Need help figuring out deficiency - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2020, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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My pothos is showing deficiencies I believe... So in this tank I don't dose anything, I have pothos in a container above the tank and my powerhead with sponge pumps water up to the container containing lava rock with pothos. I have a light over the container on a 4 hour timer but after 2 years of being here the pothos has gotten longer and I've had it grow into some windows on the North side of my house where they get daylight but no direct sun light.
This tank is a 125 gallon that is NOT lightly stocked... A lot of feeding.

Now.... The new growth or any growth in the windows is showing deficiencies and leaves are dieing or some look burnt. Pictures are of some, not all, of the struggling plants. There's a lot of different pothos stems coming from my container going places.

So is it too much light being the only leaves struggling are getting daylight? But anything in the daylight is newer growth... So is it a deficiency???

Ph 7.3, nitrates fluctuate 10-20ppm depending on water changes

Any help appreciated!!!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2020, 10:00 PM
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Your fish feeding will probably supply nitrates and phosphates needed but there are over a dozen other elements besides those 2.

If you look at a fert like thrive you’ll find all this in it. You need all these in proper ratios for a good balanced fert. You can give plant all nitrate and phosphate you want but if something is missing like potassium, magnesium, iron etc plant growth will stall.

Total Nitrogen (N) 2.5600%
2.5600% Water Soluble Nitrogen (N)
Available Phosphate (P2O5) 1.5800%
Soluble Potash (K2O) 9.7400%
Magnesium(Mg) 0.3200%
0.3200% Water Soluble Magnesium(Mg)
Calcium(Ca) 0.0200%
Sulfur(S) 0.5400%
0.5400% Combined Sulfur(S)
Boron(B) 0.0080%
Copper(Cu) 0.0002%
0.0002% Water Soluble Copper(Cu)
Iron(Fe) 0.4200%
0.4200% Water Soluble Iron(Fe)
Manganese(Mn) 0.1680%
0.1680% Water Soluble Manganese(Mn)
Molybdenum(Mo) 0.0006%
Zinc(Zn) 0.0038%
0.0038% Water Soluble Zinc(Zn)

What does GH of your change water read?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2020, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Forgive me of this noob question... But how would the nitrogen in that fert effect the nitrate ppm? Will I need to increase water changes?

I will test gh/kh and report back

Tested my gh and kh for tap water and tank water with the API liquid test kit.

Gh of tap was I'd say in the 70s ppm
at drip #4 it was no longer orange but was light yellow/green-ish and drip 5 was full light green.

Kh of tap 71.6 ppm
made the change right at drip #4

Tank water the day after about a 40-50% water change was
Gh 71.6 ppm
Kh 71.6 ppm

Gh maybe barely less ppm in the tank then tap, it switched colors on the 4th drip where the tap was kind of yellow/green-ish

Sooo what can we conclude from this?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 05-18-2020 at 02:28 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 04:56 PM
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I think that what @DaveKS was implying is that you would benefit from a complete fertilizer such as that NilocG all-in-one product. Although your tap water and fish food may be supplying enough of most of the macros and micros, there could still be some imbalance/holes in the supply, which is where a balanced and complete fertilizer comes in. Your tap water and fish food will not have potassium or iron and both are critical. Your plants' necrosis/burning appearance is a sign of potassium deficiency.

Although I would prefer using a product such as NilocGs' Thrive, you could also just supplement potassium and iron with a product such as Leaf Zone by API. Follow directions for whatever you decide to use.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Would flourish work as it doesn't contain much nitrogen or phosphate but contains some potassium or is it not enough? Also contains other micro nutrients.

Or would it be better for me to use either leaf zone or potassium and iron individually/separately?

And is there a more economical way to do this after trying one of these easier bottle ferts? 125 gallon tank so these bottles can add up in costs quick
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-27-2020, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by manakh View Post
Would flourish work as it doesn't contain much nitrogen or phosphate but contains some potassium or is it not enough? Also contains other micro nutrients.

Or would it be better for me to use either leaf zone or potassium and iron individually/separately?

And is there a more economical way to do this after trying one of these easier bottle ferts? 125 gallon tank so these bottles can add up in costs quick
Yes, dry ferts and roll your own at precisely the ratios you need to help your tank maintain. Green leaf aquarium and nilocG both sell kits with NPK macro that you can mix up to your tanks needs and a micro mix that you mix up in a 2nd bottle. 2 bottles, macro and micro. Your macro mix will probably be mostly K dosing with very little N or P added. It easily comes out at about 1/5 the cost of premixed liquids and you can customize to exactly your tanks needs.

