Iron to improve red coloration in plants. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Iron to improve red coloration in plants.

I have a 46g bowfront medium - heavily planted (depends on how long I let the plants go before a trim) Finnex RayII and Finnex Planted+, CO2 injection. EI dosing dry ferts. K2SO4, and KH2PO4 together, Plantex CSM+B, and GH booster after water change on weekend.

Ludwigia red and ludwigia repens. The problem is that the ludwigia 'red' seems to fade in color in the low portions of the stem and after a week or so begins to accumulate algae. The top 5-6 inches retains a nice deep red color. Repens is similar, though it seems to resist algae much better. Green though on the bottom half and some orangeish color on the very tops.

I'm looking to possibly dose an iron chelate in addition to what I am dosing now to improve coloration.

Suggestions? Advice?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 05:42 PM
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I dose similar things, the dosing is not likely the issue, but if you add some DTPA to the iron CMS mix, it will not hurt.

Sounds more a CO2 related issues, lighting etc.




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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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As in more intense light?

Bump: As in more intense light?
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 10:05 PM
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If your foliage is thick at the top anything under 6 inches is probably getting very little sunlight. I have to trim my ludwigia repens about every three days or it gets so thick everything else is in the shade.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DayOlder View Post
If your foliage is thick at the top anything under 6 inches is probably getting very little sunlight. I have to trim my ludwigia repens about every three days or it gets so thick everything else is in the shade.
Indeed that is a problem. They grow very very fast. But still the orange/red coloration does not occur until plants reach the upper strata of the tank, even after a trim.


PS - do you trim and then replant? Or just snip off the tops?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 12:04 AM
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Iron is not the panacea for red IMO. In fact, it would be at the bottom of the list. High light and good CO2 being the most important. Many of the images you see online of ridiculous reds are most likely from the light source (at times image editing). Lights with a high red spectrum will reflect red meaning reds appear more vibrant. Focus on growing healthy plants and the natural reds will simple be there. If you want to augment the natural colors use lighting to reflect more reds.

That said, running a tank lean on nitrogen can augment reds as well. Beyond that, I'm not aware of any other "tricks" to brilliant reds and orange colors.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~rush~ View Post
PS - do you trim and then replant? Or just snip off the tops?
I just snip off the tops. My tank is so heavily planted that I would pretty much have to tear the tank apart to reach the substrate, with the exception of a small area to occasionally feed my amano. I do try to maintain an open area under the canopy in the center of the tank for the fish to swim.

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Last edited by DayOlder; 10-09-2014 at 12:06 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 03:13 AM
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I have a lot of red plants in my no tech tanks and they do much better than I thought they would. Light seems to be a big factor, both with color and leaf retention. Root tabs seem to help deepen the overall plant color, but not the colors at the top. I think iron tabs help, but I use them with total tabs and haven't withdrawn each for a month or so to see what happens.

The first pic is a 29 gal and the repens in the center shows the color fade from deep red near the top to green lower and then no leaves near the bottom. Light is 6700 t5's, four NO tubes. The pic somehow made the ludwigia look paper thin, but it's very healthy, in the month since the pic was taken, the plant has grown across the top of the tank and is a very intense dark red. No ferts in here at all, no CO2.

Second pic is a 45 gal with AR in the back right corner. The color change toward the bottom is apparent here. That clump was getting total and iron ferts and the colors were deeper, but no ferts for maybe 2 months in this pic. Again, no CO2, one HO 6700 t5 tube, one HO t5 pink plant tube and two NO 6700 t5's.

Both these pics are close to what the plants really look like from a lighting standpoint, the angels are blue platinum veils. I can't really complain, stuff grows well enough for us.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 02:03 PM
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Bloomer, very nice tanks and no CO2 or any algae that I can see. Man I'm tempted to quit my DIY CO2 and add a second light.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 03:34 PM
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You can overdo lights, not much happens in low tech except bad algae if the water column is rich and everything looks pasty, colors wash out. Some plants will grow much faster, but they're not healthy and can act unpredictably. I've been moving to LED's now that they work well, our fish room is too hot with all the t5's and the electric bill is a tiny bit high.

I'm tempted to do a CO2 tank, but am still getting my arms around consolidating all the smaller ones. CO2 just isn't feasible for what we have going now, some day!
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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So basically what I'm hearing is I need to worry less about enhancing the red coloration, and more about the general health of the plant?


What can I do to improve the algae issues? The algae seems to occur predominantly in the lower half of the stems. Up CO2? Cut back light? Up light?
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 05:43 PM
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rush, It's all a balancing act, or actually more like juggling. Ferts, lights and CO2 all have to be in the proper mix. I don't know how others do it but for me being my CO2 is low tech DIY I have very little control over it, it's on or off. Ferts I use the EI method bought from a reliable source so I just follow the instructions based on his recommendations. So that only leave lights that I can change and since I can't raise or lower mine I change the amount of time they are on. When algae starts I reduce the time the lights are on. I usually run mine between between eight and nine hours per day. If algae continues to get worst I start dosing daily with excel. Excel will stop the problem but it doesn't really address the underlying issue.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 05:57 PM
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My take would be that if the lower leaves are getting algae they are not getting enough light. You could perhaps prune them faster or you could up the light. Of course if you up the light you will need to up the ferts.

This is a great article.
Why Leaves Turn Red
http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu...af_article.pdf
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 06:21 PM
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Bruce, I'm pretty new at this so will defer to you but when my anubias started getting BBA I lowered them in the tank thus reducing the light they got and that simple move seemed to clear them up. They always seem to have algae first in my tank and I use them as my algae barometer. Now I lowered them a good 12 inches which put them under my ludwigia. This is on my 26B and my lighting is a 24" Finnex FugeRay Planted. I thought the more light the more algae, am I completely backwards? Am I completely backwards, wouldn't be the first or last time.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 06:53 PM
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It is just a different circumstance. The lower leaves of his plants are getting algae. Most likely that is because they are not healthy and it is very likely they are not getting as much light as they need. They are being shaded. While the upper leaves are producing red pigments as means of fending off the brighter light at the top of the tank. Your anubias doesn't need as much light in the first place. I often find with anubias that they need a lot of phosphates to remain healthy. All I am looking at here is the health of the plants and I am judging by that whether or not they are capable of fending off the algae.

Anyway you are right in the sense that more light makes it easier for the algae in general but the health of the plants is also a very big factor.

I don't know if that is clear or not.
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