CSM+B Toxicity Experiment - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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CSM+B Toxicity Experiment

I’m pretty sure I overdosed recently on CSM+B, so I am a believer in this thread, https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=503585 despite the ability of many to “lard on” the traces with no ill effects. Over the past few months I increased CSM+B dosing to EI levels in order to revive some A. Reineckii at the suggestion of another member. It appeared to work. A couple weeks ago I was seeing stalled growth of many plants, with curling leaves on AR and ludwigia glandulosa, ludwigia ovalis, and even warped new leaves on swordplants which I had never seen before, even with medium light and DIY CO2 on a 155 gallon tank. (I now have pressurized CO2.) A couple weeks ago I also increased CSM+B to 1 tsp three times a week on the 155, and noticed new glandulosa leaves being very skinny and warped with little color. Changes were apparent as soon as several hours after dosing. Also noticed that new swordplant leaf tips turned brown and stopped growing, like I had singed them with a blowtorch. Last week I held off CSM+B for a few days, did a 50% w/c, and dosed again accordingly. I saw immediate results the next day – new AR leaves were brittle and shriveled, glandulosa leaves looked worse, and swordplant leaves were also crinkled up to match pictures of boron deficiency. I wish I had the before and after pictures! So, last night I changed 40% of the water and will hold off on CSM+B to see what happens here. Lately I’ve also noticed more lower leaves of plants looking bad, yellowing and falling apart to suggest nitrate or potassium deficiency even though nitrates measure 20-40 ppm with calibrated kit and I dose 20ppm of K2SO4 a week. Wonder if the excess iron and traces are prohibiting some plants from using macros the way they normally would? I don’t believe I have a CO2 deficiency since pH is 6.3 and de-gas test reads 7.5, and I thankfully have no BBA, hair algae or GSA to speak of. Only a little GDA on some lower leaves, which if they are stressed, could make perfect sense. GH is 7, kH is 4 and lighting is BML Dutch XB dimmed to 75% and dual T5 HO (over glass cover) run for 7-hour period, 24” over substrate. Substrate is old fluorite with Osmocote+ tabs, and its possible I could have a large iron/trace buildup over the last few months.

At this point I will risk running a deficiency since dumping in CSM+B by the tsp appears to give immediate problems with brittle and curling and deformed growth tips on some plants.


Question - As I hold off on trace dosing to see if things improve (glandulosa looked better last summer when I dosed CSM+B at EI levels), what plants would show an iron or trace deficiency first?


Swordplants
Ludwigia Glandulosa
Ludwigia Ovalis
Ludwigia Arcuata
Vallisneria Spiralis
Crypt Wendtii
Bacopa Caroliniana
Java Fern
Anubias Nana

Last edited by aclaar877; 11-18-2015 at 08:25 PM. Reason: Error
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post #2 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 12:29 AM
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Hi Andrew, I am your mentioned Member that had success with AR by increasing traces!!

Well, irony of the story, I had the same exact issue, 4 weeks ago... I begun to notice that my AR stopped growing, and some of my Rotalas also were stunted... Marsilea Minuta also stopped growing, whereas usually I see a steady growth every other day... why was that? I had everything in place, full EI nutrients, Co2 at extreme levels (1.5 PH drop, over 70ml/minute)... well, actually I changed something a couple of months before: whereas before I used to dose macros every 3 days and micros in the two days in between, I changed the fert schedule by dosing macros just once a week, on Saturday after WC, by keeping the same amount of macros of course, for each week as before (NOTE: I perform a water change every 2 weeks, therefore I dose less than traditional EI, but please, keep reading...)... and then I kept the same micros dosing for the other days of the week until the next Saturday... I knew that by doing that at the end of the 2 weeks cycle, I would have added at least 1/3 more of micros, but I really didn't expect a "toxicity" (I dose also Fe DTPA besides regular Plantex)... well, as I said above, after just 6 weeks since I begun this new schedule, some of my plants begun to stop growing. I didn't actually reach the toxicity level of Andrew (aclaar877), but I could stop all this by just making 2 big water changes and revisit the schedule by reducing micros of 1/2, every day... so, now I dose macros on Sat, and half micros every day after that until the following Sat where the cycle re-start... I am now after just 2 weeks of this new schedule, and my AR are already getting better, as well as my Rotalas... and Marsilea also!!

