Is there a nutrient missing? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a nutrient missing?

Attached some pics, I'm wondering what kind of deficienty I have here...

What am I seeing? Well, I can never keep old growth… most of the time the old growth ends up with holes in the leaves and they eventually rot away to nothing. New growth is not a problem. But even on relatively new old growth, particularly on the slower growth plants the leaves don’t stay green (veins are green) and green spot algae develops on those old growth leaves. This has been fairly consistent for 4-6 months. Some BBA on these old, unhealthy leaves as well.

Here are the data I can think of:

• Nitrates around 40pmm between water changes, though I just did one after a month and the nitrates were probably around 60ppm
• WC ~ 40% every 2-3 weeks
• Seachem fluorite substrate
• Fluval 3.0 plant light 10 hours/day
• Easy Green Fert 1 pump per 10 gals 2x a week (65G tank)
• I have some cases of Green Dust Algae on the tank walls, which I scrape and the black tufts of BBA algae in some strange spots (air line, driftwood and even on plant) but it’s not bad overall – I went through a bad bout of BBA but it’s quite a bit better save for what you see in the pics
• Adding compressed CO2 as well
• The water from the tap is pretty hard (GH is 180+)

Any ideas?

Thanks,
Brian
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 07:33 PM
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To be honest those are some of the healthiest plants I've seen grown with Easy green.

Taking a quick look, it seems low on N and P, a little excessive on the K.

I think if you're looking for increased health (although the plants look very nice to me) I would start to venture into the DIY rabbit hole.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks - by DYI, do you mean making my own concoction of ferts instead of an all-in-one?
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 04:45 AM
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Hi @bjm051593,

I took your picture, adjusted it, and enlarged it. It makes it easier to see the interveinal chlorosis (dark leaf veins with lighter areas between) of the older leaves in the photo. Interveinal chlorosis can be caused by two nutrient deficiencies. If it happens in new leaves as they emerge it is likely insufficient iron. If the new leaves emerge looking good but the interveinal chlorosis happens as the leaf matures it is likely insufficient magnesium.



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II. Symptoms do not appear first or most severely on youngest leaves: Effect general on whole plant or localized on older, lower leaves.

C. Interveinal chlorosis. Interveinal chlorosis first appears on oldest leaves.

1. Older leaves chlorotic, usually necrotic in late stages. Chlorosis along leaf margins extending between veins produces a "Christmas tree" pattern. Veins normal green. Leaf margins may curl downward or upward with puckering effect. Necrosis may suddenly occur between veins. Potassium or calcium excess can inhibit uptake of magnesium...magnesium deficiency

When the external magnesium supply is deficient, interveinal chlorosis of the older leaves is the first symptom because as the magnesium of the chlorophyll is remobilized, the mesophyll cells next to the vascular bundles retain chlorophyll for longer periods than do the parenchyma cells between them.
Either there is insufficient magnesium in the water or there is too much calcium or potassium. If it were me I would try adding more magnesium to the tank.

1) Continue dosing the nutrients you have with no changes.
2) Drop by the grocery or drug store and pick up some Epsom Salt (aka magnesium sulfate / MgSO4*7H2O). Get the cheapest stuff on the shelf with no additives, scents, or perfumes.
3) Do an initial dose to your tank of 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons.
4) Thereafter, when you do your weekly water changes, add 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons of new water added.

Then observe the new leaves as they emerge over the next two (2) weeks (do not watch the existing leaves leaves - they will not improve and may continue to decline). Do watch the new leaves, do they look greener, healthier, and possibly larger? Has the growth rate improved with the addition of magnesium to your dosing? If so then we are on the right path. As these new leaves mature you should not see the interveinal chlorosis, premature leaf loss, and necrosis develop as you have been. Hope this helps - keep us posted! -Roy
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 06:43 AM
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What are your phosphates running ?

You should be doing 40% water changes weekly. Keep your nitrates down around 25ppm max. Doing this and hitting phosphate target around 1ppm you can probably get spot algae under control.

Just looking I’d say order potassium sulfate (K2SO4). Add 1/4tsp to change water, then add 1/2tsp to 1cup water and dose half that on days in between easy green dosing. This is on low end for K dosing so don’t be afraid to go up from there to double those amounts. Hopefully this will help with pinholes and drop off in older leaves.

Seattle above zeroed in on Mg deficiency.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Roy / Dave

Attach are the phosphate results... Same test just one pic with the flash on, one without. I always hate reading these but my guess is between 1-2 ppm.

re: the old leave that will not improve - can I just prune them? Otherwise seems they will just end up with BBA on them if the really old leaves are any guide.

