Parameters and Dosing for RED plants - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Parameters and Dosing for RED plants

Are there any special parameters or dosing programs for growing red plants.
I use the Seachem chart, and things all seem to be well.
The only exception to most other water plant hobbyist that I use is. My tanks are in a greenhouse inviroment, so light is the only controling issue.
I have only one problem that I don't understand. A lot of the leafs starting halfway down the stem just decay to a translucent look. Some others turn green, which is understandable do to lack of light.
Temp=73
PH=6.3
HD=1
Extra iron and traces
Shade=Mylar 25% shading
Pressurized CO2=6bpc

Last edited by York; 11-22-2006 at 06:11 PM. Reason: adding item
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 06:00 PM
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There are various tricks folks have used which claim to make 'red' plants 'redder'. Low nitrates (5ppm), high PO4, high iron/traces, high lighting. I remember reading a post somewhere where someone claimed Excel made their aromatica a deeper red/purple. Personally, I try to provide for the global system (all the plants in the tank) rather than try to highlight one plant over another. I find it much easier that way.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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I agree with the globle method. I don't use Excel except whenever I see an outbreak of BBA, which works great. I probably have to expect that out of a great amount of red, some are just not happy with the globle system.
I plan on removing the plants that show bad signs of growth to another tank setup to see if they ajust or not.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 04:37 AM
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Same as green plants.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 05:00 AM
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here are 3 most important things you
need to make your red plants redder;
1. Light
2. brighter Light
3. more brighter Light
thus endeth the lesson...


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spypet View Post
here are 3 most important things you
need to make your red plants redder;
1. Light
2. brighter Light
3. more brighter Light
thus endeth the lesson...
The plants try very hard to communicate this information. Just notice how as they grow up closer to the top of the aquarium they literally shout "I'm RED!!" And, as expected, the top of the aquarium is where the light is the brightest.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Same as green plants.
I second as what tom says. As my green plants are getting better, so are the red ones. Same treatment, same tank.
One thing for sure : enough light. To balance the light : enough ferts and CO2.

Quote:
A lot of the leafs starting halfway down the stem just decay to a translucent look
Not enough light, too dense layout, overshadowed?


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spypet View Post
here are 3 most important things you
need to make your red plants redder;
1. Light
2. brighter Light
3. more brighter Light
thus endeth the lesson...
So why are most red tropical plants found in the understory shade and why are most desert plants green?

What does adding more light do if you maintain the same NO3 level of dosing?

Not even the start of the lesson

Red color that is the noraml color is one thing, folks that want redder color? Redder color is a sign of stress, not health.
Both Troels and myself know this and he mentioned it at the AGA event.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
So why are most red tropical plants found in the understory shade and why are most desert plants green? What does adding more light do if you maintain the same NO3 level of dosing?
I've studied that red in aquatic plants is triggered to protect itself from more UV radiation than it can normally handle, so essentially red is similar to our owns skin increasing the production of melanin to protect our skin from UV, thus we appear to tan. so yes, red must be a sign of stress on the plant, but one it can adapt to and live with. I would further postulate that many plants without this red defense against UV grow shorter or horizontal to keep away from more light at the surface. That might explain why many foreground plants grow undesirably tall in low light desirably short in high light.

My guess would be that understory tropical plants can be red to survive off the reflected light of other plants, and their leaves are dark to catch other ambient light around them. desert plants that appear all year long must be very thick and meaty to retain water, protect against extremes of hot/cold, dry wind, animals and insects that want it's water, so it has no additional need to go red against UV as it's thickness provides such protection already.

as for adding light without adding NO3, my guess is the plant would do something to curtail it's extra photosynthesis potential in the absence of the food it needs to complete the process. exactly how that manifests itself in terms of coloration or growth; I imagine it is something indicative of further stress on the plant such as the brown spots you would see on any plant leaf lacking in nutrients.

nature is full of surprises. I'm sure there are many plants who's red color has no correlation with the plant protecting itself from UV. however for the purposes of this discussion with regard to immersed aquatic plants available to this hobby, I thought it prudent to focus peoples attention on light as the one essential factor they often obfuscate, instead of distracting them with the exceptions and peripheral issues.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2006, 05:44 PM
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It is speculated that is why aquatic plants produce red color to protect from UV(have you ever seen any specific studies on submersed aquatic plants that state this in the literature????....I mean, since we are considering it "prudent to focus peoples attention on light as the one essential factor they often obfuscate, instead of distracting them with the exceptions and peripheral issues"...........submersed aquatic plants live in relatively low light locations.