So, I really think that in my case, where I perform less water changes than recommended by EI, a leaner dosing may be necessary... I also strongly think that every tank is different and so its requirements. What works for you maybe is not working for me, what make your plants grow great, causes a toxicity in mine, etc... always keep an eye when you make a change, and get ready to revert back or fix any possible damage.

To answer your question Andrew, I think that Swordplants are a good candidate to check for micro deficiencies or micro-related issues. Swordplants in my tank grow super-fast, so I guess they behave similarly in yours. I don't know about Bacopa, never had one... my best plants to check for deficiencies are Higrophilas. If you have the chance to get them, they'll help you a big deal to spot deficiencies several weeks ahead of slow-growing plants like Anubias.

If I were you, I'd try to reduce micros at least 1/3 (similarly to what I have done), and see what happens....

Please, keep us posted!!
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post #3 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 12:49 AM
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You wanna see a clear cut example of trace/fe overdose? Load up the tank with Osmocote+ and then try EI levels of trace.

As the OP mentioned, the results will be most visible in red plants, usually as often as a day or two after dosing. Severe necrosis, withered, discolored, and dropping leaves.

I screwed up my high tech 75 for 3 months on account of this. It took that long to pinpoint the problem. I went almost 4 months w/o dosing csmb or fe.


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post #4 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, that's what I did - Osmocote+ under Glandulosa, Swords and Reineckii plus traces in excess of EI. I also had the drooping leaves, most noticeable on Ludwigia Ovalis and to some extent on AR and Glandulosa. Ovalis was tallest and closest to the light. I had some giant hygro before, but couldn't keep it from shedding leaves, but I may get some compact hygro.

Will update this post in coming days as things (hopefully) improve. The twisted sword leaves are already starting to unwind, and I'll see if the leaves stop drooping.
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post #5 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 05:09 AM
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Great to know that! Please, let us know your improvements, and I will post mine. Thanks
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post #6 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 12:48 PM
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This is an interesting topic with many threads and discussions. At what levels do you think CSM+B becomes toxic?

I also find it interesting that both of you loaded up with Osmocote in addition to the CSM. Is it possible that too much Osmocote is the issue? How much did you add?
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post #7 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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I couldn't tell you what levels CSM+B becomes toxic - I don't have any test kits for iron or anything else in CSM+B. I probably had 15-20 inch-long gelcaps of Osmocote+ in a 155-gallon tank (placed there over a period of 8 months), and had been dosing close to 2x the EI level of CSM+B for a short time. The thread referenced in my first post at the top of this thread is a good discussion.
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post #8 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 01:19 PM
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I missed the 2X E.I. part.... That's a lot of traces.... Why did you dose that much? I think if we look at the break down of CSM+B to try to guess the element that may cause this it could be zinc. I highly doubt it is iron, people dose 1ppm and up without issues. Zinc is also present in Osmocote at .05%. Another element to consider would be copper, but since people dose CSM+B with inverts safely I highly doubt a plant toxicity would occur before the inverts starting dying.
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post #9 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 03:00 PM
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The problem with such tests is the difficulty of measuring concentration and uptake rates at the hobbyist level. Also, to exclude other factors, this kinda assumes you can grow plants near perfection in an initial state - a lot of people think they have optimal scenarios, or healthy plant growth, but when you look at their pics.... often it is not so. More things are involved in growing healthy tanks than just nutrient dosing and measuring CO2 through a pH drop. If it was so, everyone would have fantastic plant growth, cos those two points are so damn easy. Everyone uses EI and claims to have high CO2, but the results vary across a tremendous range.

