Do I have a deficiency or...? (Album inside) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2019, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Do I have a deficiency or...? (Album inside)

https://imgur.com/a/ylloekW

I cant tell if my red leaves are getting eaten by my amano or truly melting. They will disintegrate from normal looking to the pictures you see within one or two days.

I also have brown spots on the green plants with the paper towel background. Those were on the initial plants when I planted them so I cant tell if those are simply melting now after a month or I'm lacking something.

Lastly, it looks like the leaves on the plants on the far upper left are fading in color.

Also, please ignore that algae on the glass. I just increased my light intensity last week and it needs to rebalance. Unless I'm wrong and this helps explain what's going on with my plants...

Parameters today (and most days):
Co2- 50ppm
Nitrate - 30ppm
Phophate - 1.0ppm
Potassium - never measured but I dose with potassium nitrate and mono potassium phosphate so I'd think I'd have enough.
Iron - 0.7ppm!!
Gh - 8.5
Kh - 6.5
Calcium/magnesium - I've never measured these and am probably low in magnesium as I only JUST started adding it after realizing my rock are probably only adding calcium to get the gh so high.

My ONLY guesses as to what could be wrong is that my micros are too low or magnesium is too low. But I can't add more csm+b because my iron is way too high.

Anyone know what's going on here?

Last edited by Ddrizzle; 03-25-2019 at 02:27 AM. Reason: edit
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 12:50 AM
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Hi @Ddrizzle,

Are you doing weekly water changes?

I'm guessing you are dosing EI? What size tank? How much of each nutrient, how many times per week?

How do you suppose your iron got so high?

What is the pH of your tank?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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22 gallons, 6.4 ph when co2 is on. 60-70 par at base. Weekly and sometimes biweekly water changes adding to at least 50%.

I started with EI but quickly moved to testing nitrate and phosphate twice a day and adding fertilizer as needed to hit 20pppm and 1ppm. I did this because my phosphate was getting sucked up by my amazonia substrate. It seems to have subsided and the phosphate stays stable now after a few weeks of this.

I stopped adding csm+b for a month to let the tank go through some water changes because the iron used to be almost 1+ppm. I just started adding 1/32 tsp of csm+b this week to get the plants their micros, however the iron is still high. The iron was initially high because I was over dosing seachem's micro mix that had iron in it for a while. Not sure why it's still high after so many water changes.

Is there a buyable micro mix that does not contain iron?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 04:39 AM
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Hi @Ddrizzle,

OK, I think there may be a couple of things happenings. When you get an opportunity would you check your tap water for iron and report back please?

Here is something to consider, when you limit your KNO3 due to high nitrates, and when you limited the KH2PO4 due to phosphate issues, in both cases you also limited the K (potassium). Potassium may be part of the problem however it typically does not cause the puckering of the leaf margins.

Here is what I suggest:

1) Continue your weekly water changes
2) Continue dosing your nutrients as you are currently.
3) Measure the hardness (dGH) of your tap water. Purchase and add Seachem Equilibrium to your dosing schedule. Do an initial dose of one (1) teaspoon per 10 gallons. Then, when you do your weekly water change add one (1) teaspoon of Equilibrium per 10 gallons of new water added.

Adding the Seachem Equilibrium will add needed magnesium and potassium to your dosing along with some calcium, manganese, and iron. Do the above for two (2) weeks. During the two weeks watch the new leaves as they emerge. Do not watch the existing leaves, they will not improve and may continue to decline. Do the new leaves emerge straighter, healthier looking, possibly larger? You may also see the growth rate improve. As these new leaves mature are they staying healthy, no puckering of leaf margins or dead leaf areas (necrosis)? If so you have solved the problem. If the new leaves don't improve, or if they improve but are still showing slight symptoms get back with me and we will re-evaluate. Keep us posted with pictures and comments! Thank you Ddrizzle, -Roy

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to mention I use RO water. My Gh and Kh comes from my big rocks in the tank. From the Gh side, this makes me believe that it is mostly calcium, as someone told me the rocks usually just add calcium, not magnesium.

I have potassium sulfate and magnesium sulfate ready to go though. What I'm most curious about is how to get a micro mix without iron.

Last edited by Ddrizzle; 03-25-2019 at 05:49 AM. Reason: edit
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
Forgot to mention I use RO water. My Gh and Kh comes from my big rocks in the tank. From the Gh side, this makes me believe that it is mostly calcium, as someone told me the rocks usually just add calcium, not magnesium.

I have potassium sulfate and magnesium sulfate ready to go though. What I'm most curious about is how to get a micro mix without iron.
Hi @Ddrizzle,

That is why I suggested testing your tap water, I want to confirm you actually have 0.7 ppm of iron (Fe) in the tank. If the tap water also measures 0.7 then possibly the test kit is inaccurate.

