K, Ca, Mg, NO3, PO4 - summary - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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K, Ca, Mg, NO3, PO4 - summary

After a year of experimenting i decided to put my observations in order. This especially concerns stunted tips issues often met in many tanks. All the paraneters were measured in a certified laboratory. NO3 test kit was also examined and had 25% reading error.

lighting: 4 x 30 W (3000K)
1 x 30W (6500K)
2 x 8W (2700K)
T = 24C, plain gravel witout any additions, lighting turned on for 12 hours, CO2 dosage switched off at night, aeration switched on at night, external Eheim 2213 filter.

water params: plants health:

Ca = 10, Mg = 4, PO4 = 0.1, NO3 = 2, K = 15, CO2 = 10 very fast growth,
no stunting at all,
heavy micro
dosage, high iron
demand, no NO3
dosing at all

Ca = 10, Mg = 4, PO4 = 1, NO3 = 20, K = 27, CO2 = 10 i'd say... savage butchery; many
plants stunted,
deformed, twisted
leaves, growth
stopped, some red
plants die

Ca = 25, Mg = 5, PO4 = 1, NO3 = 10, K = 10, CO2 = 20 slight improvement
but some plants
still severely
stunted

Ca = 25, Mg = 5, PO4 = 1, NO3 = 10, K < 3, CO2 = 20 improvement,
stunted tips go
away but K
deficiency
appears

Ca = 19, Mg = 8, PO4 = 0.2, NO3 = 2, K = 10, CO2 = 20 considerable
improvement, no
stunted tips

Ca = 35, Mg = 8, PO4 = 0.2, NO3 = 5, K = 15, CO2 = 20 some more
stunted tips
appear

Ca = 35, Mg = 12, PO4 = 0.2, NO3 = 5, K = 15, CO2 = 10 very slight
improvement but
some new
Polysperma leaves
curl upward along
edges 3
days after adding Mg
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 02:55 PM
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Looks like a Good Experiment. What are Your Conclusions? I have what appears to be Mg deficiency with my Hard Water tanks. When I dose Mg things improve and when I don't--It shows back up: Holes, stunting, etc.

I currently dose 0 N03, 2-3ppm P and 20-25ppm K, Flourish Micros per the instructions---and 5ppm Mg---sometimes. Everything Seems fine when I dose the extra Mg. I started dosing the above level of K when I upped the P to help the plants absorb more N. I seem to get enough N from the Fish loads. EI is Great for its intended purpose: To make planted tanks easier and more hassle-free. But it doesn't help us narrow down the exact ratios.

Anyway, if you have any thoughts on what your data means--I'm interested....


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 03:13 PM
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Very interesting data, thanks for sharing.

Can someone refresh me if there is a linear/rough relationship between Ca/Mg ppm's and GH?


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 03:21 PM
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This might help:

Why is there a 3/1 ratio of Ca to Mg?





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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 04:38 PM
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Not really... Where I am going with this: say you have a GH of 10deg, and let's assume there is a 3:1 relation between Ca and Mg. What ppm of Ca and Mg would that be equal to?

Is it the same as with kH, 17.8 ppm = 1 deg?


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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The problem is that whenever NO3 is close to 5 ppm such plants as alternatera reineckii and umbrosum get stunted and stop to grow. If NO3 stays at 10 ppm the plants die. Only when i keep NO3 at about 2.5 ppm the plants grow without any leaves deformations. However Blyxa japonica and h.callitrihoides grow slower at lower NO3. CO2 is good, it's usually 20 ppm.
I know some people can grow the plants i've just mentioned about at high NO3 and soft water but i can't understand how they do it... I'm going to try another micronutrient which, as literature says, may by also an important element having affect on micro and macro uptake in plants
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 05:21 PM
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Interesting data. Doing a quick read through it, I certainly don't notice a pattern. It seems to be 'all over the map'.

What is the time span in between measurement intervals? How much time did you give the tank to 'adjust' before changing another variable?

