Poor plant growth, curling leaves. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-17-2020, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,
This is my first try at a planted aquarium and for the last 6 months it's been only pain and disappointment. I started it as low tech but then added CO2, then added more light, then started dosing and everytime I was hoping that this is it, my plants should start growing fast and look good now but it never happened.

I really hope someone will be able explain what I am doing wrong or otherwise I am close to giving up.
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Last edited by vanostav61; 07-19-2020 at 12:36 AM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-17-2020, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Specs:
75Gal, innert substrate (Sand)
Filtration two SunSun 408B plus power head
Two Beamswork DA FSPEC 48" for 6 hours a day
CO2 pressurised, inline diffuser, many bubbles per second (lime green drop check)
Dosing NilocG salts once a week
20ppm NO3
2ppm PO4
20ppm Potassium
Micros Glosso Factory 5 pumps per week
GH 8 and KH 6 and Ph 7.4
TDS 250
Ca 27ppm and Mg 16ppm (tap water report)
Weekly 50% water changes

Last edited by vanostav61; 07-18-2020 at 05:27 PM.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-17-2020, 10:06 PM
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Hey there! I'm trying to figure out some issues myself but I've come across curling leaves while doing some research. Do you know your kh/gh? I've read some say it could be a matter of low calcium, so if your water is real soft maybe that could be part of it.

Hopefully someone with more experience will come along and chime in good luck!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-17-2020, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by erebus View Post
Hey there! I'm trying to figure out some issues myself but I've come across curling leaves while doing some research. Do you know your kh/gh? I've read some say it could be a matter of low calcium, so if your water is real soft maybe that could be part of it.

Hopefully someone with more experience will come along and chime in good luck!
Thank you for your reply,
My GH is 8 drops and KH is 6 drops and PH 7.4 degaussed. According to my tap water report my CA is about 27 ppm and Mg is 16 ppm.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-18-2020, 12:23 PM
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When I had that problem it was suggested it was a calcium deficiency. I thought "no way, my water from the tap is hard as a rock". Since I wasn't dosing anything for calcium and doing only every other week water changes my plant-load was actually using up all the calcium in my water and showing the same curling you are experiencing. I started doing weekly water changes and all the new leaves grew out normally. You'll have to live with those curled leaves until you can trim them out. My curly leaves never straightened out.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-18-2020, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bandit1200 View Post
When I had that problem it was suggested it was a calcium deficiency. I thought "no way, my water from the tap is hard as a rock". Since I wasn't dosing anything for calcium and doing only every other week water changes my plant-load was actually using up all the calcium in my water and showing the same curling you are experiencing. I started doing weekly water changes and all the new leaves grew out normally. You'll have to live with those curled leaves until you can trim them out. My curly leaves never straightened out.
I am doing weekly water changes and I don't have that many plants compared to the water volume. 😞
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-18-2020, 09:16 PM
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Still looks like both Ca and Mg deficiency to me.

Also why are you dosing Glosso Micro so far below the recommended rate? They state 1pump per 10gal 2x per week minimum so that would be 14 pumps per week. That would be 1st thing I would correct.

Could be lack of important micro nutrients such as Fe, Zn, Mn and B is inhibiting plants ability to uptake Ca/Mg and probably phosphate as well. More than likely with dosing that small of a amount of micros and dosing just once a week your plants micro nutrients are probably running into complete depletion by day 2-3, all uptake of other nutrients through cell wall and roots stop. Ca, Mg and P are mobile nutrients, when plant can’t get amounts they need for growth through normal means, through root/plant tissue uptake, they will simply steal those needed nutrients from existing plant tissue.

Your dosing levels of NPK are in line with low EI dosing ranges, your dosing of micros isn’t really even hitting levels needed for a low-med light non-CO2 tank. If your going to dose NPK at those amounts your dosing of micros need to be in appropriate, proportional ratios.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-18-2020, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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@DaveKS, I tried dosing more micros a while back and got a massive Staghorn algae outbreak on third day. I will try to up micros a little more and see. The aquarium is lightly planted compared to the amount of water.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 02:31 PM
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I think that @DaveKS is on to something. As I see it, you are driving your plants to high growth with your high light and CO2 (both of which are right for a high-tech setup), but that is causing your plants to consume high rates of nutrients. Your leaves are all showing multiple signs of Ca and Mg deficiency and, assuming that your tank water tests high on GH, this should not be. My guess is that the increased micros will do the job, but you may also want to try reducing the light energy in the short-term (until you see if the micro increases help) and then increase the light after affirming improvement (I'm surprised that you don't have algae issues). You can do this either by reducing intensity with a dimmer and/or by reducing the photoperiod.

