Deficiencies with Thrive - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Question Deficiencies with Thrive

I've got a tank that's around 6 months old and I've been seeing some deficiencies in the past month or so.

Parameters:

Size - 21 gallons
pH 7.6 (down to 6.25 with CO2 injection)
KH - 2.125
GH - 8-10 usually
CO2 - 35-40ppm at lights on (drop checkers yellowish green about 1.5-2hr after that)
Lighting - Beamswork DA FSPEC about 18" off above substrate
Substrate - controsoil
Root tabs - yes, spread around the tank

Currently dosing 15ml of Thrive throughout the week, a bit of front-loading after 50% water changes.
Sunday - 4.5ml + GH Booster to 8-10ļ GH
Monday - 1.5ml
Tuesday - 3ml
Wednesday - 1.5ml
Thursday - 3ml
Friday - 1.5ml


Here are the weekly ppm's according to RotalaButterfly

NO3 25.0001
Po4 4.6428
K 17.8571
N 5.6608
P 1.5096
Fe 0.8869
Mg 1.1699
Cu 0.017
B 0.434
Co 0.0004
Mn 0.1132
Mo 0.0034
Zn 0.0302


Here's what I'm seeing:
- Extreme stunting and twisted new growth in new growth of Rotala green and Rotala H'ra

- Stunting in AR Mini, twisted new growth on some plants

- Yellow margins on Lobelia cardinalis mini

- Twisted new growth on Ludwigia super red mini


Most other plants appear fine and there is pearling constantly for the last half of the photoperiod. I will dial the light back shortly as I've had some staghorn appear on Cyperus helferi and some DHG Belem in a very high flow area.


What I think it might be after reading a lot of threads here and elsewhere:
- Calcium:magnesium ratios are off? Might be causing twisting of leaves. I will order some CaSO4 shortly, but I do add GH booster weekly after water changes. I already have some MgSO4 I can add.
- Potassium?
- Toxicity?

Once I get this figured out and I finish my bottle of Thrive, I plan to switch to DIY EI solutions using the dry macros and micros I got from NilocG and Burr740.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 12:30 AM
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what brand GH booster are you using? Most brands will have calcium and magnesium with additional potassium. Some are sulfur based while others are chloride based. Until we know this I cannot recommend adding more calcium sulfate or Magnesium sulfate. Are you using tap water or RO water. For tap water provide the parameters (PH, KH, GH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) for the tap before it is added to the aquarium? Also if you are using tap water do you have a link to your utility water quality report?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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NilocG GH booster. I think he just calls it GH booster. I would eventually like to switch to a custom mix of Gypsum and epsom salts to avoid the extra potassium. Any potassium would be added through macro mix.

Tap water treated with Seachem Prime for water changes - I live in a chloraminated water district. Here's the report (page 9).

Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate ppm from water quality report.
0.47/0.006/0.05

Ca 4.59ppm
Mg 0.902ppm

pH 8.4 - Water management treats to reach pH of 9.3 to reduce reactivity with old pipes. It's supposed to be a minimum of 9.1 out of the tap, but I get around 8.4-8.6 usually.

KH 2.125
GH 1.5
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 08:17 PM
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My plants sometimes do what your plants do until I dose some Epsom salts. I need to test CA/MG in my tap water. With kh and gh at 7 from the tap i shouldnt see twisting etc like a calcium deficiency....but i do sometimes. Watching to see where this goes.

My tank journal.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 08:19 PM
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Following... I have the exact same issues.

"No Ice? Just Freeze Some Water"

My 30g (25g after learning how a tape measure works) Journal:
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
NilocG GH booster.
Thats a good GH booster. Most of your green plants are showing no obviouse symptoms of calcium or magnesium deficiency.

Quote:
Parameters:

Size - 21 gallons
pH 7.6 (down to 6.25 with CO2 injection)
KH - 2.125
GH - 8-10 usually
CO2 - 35-40ppm at lights on (drop checkers yellowish green about 1.5-2hr after that)
Quote:
Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate ppm from water quality report.
0.47/0.006/0.05

Ca 4.59ppm
Mg 0.902ppm

pH 8.4 - Water management treats to reach pH of 9.3 to reduce reactivity with old pipes. It's supposed to be a minimum of 9.1 out of the tap, but I get around 8.4-8.6 usually.

KH 2.125
GH 1.5
You have very soft water. So you have to use a GH booster. Most of your green plants are showing no obviouse symptoms of calcium or magnesium deficiency. The red plants may be wrinkeled or twisted by something else.

After you do a water change. How long does it take for the water PH to reach 7.6 without CO2. Also how often do you do a water change and how much water?