Also, re: K2SO4, why not just K? (and any reco for K2SO4?)
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 09:33 PM
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Pure K catches fire when added to water, anything we use in aquariums or even in agricultural are potassium compounds. Potassium sulfate is what most will use when they want raise mainly just the K levels in tank. Monopotassium phosphate (K2HPO4) is what most use to dose equal ppm of phosphate and potassium. Postassium Nitrate (KNO3) doses both nitrate and potassium.

Those are the 3 main compounds used to make your own aquarium ferts for NPK macros.

You can order both Magnesium Sulfate and Potassium Sulfate from any aquarium plant fert dealer.

Green Leaf Aquarium and NilocG are the 2 most popular these days.

Really as far as economical dosing for your sized tank you’d be way ahead of game to just order this kit and mix it up to EI specs. It has mixing/dosing bottles and all the compounds you need to completely customize it for your tank. It will save you a bunch of cash in long run. More than likely if you change enough water to get your nitrates under control your probably going to run into phosphate deficiency going by your test results, you’ll need potassium phosphate to zero that in to 1-2ppm. Having you NPK in one bottle and micros in another will also help you in dialing in your tank.

https://greenleafaquariums.com/produ...kage-bags.html

Here’s same type kit at NilocG.

https://www.nilocg.com/shop/pps-pro/

Both those company also sell individual bags of select salts if you just want go for magnesium and potassium sulfates but I’d just get whole kit and while your using up last of your easy green learn to roll your own, it’s really not that hard to learn.
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Last edited by DaveKS; 05-09-2020 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave - QQ - what are the "EI specs"?

I'm guessing it has something to do with figuring out what mixture of ferts I need for my particular tank? (Which I would guess is the hardest part of all this?_
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 11:27 PM
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DIY ferts sounds really hard but turned out to be far less complex than I had assumed. One starter question is how things works on the premixed. Each tank has different plants, water, sub and all those other points that change how much we need to add for the right mix of ferts. So a premix sounds easy but it may also miss the mark for different tanks across all the different situations.
So what is a pre mix? It's NPK and some other small bits and pieces that may or may not be needed in your water.
So somebody came up with a different way to go, called EI (Estimative Index) Which is an ESTIMATE of how much each tank might use if fuly dosed plus some extra to avoid running out of anything. Then to keep from letting the tank go way, way high, the idea is to do large weekly water changes to knock the levels back down. Overdosing is not a problem if we keep it somewhat close. I tend to be a bit loose and not too motivated to work it too hard, so I do a modified EI, kind of monitor the levels until a pattern shows of what each tank likes, but all the time it is an estimate, so getting too fussy about exact measurements is not on my path. I see no reason to get EXACT on an ESTIMATE!
I use this to get a starting point but do a bit less than full EI as I don't want to dos eos much that I have to work extra changing water!
I dose NPK on one day by stirring a bit of each in tank water and pouring it in, then on alternate days, I do the minor elements the same and then rest on the seventh day! Or else I get busy and miss a day here and there! Tiny cooking spoons are close enough for larger tanks or just a pinch is good enough for my purpose.
My guide for starting:
https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php
Over time, I often see things like you have and want to bump one or another fert up just a bit to see what it does. With dry ferts and being cheap, it is pretty simple to just bump up the N, P, or whatever when something doesn't seem right.
My fert source:
https://www.nilocg.com/product-categ...ry-fertilizer/
Looking at how much cheaper it is than premixed, I don't mind just a bit more trial and error than some like. In my case, I have extreme calcium and tried adding mg but found adding iron was the more helpful thing.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, I *think* I get it... the calculator tells me what I would need for a tank of my size, assuming distilled water.... two things it doesn't factor are how many plants I have and what's in my water supply, but... since I'm dosing frequently, I need to look at the plants and respond to what I see?

Does that sound right?

I think *my* challenge would be (knowing myself) is 1) reading the behavior of the plants and responding and 2) being patient as I make adjustments? I.e. how long should I wait to know if one of my adjustments is correct?

I kinda like this approach, just a bit worried about my ability to master it... (and not kill fish/shrimp)
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjm051593 View Post
Thanks Dave - QQ - what are the "EI specs"?

I'm guessing it has something to do with figuring out what mixture of ferts I need for my particular tank? (Which I would guess is the hardest part of all this?_
Sorry, didn’t see your reply. @bjm051593 . Best to tag a users name or quote the message so they get a notification.

