Can't grow red plants - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Can't grow red plants

Looking for a little guidance. I have a 72g bowfront that I am trying to achieve a dutch style scape, but I can't grow reed plants for the life of me. AR mini doesn't grow and is a pale red, but it doesn't die either. Ludwigia red which is "one of the easiest to grow red plants" is nearly green. Even plants that can turn red with little effort, will not even show a hint of red.

Some background on myself and my other tanks:
This tank is at college with me, but I have 10 other tanks back home, one of which is also "high tech" but only gets dosed once every 2 weeks and still gets better reds than this tank. I have no growth issues in any of my other tanks back home, most share the same plants between them.

A little about my setup:
Filtration: 2 Eheim pro II 2028's
Lighting: Hamilton Technologies 4 Bulb T5 HO, with 2 Coralife 6700k and 2 Current TrueLumen Flora, on for 8 hours a day
The light sits directly on the glass lids of the tank.
Substrate: 1.5" Black Diamond blasting sand cap, over about .5" of dirt
CO2: Concoa 2 stage regulator, swagelock metering valve, flowing into one of the intakes of the pro II's at what I would consider a very high rate (fish are not gasping, nor showing any signs of stress)
Dosing: EI method per the concentrations on the nilocg website, here, using the 15mL per 75g chart, plus a .15ppm dosage of dtpa iron.
Dosing Schedule: Macros and dtpa on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Micros on Tuesday and Thursday
Fish: Currently only have 5 Sterbai Cories, still deciding on what else to keep
Plants: Due to my issues I'm still using some basic stems
Cabomba: grows tall and fast, does show some red/purple tint when about 4" or less from the water's surface, nodes are very far apart though (about 1")
Bacopa Carolinia: growth is slow, but healthy and color is normal
Rotala Rotundifolia: Growth is again slow, it shows no signs of being red, but its almost yellow
Limnophilia Aromatica: Growth, height wise is slow, but the growth is very bushy, but again it looks yellow
Ludwigia: Good growth, broad leaves, mostly a greenish color
Hygrophila Polysperma (yes I know its a weed, I am careful about disposal (composted for future tank dirt)): Growth is surprisingly slow and its not invasive like it normally is, growth is short but color is good
Dwarf Sag: growth is good, color is normal, runners are a bit slow though
Dwarf Hair Grass: growth is slow (to be expected), but it is spreading and doing exceptable
AR Mini and Rosefolia: very pale color, growth is none existant, the mini is doing better than the rosefolia
Ludwigia Red: barely still alive, growth is nearly green

Onto some questions/ideas:
1. Does ph effect red plant growth? Like I said I have tanks back home, their ph is 7.6, here at school I have liquid rock (ph maxes out a high range API test kit at 8.8)
2. Should I add even more ferts? I do not get any algae growth on the plants, only the glass after about 2 weeks of neglect. I have added and removed fert days with no change.
3. Should I try different bulbs/ more bulbs? What I have now I've seen others grown red plants no problem.
4. I know someone used to do water testing to find out exactly what is in your water. Does this person still do testing? If so what does it cost?

I have seen these plants turn red and growth improve for a day or 2. Why, I have no clue, I didn't make any changes that should have induced the change.
I have read countless other threads about peoples dosing and experimentation, burr in particular. I have tried some of what has worked for them but didn't get any results of my own.
When I describe plants as yellow or greenish, the best way to describe it is the color plants become before turning red. Back home I would get plants that would be about the same color but then the next day they would turn red.

I am basically out of ideas, any advice would be appreciated. I can post pictures if that would help, but they will be phone pictures, so they won't be great.
Thanks

55g Low-Tech 40b High-Tech
9g Cube Low-Tech Fluval Spec III High-Tech
40b Low-Tech 72g Bowfront High-Tech
29g Low-Tech
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 04:39 AM
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Lets see.. Usual tricks
1)Add more available iron
2)Nitrogen starve them
3) burn them with intense UV/Violet/blue..
4) Take photo and photoshop it.. tell people it "really looks that way"...
5) Increase CO2
There that covers most philosophies..


Quote:
Red coloration depends most strongly on lighting intensity and to a lesser degree on the nutrients you add or do not add to the tank.
If you want very red plants, increase the lighting to very high levels.
Try lowering your lights or adding more of them to do this.
I've got 200 watts of T5 HO above a 40 gallon tank and all the plants are blood red, even the hygo difformis is turning red and that is pretty much a green plant only.
pH does seem to effect some plants and best to start to concentrate on the ones that are currently healthiest, regardless of color..

Unless genetically pre-disposed to red pigments red is a stress response to too much light and/or not enough nitrogen (can't make enough chlorophyll).

One simple thing to try is replace the 6500k's w/ higher K tubes..like 10000 or greater.
Or one actinic for one of the pinks..

you need red to see red and it does encourage some colored pigments but personally found blue really pushes plants..
Mr. Burr


Lots of blue..........

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 02-24-2018 at 04:47 AM. Reason: edit
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 04:42 AM
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Have you tested your Nitrates? I find that if I have high nitrates 40-60ppm or above for a long period of time the red plants will turn green, but if you keep your nitrates at 20-30ppm then your red plants will stay red.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Lets see.. Usual tricks
1)Add more available iron
2)Nitrogen starve them
3) burn them with intense UV/Violet/blue..
4) Take photo and photoshop it.. tell people it "really looks that way"...
5) Increase CO2
1. Like I said I am already dosing at .15ppm on iron, so for the moment I am going to leave that where it is. I just don't want to change too many variables at once, that way I know what my issue was for future reference.
2. I currently have about a weeks worth of ferts left. The next batch I mix up I will reduce the potassium nitrate by a little, but could I be lacking nitrates(see the below response to coldmantis). Correct me if I'm wrong, but the decrease in potassium doesn't affect plant growth, correct? My understanding is that the potassium is only a binding agent for the nitrate.
3. The good news here is when I bought my light it had 2 10,000k and 2 actinic tubes in it, so replacing the 6700k's is a simple swap.
4. This made me laugh. I don't post many pictures of my tanks, so getting plants red is for personal pleasure.
5. I need to build a reactor, so I can get better dissolution of CO2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coldmantis View Post
Have you tested your Nitrates? I find that if I have high nitrates 40-60ppm or above for a long period of time the red plants will turn green, but if you keep your nitrates at 20-30ppm then your red plants will stay red.
Testing my nitrates, with an API master kit, I get 0ppm.

Thanks for the responses.

55g Low-Tech 40b High-Tech
9g Cube Low-Tech Fluval Spec III High-Tech
40b Low-Tech 72g Bowfront High-Tech
29g Low-Tech
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 01:59 AM
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Most red leaf plants require adequate lighting to maintain the red leaves. Without enough light, the plant may be OK but the leaves will turn green.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 03:33 AM
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Ultraviolet stresses plants out, and they turn red...
Blue bulbs probably have more UV than any other, but with LED's there is no guarantee blue will have UV.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 04:19 AM
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"Cabomba: grows tall and fast, does show some red/purple tint when about 4" or less from the water's surface, nodes are very far apart though (about 1")
Bacopa Carolinia: growth is slow, but healthy and color is normal
Rotala Rotundifolia: Growth is again slow, it shows no signs of being red, but its almost yellow"

All these things above that your mentioned indicate not enough light. How old are the bulbs? Under 4 T5HO with good co2 growth should be fast. How are you measuring co2?
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexgen View Post
Testing my nitrates, with an API master kit, I get 0ppm.

Thanks for the responses.
Your plants need nitrates. You shouldn't have zero. Are you sure your results are accurate?
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