High KH = low Iron? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
Nix
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High KH = low Iron?

Hey,
do you know if a higher KH/GH can cause nutrients absorbtion/blocking problems?

I think I know most plants love low KH (and are not really bothered by GH). But where does it really become a problem -- and what does this problem look like?

More concrete, I have tap water KH 10, GH 9. Very poor on everything water but for Ca (= 55mg/l, Mg=6, Na=17, K=2).

Is it possible, plausible to assume the water is a problem for growing certain (but very common) plants, even if dosing E.I.?

Is it the reason that a rich daily dosing of iron & traces seem not to effect certain plants positively?

Does the pH play into this, which will never be below 7?

And: Would my plant problems go away if I got a RO unit? Or am I looking in the wrong direction here?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 03:16 PM
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More emphasis should be placed on light and C02, which you didn't mention.
These two elements alone can and will cause more problems than GH/KH
or fertilizers at any time, or regardless of nutrients, as long at you have some
macro and micro nutrients in the water.
Dosing is the easy part, it is so easy anyone can do it, C02 on the other hand
is not so easy...

Most plant issues are usually related to C02/light.

Soft water is important to particular plants but not all, so if you are having
issues, the first thing I want to know is, what is your light/C02 setup and filtration?

Now if you are trying to grow Erio's or Tonina in a KH-10, you can forget it
regardless of C02.

word

Craig

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Craig, for your answer.
I didn't mention CO2 and light as I think them not the problem in my case and ruled them out. Same (under reservations) with NPK and TE's. Lights are moderate, CO2 is high - as it should be.

Nevertheless I have massive problems with chlorosis's and growing of some species - and I don't mean Toninas: it's simple things like Limnophilia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. leucocephala. Like Sagittaria and Vallisneria and HC which won't grow at all. While other species thrive, like Glossostigma and red Ludwigias and a dozen others.

I'm at my wit's end.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 06:08 PM
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If you think you have everything in order, which sometimes can fool us,
myself included, if you do think it may have something to do with KH/GH
before purchasing an RO unit, I would try some distilled water at H20 change
for a couple weeks to see if that does in fact make a difference, without
changing anything else.
The pH is hard to get below 7 mostly because of the high KH.

Are you positive that you are getting good C02 and as it being distributed
efficiently? and I assume that your C02 is not DIY yeast mix.

How much light, what size tank? substrate type?
Are you in fact dosing NPK, TE?

Regards

Craig

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Craig,

my drop checker sits in a place the farest from the CO2-Reactor and its light green. When I put it near the reactor it's almost yellow. The plants are pearling like crazy, always, for months. The chlorotic plants sit/sat mostly on the side with the higher CO2. So, yes, I'd say it's enough?

I dose E.I.; Fe/TE I dose daily as much as is recommended on the bottle for a week (if I do less or forget a dose the chlorosises get worse).
I did E.I. for years now in different tanks. Always worked well. Only difference to the other tanks is the hard water in this new place I live.

Substrate is sand only. 75g with 140W MH.

No chance to get destilled water in that quantities up the stairs for weeks. On the other hand I don't want to buy an expensive (would need at least a 15g/h one as I can't store water) RO unit, if it would be for nothing.

Any idea?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 06:52 PM
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Here is a standard EI dosed ank with higher light/CO2 and a KH of 11, GH 24:







Not much biomass either.

I used Tropica Master grow here, it has a better chelator for TE's for higher KH's than say SeaChem or other brands.

I think the plant species you have, are very eays to grow and should do well in any type of water, unlike say, some Tonia, Erio's, R walichii and a few Rotala's.

Holes and twisted tips in those species are more likely a CO2 issue, the light seems more than enough, so that's less an issue. EI rules out nutrients for NPK, GH seems fine and Ca/Mg, so not much left at this point.

If you want to rule out TE, try adding 15mls every other day of the Tropica brand.

That should address it.

There's another possible issue also: the tap water has copper, or some other plant herbicide etc.

Activated Carbon can remove those things and clean the tank up some as well. So you might try that, + good care, cleaning and make sure you are top of things for the next 3-4 weeks, tweak the CO2 and watch the plant's new growth and development.

CO2 is the largest factor in plant tanks, it can drive growth from say 500-2000% faster, so it makesthe most sense to watch that more than the nutrients, which are rather easy to rule out limitations.

I suggets using your eyes and watch the fish carefully, and the new plant grwth. Adjujst the CO2 slowly, then watch for a day or two, then adjust again until you get the results in new growth you want.

Do this slow and step wise.

Do no add a lot more CO2 and then leave for work!!!