I've long struggled with healthy A. reineckii, so I'll be interested to follow your observations on that front. I *think* my recent switch to the product-formerly-known-as TMG has helped my poor growth in my KH=8-9 and high NO3 tank environment.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kekon View Post
The problem is that whenever NO3 is close to 5 ppm such plants as alternatera reineckii and umbrosum get stunted and stop to grow. If NO3 stays at 10 ppm the plants die. Only when i keep NO3 at about 2.5 ppm the plants grow without any leaves deformations. However Blyxa japonica and h.callitrihoides grow slower at lower NO3. CO2 is good, it's usually 20 ppm.
I know some people can grow the plants i've just mentioned about at high NO3 and soft water but i can't understand how they do it... I'm going to try another micronutrient which, as literature says, may by also an important element having affect on micro and macro uptake in plants
When you reduce the KNO3, this down regulates the CO2 uptake.
M umbrosum and A reineckii like higher NO3 levels than many plants.
I've noted that perhaps 10 years ago. I keep those plants at 20-30ppm NO3, and CO2 at 30+ ppm without issues or any sort.

Try the Tropica master grow, that will rule out many issues, many folks did such test about 10 years ago on the APD.

I have soft, hard amd moderate water for each of these species listed.
You will want to make sure you try out lots of species when doign such test and note each plant's response.

My personal goal was finding a general range that provided good growth for all plants.

Not just some.

Folks in the past measured PO4 and wanted to keep it low(thinking it caused algae).

This did allow them to keep plants fine at 10-15ppm of cO2.

When I added PO4 at 1-1.2 ppm of PO4, I had to have 30ppm of cO2.
the increased growth rates and regulation by the plant to account for plenty of C relative to P or N limiting= less CO2 demand.

This is a rather basic coincept and threw/throws folks off.

They think it's all nutrients, it's not, they are all interrelated and the limiting one will down regulate the others.

I can control algae a little bit using that method, but the plant suffer as a result.

Try the same experiment and make sure to measure the NO3, PO4, and traces, CO2 a lot more often, not once a day, try it every 2 hours for 2-3 days(you can sleep etc:-) ) and see what patterns emerge.

Plants and testing their uptake is not a static thing, as biomass increases, so does uptake and demand.

The other issue, bioavaoilabilility.
Make sure the readings are inorganic biobvailabale plant nutrients, when you get down to the lower ranges, the fraction of organic N and P increases relative to what is really available to the plants.

This is why some assume they have enough at 2ppm of NO3, but stunt their plants.

Same with PO4.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
Not really... Where I am going with this: say you have a GH of 10deg, and let's assume there is a 3:1 relation between Ca and Mg. What ppm of Ca and Mg would that be equal to?

Is it the same as with kH, 17.8 ppm = 1 deg?
From what I understand: Yes. So, if you test for Ca the difference should be Mg. But, that said, its not 100% accurate, nor is the testing. But its a gauge....


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
What is the time span in between measurement intervals?
It was usually 2..3 weeks but the difference was noticeable after a week since the change of parameters was made.
Some day i added 10 ppm NO3 (i use Ca(NO3)2 as a source of NO3) and 3 days later my Umbrosum looked like... dry wooden sticks charred on their tips... I also examined NH4 (0.2 ppm daily) and it turned out it also causes the same effects (i didn't have any algae though)

Recenty i've noticed much higher iron and CO2 demand because some new leaves are a bit pale and pH meter shows pH about 6.7 at KH = 2 and at 3 bubbles of CO2 per second. I have to dose 250% TMG dose and additionaly dose 0.3 ppm Fe to changed water (50% water change every week). Together with Fe i add some manganese (0.2 ppm) as iron can induce Mn deficiency (in the past i had Mn deficiency when too much Fe was added without Mn)
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 03:58 PM
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Very interesting data, thanks for sharing.

But I assume that 'hight light' may have played an importnat role in your experiments. My Alternatera reineckii always grew in curled and stunted in the hight light tank (4 39W T5-HO for 42 gal) with standard EI dosing regimen.

However I've observed that many Alternatera reineckii were growing well in the 'ignored' dim light tanks. I set up a non-CO2 low light (2 39W T5-HO for 42 gal) natural planted tank 5 months ago after reading Diana Walstad's book, and again another trial to grow Alternanthera reineckii. I finally succeeded! Alternanthera reineckii are growing like weeds from the beginning. PO4 = 1 ppm, NO3 = 20 ppm and GH = 11 dGH were recorded last week, no curled leaves.

I suppose that both low light and low CO2 were the limiting factors that regulated the plants' nutrients uptake; or maybe roots uptake of Alternanthera reineckii are more important than the leaves uptake.

So, why not have some more experiments on the low light tanks?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Well, i had the same lighting in the past and had no problems... even in very soft water (GH = 2).
I could of course dim the light but many other plants (h.callitrihoides, umbrosum, blyxa) will suffer. I think that 0.75 W / L is not that much.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 08:30 PM
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Me and a friend in Sweden (BluesBoy) have also noticed A. reineckii will curl up if NO3 is above 5-10 ppm. My M. umbrosum seems to like low NO3-levels too in contrast what Tom Barr says.

