Ludwigia deficiency i can't identify - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Ludwigia deficiency i can't identify

I use Ludwigia as my indicator species since it has the fastest growth in my tank. I'm beginning to see the start of excess curling to the leaves, which I've taken to be Ca in the past, and just increased my Equilibrium dosing a bit. Here's what's odd though...
I've got a gh reading of 14 today. And I dosed a full tsp of Equilibrium two days ago. So how could I possibly be low on Ca? I've seen slight signs of Mg deficiency too, and I suspect based on something I read in a journal in here, it may have been due to excessive K dosing. Because this Mg deficiency started showing after I dosed way more Equilibrium than needed (2tsp) which results in a pretty high K level for my roughly 20 gallon tank.

Here are stats and a picture of the deficiency that just started today.

20 gallon tank.
Tap is excessively hard so I do 50% RO.
Result is about 14 degrees gH and 4 degrees kH.

Right now I dose 1tsp Equilibrium after water change, then I've been adding small doses (1/16tsp) through the week when this happens, and it seems to fix it, but I can't tell why, given my waters GH level.

I dose about 1/32 tsp of CSM+B three days a week.

I dose 1/32 KNO3 3 days a week.
I dose 1/32 KH2PO4 3 days a week.

That's it.
I know the KNO3 is especially low, but I'm a bit heavily stocked and my NO3 has been high from my feeding. I'm getting that in check, but I just did an API test for NO3 and got what looks like 30ppm. I'm aware that the API kit is bad at low values, but even if my tank only had 6ppm Nitrate, would that cause this curling I'm starting to see?
In the meantime I've dosed 1/32tsp more trace mix to see if that improves things by tomorrow morning.

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Last edited by Blacktetra; 05-06-2019 at 04:06 PM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:40 PM
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Hi @Blacktetra,

My first though was nitrates, and that may still be the case. However a nitrate deficiency does not typically cause the leaf puckering I see in the first photo. If it was a calcium deficiency I would expect to see leaf tips hooking sharply downward and although some leaf tips are turning down it doesn't look like a Ca deficiency. When you cut back on the Equilibrium to reduce the potassium (K) and calcium (Ca) did you take into account that you were also decreasing substantially the amount of magnesium (Mg) you were dosing?

Magnesium is the driver for photosynthesis, which produces the chlorophyll that gives plants their green color. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include: "Leaf margins may curl downward or upward with puckering effect." Question, was it 3-4 weeks ago that you cut back on the Equilibrium because I would guesstimate based upon the leaves that was when the deficiency started?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:51 PM
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I agree with @Seattle_Aquarist - GH tests for Ca and Mg combined, but offers no clue as to how much of each. If the problem started when you decreased the Equilibrium dosing, then likely there's the answer.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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I should clarify my history with this symptom. For about a month I tried dosing 1tsp Equilibrium only, and I'd add about 1/16th tsp as needed through the week if these symptoms occurred. I still know that offering more Equilibrium seems to help with the issue.

A week ago I just dosed two whole teaspoons to see if that would prevent my additional doses through the week. I didn't have any curling or "puckering" but my leaves had more visible veins. Which, again, I associate (incorrectly?) with Mg deficiency. It's barely visible in the photos on the older leaves.

What doesn't make sense to me, is how I could get a Mg deficiency only two days after adding 1tsp Equilibrium? I know the Mg isn't that high, but it seemed very fast to me. I've already entertained the notion of buying some Mg to skip the Equilibrium all together.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 11:44 PM
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Hi @Blacktetra,

First, 1 teaspoon of Equilibrium in a 20 gallon tank (16 gal. water volume) only puts about 1.99 ppm of Mg into the tank; the target level for Mg is 5.0 ppm.

If this was my tank this is what I would do:

1) 50% water change followed by 50% water change to re-set the tank; use the 50% RO / 50% tapwater as you have been with 1 teaspoon of Equilibrium

2) Add Epsom Salt (aka magnesium sulfate / MgSO4*7H2). It should cost about $1 per pound at your local drug store or grocery. Get the cheapest stuff on the shelf with no additives, scents, or perfumes. Do an initial dose of 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons. Thereafter, when you do your water change and add Seachem Equilibrium also add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom Salt per 10 gallons of new water added.

