Plant issues, cant solve the problem - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-22-2019, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Plant issues, cant solve the problem

Hi everyone, new here, I have been running my planted aquarium for about 4 years now, upgraded to a 290l tank in April this year and committed to the hoby by setting up a co2 system, buying pretty much the whole seachem fertilizer line and recently purchased a second light, the aquaone plantglo 120cm. I always however have had issues with some of my plants especially my stem plants, curled older leafes, blackish green algae growing on them, large holes in them. I am really at the point where I dont know what I am doing wrong, after trying every seachem product for several months with nothing changing I am now using an all in one dry fertilzer following the instructions which has much more macro and micro nutrients than any of the seachem products. However, still nothing is improving the stems are all looking the same with some of them now even stunned. Here are my water and aquarium parameters, ph without co2 goes up to 7.5, using a ph controler which is set to 6.6 at the moment, kh is about 8-10, depending on time of measurement e.g. 10 just before water change, so my co2 should be fine with drop checker also being green sometimes close to yellow, fish doing great,my co2 difuser sits under a powerhead which difuses the bubbles across the aquarium, dosing ferts 3 times a week which is the maximum prescribed on the package, water changes 50% every Saturday. Nitrates are above 40 now having been very low before i used this fertilizer some weeks ago. Po4 is around 3-5, was at 2ppm but always droping using the seachem phosphorus fertilizer, so I really dont think its fertilizers either, lighting is the one light that came with the aquarium only blue and white spectrum leds, 40watts, and the aquaone plantglo 120cm full spectrum 43 watts I think there is no other info on this light even on the package, lights are on from 830am to 830pm with one turning off at 5pm. Iam also using a aquaone canister filter with lots of biological media and seachem purigen. My only drawback which may be an issue is that iam only using gravel as substrate, however I did try root tabs several times. As seen on the pictures, most plants are okay with the Amazon swords looking great however again the stems developing new good looking growths but older leaves curling down developing holes and algae on the leaves with some green spot algae on the anubis.
Any help and tips would be greatly appreciated!<a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a> Can post better fotos if needed
Pascal
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-22-2019, 06:11 AM
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Hi @Pascal,

First of all welcome to TPT!

Sorry to hear about your plant issues. You indicate that your dKH is 8.0 - 10.0.....do you happen to know your dGH?

I downloaded and enlarged a couple of your pictures. It appears that the leaves emerge fairly healthy looking, however as they mature they develop scalloped leaf margins, a hook near the leaf tips, and "cupping" (downward or upward) curling of the leaf margins. As the leaves mature they seem to lose color, develop holes of necrosis (dead tissue) and I am guessing possibly fall from the plant shortly thereafter. Is this correct?

Since it is the older leaves that seem to be most effected it is likely the issue one of the mobile nutrients. Mobile nutrients are nutrients that plants can move from one area of the plant (i.e. older leaves) to areas of new growth if there isn't enough of the nutrient available in the water column or substrate. Common mobile nutrients are: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and a couple of other micro-nutrients.

Based upon the symptoms I see, and without information on the dGH and calcium ppm, I would suspect the issue is caused by insufficient available magnesium (Mg). This can be caused either by insufficient magnesium in the water/substrate or another nutrient effecting the uptake of magnesium (typically too much calcium). Let's start by adding some additional magnesium to your dosing schedule. If it doesn't resolve the issue we will measure the dGH and ppm of calcium (Ca) and calculate the ppm of magnesium (Mg) in the water.

I want you to continue everything as you have been. Lighting, photoperiod, water changes, and nutrient dosing. The only difference is when you do your weekly water changes you are going to add some magnesium to your tank. Go to your local drug store and pick up some Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate/MgSO4*7H2O). Get the cheapest stuff on the shelf with no perfumes or additive. Typically $1.50 per pound, get one pound to start with. When you do your next water change for an initial dose add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom Salt per 50 liters of water in your tank. This will add 5 ppm of magnesium to your tank. Then when your do your 50% weekly water changes add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom Salt per 50 liters of new water added to the tank. Do this for four (4) weeks.