Here’s NilocG page on dosing, you can glean a bunch of info from there. Basic idea what dosing levels are and rough idea on how to mix them. As with all things dosing nothing is written in stone, just rough guidelines.

https://www.nilocg.com/dosing-information/

When you get to actually creating a mix rotalabutterfly is a good dosing calculator.

https://rotalabutterfly.com/
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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@DaveKS / @PlantedRich

First of all thanks for all of your help so far… Adding some K and Mg seems to have helped so far, but I’m really kind of dosing at random. I think I’m hooked on more of a DYI approach instead of premixed, but I’m still struggling with the following (mostly with EI vs. PPS).

1) EI sounds like it would work better for me in terms of tuning it in… from what I understand it over doses and then a WC will compensate for that. This way I wouldn’t have to figure out how to fine tune as often as I might with PPS – at least that’s my understanding.

2) One challenge I will have with EI is the weekly WC – I’m on a 2 week cycle and changing that to weekly will be hard as I’m not always able to get to a WC on a given week. It sounds like I could adjust EI for this but haven’t seen much specific as to how I would do so. I.e. do I just dose less? And then if I do that, wouldn’t I have a wide range of ferts in the water from WC to WC?

3) Another challenge with EI is the mixing/dosing. The PPS instructions seem straightforward – add x amount to 500mls of water for a solution. The EI, well, lets just say I haven’t figured out how to mix that solution. Both GLA and Niloc have me scratching my head on how much fert to add to that 500ml bottle – I think all the info is there, just interpreting it is hanging me up at the moment.

Any thoughts on the 3 above?

And thanks again for the help so far, I am seeing results already... just want to get it to be a little less random.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 08:32 PM
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Niloc page above, All the mixing is scaled to using 2x500ml dosing bottles (one for macro, one for csm+b micro but they also give amounts for dry dosing along side) .

I’d use formula they give for 15mL Per 55 Gallons and probably dose that 2-3x week.

Yes if you can’t get weekly water change in then you need to scale back dosing. You have to find rate that keeps plants fed but also doesn’t cause to much accumulation of excess nutrients before next water change, dose to much and you will get into nutrient toxicity before next water change, opposite end of the scale from having a deficiency. So dose at same 2-3x/week frequency but just dose a bit less till you find amounts keeps your tank in range

Signs of nutrient toxicity can very much look similar to a deficiency.

I’d would monitor nitrates and try to keep them no higher than 30ppm for your tank. You might really seriously consider a multi channel dosing pump and go daily dosing like PPS Pro requires.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 01:19 AM
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What fish, etc are in the tank? I find the nitrate question is always among the first thoughts on overdosing but then I also have a bit different outlook than some Apparently (and obvious?) some fish are more prone to be bothered than others. So how much is too much, seems to be open to different ideas. I normally bred African cichlids as my main fish and they are often mentioned as a difficult fish as they love good super clean water.
But that is where what I read and what I see seem to differ as my nitrate was often quite high, even though I dosed none much of the time. I had lots of fish lots of them were large breeding fish, so the food and waste were often pretty high but the fish never seemed bothered by nitrate as high as 80 PPM!
So the question I might have would be how the difference in fish and water may change the answer on how much to worry having too much nitrate.
But those questions also have been part of my decision to move to dry ferts as I wanted to stop adding any nitrate as mine were almost always considered "too high". But what is too high if the fish are the primary object and they still love to breed?
But my tanks were never meant to be the normal for planted showpieces but were fully intended to be tanks of fish with plants added to make the whole look much nicer.
My advice is to move along with the game, gradually deciding what your priorities may be and then slowly work out how to best get from start to a place where you are very happy with the result. I find fish and plants are very forgiving if we work them slow and steady , even if it flies in the face of the "normal"!
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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@DaveKS - Ok I think I might have it figured out? Taking a look at the nilocg page….

Say I have a 55G tank. I would mix 16.25 tsp of KNO3 into 500ml water and then dose 15ml of that solution? Of course adding the other macros as well, but I think I have the idea down now :b

Thought I’m still torn – PPS seems simpler and I could increase dosage if it looks like I’m not getting enough, rather than worry about the WC and overdosing. PPS (the package) also has the Mg which seems to have helped in the week or so I’ve been doing it (that and/or the K)

@PlantedRich – there’s not much stock in there now, I have a community tank (goby, puffer, 2 cherry barbs (that have been with me about 5 years) a couple loaches, pleco and a not so small shrimp). I had 2 angels that were breeding but as a result being a little too protective of the tank so handed those off… I’m thinking of guppies next.

But you’re right over the years, if I’m any good at reading the liquid test kits I’ve had nitrates in the 40 ppm as typical and the 60s not too uncommon – but the fish never seem to mind. Is the nitrate in the tank the same as KNO3? IOW, if my nitrates where high but other macros weren’t could I just adjust the KNO3 in my mixing? (if I'm reading your response correctly)
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