If I differ to people who for sure have plants that are growing healthily and who conduct such tests with far more sophisticated testing equipment i.e. Tom barr... who have found no such toxicity even at relatively elevated levels... then I find it hard to be convinced by people running poorer quality tanks with less sophisticated knowledge and equipment.

Not saying that you are wrong per se. But the odds are stacked

Some stuff that would help in convincing people: having good quality pics - and good quality growth to start with, listing the threshold concentrations in PPM over time to be accurate (not just load up on traces/osmocote!), testing across more than 1 tank, and having a holistic record sheet over time/days like



To establish that it is causation and not correlation is difficult; and requires much more steps. One must also have some answer for those of us who dose more than EI levels, and don't see such negative downsides in plant growth.

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post #10 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcarl_10gal View Post
I also find it interesting that both of you loaded up with Osmocote in addition to the CSM. Is it possible that too much Osmocote is the issue? How much did you add?

I didn't and never used Osmocote. Just dry ferts with EI regime, but water change every 2 weeks... Maybe just that made the trick to accumulate too many traces?
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post #11 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 04:52 AM
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It would be extremely unlikely that "CSM+B" would become toxic. But, it might be possible for one of the many trace nutrients in CSM+B to be excessive in some tanks that also get some of those nutrients from a different source. If you wanted to test this it would be better to do normal dosing of CSM+B, and add more of one of the included nutrients. After a few weeks you could say "that nutrient, in excess did or didn't affect the plants". Then you would try another of those nutrients, and repeat until all of them had been tested. Of course you would have to start with a tank where the only thing restricting the plants growth rates is light intensity.

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post #12 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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In response to Dennis (who used photos of my crappy AR in one of his youtube videos last year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HHr2SPsoxg), "experiment" may be the wrong word. I tried to edit the title after I posted it but I couldn't do so. (My AR has turned around since those photos in the video!!) I said up front I don't have an answer for those who lard on the traces without incident. All I can talk about is my tank. I haven't tested iron or other trace levels and don't intend to. I watch the plants rather than test kits, and to have an immediate "frying" of swordplant leaves after increasing traces and nothing else points to something in the trace category. Swords, glandulosa and AR showed very drastic changes in such a short time.

I was dosing so much because some plants appeared to have trace deficiency, and my nitrates stayed pretty high without dosing for long periods, and I thought maybe everything was trace-limited and thus other nutrients were also not being used up as fast. If plants revert back to decent growth without such high trace doses, then I'm happy and I'm not out to prove anything to anyone else. I don't have inverts, so I don't have that canary in a coalmine so-to-speak.

The thread mentioned above suggests that symptoms of iron/trace excess can appear as deficiencies, and that's what I think I had. I was hoping to contribute a data point to that discussion more than anything else.
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post #13 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 03:22 PM
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@bcarl - Regarding how much Oscmocote+ I used....way too much. It was a total rookie mistake on my part.

When I first set the tank up, I had a tendency to rearrange it every 2 weeks. It started out low tech, excel only, lots of crypts and swords. Every time Id rearrange it, I'd put a new batch of root tabs around everything in it's new location. Fast forward a couple months later and there was probably something like 50 tabs worth. (75 gal tank, inert sand substrate, and by tab I mean a full 00 gel cap). Nevertheless, it was all well and good for several months. Then I went to CO2. The first month was glorious. Everything exploded, and during this time I used up the last of my Seachem liq ferts.

Enter dry ferts at full EI levels. Immediate frying^ is a good way to put it. Within days Lud. Red, Mermaid weed, A gracilis all showed severe symptoms. Some to the point of dying completely. Like I mentioned above, it was only the reddish plants. Nothing else seemed to mind. I didnt know what was happening at first. But soon figured out it was trace/fe related. Luckily I had more of the same plants doing well in a small grow out tank, so I was able to replace the really bad ones as I continued to work on the problem.