RO water can be more of a challenge, possibly another TPT member that deals with RO water can speak up. If you have RO water then adding micro-nutrients is a necessity, but let's see if the tap (RO) water tests at 0 ppm as it should.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 05:57 PM
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I'm afraid you have bought into a few really detrimental myths about growing plants and it is the cause of some of your problems. I won't get into diagnosing your plant pictures I find the interpretations highly speculative and I lack the experience of some of the others to do so accurately.

1) The first thing is you cannot possible be sure how much CO2 you are adding to your tank, you can't control how much the rock dissolves(Calcium Carbonate) from CO2(Carbonic Acid). You have to get rid of those rocks or you are just running blind and won't ever have control over that part of your tank. Its possible you have a CO2 deficiency what is your degassed starting pH?

Running with fluctuating kH is difficult even for experienced Aquarists who know how to diagnose plant issues and dose, it definitely doesn't work well with EI.

2) Excess Iron toxicity or Phosphates are extremely rare and you can't have both because Iron Phosphate readily precipitates out of solution. Chances are pretty good you have neither in excess and should not have stopped dosing either. You are limiting N uptake from 1ppm(phosphate) you should be instead dosing a target concentration of 5ppm phosphate for 15 - 30 NO3. EI is about dosing more than your plants need and then doing 50% water changes weekly to reset levels. The excess ferts does not hurt your system and that is the primary ideology of the method and it works especially for heavily planted tanks ( you are not there yet but it still can work for you).

You shouldn't be dosing "Partial EI" everything should be balanced in proportion, CO2, light, Macros, Micros, Calcium, Magneisum. Its not a problem dosing Seachem equilibrium but chances are that won't solve all the issues.

Take a look at what some of the successful aquarists are dosing to give you an idea of what levels are working for them and try to apply that to your tank.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...ng-thread.html

If you want control over your tank I'd ditch the Carbonate containing rocks and remineralize your RO water to kh=2 - 3 and gH=3 - 5 you can read up on those values. Once you do that you can get a better ballpark for pH drop and CO2 levels and will create a more healthy nutrient balance for your system with less unknowns.

The other methodology if you don't want to do that work is what SA is suggesting is to up your Potassium, Calcium and Magensium, which may work, but you might be dealing with issues due to excess Calcium from your rocks, which leads to -Mg or -K type problems. Even so along with Equilibrium I would really up your Phosphates so you aren't dealing with a -NO3 uptake problem.
I also wouldn't stop dosing Micro although they are less important to balancing your system at this point. Target dosing of 0.75ppm Fe is prescribed in EI dosing so I don't know who told you that was a problem.

If you have Macros(NPK) and Micros in non limiting quantities your light and CO2 will be limiting instead of your fertilizer and that is most likely to provide more healthy plants.

Once you make a change look at the health of new growth, you can't fix old leaves in most cases. Once you see good new growth you may be best to top and replant your stems and remove all unhealthy leaves.

Addition: Amanos don't eat healthy leaves.
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Last edited by cl3537; 03-25-2019 at 06:40 PM. Reason: ...
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I had no idea that calcium from rocks was such a big deal. However, I know my co2 is fine because I have a permanent ph pen and a co2 color dropper in the tank. Starting ph was 7.1 and gets down to 6.4 with co2 going. Starting ph is now 7.4 as of this morning after dosing magnesium sulfate over the past few days.

My next step is to measure calcium and magnesium as best as I can because getting rid of the rocks at this stage is not an option. I'll have to save that for a rebuild.

I'll also start dosing csm+b again and up the phosphate. My phosphate was just getting to a point where my aquasoil wasnt observing it ASAP.

I may start filling out my potassium with potassium sulfate too jist in case.

From looking at pictures last night, it seems like my issue is a phosphate deficiency which just makes no sense to me, but with all of this said... maybe it does. Pic: https://imgur.com/a/Aw0cYTR
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post

My phosphate was just getting to a point where my aquasoil wasnt observing it ASAP.
If you are using the API phosphate kit and you weren't detecting any phosphate than you definitely need to add more.

Quote:

I may start filling out my potassium with potassium sulfate too just in case.
If you are adding KNO3 (~ NO3 20ppm) and KHPO4(~PO4 5ppm) you are already adding enough Potassium under normal conditions.
If you are adding those plus Seachem Equilibrium I wouldn't add anymore to start.