I doubt that your micro dosing caused an algae outbreak, unless you were dosing far above recommended levels.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 03:06 PM
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I was in a similar position you are 6 months ago, wondering why I couldn't grow stem plants like the pros on this site. I felt like I was doing everything right but I was still battling some dust algae and my plants did not look as good as they should.

So I decided to do the only thing I hadn't done yet, and that was switch to an active substrate. I was using Florite prior and in hindsight wasn't vacuuming enough; the crap in my inert substrate was the cause of the issues I was having. For me at least, this change turned out to be the key, and my tank looks better than ever. Now I need to learn how to trim.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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@Deanna,
My tap water GH is 8 and KH is 6.
According to my tap water report I should have an average of 27ppm Ca and 16ppm of Mg.
So, technically I should have enough Ca, Mg for a week as long as the uptake of these elements is not hindered by a lack of Micro nutrients as Dave mentioned. Regarding algae it's the Green Dust on the glass that bothers me a lot. In three days I literally can not see inside the tank if I don't clean it up, and some BBA on the sand.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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@mboley,
Active substrate you mean like ADA Amazonia or Tropica Soil?
I do regret going with sand, it does acumulate fish poop very fast and grows brown algae and BBA very quick. The Amazonia and Tropica are very expensive and I would need a lot of it in my 75 Gal. One day I am most likely going to get rid of the 75 Gal and get something smaller. I think active soil is more forgiving for someone who is just getting into the planet aquarium hobby.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by vanostav61 View Post
@mboley,
Active substrate you mean like ADA Amazonia or Tropica Soil?
I
Yes, Landen soil is what I went with and it is cheaper. I did add the ADA bacter 100 and their Clear product underneath it because I had some left over from another set up. Landen soil has a growing following on this site from experienced people.

You could put another cheaper inert substrate under the Landen soil to save some money. I would suggest Black Diamond blasting sand. Make the change before you give up. I couldn't believe the difference, better growth, better plant color, and no more algae.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanostav61 View Post
@mboley,
Active substrate you mean like ADA Amazonia or Tropica Soil?
I do regret going with sand, it does acumulate fish poop very fast and grows brown algae and BBA very quick. The Amazonia and Tropica are very expensive and I would need a lot of it in my 75 Gal. One day I am most likely going to get rid of the 75 Gal and get something smaller. I think active soil is more forgiving for someone who is just getting into the planet aquarium hobby.
i do agree that active substrates can correct for some water column dosing deficiencies, but no reason you can't grow those plants in sand. Thousands of people do. If your sand is accumulating BBA its probably too much light and not enough uptake of waste. Don't over thing it. If your running both lights for 6 hrs a day, i would instead run one for 6 and the other for 2-3 hrs. This will give high light to some of the plants and not stress the tank as much. I would also increase dosing somewhat, 1/3 more all around and make sure you co2 is good (1 point PH drop) and see how it goes. Cut a few stems in half and see how new growth is.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mboley View Post
I was in a similar position you are 6 months ago, wondering why I couldn't grow stem plants like the pros on this site. I felt like I was doing everything right but I was still battling some dust algae and my plants did not look as good as they should.

So I decided to do the only thing I hadn't done yet, and that was switch to an active substrate. I was using Florite prior and in hindsight wasn't vacuuming enough; the crap in my inert substrate was the cause of the issues I was having. For me at least, this change turned out to be the key, and my tank looks better than ever. Now I need to learn how to trim.

Looks good....what active substrate did you go with?

EDIT: missed the post about going with Landen....got it

Last edited by rzn7z7; 07-19-2020 at 05:45 PM. Reason: Missed a post
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