Losing Red Color - Thoughts/Opinions? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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Losing Red Color - Thoughts/Opinions?

Hi all,

I've recently started up a tank (~1 month now). I've planted some red plants, specifically rotala rotundifolia indica. On the original day of planting there was a beautiful red to it. One month later the color has faded and new growth appears as green and I'm lucky to see some red.

I'm running 2x Giessman mid-day and 1x Geissman aquaflora T5HO lighting on a Catalina fixture. I'm doing EI dosing, and as a result of the loss of red color been aiming between 0.3 - 0.5 ppm iron.

My Aquaflora light (red) is positioned in the middle of my fixture, I'm going to move this to the back and have the two mid-days in the front and see if this makes any difference - doubtful.

Any thoughts? Here are two pictures. One on the initial day of planting, and the second on Nov 28 before trimming plants. For additional details you can check my journal out (in signature).

Day 1:


Nov 28:


I've recently planted some Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini' ... I'll be curious to see if this loses the red/pink over the coming weeks.

All and any thoughts are appreciated!


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 04:28 PM
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T5's throw light in all directions, not just straight down like we'd prefer. The reflectors only partially correct this. As a result, you get a difference between light intensity between the top and bottom of your tank.

Which can be a bit fidgety to work with. Lower the fixture too much, you might get algae at the top of the tank. Raise it too much, you lose red at the bottom of the tank, or further up.

All your plants, when originally planted, were cut short and therefore in the lower light portion of your tank. Now that your rotala is starting to get tall, you can see the red starting to appear in the new growth.

Your plants are growing, and (hopefully) your algae is minimal. That's the most important thing for now. As time goes on you can adjust the lighting to find what seems to be optimal for your setup. This is best done gradually, over weeks or months.

Slight nitrate limitation can also boost reds. If you're using the EI recommendations for a high-light and heavily planted tank, into what started as a lightly planted tank (I saw that thread and agree with the replies), then you might be around 50ppm nitrate. And even if you cut down the dosing based on the planting density, you're probably still not near limitation. If you want to experiment with this, I'd suggest getting a nitrate test kit. Remember that when you reduce KNO3 dosage below what EI suggests for your tank type, you're reducing potassium too, which you do NOT want to limit - so replace it with some K2SO4.

Finally, it can be very enlightening to contact the party you purchased the plants from. Find out what conditions the plants were originally grown in, and compare them to your own conditions. Sometimes it's helpful. Other times it's an expectation adjustment, if a spectacular plant was farmed outside in direct sunlight, emersed, drenched in fish-killing quantities of algaecide, and/or anything else you simply cannot replicate.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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First off - THANK YOU for your in dept response. I appreciate the effort that goes into a response like this and the time to write it.

Algae (unlike the first time I tried a planted tank) hasn't appeared. I've got a much better handle on CO2 and light this time around. Thanks to individuals on this forum (and thebarrreport) I've reduced the lighting to 6 hours and keeping the CO2 above ~40ppm (this assume pure Ca and Mg hardness, in reality I'm close to 32 - 35 ppm)

I do have a nitrate test kit handy and will make a point to test this on Thursday once I'm home. Should I be in an excess I will reduce the KNO3. I've been using KH2PO4 in combination to obtain with the KNO3 to control K levels - as you mentioned I will supplement with K2SO4 to make up for the lost K by reducing KNO3.

The rotala was purchased at my LFS .... next time I pay a visit I'll be sure to check in on their parameters.

Thank you again.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 10:42 AM
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You're welcome! I'll keep this thread on my watch for a couple of weeks to see if there's any updates or follow-up questions.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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Cobra,

I checked my nitrate level and it was in the range of +40 ppm. I will as suggested reduce my KNO3 dosing by a third and supplement with K2SO4.

I'm also going to cut my lighting back by an hour ... my lily pipes and clear tubing have turned a beautiful brown .... not.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 05:49 AM
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I'm no direct expert in boosting reds through nitrate limitation, as I usually stock my tanks so heavily it's impossible - even if I completely stop dosing nitrate. Based on what I see others reporting, I'd say 5-10ppm is the range where you should start to see a result.

For now though, 1/3 reduction is a step in the right direction. And it's best to go slow. Your tank is still relatively new and easily upset.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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I don't plan on limiting my nitrates, just want them in the 10 - 30 ppm range as outlined by EI .... compared to where I was seemingly beyond that point.

Going to go slow with the changes ... need to remove the sand this week as it is too difficult to maintain as 'sand without aquasoil'.


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