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Hello Tom,

very beautiful tanks!

So. This means it's not the KH/GH (D*mn. Or better: great, no RO).

Just to clarify this: the Ca/Mg ratio in the water is very skewed: 55 to 6 mg/l. Can this imbalance be a factor in my woes? I dose 18 g MgSO4 (3 dGH) extra/week because of that. Not really needed or too little?

No copper according to the water analysis (and my shrimps are fine). But I can try carbon, of course.

I will look around for the Tropica TE. Makes sense to me that wrong chelates could be a reason for the chlorosis.

Thank you, Tom, for your advice.

Best,
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nix View Post
Hello Tom,

very beautiful tanks!

So. This means it's not the KH/GH (D*mn. Or better: great, no RO).

Just to clarify this: the Ca/Mg ratio in the water is very skewed: 55 to 6 mg/l. Can this imbalance be a factor in my woes? I dose 18 g MgSO4 (3 dGH) extra/week because of that. Not really needed or too little?

No copper according to the water analysis (and my shrimps are fine). But I can try carbon, of course.

I will look around for the Tropica TE. Makes sense to me that wrong chelates could be a reason for the chlorosis.

Thank you, Tom, for your advice.

Best,
Big Al's has it
http://www.bigalsonline.com/edealinv...42&search.y=17
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nix View Post
Hi Craig,

my drop checker sits in a place the farest from the CO2-Reactor and its light green. When I put it near the reactor it's almost yellow. The plants are pearling like crazy, always, for months. The chlorotic plants sit/sat mostly on the side with the higher CO2. So, yes, I'd say it's enough?

I dose E.I.; Fe/TE I dose daily as much as is recommended on the bottle for a week (if I do less or forget a dose the chlorosises get worse).
I did E.I. for years now in different tanks. Always worked well. Only difference to the other tanks is the hard water in this new place I live.

Substrate is sand only. 75g with 140W MH.

No chance to get destilled water in that quantities up the stairs for weeks. On the other hand I don't want to buy an expensive (would need at least a 15g/h one as I can't store water) RO unit, if it would be for nothing.

Any idea?
I don't blame you for not wanting to lug water upstairs, what a chore.

How much TE do you dose following the bottle recommendation? you should
be adding at least 15 ml every other day.
What kind/brand TE do you have? and what are the bottle recommendations?

Craig

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Craig,

on the bottle: up to O,4 W/l (2W/g): 10 ml/100l per week.
I dose 12 ml/day.

What brand do I use -- you don't know the brand but it comes recommended over here: http://www.drak.de/en/products/ferti...ramerdrak.html

I had two other brands before this one, and this is a tat better than them (again brands I don't think you have over there, by JBL and EasyLife).

Any thoughts on the Ca:Mg ?

Thank you.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 03:04 PM
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The Ca/Mg is actually pretty good, you have enough Mg for a week's growth etc. The Easylife should do the trick, or Sera etc. Tropica has to be available in Germany also. I'd add a bit more, then focus more on the CO2. Dosing is pretty easy, you add slowly and progressively add more till you no logner se any improvement in plant growth.

Do you add KNO3, KH2PO4 etc? Adding those are easy.
I do not think there's any need for GH booster

So mostly what is left is CO2.
I generally have folks look at that very carefully.
Do not assume that you have enough CO2 unless the plants tell you that you do.

Poor CO2 can lead to algae, twisted tips, smaller progressive growth, a general lull in the over all condition of gowth in the aquarium. Keep a real close eye on that and adjust it as needed(generally when something does not look quite right).


Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Here is a standard EI dosed ank with higher light/CO2 and a KH of 11, GH 24:







Not much biomass either.

I used Tropica Master grow here, it has a better chelator for TE's for higher KH's than say SeaChem or other brands.

I think the plant species you have, are very eays to grow and should do well in any type of water, unlike say, some Tonia, Erio's, R walichii and a few Rotala's.

Holes and twisted tips in those species are more likely a CO2 issue, the light seems more than enough, so that's less an issue. EI rules out nutrients for NPK, GH seems fine and Ca/Mg, so not much left at this point.

If you want to rule out TE, try adding 15mls every other day of the Tropica brand.

That should address it.

There's another possible issue also: the tap water has copper, or some other plant herbicide etc.

Activated Carbon can remove those things and clean the tank up some as well. So you might try that, + good care, cleaning and make sure you are top of things for the next 3-4 weeks, tweak the CO2 and watch the plant's new growth and development.

CO2 is the largest factor in plant tanks, it can drive growth from say 500-2000% faster, so it makesthe most sense to watch that more than the nutrients, which are rather easy to rule out limitations.