To make a long story short, finally I stopped all csm-b/fe. The plants in question did well again. About once a month I'd try another dose or two. Usually it only took one to see the plants still didnt like it. Also tried dosing only Fe with no csm-b. Same response, so I believe that is the main nutrient in question. Early symptoms do in fact look the same as a deficiency. So anyway after a few more months with none at all, they finally started responding well again to moderate doses of csmb. I assume this was the Osmocote running out of juice.

So that is merely my own personal experience, nothing scientific about it. Hopefully a few others can gain some helpful insight from it. I still use O+ in all my sand tanks....just not nearly as much.


@aclaar - to edit the thread title, under display modes, switch to "threaded". From there you can edit the title. Then switch back as fast as you can because that mode is awful.


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post #14 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 06:37 PM
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Great thread...
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post #15 of 657 (permalink) Old 04-25-2015, 07:14 AM
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I would like to pipe in here. I ran across this thread searching for something regarding nutrient uptake rates in Co2 injected, high light, EI dosed tanks. I was dosing my six gallon with a higher recommended dose of macros and micros. The reason was because even at dosing 1/4 tsp of K and N and a 1/8 tsp of P three times a week I was getting less than the recommended levels of the fertilizers (I always test before and after a water change). I erroneously decided to bump up my CSM+B to match the other ferts since I assumed that it was being taken up by plants just as fast as the macros. I never even considered for a second that micro nutrients can build up faster and are used more sparingly than macros. Well, lo and behold my plants, specifically Telanthera reineckii, started to be affected. The leaves elongated and began to twist up and become wavy. When I tried to move them around while doing a water change, the leaves were breaking off from the pressure of the siphon touching them. I'm not talking about breaking at the nodes, either. They broke off mid-leaf. I decided to start measuring my doses through a gram scale again, and after a few weeks my levels must have leveled out because all of my plants recovered.

I did a lot of researching while I was trying to figure out what was causing my plants strange stunted growth. I came across a lot of "deficiency" type articles, but I ruled out those because I was certainly OVERDOSING my plants. That's when I started to look at the effects of having excess nutrients, one nutrient at a time. Now I would like to say that everyone is different, and every tank is different. I've seen where people dose up to 8ppm of iron in their tanks with no ill effects. Other people, like me hardly dose it at all (I can't tell you what my ppm is because I don't have an Fe kit). However, with that being said, I have found a pretty good thread (an experiment, too) that pointed to excess Fe causing symptoms in plants similar to mine: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...much-iron.html. If you don't read it, just know that the guy was performing an experiment with dosing 50ml every other day with fluorish but accidentally did so with Fe and he got symptoms similar to what I had and what was described in this thread within the week.

Further reading led me to this very scientific article of Fe's role in aquatic plants in different water parameters and its chemical properties that determine its availability to plants: http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/ferrous-ferric. After reading this I can definitely see how some people can get away with dosing more and how some are fine dosing less. It all boils down to a lot of different chemical variables based on our individual tanks.

Lastly, this article comes to mind and I think that Tom Barr makes a very valid point. http://www.barrreport.com/forum/barr...-iron-toxicity If you read it, you will see that basically, unless someone does an experiment that proves the Fe in CSM+B is for sure causing these problems, its hard to say that the problem is excess Fe without at least a little doubt. My personal hypothesis is that there is little known about the effects of excess nutrient effects on aquatic plants (although there are a plethora of scientific articles on the subject regarding agricultural plants) but that I do believe that Fe is responsible for the stunted growth I had on my red Telanthera.

In any case, I wish that I had more time and tanks. I would love to set up a test where I could create a dosing regimen, have a control, and see what the effects on the plants are with excess nutrients. We all know what the lower threshold of nutrients are for our plants but we don't know the excess, probably because in most cases our plants grow fast due to the environment we cultivate them in, the EI method allows us to over dose in a way that doesn't add up to super high levels (most of the time), and regular water changes also bring these values down.

Anyways, I that's just my 2 cents on the issue. Thanks for a great thread!
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