Nitrates and Plant Coloration - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrates and Plant Coloration

Here my siuation, i have been struggling to keep my nitrates down they usually sit around 40 ppm and i also have had troubles getting some of my plants red except my swords. I have a large bio load and still dose KNO3, i do this because i stopped dosing KNO3 in hope my plants could live just with the nitrates from the bioload. However the plants did not respond well to this. Anyway i always change about 20 gal (of 55 gal tank) at the end of the week, but last night i did a 25 gallon wc and when i woke up this mourning the end of my plants where there was new growth was brighter than i have seen since i got the plants. My question is can higher nitrate levels prevent good coloration? I have plenty of light 4 55 watt 9325K GE's . I run co2 and ei dosing. I have had it like this for about a year with no major algae yet(knock on wood) but i am not getting the color i am wanting.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 07:50 PM
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I think it's a comb. of light and nitrate, really. My L. aromatica were pure green till I got rid of my discus and the associated overfeeding and nitrate loading, and now with nitrate around 10-15 pretty steady they're getting a little color, but only close to the light. I'm thinking about letting nitrate fall off alot more and keeping an eye out for algae to see if I can coax some more red out of them....

I believe my stance on this issue to be perfectly ambiguous and illdefined and I see no reason to elaborate further.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Why would my light be a factor i have 4wpg of good lighting? What should i do about the nitrates i only feed my fish once every two days. Could I dose NPK one day and Iron and PLantex another and then do a small water(10-15%) change the third mourning followed by NPK again. I know this would help with the nitrates but looking at it from the fert side would it affect the plants growth? Does the fact that i very rarely clean my gavel have affect on the nitrates, i have almost one year old eco complete.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 08:34 PM
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I have high fish loads, high KNO3 dosing+ sediment source of NO3 and good color:









Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 09:13 PM
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Different plants color up due to different conditions. For some, it's the light. Others may need low nitrates while some prefer high nitrates. Sometimes it's the iron content.

I would not suggest fiddling with the dosing or water changes in order to get color. What you need to do is concentrate on growing the plants. They will color up on their own.

If I could put it another way... the best way to get plants to color up is to get them healthy and growing. The plants will then do what they do naturally.

What about taking pictures of the plants in question along with their IDs so people can help you with the particulars of each specific plant. List your water parameters, too.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Tom, what's the name of this plant?

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 10:09 PM
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It's not the high nitrates. The key is the speed and consistency of growth. If you can grow them at a consistent speed, they'll stay red. Tom can grow plants like gangbusters, therefore his plants are red. Plants that are close to the light/surface will grow faster and be in contact with more CO2, therefore more red. The larger water change probably caused growth to increase via more CO2 in the water, and as a result, more colors.

Here's a pic of mine to illustrate the idea (this too was after a water change):

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia' is the name of that plant i believe. My plants grow really fast i have never had a problem with that. Increase CO2 maybe? I dose 1/2 teas. KNO3, 1/2 teas, K2so4, 1/8 teas PO4 on S,Tue,Thur and 1/8 tea. plantex MWF. I have always had a problem gettin my stems to their best color. The ones i noticed the biggest difference in was my Limnophila Sp. and my rotola indica. My ph is about 6 water temp 76 deg., photoperiod 8 hrs., presurized co2 diffused through reactor and misting with powerhead. Let me know if you need anymore info.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 10:48 PM
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Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia' is the name of that plant i believe.
Could be. But the leaves are wavy on Tom's plant so I thought it was something different.

If you can increase the CO2, then do it. I think it's best to inject as much CO2 as the fish can take.

I didn't look up the fert measurements to see if you have the right amount. But I noticed your comment about "1/8 tea. plantex". Are you dissolving this in water before dosing or dosing it dry into the tank?

Have you ever tried fert tabs in the substrate? I know it's not mentioned very often, but I've had good luck with them. I think the ones I liked were made by Seachem, but I'd have to double check to be sure.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 11:07 PM
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Are you dissolving this in water before dosing or dosing it dry into the tank?

Is there a difference between the 2?

To the OP, do you dose supplemental iron?
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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It gets wavy leaves when you have high nitrates i believe, that is my experience with it anyway. I put the 1/8 teas. in a bottle of tank water and shake it up then put it in the tank. I was dosing iron until i looked at the fertlator and notice that the plantex i was already putting in there already had the recommended amount of iron almost double actually. I was think however to start doing iron again bc i never had a problem with any kind of thread algae when dosing so much iron(maybe a myth, but i am not sure). I have another fluval 405 coming in monday so i will be able to run another reactor bc the 305 cant handle all the co2 i am wanting to put into the tank. Thats why i am having to run more co2 through a mister

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 11:44 PM
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I'm not sure what brings out the red so I just concentrate on growing the plants. If they turn out red then it's a bonus. I dose EI, have 2x54 T5HO and pressurized CO2 on a 75 and here's how some of my reds look.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Ya thats what frustrates me is i see peoples tank and their plant have a lot of color and half the wattage as me but your plants look great. Does type of light mean anything i use PC i know a lot of people have switched to T5s but i really cant afford that right now. Of yes i forgot to mention in the other post i do use root tabs but only under my sowrds really, i didn't think stems took alot from their root, mostly from the water column?

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 12:45 AM
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I'm also a regular gardener, and when I was very active in planting flowers, I had people asking me how I did it. They were thinking I bought flowers from a really good nursery, had a special way of planting them, put something in my soil, or used some kind of really great fertilizer. I think my answer surprised them.

I'd get a lot of flowers that I thought were pretty. Plant them all. The ones that died, I tossed and didn't buy again. The ones that thrived, well, they thrived.

In other words, sometimes there are variables that will make one plant do well in one tank, but not in another. Maybe it's the minerals in the water or the pH or the temperature or who knows. And while most plants do well for most people, there certainly are exceptions. A good example for me is that I cannot grow Blyxa japonica no matter what I do. I get really nice plants, plant them, and then watch them die while all the plants around them do just fine. After 3 attempts, I finally remembered my own advice.

There are so many plants available, there's really no reason to bang your head against a wall to get any specific plant to color up. I am positive there are plants out there that will color up very nicely in your tank, just the way you have it right now. The trick is to try several different plants to see what works best in your tank.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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Here some pics as you can see my sword says really red, thats why its my favorite plants lol The mini is a little red than it looks in the pic. I know i dont have a good a scape but i am really trying to grow some stems so that i can work on it. I have mainly had swords in the past but just sold a lot of them. The e quad is getting out of hand need to sell some soon.
E Horemanii

Limnophila Sp. Mini

The Whole Thing

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