I suggets using your eyes and watch the fish carefully, and the new plant grwth. Adjujst the CO2 slowly, then watch for a day or two, then adjust again until you get the results in new growth you want.

Do this slow and step wise.

Do no add a lot more CO2 and then leave for work!!!

Regards,
Tom Barr
That tank is beautiful! And thats a nice way to trouble shoot. It should be a general guide line.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Hello Tom,

so there is no reason for the 3:1 "rule" for Ca:Mg? As long there is enough of each? Alright.

Yes, I use KNO3 and KH2PO4.

I will try to get Co2 a bit higher. And will dose even more TE's. Isn't there the danger of too much, Fe for example? I hear so often about toxicity and blocking (Fe/Mn) but it's always very vague and a bit of scaremongering around the aquaristic forums. How much is too much and why? Why the 0,1 mg/l rule for iron?

Thank you in advance for any enlightenment!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Hi,

just an update:

as suggested I used activated carbon, I upped CO2 a little bit more (Drop checker from green-yellow to yellow). Further I dosed 10g MgSo4 and 2,5g KH2SO4 after water change. I changed the TE fert brand.

Ten days later:

The chlorosises get stronger in H. leucocephala, the leaves get smaller. L. sessiliflora I did away with; they gave up. The green spot algae took over the glosso, the hairgras and the older leaves of H. corymbosa and ludwigia ... in short: the small problems slowly become big ones.

I would very much appreciate any further suggestion how my tank can drown in green spot algae (none other) and chlorosises when by everything I know about ferts, light and CO2 the plants should burst the tank with their healthy growth?

I will do now, pending any other suggestion: do away with the a. carbon, lifting the lights some inches more and lessen the time to less than 8 hours.

Help, please?
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 07:48 PM
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Hello Tom,

so there is no reason for the 3:1 "rule" for Ca:Mg? As long there is enough of each? Alright.
Yes, I have yet to see any credible evidence otherwise, Dr Bloom is the foremost mineral nutrition researcher, along with the oft cited Epstein co wrote a well referenced text on Mineral nutrition of Higher plants. He's here at UC Davis, had him for a class. I don't care what some cheese ball claims on line, I'll stick with his advice, as well as my own specific method to testing where we attempt to falsify/test our hypothesis, not just assume some crap as "truth". Do not do that type of thinking, they are more often than not, wrong. Some go further even when shown they cannot be right in their hypothesis, insisting and defending their ego's, rather than saying and fessing they where wrong. It's not personal, it's just how we learn, we make mistakes and learn from them. I make lots. But I keep going and learn from each mistake. You do not dig your heels in and keep saying the earth is flat

Quote:
Yes, I use KNO3 and KH2PO4.

I will try to get Co2 a bit higher. And will dose even more TE's. Isn't there the danger of too much, Fe for example? I hear so often about toxicity and blocking (Fe/Mn) but it's always very vague and a bit of scaremongering around the aquaristic forums. How much is too much and why? Why the 0,1 mg/l rule for iron?

Thank you in advance for any enlightenment!
There's no such "rule" except by the Know Nothings or the Parrots that repeat what someone else said.

I have quite a few studies that some aquatic plants like Hydrilla increase their rates of growth up to 6ppm of Fe, I add about .5ppm or so typically, I've added 10ppm without issues as well.

These are hard numbers, data etc. Not just some baloney about blocking, or stunting, or toxicity.

The fish where Cardinals, Rummy nose, soft water Apistos, L no# Plecos, Amano shrimps etc.....all so called sensitive species.

I was at 20-30 X the suggested amounts with no adverse effects on plants or critters.

No algae etc.

Water was yellow, pretty yellow for that matter, but otherwise, no issues after 1-2 weeks.

So if this stuff occurs, why did I not see "bad effects", that the Know Nothings claim? It's their hypothesis yet they do not test these claims.........nor have direct experience with the very advice that they give?

And I or anyone is suppose to think they have credibility?
Credibility is earned and demonstrated, not "given".

Fe=Mn issues do occur, but not in these systems at these low concentrations.

That's where the issues start, folks fuse this stuff and mix it up.
They are chasing 2 dozen possible things, cannot isolate anything, nor test, so they guess and leave folks with 101 speculations/myths.

If you do test, then you can see what is what and narrow the choices down.
But few bother. They are not really interested in that, just some combo that works for them for whatever reason.

They do not care about why or being correct as much.

That's just how the hobby/human nature is.
The way to beat that is to show examples where those treatments are being done, yet no adverse affects are occurring and the tank looks good etc.

Then their theories no longer hold and make sense.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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