Use a site like rotalabutterfly to figure out your dilution mixing and dosing rates.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-27-2020, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Are either Plantex csm+b or Miller's microplex correct?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 06:52 AM
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Are either Plantex csm+b or Miller's microplex correct?
Yes, csm+b is what most use.

CSM+B:

Fe 6.53%
Mn 1.87%
Mg 1.40%
Zn 0.37%
Cu 0.09%
Mo 0.05%
B 1.18%

Microplex:

Fe 4.0%
Mn 4.0%
Mg 5.4%
Zn 1.5%
Cu 1.5%
Mo 0.1%
B 0.5%
Co 0.05%
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, I think I will try csm + b then.

Then I would also need potassium sulphate too as well correct?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 07:44 PM
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Thank you, I think I will try csm + b then.

Then I would also need potassium sulphate too as well correct?
Yes, if all you want is K and no P. You’ve never stated what your P levels are running at so don’t know if you need potassium phosphate as well. ???

I would also suspect magnesium deficiency as well looking at your plants. Mg Sulfate (Epsom salts) is really all you need for this. You can source it locally just make sure it’s 100% pure Epsom salts, no dyes or fragrances. Or you can order it in same order as rest of your stuff. This I would just start adding to your change water.

On your KH and GH tests, just count the number of drops. That will give give you degrees German hardness which is most common way of expressing KH and GH aquarist use. That was point of the GH test to make sure you have proper Ca levels in water. Now add a bit Mg sulfate and you should have a workable Ca/Mg ratio in water.

Now big point that needs made is dosing rate. When you follow mixing rates for EI dosing and start dosing your tank realize these rates were developed for high light tanks full of plants and probably co2 dosing. That’s not your tank. If you dose to much you will turn your tank into a algae bomb. I would start at 1/4 the dosing rate twice a week, as plants recover and their nutrient uptake increases then you can slowly start increasing dosage. You’ll know you’ve gone to far and need to back off slightly when you see the appearance of unwanted algae in tank. As plants recover you may notice a increase in uptake of nitrate (which I assume is whole point in adding the pothos), don’t worry about it dropping down to 10ppm that’s fine for what your doing.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-30-2020, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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Really appreciate the help and info, thank you very much!

I don't have a way to test potassium, but I think my nitrates and phosphates are clearly higher then potassium with the bioload and how much is fed. I am semi jumping to conclusions here thinking dosing csm+b and maybe some Epsom salt the one missing or lacking might be potassium after that.

Ya in this tank I actually have no aquarium plants only a metric pile of pothos with rainbow fish, clouded archerfish, and a bunch of filament barbs. It's a high bioload, I test nitrates regularly. With the amount of pothos in there I still need to do 40% changes weekly. Some of the pothos isn't up taking as much nitrates as it would normally but there's a ton that doesn't receive daylight and just room light and 4 hours from a current satellite pro over the pothos. In picture you can see pothos up in window but then some also goes up over curtain and down in the window as well. But everything not in a window is lush green but doesn't grow as fast.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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So now I have had a couple lower leaves yellow out and come off down at the base of the vines... Nitrogen deficiency if I were to guess, but my nitrate levels are fine, is this because of damage done to newer growth that's in the windows or is it fert imbalance and the plants are missing other things and just not uptaking nitrates as much?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Can another deficiency slow nitrate uptake to the point of causing a nitrate deficiency?

I have had a couple of the lowest leaves yellow and more or less wilt away. I assume nitrate deficiency in this case??? 20ppm of nitrates on water change day before doing my water change.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 04:35 PM
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Hi @manakh,

Your first picture shows leaves displaying interveinal chlorosis (dark leaf veins with lighter interveinal areas). There are two common reasons for this happening.

If it is new leaves that are displaying the condition the likely issue is insufficient iron. This can be caused by not dosing sufficient iron or dosing an iron that is not suitable for the pH of the tank.

If the new leaves emerge looking 'normal' but the interveinal chlorosis starts to show up as the leaves mature likely issue is insufficient magnesium. I cannot tell from the pictures however it appears this issue is occurring on the older leaves.
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