2) Start dosing again per the EI method, monitor your water parameters weekly before doing water changes. If the nitrates go above 40 ppm then cut back on the KNO3.

Do this for two weeks. Watch the new leaves as they emerge, are they greener, healthier, possibly larger? Don't watch the existing leaves, they will not change and my continue to decline. Watch the new leaves for improvement.

You indicated that you dosed a "Trace Mix", what are you using specifically? CSM+B? What is the pH of your tank?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Blacktetra,

First, 1 teaspoon of Equilibrium in a 20 gallon tank (16 gal. water volume) only puts about 1.99 ppm of Mg into the tank; the target level for Mg is 5.0 ppm.

If this was my tank this is what I would do:

1) 50% water change followed by 50% water change to re-set the tank; use the 50% RO / 50% tapwater as you have been with 1 teaspoon of Equilibrium

2) Add Epsom Salt (aka magnesium sulfate / MgSO4*7H2). It should cost about $1 per pound at your local drug store or grocery. Get the cheapest stuff on the shelf with no additives, scents, or perfumes. Do an initial dose of 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons. Thereafter, when you do your water change and add Seachem Equilibrium also add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom Salt per 10 gallons of new water added.

2) Start dosing again per the EI method, monitor your water parameters weekly before doing water changes. If the nitrates go above 40 ppm then cut back on the KNO3.

Do this for two weeks. Watch the new leaves as they emerge, are they greener, healthier, possibly larger? Don't watch the existing leaves, they will not change and my continue to decline. Watch the new leaves for improvement.

You indicated that you dosed a "Trace Mix", what are you using specifically? CSM+B? What is the pH of your tank?
Thank you.
The Epsom salt dosing may be the trick, as dosing Equilibrium alone for enough Mg will get to unreasonable K levels. Fairly quick.

CSM+B is what I use, as listed in the original post. I've already reduced KNO3 and I'm keeping an eye on it to determine what is a balanced dose as I go. Thank you for the recommendation.

As I consider I'm realizing my plants have been on a Mg limiting diet. Even floaters are healthy but small. I suspect increasing Mg will greatly improve things. Thank you for helping me clarify my thinking and a plan to respond.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:19 AM
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Agree with Roy^ on the general direction what to try. But also

You need to make a solution with csmb instead of dry dosing it. That way you're using a lot more csmb at one time, which increases your chances of getting everything in the right amount. Its an agriculture/hydroponic product, its not designed to dole out tiny fractions of a tsp in aquariums.

500 ml container, 5 ml dose, about 15 grams of csmb would give you approximately the same ppm dose you're adding now. Tad stronger probably, didnt know how many gallons you calculated for, you're currently in the .12-.14 range

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Final question: where is the best place to go for learning about deficiency symptoms? Dennis Wong's website indicates the typical Google image results may not be a good tool.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
Agree with Roy^ on the general direction what to try. But also

You need to make a solution with csmb instead of dry dosing it. That way you're using a lot more csmb at one time, which increases your chances of getting everything in the right amount. Its an agriculture/hydroponic product, its not designed to dole out tiny fractions of a tsp in aquariums.

500 ml container, 5 ml dose, about 15 grams of csmb would give you approximately the same ppm dose you're adding now. Tad stronger probably, didnt know how many gallons you calculated for, you're currently in the .12-.14 range

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I've got graduated plastic pipettes at the ready. I'll do that and adjust dosing as I see Fe deficiency, particularly now that Mg shouldn't be limiting things! Thank you Tom! (it's Tom right? After a couple years here I'm picking up a few names now and then.)

-Andrew

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:30 AM
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I've never saved any of the deficiency charts.
Have always spent the time to know and realize what's in my water.
Yes it takes some getting used to but one can sleep well knowing the water column contains what plants need.
Dosing can also be over done and more is not always better.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
I've got graduated plastic pipettes at the ready. I'll do that and adjust dosing as I see Fe deficiency, particularly now that Mg shouldn't be limiting things! Thank you Tom! (it's Tom right? After a couple years here I'm picking up a few names now and then.)

