mid-tech red plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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mid-tech red plants?

We're running co2 and adding a basic fertilizer regimen in our new tank, but we aren't very highly skilled yet. I'm hoping to add some more color and texture variety to the mix, but when we asked about the red plants they sell at our LFS, we were told we'd need to test and dose iron to keep them from fading to dull brown. They recommended we bring water samples up there weekly to be sure our levels were right, since home test kits aren't as accurate. At a 25 minute drive, this just isn't feasible for us.

Ideally, I'd like to add red to the background of our 29g. Current plants are java fern, unspecified crypts, anubias and a buce godzilla.

Initial google-fu makes me think Alternanthera Reineckii or Ludwigia Repens Rubin might be a good one to start with. I also like Ammania Senegalensis, but I'm not sure keeping the rusty orange is within our skillset.

What has worked well for you in the past? Anyone have any trimmings they'd be willing to ship or sell?

Not exactly my first project, but I'm doing something new and ambitious-for-me.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 01:56 PM
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Crypt flamingo
Red flame sword
Ludwigia 'super red mini'
Mermaid weed
AR mini

You do not need to test your water, you don't need to dump in loads of Iron to make them red, that is kind of a myth. Healthy plants with their nutrient requirement met in most cases will show the best colour. High light is what really drive red colour.

Some species will show better colours under low nitrogen conditions such as Rotala rotundifolia, but I don't recommend this if you are newish to planted tanks.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Crypt flamingo
Red flame sword
Ludwigia 'super red mini'
Mermaid weed
AR mini

You do not need to test your water, you don't need to dump in loads of Iron to make them red, that is kind of a myth. Healthy plants with their nutrient requirement met in most cases will show the best colour. High light is what really drive red colour.

Some species will show better colours under low nitrogen conditions such as Rotala rotundifolia, but I don't recommend this if you are newish to planted tanks.
The op is asking for mid tech red plants, and I guess he meant medium light CO2 set up. Your suggested list probably won’t turn red in medium light. I have 50PAR medium light, and my Mermaid weed and ludwigia repen thrive but stay mostly green. Red flame sword didn’t even survive. Though haven’t tried myself, I believe Crypto flamingo and AR are high light plant that won’t do well in medium light.

It’s hard to grow red plants in medium light. For me, only Nymphaea Stellata and Crypt wenditii work out, but on the brownish red side. I’m still searching.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 06:50 PM
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Your suggested list probably wonít turn red in medium light.
Please see the later pages of my journal for proof these plants can be red low tech, moderate lighting.

All the plants I suggested can be grown in moderate light, no CO2, and "medium tech".

They will all turn red as they approach the light, strong light is the largest contributor to red in the plants, it's a stress response in the plant to high lighting conditions for the most part.

Your 50 PAR means nothing, is that substrate level or in the top 1/4 of the tank? Big difference in red colouration.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post

You do not need to test your water, you don't need to dump in loads of Iron to make them red, that is kind of a myth. Healthy plants with their nutrient requirement met in most cases will show the best colour. High light is what really drive red colour.
OP- It is interesting they wanted to test your water weekly. I agree with this above statement.

Were they going to charge you for a weekly test, including an iron test?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Please see the later pages of my journal for proof these plants can be red low tech, moderate lighting.

All the plants I suggested can be grown in moderate light, no CO2, and "medium tech".

They will all turn red as they approach the light, strong light is the largest contributor to red in the plants, it's a stress response in the plant to high lighting conditions for the most part.

Your 50 PAR means nothing, is that substrate level or in the top 1/4 of the tank? Big difference in red colouration.
I have 30 to 50 par at the substrate level, and 70 to 80s at the surface. All my supposedly red stems are mostly green except for the dwarf lily and Crypto wenditii. Many of my stems developed weak roots, and bare lower stems suggesting insufficient light.

Whatís the link to your journal?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiger15 View Post
I have 30 to 50 par at the substrate level, and 70 to 80s at the surface. All my supposedly red stems are mostly green except for the dwarf lily and Crypto wenditii. Many of my stems developed weak roots, and bare lower stems suggesting insufficient light.



Whatís the link to your journal?


In my signature.

Which stems are not going red?


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger15 View Post
I have 30 to 50 par at the substrate level, and 70 to 80s at the surface. All my supposedly red stems are mostly green except for the dwarf lily and Crypto wenditii. Many of my stems developed weak roots, and bare lower stems suggesting insufficient light.