The reason I ask this is that the iron used in Thrive is DTPA Iron breaks down at high PH and once it does it is no longer available to plants. If you PH stays above 8 for an extended period of time most of the iron you add may not be available to your plants. Lack of iron might explain what is happening.

If so there are two types of iron that can be tried to address this. Iron gluconate (Seachem Iron) this is not PH sensitive but the gluconate is rapidly consumed by plants or bacteria. So you may have to dose it every other day or so. The other option is iron EDDHA. This is stable to about a PH of 12 and you wouldn't have to dose it as frequently as gluconate. I have not used it But I have heard that it can give the water a reddish tint. it also costs a little more than other types of iron. You can find both of these iron fertilizers on Amason.com.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 01:44 AM
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Leaf curling, particularly in new growth, is often caused by CO2 deficiency given the level of light. Calcium deficiency is rare and often misdiagnosed. DCís are not the best way to measure CO2, e.g.; if they are placed too high, they read the best concentration area of the tank. Try placing it in the weakest flow area of the tank. PH readings are HIGHLY dependent upon test methods. Are you testing with a good meter or just the reagent kits? Not sure how you can be so precise on the KH reading (2.125?), but I take 25 ml of water and, using APIís reagent, add drops until it turns green, then divide the number of drops by 5 to get increased accuracy. Being off just a little in pH or KH, or both, can throw CO2 estimates out the window.

Iíd do two things:

1) Make sure that your circulation is good enough to see some movement in all plants from base to tip.

2) Provide good rippling of the waterís surface, then gradually increase CO2 until fish show signs of distress. Then back down and try again the next day. Keep doing this until you reach a level where your fish comfort is consistent.

Follow @Surfís suggestions to deal with the yellowing. I use iron gluconate and see no evidence of red tinted water at .9 ppm total for the week. I have also been up in the 2.5 ppm area with no red tint.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post

After you do a water change. How long does it take for the water PH to reach 7.6 without CO2. Also how often do you do a water change and how much water?

The reason I ask this is that the iron used in Thrive is DTPA Iron breaks down at high PH and once it does it is no longer available to plants. If you PH stays above 8 for an extended period of time most of the iron you add may not be available to your plants. Lack of iron might explain what is happening.

If so there are two types of iron that can be tried to address this. Iron gluconate (Seachem Iron) this is not PH sensitive but the gluconate is rapidly consumed by plants or bacteria. So you may have to dose it every other day or so. The other option is iron EDDHA. This is stable to about a PH of 12 and you wouldn't have to dose it as frequently as gluconate. I have not used it But I have heard that it can give the water a reddish tint. it also costs a little more than other types of iron. You can find both of these iron fertilizers on Amason.com.
You might be onto something with pH and chelation of Iron. Next time I do a water change I'll monitor before and after pH to see how long it takes to drop. The end goal is to move toward DIY macro and micro solutions so if my pH drops down to normal levels 1 day after the weekly 50% water change, I'll dose my micros then. Schedule could be something similar to:

Su: Frontload 15/3/15 NPK
M: Micros
Tu: 5/1/5 macros
W: Micros
Th: 5/1/5 macros
F: Micros
Sa: rest day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna
Leaf curling, particularly in new growth, is often caused by CO2 deficiency given the level of light. Calcium deficiency is rare and often misdiagnosed. DCís are not the best way to measure CO2, e.g.; if they are placed too high, they read the best concentration area of the tank. Try placing it in the weakest flow area of the tank. PH readings are HIGHLY dependent upon test methods. Are you testing with a good meter or just the reagent kits? Not sure how you can be so precise on the KH reading (2.125?), but I take 25 ml of water and, using APIís reagent, add drops until it turns green, then divide the number of drops by 5 to get increased accuracy. Being off just a little in pH or KH, or both, can throw CO2 estimates out the window.

Iíd do two things:

1) Make sure that your circulation is good enough to see some movement in all plants from base to tip.

2) Provide good rippling of the waterís surface, then gradually increase CO2 until fish show signs of distress. Then back down and try again the next day. Keep doing this until you reach a level where your fish comfort is consistent.

Follow @Surfís suggestions to deal with the yellowing. I use iron gluconate and see no evidence of red tinted water at .9 ppm total for the week. I have also been up in the 2.5 ppm area with no red tint.
When I was tuning my CO2 injection, pH was tested with a calibrated benchtop Hanna I borrowed from my lab. I trust its accuracy and I haven't changed the metering valve since then. A pocket pH meter I have at home was surprisingly close to the Hanna after calibration. I don't really use the API kit except for quick checks.