Quote:
From looking at pictures last night, it seems like my issue is a phosphate deficiency which just makes no sense to me, but with all of this said... maybe it does. Pic: https://imgur.com/a/Aw0cYTR
Phosphate deficiency looks like many other deficiencies and is the same appearance as Nitrate deficiency so too difficult to tell, but increasing it to 5ppm will eliminate that as an issue.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 07:39 PM
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I agree with cl3537 - more PO4, start dosing normal micros, and you need to properly remineralize your RO water. For cost effectiveness, CaSO4.2H2O and MgSO4.7H2O are great. For a good starting point, you'll want to add 3 ppm Ca for every 1 ppm Mg. Rotalabutterfly.com has a nifty calculator you can use. I currently add 30 ppm Ca and 12 ppm Mg for my tanks running RODI. I do this by determining how big of a change I'm going to do, then pre-mixing my weighed salts for that amount of water I intend to change into a 5 gallon bucket with RODI water(RO in your case) and I let it sit for roughly 24 hours (not always, sometimes I just give it a stir and dump it in, but this can cause problems) so that the salts fully dissolve. I then spread this among other 5 gallon buckets as I'm filling them with RODI water, right before adding them into my tanks. My way is not elegant...but it works. Haha.

We're asking you to change a lot at once, so you'll need to allow a few weeks to determine how these changes has affected your tank. Post back with any questions or concerns. Like SeattleAquarist said, look at new growth, not old.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 08:16 PM
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Hi All,

Possibly you missed this in the first post:
Quote:
I started with EI but quickly moved to testing nitrate and phosphate twice a day and adding fertilizer as needed to hit 20pppm and 1ppm. I did this because my phosphate was getting sucked up by my amazonia substrate. It seems to have subsided and the phosphate stays stable now after a few weeks of this.
I suspect that our OP is dosing less than the recommended amounts of KNO3 and KH2PO4 to attain the 30 ppm NO3 level and 1.0 ppm PO4 level. If so the likelihood of inadequate potassium, especially with RO water, is increased. I can say from personal experience, that in my tanks that have a healthy population of fauna that like to eat (such as rainbowfish) that when I reduced my KNO3 dosing I definitely had to increase my K2SO4 dosing to reduce potassium related symptoms.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the help guys. Looking back to when I first started this hobby, I had no idea the fertilizer balancing would be such a task. Definitely going to up the phosphate, start dosing csm+b again, add magnesium (and calcium depending on measurements).

The journey is what makes it worth it though.

Just reporting in that I raised my phosphate to 5ppm with about a 1/4 of the photoperiod left yesterday. This morning, it read near 0 again. I guess my substrate isn't done soaking up phosphate or those plants really kill it.

Also, my nitrate isn't dropping below 20-30 ppm without hefty water changes and I havent even been adding nitrate to the tank in the last few days. Therefore I'm supplementing some potassium sulfate to make sure the tank is getting enough potassium.

I've yet to measure calcium and magnesium. If anyone has a link to how to use the saltwater api test for freshwater that would help a lot. I think I have the magnesium calculation saved once you know gh and ca.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-26-2019 at 11:54 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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New report:

* Something is keeping my nitrates above 20ppm without needing to add more than about a 1/4 tsp of KNO3 per week. 20ppm is 4x the dosage suggested by rotala butterfly but I'm keeping that since other people say it works.
* Fuzz algae on the glass is slowly fading likely due to the next few points
* Phosphate has been kept at 5ppm. This is 4x the rate of dosing suggested by rotala butterfly
* Started dosing csm+b again. I still see some staghorn algae on the tips of the shorter, bushier, crinkly leave plants the day after I dose this though. Keeping this at 1x suggested rate by rotala butterfly
* Magnesium is now at an acceptable level. This was completely undosed up until two weeks ago, for months... Keeping this at 1x the suggested rate at rotala butterfly
* Calcium and hardness will continue to be high due to my rocks. Just something I'll need to measure more than others as I add sulfate (from potasssium sulfate) and magnesium
* Potassium.... Oh potassium. I realize I was way off on this dosage after not having to add KNO3 very much (see point one). I now have a dosage to add when I do not add KNO3 for whatever reason. Dosage is 1/4 tsp, keeping in line with nitrate and phosphate at 4x (16ppm~ + 4ppm from KH2PO4 = 20ppm) the recommended rotala butterfly dosage. Hoping sulfate doesn't become an issue as the rocks are already making things... hard

Newer old leaves are yellow/holy/dying on a few plants. New growth looks OK for now.

BTW this was all caused from increasing my PAR from 40 to around 60-70 at the bottom. It hit some kind of craziness threshold and blew up my issue because of that.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 02:26 AM
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BTW this was all caused from increasing my PAR from 40 to around 60-70 at the bottom. It hit some kind of craziness threshold and blew up my issue because of that.
Yep, been there myself, used to dose practically nothing and had no probles at 30/40 par but up it to 60 and all sorts of issues with faster growth.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting. Glad to hear it's a thing. Sounds like 60 or so par is where "high light" may start.
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