Whatís the link to your journal?
Your symptoms might actually suggest a lack of sufficient Co2 according to this page 2hr Aquarist coupled with phosphorus deficiency.
For the red plants being green, I'm actually going through the same deal on my tank.
I can keep ludwigia rubin, natans super red, and AR mini red, but rotala rotundifolia 'red' is just as green as the 'green' type I have growing. Same with ludwigia arcuata They are in the whole transition phase from emersed to submersed so it's hard to tell.
For light I have 36 4000k 3 watt LED stars running over my 55 gallon.
I don't know par, but visually it is brighter then my LFS' 250 watt MH lamps over their reef tanks run at 90% for 4 hours a day and 70% for 3.5 hours a day.
So unless I'm grossly misunderstanding how much light I actually have I don't know that high light is 100% the way to get red plants to turn red, right now I'm looking into it maybe being a fert related issue also in my tank, the plants don't exactly grow as expected, even though they're growing like weeds. I suspect it's probably a Co2 issue despite everything pearling like crazy.

For the topic of the thread:
Red plants that grow more red then green in low-medium light conditions that I've grown
Ludwigia rubin, natans super red
AR mini
Crypt tropica (more a purple/red color)
Under lower light conditions these will grow into more a brown/red color then the bright red you might be expecting though.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 10:07 PM
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You have about the same wattage as mine, 3W x 36 = 108 W. Mine is about 100W over a 75g. So I assume the PAR are about the same or a little more in your smaller footprint. Your 4000k led is on the warm side. My LEDs are 7000k with scattered blue and red

The only two red plants that stay all red for me are dwarf lily, and a red Crypto wenditii. My Ludwigia repen has some red near the top, but green throughout. My Mermaid weed has hardly any red. The red I got is more brownish red than bright red as shown in Dennis Wong's web site.

My non stem plants are lush and green, Anubias are blooming constantly, and I dose macros and micros generously, so I don't think CO2 or nutrient deficiency is the cause for lack of redness. According to Dennis Wong, bright light 100+ PAR is needed to grow many red plants red.

Among the red plants that failed to even thrive in my tank are: Luwidgian arcuata, Luwidgian glandulosa, Hygophila Pinnatifida, limnophila aromatica, and red flame sword.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger15 View Post
You have about the same wattage as mine, 3W x 36 = 108 W. Mine is about 100W over a 75g. So I assume the PAR are about the same or a little more in your smaller footprint. Your 4000k led is on the warm side. My LEDs are 7000k with scattered blue and red

The only two red plants that stay all red for me are dwarf lily, and a red Crypto wenditii. My Ludwigia repen has some red near the top, but green throughout. My Mermaid weed has hardly any red. The red I got is more brownish red than bright red as shown in Dennis Wong's web site.

My non stem plants are lush and green, Anubias are blooming constantly, and I dose macros and micros generously, so I don't think CO2 or nutrient deficiency is the cause for lack of redness. According to Dennis Wong, bright light 100+ PAR is needed to grow many red plants red.

Among the red plants that failed to even thrive in my tank are: Luwidgian arcuata, Luwidgian glandulosa, Hygophila Pinnatifida, limnophila aromatica, and red flame sword.
I'm going with light placement as a possible issue to your situation, do you only have 1 LED bar running on your 75 gallon? Mine is setup so that I have a row up front and a row along the back. With the 120 degree lenses the 3w led stars have I have 100% light coverage on my tank with some height added to help.

The reason I brought up Co2/ferts is because reading through some old Tom Barr posts he states that given proper levels of co2 and ferts in the tank for healthy plant growth all of his red plants are red to varying degrees no matter what light level they have whether medium or high to very high lighting. So I thought I would bring that up in this thread for those looking at red plants for medium light levels.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 01:02 AM
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I have an unconventional way of setting up my LEDs. I keep cichlid and must have glass top, so I don’t use over hanged light on open top tank as yours and most aquascapers do. I use submersible led tubes extensively by tying with fish line to the front rim, central brace, side and back rims in addition to placing LED strips on the glass top. Altogether I have 11 led lights, 331 mostly low 0.1 to 1W diodes for a combined 101 watt. So the light distribution is very broad, not concentrating in one region, and submersible lights on the water surface have no loss in transmission. You can see a couple of the submersible tubes on the side view of my 75g.

As you can see in my 75g, the tall stems near the center (ludwidgea repen, Mermaid weed and Hygrophila sunset) are mostly green. In my 125g with about the same PAR, you can see my Crypto wenditii and dwarf lily on the right side stay all brownish red.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 11:50 PM
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Nymphaea lotus 'red'
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 12:05 AM
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IME, in addition to nymphea lotus red, Crypt usteriana red, and Echinodorus Aflame all stay red-reddish purple for me in my lowtech, med light dirted tank.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 06:57 AM
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check out crypt spiralis red or tiger. those stay red for me even in my low tech shrimp tank
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