Best way to get calcium? - The Planted Tank Forum
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Best way to get calcium?

I apparently have had low calcium for a while but it hasn't been bad enough that my plants were being noticeably affected in my low tech tanks. But now I have a high tech tank with high light and I am getting quite a bit of leaf curl.

My KH is 3(possibly slightly under 3 given how quickly the tube changed color) and my GH is 5 right out of the tap.

I am wondering if I should just start dosing seachem equilibrium or if there is something better I should be doing?

Thanks folks for any advice.


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Old 02-10-2020, 10:01 PM
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I would guess the easiest way would be to add an appropriate amount of CaSO4. https://www.nilocg.com/shop/calcium-sulfate-caso4-1lb/


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Old 02-10-2020, 10:41 PM
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It could be as easy as a water change.



I tried to go without changing the water for a while, checking levels as I went along. I wanted to test the theory I had about using the minimum amount of fertilization. I wasn't however checking for calcium and started seeing signs like you are. Down here we have some pretty hard water, so instead of adding a calcium supplement I just went back to more regular water changes and upping the ferts to account for the losses. That seems to have taken care of that issue for me.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:26 PM
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Gh is 5 out of the tap and you have calcium issues? Are you sure? Gh is only made up of calcium and magnesium, typically at a 10 to 1 calcium to magnesium ratio. That would be A LOT of magnesium out of your tap if none of it is calcium.

Have you measured your tap for its calcium contents yet? There is a thread in this forum about using the api test in freshwater. It works well.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:43 PM
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Leaf curl can be defined by various curling patterns and there are also different deficiencies / toxicities, plus environmental things (light, water current, etc.), that can cause the various 'curls' as well. So, you have permutations that may take a while to sort through.

What type of curling are you experiencing and what part of the plant (new-old growth) is it (pictures can help)?

With a dGH of 5, I doubt it's a Ca issue. I don't think I've ever experienced a Ca deficiency, which (IMO) is extremely rare ...unless it's uptake is being blocked.

In any case, I do prefer adding the Equilibrium components separately. For Ca, you can use CaSO4, CaCl, Ca gluc, CaNO3, CaMg(CO3) ..what did I miss? I use Ca gluc (since I get my S from my MgSO4) and CaCl (to get the Cl).
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Its definitely not a water change issue. I do pretty regular water changes and dose with ThriveC daily (1/8th dose). I actually can't say if its a calcium issue at all. I just assumed it was because when I search leaf curl issues calcium keeps coming up. Here are some pictures of plants:







Thoughts?


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Old 02-11-2020, 02:08 AM
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Although I may be seeing the rolling/crinkling in older leaves, it is definitely apparent in new growth. So, I’d focus on correcting for issues in new growth (immobile nutrients?) and let the older growth go, for now.

Possibilities (in no particular order):

1) Too little CO2 for a given PAR.

2) Too much Mn and/or too little Mg.. Reducing Mn, in such case, would obviously help. However, going higher in Ca and Mg may neutralize the effects of too much Mn. Given the above potential for these two discrete possibilites, I’d first determine my Mg level. Then, I’d try raising GH by 3 dGH, using a 3:1 ratio of Ca:Mg. If I saw improvement, I’d stop this extra 3 dGH dosing and, when the crinkling returned, I’d reduce Mn (which may be a part of a micro package) and see if this also solves the problem. This way, you may be able to rule in or out Mn and Mg.

3) K deficiency.

4) Leaf rolling is often a physiological phenomenon. Environmental factors like very bright light, a prolonged dip in temperature or a sudden change in water chemistry can cause the leaf rolling to express itself. If the water current is too strong, leaves will sometimes roll up.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Although I may be seeing the rolling/crinkling in older leaves, it is definitely apparent in new growth. So, I’d focus on correcting for issues in new growth (immobile nutrients?) and let the older growth go, for now.

Possibilities (in no particular order):

1) Too little CO2 for a given PAR.

2) Too much Mn and/or too little Mg.. Reducing Mn, in such case, would obviously help. However, going higher in Ca and Mg may neutralize the effects of too much Mn. Given the above potential for these two discrete possibilites, I’d first determine my Mg level. Then, I’d try raising GH by 3 dGH, using a 3:1 ratio of Ca:Mg. If I saw improvement, I’d stop this extra 3 dGH dosing and, when the crinkling returned, I’d reduce Mn (which may be a part of a micro package) and see if this also solves the problem. This way, you may be able to rule in or out Mn and Mg.

