Bacopa caroliniana deficiency? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Bacopa caroliniana deficiency?

Hello gurus, I'm noticing some problems with my Bacopa caroliniana, and I'm worried a deficiency is creeping up on me. The bottoms of the stems are melting, and they float up to the top. Here's an example of one of the stems after floating away:


Still, I'm seeing good growth on the tops, with new leaves every couple of days. Here's an example of the good growth:


They just don't seem to be putting out good roots, and staying put. I have been using plant weights to help keep the stems buried, and I've been careful not to squeeze the stems too tight in the weights.

I have a low-tech setup (which I've figured is fine for Bacopa, since you can basically grow it in tap water), dosing Excel daily and Thrive twice weekly.
Parameters:
pH: 7.5
GH: 10
KH: 3
Nitrate: 15 ppm
Ammonia/Nitrite: 0

I'm pretty sure I'm low on Iron, as my amazon swords have always shown a little chlorosis, even with root tabs. I've tried dosing Flourish Iron, which I've read should be good at my pH of 7.5, but I always get a cloudy appearance after dosing (so maybe it's precipitating and getting lost?). I'm wondering if I should start playing with Ca, as the KH is on the low side.

Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks!


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Last edited by nbgolds; 11-08-2018 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Italics added
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 04:40 PM
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Do you have them bunched up in the weight or are you using a weight per individual stem? Crowding the plants could cause the issue you're having. Also, are they emersed converting to submerged? That could also cause the problem you're seeing.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
Do you have them bunched up in the weight or are you using a weight per individual stem? Crowding the plants could cause the issue you're having. Also, are they emersed converting to submerged? That could also cause the problem you're seeing.
Thanks, varanidguy! Some of them are in bunches (ironically, the ones putting on the best growth as seen in the photo) and some are in individual stems with weights. The ones that seem to be melting from the bottom are the individual stems. Not sure what that means.

Maybe they don't like my substrate, EcoComplete?

Not sure if they were emersed, but if so, I thought they would loose emersed leaves and put on new submerged leaves when transitioning, not melting roots/bottoms. They were from buceplant, so I'm not sure how they were grown.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 06:23 PM
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Hi @nbgolds,

It doesn't appear to be a calcium issue, the plants are not showing any symptoms of such. I just checked out the latest Denver water report online. Most of the water is from snow melt streams, springs, and rivers feeding various reservoirs around the Denver area. In most cases water from sources such as this is very soft. The online report does not give water hardness or ppm of calcium or magnesium it does state that lime (CaO) is added to the drinking water so it is likely that most of the dGH you are reading is derived from calcium.

Your nitrates are a little low which could be causing the chlorosis you are seeing.

When I downloaded, enlarged, and enhanced your two pictures I saw some interveinal chlorosis on the older swordplant leaves with so necrosis along the leaf edges. In the second picture the newer anubias leaf on the left side of the photo is showing curling of the leaf margins, the leaves of the Ludwigia 'Red' are also showing curling, the leaves of the Bacopa are looking anemic - not as green as one would expect.

If it were my tank I would suspect an issue with insufficient magnesium (Mg). Here is the definition of a magnesium deficiency:

Quote:
II. Symptoms do not appear first or most severely on youngest leaves: Effect general on whole plant or localized on older, lower leaves.

A . Chlorosis general, no interveinal chlorosis. Effects usually general on whole plant.

