Supplementing Iron - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Supplementing Iron

I've been dosing EI for a couple months and most of my plants are doing okay. One in particular appears to have an iron deficiency, evident from the new growth turning a white-ish color. Should I purchase iron in powder form and add it to my micro mix, or is it okay to supplement with Flourish iron (I have a full bottle)?

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 10:09 PM
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Hi @mossman77,

Typically if there is an iron deficiency new leaves will emerge with lighter colored leaves with darker veins (interveinal chlorosis). If this is the case then Seachem Flourish Iron should resolve the issue. Dose per the instructions on the bottle to start. Then for the next couple of weeks watch the new leaves as they emerge (existing leaves will not necessarily improve). Do the new leaves appear greener with less different between the leaf veins and the interveinal areas? If so you are on the right path.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @mossman77,

Typically if there is an iron deficiency new leaves will emerge with lighter colored leaves with darker veins (interveinal chlorosis). If this is the case then Seachem Flourish Iron should resolve the issue. Dose per the instructions on the bottle to start. Then for the next couple of weeks watch the new leaves as they emerge (existing leaves will not necessarily improve). Do the new leaves appear greener with less different between the leaf veins and the interveinal areas? If so you are on the right path.

The plants with the new growth that is white are Mayaca Fluviatilis, so I can't see any veins.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 11:06 PM
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Hi @mossman77,

Try the iron for a couple of weeks and see if there is improvement. If not, then it is likely a different nutrient issue.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a picture of my tank taken this morning. The Ludwigia Super Red, Heteranthera Zosterifolia (Stargrass), and Dwarf Baby Tears look to be doing pretty well, but the Golden Jenny (right foreground) and Mayaca Fluviatilis aren't doing so great. Thoughts? Common issue with the Super Red and Golden Jenny is darkening of lower leaves. Star Grass is the only plant that isn't really showing any issues of deficiency. I'm glad, because I love Star Grass, but I would like for at least the Mayaca Fluviatilis and Super Red to be more healthy. Reminder I am dosing EI (and supplementing with Flourish Iron) and CO2 is turned up as high as I can without stressing the fish.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 05:27 AM
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Hi @mossman77,

I just downloaded and enlarged your most recent picture. Remember what I mentioned:
Quote:
Then for the next couple of weeks watch the new leaves as they emerge (existing leaves will not necessarily improve). Do the new leaves appear greener with less difference between the leaf veins and the interveinal areas? If so you are on the right path.
The new leaves on both the Ludwigia and Mayaca fluviatilis look much better (larger and healthier) than the older leaves indicating that the extra iron seems to be helping. When the stems grow long enough cut off the tops with the healthy leaves, throw out the old growth, and plant the tops.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 07:28 PM
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Slightly unrelated but what is your light or its par?

I have the same plants in the back right and some rotala that is supposed to be red but only the top leaves turn red. Everything else is green.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Slightly unrelated but what is your light or its par?

I have the same plants in the back right and some rotala that is supposed to be red but only the top leaves turn red. Everything else is green.

I'm using two Finnex Planted 24/7 lights, with one running in 24/7 mode and the other at full brightness from 11am to 5pm. Should be plenty of light. However, the Stargrass in front are really filling in and are blocking light to the lower part of the plants, so that could be why. LEDs aren't very good at spreading out light, so I feel like I'd have better luck with a fluorescent light.

BTW, supplementing with Flourish Iron is having a positive effect on the Mayaca Fluviatilis. The new growth is now a light green, not white. Once it is all depleted, I'll be buying some dry Fe and mixing it in with my IE dosage.

Apparently UV light degrades Fe-EDTA and Fe-DTPA, which would explain why I need to boost my Fe levels. Anyone have knowledge of this?

Also just read this:

"Iron ethylendiaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): Although Fe-EDTA has been the most commonly used chelating agent, it is a slightly toxic form of chelated iron to plants and may thus present challenges in aquaponic systems (Rakocy et al., 2006;Vadas et al., 2007;Ghasemi et al., 2014). It has the ability to form complexes with free metal cations (such as Zn, Cu, and Mn), thereby decreasing their avail- ability for plant uptake(Albano and Miller, 2001;Vadas et al., 2007). "

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Last edited by mossman77; 11-13-2019 at 10:04 PM. Reason: Added info.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 11:12 PM
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Ah ok, that would do it. My single current LED pro is putting out less than half of yours then.

No algae issues with that much light? Damn. I need to clean green dust alage off parts of my tank as is once or so a week.

I've had a hunch that the sweet spot on these are small.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 11:36 PM
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Apparently UV light degrades Fe-EDTA and Fe-DTPA, which would explain why I need to boost my Fe levels. Anyone have knowledge of this?
Yes: A level one sterilizer will rip the chelator from any of the metals we dose. I don't know if lower intensity UVS', such as are designed only for green water, are strong enough to do this or not. So, at least if using a level one sterilizer, you might as well use iron gluc since there is no longer term benefit as is normally provided with the likes of EDTA or DTPA.

If using gluc, such as Flourish Iron, you will benefit from higher doses than Seachem recommends, if you have a high tech setup. This can be measured, but only for the first half-hour or so after dosing (the iron is consumed that rapidly). I've tested a number of iron kits and found the Nutrafin to be best. So, add sufficient quantities of gluc so that your iron test can detect iron no longer than about 20 minutes after dosing.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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you might as well use iron gluc since there is no longer term benefit as is normally provided with the likes of EDTA or DTPA.
What about cost? Wouldn't it be more cost effective to buy the iron in salt form and mix it with my EI mixture?

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 10:44 PM
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What about cost? Wouldn't it be more cost effective to buy the iron in salt form and mix it with my EI mixture?
Yes, bulk form is more economical that branded form. Since, iron usage is so low, I just buy the Flourish Iron rather than bulk mixing with my other trace salts. I'd do the same with other traces if they were available as individual, non-chelated, liquid forms (and somewhat economical).
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update...since supplementing with iron, the plants are really taking off. They have literally doubled or tripled in size in a week's time. I may actually start cutting back on the ferts so I don't have to trim weekly. The Stargrass is really thriving and blocking light from getting to the Ludwigia Super Red, so they will be getting a major trimming this evening.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-20-2019, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mossman77 View Post
Just an update...since supplementing with iron, the plants are really taking off. They have literally doubled or tripled in size in a week's time. I may actually start cutting back on the ferts so I don't have to trim weekly. The Stargrass is really thriving and blocking light from getting to the Ludwigia Super Red, so they will be getting a major trimming this evening.
Hi @mossman77,

ROFL! Glad to hear that the plants responded to the additional iron! It is truly amazing how quickly plants can respond when they receive the nutrients they need. Since you seem to have found the answer instead of buying the Seachem Flourish Iron pick up some Ferrous Gluconate 12.46% from Nilocg.com and mix up your own.....much less expensive.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2019, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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My Golden Jenny plants (three stems) are very slow growing, and the leaves are a little yellow, with lower leaves getting covered in algae. Should I increase the iron even more? Should I be adding it every day, or only on my micro days? The bottle says 5ml per 50 gal, so I've been adding 1.5mL (slightly less than recommended) every other day with my micros.

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