I've found the reddest colored Ludwigia for example at nearly 20ft depth in springs, whereas I've found the same species green near the surface. Same water, same location by a few feet.

The spring had hardly any NO3, the shore had lots from soil to draw N from.
Note, this is for only one species. The Fe in the soil was 4000X higher than that of the river(so Fe limitation, adding more Fe is questionable as to increasing red color), the plant had attached to hard gravel substrate and loose rock, no nutrients where extracted.

It's also been speculated that the red chemical is namely an anti herbivory agent.

In observations of aquatic plants, I'd more suspect the latter.
If you assume UV protection, this does not address why the colors are so red in deeper waters.

Overall, being specific is the most useful approach many aquarist generalize a lot but without addressing the other issues as to why it works or not.
Are there alternative hypothesis that explain things?
Can such hypothesis be falsified? I've given one such example and a reference that suggested the high light or UV protection is not a model at least for one or more plants.

Those that are red color variable are so due to low N in their environments.
There is research on subsmersed plants that suggest low N rather than light is the main variable" see Spencer (UC Davis-same place, same building and same lab as me). Nice guy and a good scientist.

Spencer, D. F. & G. G. Ksander, 1990. Influence of temperature, light, and nutrient limitation on anthocyanin content of Potamogeton gramineus. L aquat. Bot. 38: 357367.

Maybe we are wrong........

CSA

The Chl mask the red color in this specific case.......... if you reduce the N you will increase the red color in many aquatic species. We can also see this.
Ascribing cause to red color is still one based on stress, not health.

We generally do not have enough light o troast the Chl, so we are left with NO3.

The amount of light used is near natural light, about 3 more than than even a 1000 w MH over a 20 gal at 12".
The lower ranges of light suggest otherwise.

The plant responds namely from preserving the Chl is does have and is able to use it at full efficiency in intense light rather than damaging the photosystem machinery. So in this case, with very intense light, more than nay aquarist adds, it does appear that red color can bleach the Chl out and maintain plant color that way, but I do not see it in our tanks generally.
So this is a case that suggest otherwise about N limitation.

Dave Spencer has another study that suggest NO3 limitatuion is causing the red color increase. I'll see if I can hunt it down.

New growing tips also tend to be redder due to new growth lacking as much Chl as older tips. as the leaves develop, their chl increases, at faster growth rates, the catch up time is greater. So you see more reddish tips etc with more light as more light = faster growth rates in general.





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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2006, 07:04 PM
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Very interesting Tom. And, yes, I've heard about having low N to increase the reds in plants. By low N, so you mean <20? <10? What about keeping red plants with other plants that *require* higher N, like elatine trianda. It's my understanding(and experience) that it can wither away and melt if N gets too low. On the same token, you want N low for most red plants, according to your study. I'm not trying to hijack the post, but what are your thoughts on this?

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2006, 08:33 PM
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Well one pont, it's not practical to have as much light as the sun for our tanks. Folks read that and think it means more light =- redder plants, this has been going on for too many years. Folks have too much light as it is.

The above reference clearly shows that Fe is not related to red color in this plant. Someone started that "myth" I do not know when but there's no such support for it near as I can tell. If some can show support for that contention, I'm all ears.

I think what can happen, especially at lower light, non CO2 systems: the small low supply from fish waste etc can add just enough to keep the plant from melting/stunting vs maintaining that red color over time with enough wiggle room in the method to make it not that hard to maintain.
At higher light, CO2 etc, you have issues since the rate of growth is 4-10x faster or more.

Then it means you have to dose KNO3 etc very often to maintain the balance without stunting.

Et, Mic umbrosum etc are good NO3 indicators as they do poorly in lower NO3 systems.
Rotala species have long been color variable species for aquarist and most of the NO3 low ppms work was done on them.

I think there's not a set range really, it's just "low". Example: it can be at 0ppm for a few hours say no more than 30, but it depends on light, other nutrients etc, in other tanks it can be low near zero for longer peroids.

0-2ppm range I'd say is low, it needs to be limiting in terms of growth without stunting the plants and causing necrosis.

But 2ppm might turn a red plant green in some cases and then revert to red once it hits zero agaon for a day.

Hard to balance that low end.
Some folks seem to think adding macros to the substrate and not to the water column will produce redder colors: nope.
Plants are not limited if they have a source of N, does not matter if it's the water column nor the substrate. It does make the mainteance of dosing nutrients easier in some respects, but testing the substrate is not done by hobbyists for nutrient supply/content.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2006, 09:27 PM
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If it's UV, why don't supplemental actinics make plants redder?
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