KH was measured in a way similar to how you do it -- I used the API kit with 40ml of tank water vs the 5ml suggested by the kit. Color changed between 17 and 18 drops, so I estimate KH of around 2.125-2.25. I could probably get extremely accurate results if I do a proper titration in the lab...but I think I'm close enough and I would likely run out of the test solution.

Circulation is good, I don't see any dead spots and some of the affected Ludwigia, Rotala, and Lobelia are in the highest flow areas of the tank.

I've read too many threads where the deficiency was CO2 so I wanted to make sure I could rule that out, hence my use of the Hanna meter and using 8x the water volume for the KH titration. I have a lot of rippling of the water surface -- a jet lily pipe makes it look like a fan is blowing the surface. I figure I can push CO2 levels to 40ppm or more as long as enough oxygen is dissolving in the water column. My surface skimmer also should help to increase oxygenation so I don't think my livestock will suffer if I push it a bit higher.

I'm definitely open to messing around with different forms of Iron, especially EDDHA as it's the most stable. I was hesitant to try it due to concern over wine-colored water though.

Thanks everyone so far for all the suggestions! It's giving me a lot to think about.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ranitomeya View Post
When I was tuning my CO2 injection, pH was tested with a calibrated benchtop Hanna I borrowed from my lab. I trust its accuracy and I haven't changed the metering valve since then. A pocket pH meter I have at home was surprisingly close to the Hanna after calibration. I don't really use the API kit except for quick checks.

KH was measured in a way similar to how you do it -- I used the API kit with 40ml of tank water vs the 5ml suggested by the kit. Color changed between 17 and 18 drops, so I estimate KH of around 2.125-2.25. I could probably get extremely accurate results if I do a proper titration in the lab...but I think I'm close enough and I would likely run out of the test solution.

Circulation is good, I don't see any dead spots and some of the affected Ludwigia, Rotala, and Lobelia are in the highest flow areas of the tank.

I've read too many threads where the deficiency was CO2 so I wanted to make sure I could rule that out, hence my use of the Hanna meter and using 8x the water volume for the KH titration. I have a lot of rippling of the water surface -- a jet lily pipe makes it look like a fan is blowing the surface. I figure I can push CO2 levels to 40ppm or more as long as enough oxygen is dissolving in the water column. My surface skimmer also should help to increase oxygenation so I don't think my livestock will suffer if I push it a bit higher.
That’s all good. We so often see CO2 assumptions based upon flawed testing, but you’ve gone the extra mile and your description of circulation seems good as well. As you said, might still be worth trying to push CO2 higher to see if it helps on the curling.

Another thought on pH: while you may be testing well, it may be that the pH drop is not entirely attributable to CO2. I’m not familiar with Contrasoil, but some substrates buffer pH down into the 6’s. So, if you can determine if this is the case, pushing the CO2 higher might be productive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranitomeya View Post
I'm definitely open to messing around with different forms of Iron, especially EDDHA as it's the most stable. I was hesitant to try it due to concern over wine-colored water though.
I didn’t see the EDDHA suggestion and was focused on the gluconate. I have tried EDDHA and it did turn my tank water slightly reddish, but don’t recall dosing levels.

You may also want to consider the possibility of simply too much ‘stuff’ in your tank. I have recently come to the conclusion that loading a tank to ensure non-limiting levels of nutrients does not work as well, in my tank, as trying to balance nutrients at low, but non-limiting, levels. Others, here on TPT, push nutrients very high and see negative results if they try to pull back on their levels. So many variables involved that it is hard to tell what balance of things will work in any individual tank. All-in-all, I am in the camp that believes that there is an inter-relationship among most nutrients, but there is a tolerance range within these ratios, e.g.; push micros high and you may need more macros and then there is a ratio balance just within the macro and micro world.

In your case, it seems like you are adding a lot of stuff: Contrasoil may be adding/storing nutrients, root tabs (which aren’t necessary) are adding, plus you are dosing to the water column. I’d start by determining if the Contrasoil, alone, is supplying enough of some of what you are adding.

Since you seem to have a good grasp on the basics, and then some, you might want to cruise through this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...ix-thread.html

It is, more or less, based upon high micro levels, but it also contains a great deal of discussion on nutrient balancing as well as levels. Some approaches may work for you. As I said; personally, I have moved to lower levels of micros and approach my macros by attempting to balance the ionic mix. In my tank, this has caused a pop in colors and reduced GDA and BBA.

Afterthought: what is your TDS?