During the next 4 weeks watch the new leaves as they emerge; do not watch existing leaves they will not change and may continue to decline in health. Do the new leaves look healthier? Greener? Possibly larger? Is growth a little faster? Now, as those new leaves mature so they stay flat, maintain a healthy color, and the leaf margins do not "cup" or 'scallop' as badly? If so you are on the right path.

Post to this thread as things progress so we can make adjustments as needed? Questions, just ask! -Roy

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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, plants are brittle and stems have a tendency to curve upward. Stems are weak, subject to fungus infection, usually leaves drop prematurely.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Roy, thank you for your welcoming, and amazing help! I forgot to mention the gh, I find this test quite difficult to do with my water as the color doesnt really change from Orange to green but I think it was about 8-10 drops also. Anyway I did what you suggested and just added 5 1/2 ts of epsom salt to the tank, now the wait begins. Would you suggest trimming the stems to where the healthy leaves start and replant them? I did do this to one of the plants just as an experiment to see the difference. Also my fertilizer states that 3 pumps yield in 100l 0.015ppm of magnesium so for my dosing it would be 0.045 or 0.135ppm per week, I assume this is too low as you mention 5ppm?
Thanks again for your help!
Pascal
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Pascal View Post
Hi Roy, thank you for your welcoming, and amazing help! I forgot to mention the gh, I find this test quite difficult to do with my water as the color doesnt really change from Orange to green but I think it was about 8-10 drops also. Anyway I did what you suggested and just added 5 1/2 ts of epsom salt to the tank, now the wait begins. Would you suggest trimming the stems to where the healthy leaves start and replant them? I did do this to one of the plants just as an experiment to see the difference. Also my fertilizer states that 3 pumps yield in 100l 0.015ppm of magnesium so for my dosing it would be 0.045 or 0.135ppm per week, I assume this is too low as you mention 5ppm?
Thanks again for your help!
Pascal
You may want to get new GH / KH test kits, if you've been using them for four years, as they may have expired (should have expiration dates on them). Your tests should easily be seen to move in color at the proper point.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, yes I just noticed it expired in 2018. But even before it always seemed to go to a yelow greenish colour straight away rather than starting with orange, after about 10 drops I think it went more green.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-28-2019, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Hi all,
So I just contacted my water supplier, while I am waiting for a new gh/ kh test kit, and got the following water parameters for my tap water that I use for my aquarium.
Hardness: I was given a 1-2 on a scale of 1-5 , 1 being soft and 5 severe
Alkalinity as CaCo3= mean of 82.5 mg/l
Manganese= 0.004 mg/l
Sodium= a mean of 118.8 mg/l
Would these indicate that I have very soft water and very low magnesium and calcium in my aquarium? I read somewhere that for 1 degree hardness mag. Or calcium needs to be at least around 7.9mg/l , cant remember exactly.
What would be my next steps to take e.g calculating my calcium and magnesium in my aquarium and dose the epsom salt and calcium accordingly?
Any help appreciated!
Pascal

Last edited by Pascal; 11-28-2019 at 01:01 PM. Reason: H
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-28-2019, 05:17 PM
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Hi @Pascal,

Good to hear from you!

To determine the amount of magnesium in a tank we need the dGH of the tank and the ppm of calcium determined by using a test kit.

"Alkalinity as CaCo3= mean of 82.5 mg/l" unfortunately just tells us you have soft water and does not provide information on the ppm levels of calcium or magnesium. Have you started dosing the Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) as suggested a week ago?