3) K deficiency.

4) Leaf rolling is often a physiological phenomenon. Environmental factors like very bright light, a prolonged dip in temperature or a sudden change in water chemistry can cause the leaf rolling to express itself. If the water current is too strong, leaves will sometimes roll up.
1) Possible, this is my first time using pressurized co2. I am definitely just stumbling through it. I started low on the co2 and have edged higher over time. I am currently running about 3-4 bubbles per second in this 40 gallon tank. I have noticed no difference in my fish's behavior though I have noticed that if I either leave my lights on all day (instead of turning them off halfway through for 4 hours) or go much higher on co2 my drop checker turns yellow. So I have been leaving it where its at for the past week.

2) Can I test for this through just buying equilibrium or should I man up and buy some salts? I can get equilibrium at my local fish store, I think anything else I will need to send away for.

3) Could this be the case even though I am dosing with thriveC each day and I have dirt substrate capped with sand and sts?

4) I definitely have high light in this tank, but not brighter then sunlight the first picture is of a plant that I found in the wild in full sun. The other two plants are also wild plants but were found in the forest. Granted they were also emersed at the time. So I suspect if its light its a light out of balance with the other factors the plant needs. The tank is unheated in my basement, with only a few degrees shift its pretty much the same temperature. The current is also pretty sad in this tank, definitely on the lower end what is acceptable for a planted tank.

Easiest thing for me to test is to turn up the co2. After that its supplement time. I'm wary of gassing my fish of course which is why I have been inching it up over time until about a week ago.


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Old 02-11-2020, 04:13 PM
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Best way to get calcium for me is to use dolomite gravel substrate. I never need to dose Ca and Mg as dolomite is carbonate of calcium and magnesium at the right proportion plants need. I inherited dolomite from the days I kept African cichlid. Dolomite dissolve slowly and will only mildly increase pH. Don’t substitute with African mixed, aragonite or crushed coral which will dissolve too fast and raise too high pH.

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Old 02-11-2020, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
1) Possible, this is my first time using pressurized co2. I am definitely just stumbling through it. I started low on the co2 and have edged higher over time. I am currently running about 3-4 bubbles per second in this 40 gallon tank. I have noticed no difference in my fish's behavior though I have noticed that if I either leave my lights on all day (instead of turning them off halfway through for 4 hours) or go much higher on co2 my drop checker turns yellow. So I have been leaving it where its at for the past week.

2) Can I test for this through just buying equilibrium or should I man up and buy some salts? I can get equilibrium at my local fish store, I think anything else I will need to send away for.

3) Could this be the case even though I am dosing with thriveC each day and I have dirt substrate capped with sand and sts?

4) I definitely have high light in this tank, but not brighter then sunlight the first picture is of a plant that I found in the wild in full sun. The other two plants are also wild plants but were found in the forest. Granted they were also emersed at the time. So I suspect if its light its a light out of balance with the other factors the plant needs. The tank is unheated in my basement, with only a few degrees shift its pretty much the same temperature. The current is also pretty sad in this tank, definitely on the lower end what is acceptable for a planted tank.

Easiest thing for me to test is to turn up the co2. After that its supplement time. I'm wary of gassing my fish of course which is why I have been inching it up over time until about a week ago.
I think you are on the right track: getting your CO2 dialed-in at max/near-max levels, and held consistent for 2-3 weeks, is the place to start. If that doesn't help, then you can play around with ferts.

I mentioned K as a possibility, but I doubt that it is likely if you are dosing sufficiently (it will only come from whatever you are dosing). You can certainly use the Equilibrium to test if higher Ca and Mg levels help but, again, I'd wait until your CO2 is 'perfect.' Further, if using Equilibrium and IF there is a K deficiency, then you may not be sure what it is that is the source of the problem. Longer term I would go with the individual salts, particularly if your aren't using RO water.

You'd have to calculate how much K your dosing of Thrive C is adding but, if I remember correctly, it doesn't add much (the Equilibrium would add quite a bit). Plus, isn't the Thrive C meant for a low tech setup? Also, keep in mind that dosing any trace products is going to add to the traces that are already coming from your tap.
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