This seems especially be the case if CO2 and PO4 is high too.

The problem seems to be smaller if light, co2, po4 and/or no3 is low.

I'm currently dosing 9 ppm PO4, 1 ppm PO4, 0.1 ppm Fe each week between 50% wc in a 60-litres tank with 0,8 watts/litres T5 superreflected light. If I go over that dose the A. reineckii curls up.


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 08:32 PM
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For those not familiar with watts per litres google is a fine conversion tool: http://www.google.se/search?hl=en&q=...+gallons&meta=
3 watts/gallon.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-06-2007, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kekon View Post
The problem is that whenever NO3 is close to 5 ppm such plants as alternatera reineckii and umbrosum get stunted and stop to grow. If NO3 stays at 10 ppm the plants die. Only when i keep NO3 at about 2.5 ppm the plants grow without any leaves deformations. However Blyxa japonica and h.callitrihoides grow slower at lower NO3. CO2 is good, it's usually 20 ppm.
I know some people can grow the plants i've just mentioned about at high NO3 and soft water but i can't understand how they do it... I'm going to try another micronutrient which, as literature says, may by also an important element having affect on micro and macro uptake in plants
You spent all this effort but you did not measure light nor CO2 effectively.

CO2 changes and the rate of change is dramatic.
It drives all growth and all down stream nutrient uptake.

If you have low limiting nutrients, that influences CO2 demand, the CO2 is no longer limited at higher NO3 or other nutrient levels.

Bobbing between limitation and non limiting nutrient levels has a large effect on CO2 demand.

Not acknowledging this is a common mistake done by aquairsts, and many should cetainly know better.

To set upo any basic experiment where you are testing a particularly parameter of interest, you need to ensure that there is independence and that the dependent variable, say K+ is the only one that might be excess or limiting during the test run.

I've yet to see any aquarist do this when they claim such and such nutrient has some "special effect" on some plants.

It's easy to disprove.
All I have to do is grow the same plant at those levels in good nice form the falsify the hypothesis.

Ive done many times.

Pissed a few folks off that where, and a few still are, certain of their results.
But I'd rather be correct than making friends with folks who cannot see things critically nor acknowledge the faults.

I make lots of mistakes, that's how I learn, but I do not keep doing the same ones over and over............

I've grow these plants at higher CO2 and higher nutrient levels without issues, not once etc, but for years............I can also induce thes same traits and issues with CO2 variaton as well as algae..........

Observations are fine etc, so is testing, but design the test to answer the question you have!

This takes more thought. This is the creative side of sceince.
And how to do it cheaply or easily is another idea to consider.

Longywalker got it and figured it out.
CO2 and light..........

I have a nice stand of A reineckii, I've always considered it one of the easier red plants around.

M umbrosum is an infernal weed.

Both should pearl agressively and be fine over a wide range if the CO2 is good, like most plants. I've also grown these plants in non CO2 neglected tanks just fine.

Spending all this effort for measuring NO3 is fine, however, folks are not nearly as accurate when it comes to CO2, and flow rates, filter clogging, plant biomass changes through time, all of which influence CO2 to the plants.

It's not this nice simple thing like some suggest.
The underlying reason might be, but the gas exchange and boundary layers, flows etc play huge roles.

Light drives CO2 demand which drives NO3 uptake which drive sK+ and PO4 uptake etc.

If you limit PO4, then that downregulates the uptake of NO3/NH4/CO2 and light use efficiency. Ole and Troels did any experiement at tRopica detailing some of the CO2-light dynamics.

Any quick Google scholar search shows limiting Carbon will downregulate N uptake in plants and vice versa.

But what the heck do I know?

I've seen similar topics going back two decades and similar wrong conclusions which the data and test do not support. I knwo they do not because I have tanks with these parameters and no stunting.........however the CO2 is higher and I watch the plants first, then test.

I look for success, then I try to mess it up from there.
If I have excellent growth at a particular CO2 level, then I add lots of KNO3, PO4 etc, and I still have excellent growth, what does that suggest vs this test?

Confounding factors. I can repeat this test as I have for most of a decade now with these plants in question..........
I have lab grade test methods and good methodology, as well as lab equipment. Girlfriend complains about the home "lab".


Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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