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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-28-2019, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Roy,
I see, thanks! The kh/gh test kit should arrive monday or tuesday hopefully. Will I also need a calcium test kit? I was looking many places online and everyone only seems to supply the kits for saltwater tanks, or does that not matter?
Today will be the second week I am dosing the epsom salt, I thought I did see some healthier looking growth but it is hard to tell, since some of the older leaves are getting worse and worse looking which is normal as you mentioned. Do you recommend to just trim the plants and replant the healthy tops? I will keep you updated once I get the gh/kh test kit.
Thanks, Pascal
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-29-2019, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Pascal View Post
Hi Roy,
I see, thanks! The kh/gh test kit should arrive monday or tuesday hopefully. Will I also need a calcium test kit? I was looking many places online and everyone only seems to supply the kits for saltwater tanks, or does that not matter?
Today will be the second week I am dosing the epsom salt, I thought I did see some healthier looking growth but it is hard to tell, since some of the older leaves are getting worse and worse looking which is normal as you mentioned. Do you recommend to just trim the plants and replant the healthy tops? I will keep you updated once I get the gh/kh test kit.
Thanks, Pascal
Hi Pascal,

Even the older leaves, if they have some green left to them, are contributing to the growth of the plant. I would leave them until we see how the plants respond in another week or two.

-Roy

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-29-2019, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Roy,
Aw okay no worries, I thought maybe the plants will use up nutrients unnecessary to try to recover the damaged leaves. Would you recomend getting the calcium test or not? I can't find any though specifically for tropical aquariums. Also I do have seachem equilibrium which I only used for 2 weeks awhile back and stoped. Should I maybe use that too?
Cheers,
Pascal
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Pascal View Post
Hi Roy,
Aw okay no worries, I thought maybe the plants will use up nutrients unnecessary to try to recover the damaged leaves. Would you recomend getting the calcium test or not? I can't find any though specifically for tropical aquariums. Also I do have seachem equilibrium which I only used for 2 weeks awhile back and stoped. Should I maybe use that too?
Cheers,
Pascal
Hi Pascal,

I see no evidence of a calcium deficiency at this time, let's just dose the magnesium sulfate and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Remember, the old leaves will not change and may continue to decline.....it is the new leaves we want to watch for signs of improvement. I am currently using the Salifert Calcium Test Kit to determine my calcium ppm level.

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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Roy,
I finally received my test kit. So my gh is 180ppm or 10dgh which was the maximum the test strip shows. My kh is also 180ppm. Would these results mean I shouldn't have any issues with my calcium and magnesium?
Cheers,
Pascal
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 04:26 PM
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Hi @Pascal,

I hate test strips, I find them to be at best inaccurate. I much prefer test kits that use liquid reagents such as API or Salifert.

If the 10.0+ dGH is accurate it just means that the total amount of calcium and magnesium added together equals 10.0 dGH; it does not tell us how much of each. You could have high levels of calcium and little to no magnesium, or you could have high levels of magnesium and low calcium, or you could have moderate levels of both.

My first post in this thread on 11/21 provided the symptoms and possible causes of a magnesium deficiency, did you notice this part?
Quote:
Potassium or calcium excess can inhibit uptake of magnesium...magnesium deficiency
An excess of calcium can cause a magnesium deficiency due to the antagonistic relationship of calcium and magnesium.
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Roy, I see, damn normally I do get the liquid tests. I will just get the calcium test kit that you recommend. I will keep dosing the salt also, this will be the fourth week. Thank you for your help, I will keep you updated and post some photos later as I believe the plants do look a bit better!
Cheers, Pascal
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Roy, I got my calcium test kit today, the ApI for saltwater, but I read at several sites and asked in the aquarium store if its ok to use in freshwater. So my gh is 10, my calcium was 4 drops so 80ppm, I then used a calculator to get the ratio and magnesium content and it states mg = -5,22 ratio -15,33:1 ca:Mg. How would you interpret this? For me it seems I have way too much calcium. If I play with the calculator and put in calcium 50 ppm with my other parameters I would be around the 3 or 4 :1 ratio.
Cheers, Pascal
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