I don't know how I miss these posts. I wish there was just a nice central location on TPT (a deficiency forum) where people could post their problems instead of posting them in different forum categories.
Anyway, unfortunately I have to disagree with you (on the nutrient deficiency part) this time Raymond. I don't see signs of a deficiency.
And it should be noted I tried Excel for a month or so dosing 5ml every other day - the recommended dose.
I think there are a few things going on here. First, the aponogetons in the tank are dying because of the excel dosing. For the life of me I just don't understand why SeaChem doesn't put on the label not to use excel with aponogetons or vals (and one or two other plants). Excel is toxic to plants from both of these groups and when dosed plants will stop growing, melt, or become damaged from using it. Snails and other creatures will then start gnawing on the damaged leaves as they are in your photos.
The unfortunate species effects of excel can be seen if you look at the difference between the aponogetons and the rotalas and the amazon sword plant. Neither of those show damaged growth and look comparatively healthy (the mottled spots on the sword are normal submersed coloration by the way).
I understand yellowing leaves could be nitrogen, iron, or a phosphate deficiency. Not sure if one of those are my problem or something different altogether. I don't know I'm at my wits end and any input as to what my problem is and how to fix it is extremely appreciated.
While this is true, the location and pattern of the yellowing makes all the difference in the world. For example, the yellowing seen in nitrogen deficiency starts in the old leaves only, and usually starts at the tip of the leaf, then progresses back towards the stem. Shortly after the chlorosis starts (yellowing), then necrosis (death) of the leaf tissue starts, following in the same tip to stem pattern. When the deficiency becomes severe new leaves grow out progressively smaller until the growing bud stops growing altogether. Iron deficiency shows up in new growth only. Leaves are normal size, but are yellow or more usually paper white. Phosphate deficiency looks like nitrogen deficiency, except you see the chlorosis then necrosis starting from the edges of old leaves towards the midrib while new growth does not grow progressively smaller (stays normal size until the plant stops growing entirely). Each deficiency has a unique pattern, timing, and location of damage. Figuring out what is going on in any given tank is a nuanced affair to say the least.
Based on that diagram it looks like my plants may show signs of all those deficiencies.
As a general rule of thumb, plants cannot show more than one deficiency at a time. This is because plant growth depends on the limiting nutrient. In other words, plants can only grow as fast as the lowest nutrient supplied. This means if you run out of a nutrient in the water then the plants develop deficiency signs of that nutrient and eventually stop growing completely. They cannot continue to grow and develop other deficiencies because the lack of the first nutrient to run out prevents them from growing and running out of another nutrient.
This is not the case with toxicities. You can have multiple toxicities occurring at the same time. They just damage plants in a more random pattern (usually affects old and new growth equally). You can also have a deficiency and toxicity (or more than one toxicity) at the same time, which can complicate the matter.
Another thing to note is the green temple. Kinda hard to tell in the picture but some of the leaves have turned a little yellow.
I can't really tell from the picture you took of the hygro (green temple) because the highlights are blown and the colors are washed out, but older leaves that die may or may not be a sign of a deficiency. Leaves do have a finite lifespan and tend to turn yellow and die when they get too old so that is a possibility.
Adding to the big picture, you are using soil, which makes most deficiencies fairly hard to develop once you have passed the initial break in period (before the soil has settled in and matured and before the plant roots have grown properly). I'd bet the hygros don't have a deficiency, probably just old leaves, though the myrio and the cabomba also losing their old leaves is interesting and something you should probably keep an eye on. Perhaps it is related to the excel dosing since they have a lot more surface area on their fine leaves with which to absorb excel?
Generally when looking for nutrient deficiencies you must see most of the plant species doing the same thing in the tank at the same time. If you see one funny looking stem or leaf it is unlikely to be a sign of anything, but if you see all plants losing older leaves tip to stem you can probably assume its nitrogen deficiency, etc. The key is seeing many different stems (preferably many different species) acting the same way.
Originally Posted by Raymond S.
I do see what CAN be Pleco damage but not sure about it.
I agree with Raymond on the mechanical damage part. Especially looking at the Lilly pictures. I'm not convinced it is pleco damage per se, since pleco damage tends to be more extensive and is usually located in the middle of the leaf, just to the sides of the main leaf vein. I was thinking more along the lines of snail damage, but I'm fairly certain that it is mechanical damage not deficiency. The only hole-in-the leaf deficiencies out there are manganese as the diagram above shows and potassium. It isn't potassium deficiency because you'd see a chlorotic margin around the holes as they progress outwards, and it isn't manganese deficiency because you'd see the same thing, and you'd see leaf tissue die and stay in place rather than clean cut holes simply appearing. Also, manganese deficiency is virtually impossible to get in an aquarium. Even in lab conditions it is difficult to remove enough manganese to actually cause a deficiency. It is one of the least needed nutrients, and so even a tiny spec of it in an entire tank will be more than enough. [/quote]
Originally Posted by Raymond S.
Dosing twice the recommended dose level of Excel every other day is not the same as the correct dose every day.
Also very true. Excel has a very short half life. Meaning it will decay quickly in the tank (within 7-8 hours 50% is gone, within 24 hours it is virtually undetectable). So doubling up the dose every other day does you no good. You cannot build up a reserve supply to last you into the second day and you increase the concentration of it in the tank. Now, usually doubling the concentration isn't too much of an issue but with sensitive plants like the aponogetons you wouldn't want to do that (or dose excel at all).
Not sure maybe the dirt lost its nutrients...if thats possible?
It is possible for soil to lose certain nutrients with time, but usually this takes 3-6 years depending on how much light/CO2/fast growing plants you have. In your tank I'd estimate you should get at least 4-5 years of use out of it before you start seeing deficiencies, and even then it will probably be one of the macro nutrients N, P or K. Most likely K, since that nutrient is the most soluble of the lot and tends to get leached out of the soil faster than the others.
- Why don't we have a deficiency forum?
- Excel kills aponogetons and vals
- The location, and pattern of damage determines the nutrient deficiency
- No more than 1 deficiency at a time
- Toxicities depend on the concentration of the toxin
- Soil depletes very slowly
- You don't need to dose nutrients at this point in time
- And finally: Why don't we have a deficiency forum?