NO3 limitation doing more harm than good - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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NO3 limitation doing more harm than good

I’m trying to get the reds to really pop from my h’ra and pinna, but I think the rest of my plants are suffering. While the pinna, h’ra, and tripartita are flourishing—it appears that my downoi, dhg, and lancea are severely stunted. My downoi and lancea appear to be taking the biggest hits with decaying older growth. As much as I want red plants, I’d hate to see my plants (especially my downoi) continue down this current path. Thoughts?

Specs:
UNS 5N
Twinstar 360E
ZOOMED 501
CO2 (based on livestock response)
GH 6
pH 6.4-7.6
NO3 5ppm
K 25ppm
PO4 5ppm
CSM+B 0.5ppm
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:59 PM
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Hi @mattkimsuh,

That is the problem with limiting nutrients, it can cause unintended consequences with some of the other species. If you want to make your reds 'Pop' add more add more 'red' to your light spectrum, maybe something in the 5K spectrum range. The Twinstar 360E has a lot of 'blue' spectrum LED's that will tend to make the red colors look dull or washed out....if the fixture allows adjustments crank the red LED's up to 100% and back the 'blues' down and see if that improves the colors you are trying to achieve.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 10:00 PM
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I agree with @Seattle_Aquarist about playing with a razor-thin line of NO3 to achieve increased red. If you could be certain of establishing a "red line" with NO3 (and it can be done) then maybe some reds would pop, but I haven't seen convincing evidence for this. It would take a few months to find this NO3 red line, because you have other fertilizers that are affected by N uptake/availability and those would need to be optimized as you change your NO3 levels. It would take several months of balancing and re-balancing to stabilize at a low NO3 level, so be prepared to allow for this if you want to set a low NO3 target. Plants store nutrients in what is called "luxury uptake." This will mean that, if you are at zero on the NO3, your plants will still have reserves for awhile. You could run out of nutrients and may think things are going well until these reserves are depleted, then your plants start suffering and you start a whole new balancing effort. So keep testing to make sure you don't get zero readings. Speaking of testing, our kits have some slop in them and they aren't exactly accurate to start. It's hard to distinguish between 1 ppm and 5 ppm or more.

You don't have to buy a whole new lighting system. I've had good results with the inexpensive grow light led strips added on either side of my main light. These are the 3 or 4 red and 1 blue sequenced strips. They don't give much PAR (they do have high PUR), but it is enough to bring out the reds a little better. One of the pictures in my home link just happens to show the curve for this approach.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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@Seattle_Aquarist unfortunately the 360E doesn’t allow any dimming. I think that I’ll just have to supplement my light with more reds in order to get the colors that I want.
@Deanna I don’t think I have the patience to figure out what defines the NO3 “red line” haha. I don’t have the necessary equipment to accurately measure nutrient uptake in my tanks; the API freshwater test kit is the extent of my tool box. Is stronger lighting with greater reds the best method to achieving truely red plants?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattkimsuh View Post
@Seattle_Aquarist unfortunately the 360E doesn’t allow any dimming. I think that I’ll just have to supplement my light with more reds in order to get the colors that I want.
@Deanna I don’t think I have the patience to figure out what defines the NO3 “red line” haha. I don’t have the necessary equipment to accurately measure nutrient uptake in my tanks; the API freshwater test kit is the extent of my tool box. Is stronger lighting with greater reds the best method to achieving truely red plants?
What we're saying is that providing more red light will increase the red appearance. Although the extra light may add to growth, the idea is that you will see more red, with more red light shining on it. For example; if you shine a red light on a piece of white paper, the paper will reflect a reddish tone.

@Seattle_Aquarist thought that your light had the ability to change the intensity of the red and the blue. So, the idea was to reduce the blue intensity and increase the red intensity. If your light can't do that, after all, then adding more red light along the lines I suggested would help make things appear more red.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
What we're saying is that providing more red light will increase the red appearance. Although the extra light may add to growth, the idea is that you will see more red, with more red light shining on it. For example; if you shine a red light on a piece of white paper, the paper will reflect a reddish tone.

@Seattle_Aquarist thought that your light had the ability to change the intensity of the red and the blue. So, the idea was to reduce the blue intensity and increase the red intensity. If your light can't do that, after all, then adding more red light along the lines I suggested would help make things appear more red.
+1 Deanna's comment

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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@Deanna I understand that. Because my light does not allow for any easy modification I thought messing with the nutrient levels may be a little more manageable. However, my thirst for the red contrast is likely to convince me to supplement my current lighting with more red lights.
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