all clouded but I see some nice pearling.
I think I just added a massive load of potassium so I wonder if I should even continue dosing potassium with my other dry ferts anymore..
I will post an update with pictures when I have new plant growth to show.
Hi Glade,

First, thank you for the pics!

PortalMasteryRy is correct, elevated levels of potassium (K) within reason will typically not cause problems with our plants. I would continue to dose potassium as you have in the past. Remember, we want to try to isolate the cause of the deficiencies - so we want to continue dosing, photoperiod, and water changes as they have been done in the past.

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