-Andrew
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:48 AM
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Hi @Blacktetra,

I may have missed it, what is the pH of your tank? I asked previously because CSM+B may not be the best source of iron if you have a pH higher than 6.8. I have to go to an aquarium club board meeting, I will check in tomorrow or maybe someone else can provide you with some guidance on iron if you have a neutral to alkaline pH situation.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
I've never saved any of the deficiency charts.
Have always spent the time to know and realize what's in my water.
Yes it takes some getting used to but one can sleep well knowing the water column contains what plants need.
Dosing can also be over done and more is not always better.
I fully agree. I've actually spent the last year or two trying to limit the various nutrients to learn to best identify them. I just figured it was worth asking. And overdosing is why I decided to look for an answer with this deficiency instead of dosing excess Equilibrium. I'd rather learn what the plants are saying and build good conditions with time and experience listening to their requests.

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My friends call me Joe but I'll answer to just about anything. <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
Thanks Joe! Nice to meet you. Been listening to your advice for a while. Same with everyone else I'm replying to in this post actually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Blacktetra,

I may have missed it, what is the pH of your tank? I asked previously because CSM+B may not be the best source of iron if you have a pH higher than 6.8. I have to go to an aquarium club board meeting, I will check in tomorrow or maybe someone else can provide you with some guidance on iron if you have a neutral to alkaline pH situation.
My apologies, I forgot. I'm unsure of what my pH is as the API tests are pretty subjective. I'll get a pH pen soon to help finish dialing in my CO2.
Either way off gassed tank read about 7.6 I think? Maybe 7.4?
With CO2 running it drops to 6.4 or maybe even close to 6.0. I'd be more specific, but again the API test is pretty hard to be certain with and it depends on when I do the test.

I'm aware my iron in the CSM+B is impacted by the pH. I believe my tank is now USUALLY below 7 pH most of the day.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 01:34 AM
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You are in good hands above, but thought I would add something.

Measuring 1/32 tsp and other small amounts of any fert is tricky. You could be dosing a lot more or less than intended. As Joe said, making a solution for micros is a good idea, and maybe for macros too. And you might consider a gram scale, so there is less room for error, especially with small amounts in a small tank.

And when posting your dosing, it's a good idea to begin thinking in terms of ppm rather than tsp. It's the universal language for most here. Unless someone takes the time to put your dosing into a calculator, they don't really know what those small tsp amounts add up to.

That will lead to thinking about ppm in the water column, which will benefit you in the long run.

To learn more get to know either the Rotalabutterfly or Zorfox calculators. If you need any help, just ask. It will be well worth you time.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing how things progress.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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You are in good hands above, but thought I would add something.

Measuring 1/32 tsp and other small amounts of any fert is tricky... you might consider a gram scale, so there is less room for error, especially with small amounts in a small tank.
And when posting your dosing begin thinking in terms of ppm rather than tsp.
To learn more get to know either the Rotalabutterfly or Zorfox calculators.
Good luck and I look forward to seeing how things progress.

Thanks @Greggz

I was posting from my phone, and as a result I was unable to properly edit my thoughts and be more concise, and couldn't easily whip out Rotalabutterfly.
In the last 6 months or so I've gotten more familiar with the calculator, and now with the addition of the MgSO4 (7H20) from the Epsom Salts (my wife already had them, she's a science teacher, I'm very blessed I know) I now have all my ppm in line with the minimums Dennis describes here:


https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7811/...d1d89cf8_b.jpg


The only exception is, as has been pointed out, my micro mix dosing is fairly erratic due to size.
I'll eventually get a solution mixed up. But with my relatively low lighting, and regular, large WC routine, I'm not too concerned. I tend to dose reactively, and on the lower end of things, not high EI. When tips turn yellow I drop in an extra bit of micro mix as needed, and I usually see things early enough (and things grow slowly enough in my tank) that there are no lasting visible signs things were ever low.


I've no doubt I'll get to a point where I'll be "rolling my own" micro mix and using the advanced spreadsheet to track nutrients like you all do, but with my lighting where it is, I'm pretty happy with things. (and I think I prefer not needing to prune things more than once every week or two.)
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