Last edited by Deanna; 11-29-2018 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Add
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 04:07 PM
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I'm definitely open to messing around with different forms of Iron, especially EDDHA as it's the most stable. I was hesitant to try it due to concern over wine-colored water though.
You are currently dosing 0.88 Fe which is a lot. If I am right about the PH affecting iron most of what you dose is not available. If you try EDDHA a dose of 0.2 might be enough to elliminate the problem. At that dose I would be very surprised if you would see any color change. But since I have never used EDDHA I could be wrong about the color.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Iím not familiar with Contrasoil, but some substrates buffer pH down into the 6ís. So, if you can determine if this is the case, pushing the CO2 higher might be productive.



I didnít see the EDDHA suggestion and was focused on the gluconate. I have tried EDDHA and it did turn my tank water slightly reddish, but donít recall dosing levels.

You may also want to consider the possibility of simply too much Ďstuffí in your tank. I have recently come to the conclusion that loading a tank to ensure non-limiting levels of nutrients does not work as well, in my tank, as trying to balance nutrients at low, but non-limiting, levels. Others, here on TPT, push nutrients very high and see negative results if they try to pull back on their levels. So many variables involved that it is hard to tell what balance of things will work in any individual tank. All-in-all, I am in the camp that believes that there is an inter-relationship among most nutrients, but there is a tolerance range within these ratios, e.g.; push micros high and you may need more macros and then there is a ratio balance just within the macro and micro world.

In your case, it seems like you are adding a lot of stuff: Contrasoil may be adding/storing nutrients, root tabs (which arenít necessary) are adding, plus you are dosing to the water column. Iíd start by determining if the Contrasoil, alone, is supplying enough of some of what you are adding.

Since you seem to have a good grasp on the basics, and then some, you might want to cruise through this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...ix-thread.html

It is, more or less, based upon high micro levels, but it also contains a great deal of discussion on nutrient balancing as well as levels. Some approaches may work for you. As I said; personally, I have moved to lower levels of micros and approach my macros by attempting to balance the ionic mix. In my tank, this has caused a pop in colors and reduced GDA and BBA.

Afterthought: what is your TDS?
I'll bump CO2 a bit tonight and see how the livestock handle it. Controsoil does reduce pH IIRC. TDS is 120ppm from tap, 450ppm in tank right now. I think I've read about half of that Micros thread. It's what inspired me to move away from pre-made ferts toward DIY macros and micros. Hopefully, I'll get this figured out and then I can slowly tune them down just until I start to see deficiency. Like you, I would like to minimize the stuff I dose in the water column. Does Fe Gluconate efficacy suffer at higher pH like EDTA and DTPA? I might have to try some.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post
You are currently dosing 0.88 Fe which is a lot. If I am right about the PH affecting iron most of what you dose is not available. If you try EDDHA a dose of 0.2 might be enough to elliminate the problem. At that dose I would be very surprised if you would see any color change. But since I have never used EDDHA I could be wrong about the color.
My pH before CO2 starts is around 7.6. According to this, DTPA is only ~60% stable/available. I might be ordering some EDDHA to compensate for any iron degradation that occurs during the nights, or some Fe gluconate if that would work better. Previously I had considered setting up an auto-dosing system for ferts using peristaltic pumps. If my high pH is killing all my Fe, perhaps it would be best to do daily small doses of micros just before lights on, when my CO2 is at ~30ppm and pH is at 6.2.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ranitomeya View Post
I'll bump CO2 a bit tonight and see how the livestock handle it. Controsoil does reduce pH IIRC. TDS is 120ppm from tap, 450ppm in tank right now. I think I've read about half of that Micros thread. It's what inspired me to move away from pre-made ferts toward DIY macros and micros. Hopefully, I'll get this figured out and then I can slowly tune them down just until I start to see deficiency. Like you, I would like to minimize the stuff I dose in the water column. Does Fe Gluconate efficacy suffer at higher pH like EDTA and DTPA? I might have to try some.
450 TDS is a good sign that there is too much being added. We generally like to see TDS <200. Mine runs in the 80-100 area, but I start with RODI water at zero TDS. Fish appreciate it in the 100-200 area as well. Likely, most of your TDS is coming from the Ca and Mg in your GH and potassium from the GH Booster, but the other nutrients will contribute, significantly, as well. Again, I'd look at how much your substrate is able to contribute and adjust from there.

Iron gluconate can be used in any pH. It is a very weak chelator and is made free for plant consumption almost immediately, which is why it is dosed every other day or daily. I dose it twice per day with my 2x/day micros, but I use a cheap doser so that I don't have to attend to it other than refilling the bottle every three weeks.
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