C. Interveinal chlorosis. Interveinal chlorosis first appears on oldest leaves.

1. Older leaves chlorotic, usually necrotic in late stages. Chlorosis along leaf margins extending between veins produces a "Christmas tree" pattern. Veins normal green. Leaf margins may curl downward or upward with puckering effect. Necrosis may suddenly occur between veins. Potassium or calcium excess can inhibit uptake of magnesium...magnesium deficiency

When the external magnesium supply is deficient, interveinal chlorosis of the older leaves is the first symptom because as the magnesium of the chlorophyll is remobilized, the mesophyll cells next to the vascular bundles retain chlorophyll for longer periods than do the parenchyma cells between them. Leaves lose green color at tips and between veins followed by chlorosis or development of brilliant colors, starting with lower leaves and proceeding upwards. The chlorosis/brilliant colors (unmasking of other leaf pigments due to the lack of chlorophyll) may start at the leaf margins or tips and progress inward interveinally producing a "Christmas" tree pattern. Leaves are abnormally thin, stems are brittle and side stems have a tendency to curve upward. Stems are weak, subject to fungus infection, usually leaves drop prematurely.
Here is what I suggest:

Increase your Thive dosing so nitrogen (NO3) the 20 ppm - 30 ppm range per your test kit.

Continue dosing Seachem Flourish Iron per instructions on label 3X per week

Add Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate / MgSO4*7H2O) to your dosing routine. Do an initial dose of 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons. Thereafter, add 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons of new water added during water changes. This should increase the magnesium in your tank by about 5 ppm and the dGH should increase by about 1 degree.

Now the hard part, waiting. After you start the change in dosing you should start to see some changes in the new leaves as they emerge; the existing leaves will not change. The new leaves should look greener and healthier (and possibly larger). As the newly emerged leaves mature you should not see the interveinal chlorosis and leaf margin curling that we see now in the Amazon swordplants and the Ludwigia 'Red'.

Post pictures as things progress, let us know how things are improving (or not). It helps others when the results are posted. -Roy
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 06:23 PM
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Thanks, varanidguy! Some of them are in bunches (ironically, the ones putting on the best growth as seen in the photo) and some are in individual stems with weights. The ones that seem to be melting from the bottom are the individual stems. Not sure what that means.



Maybe they don't like my substrate, EcoComplete?



Not sure if they were emersed, but if so, I thought they would loose emersed leaves and put on new submerged leaves when transitioning, not melting roots/bottoms. They were from buceplant, so I'm not sure how they were grown.


Most likely a mix of both. Converting stems will commonly melt. I would cut off the melting portions and plant the healthy tops. Also un-bunch them and plant them individually. Once this variety of bacopa becomes established it grows very, very well.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much @Seattle_Aquarist and @varanidguy for your suggestions! Seattle_Aquarist, that sounds like a good plan. I know these low-tech tanks can be tough to pin down, but I'm going to give it my best. Your suggestions are all excellent. I'll increase Thrive and try some Epsom salts. I'm still worried about the Flourish Iron, in that the water turns cloudy every time I dose. But I guess it shouldn't have any negative impacts, right? I'll continue to dose 3x per week. I'll post updates with progress.

Varanidguy, thanks for the suggestion-- I'll unclump them and try that. And cut and replant the ones that have started floating.

Thanks again!


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 08:20 PM
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Hi @nbgolds,

Are you possibly adding the Thrive and the Flourish Iron at the same time on the same day? If so what you are seeing is the ferrous gluconate (iron) reacting with the phosphate in the Thrive and precipitating into ferrous phosphate which is an insoluble solid. Don't dose them on the same day and see if the problem disappears.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @nbgolds,

Are you possibly adding the Thrive and the Flourish Iron at the same time on the same day? If so what you are seeing is the ferrous gluconate (iron) reacting with the phosphate in the Thrive and precipitating into ferrous phosphate which is an insoluble solid. Don't dose them on the same day and see if the problem disappears.
Hey @Seattle_Aquarist: I'm actually dosing Thrive and Iron on different days. For example, I dose Thrive on Sunday, Iron on Monday, Thrive again on Wednesday, and Iron on Thursday. But maybe the phosphate hangs around from the Thrive long enough to precipitate out with the Iron the following day. Who knows.
I'll try dosing TWO days apart (Thrive Sunday and Wednesday, Iron Tuesday and Friday). If I can get ANY of the iron to stay in solution, I think the plants will be much happier.


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