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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2004, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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if my plants are pearling does this mean that they have everything they need right now and i shouldnt add ferts? also i checked my nitrates earlier this week and they were 10ppm. i checked last night and they were 20ppm. shouldnt the plants be using nitrate? i went ahead and did a water change today and i will test nitrates later.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2004, 05:47 PM
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Great question!
I think the short answer is no. When plants are "pearling" (forming beads of oxygen on their leaves) it simply tells you that they are photosynthesizing. It's their respiration, the same way you and I breath. It means that they have enough light and CO2 to give off oxygen. Nutrients (very generally speaking) are important for plant structure and growth. Plants may be pearling like crazy, but their leaves may be large and glassy or have holes in them, which may represent a nutrient deficiency.
So that's the bad news. the good news is that you've gotten plast one of the major herdles of aquatic gardening, which is to provide enough light and CO2 for the plants to effectively photosynthesize.
That being said....there are many plants that will do just fine with just the CO2 and light and the minimal nutrients from tap water. I had a tank for years that grew beautiful crypts and it only had light, not even CO2!
However, from what I've read and heard, if you want a wide variety of plants including groundcover and other more difficult plants, you have to provide some basic nutrients.
Seachem's Flourish excel provides a nice combination of some of the most important ones. At the minimum, you'll need a fertilizer with nitrate, phosphate, iron and potassium.
One last thing is this: I see you are using a soil substrate. I am not familiar with that brand, but that sort of a substrate may provide certain nutrients in small quantities. The best adivce I can give you is what I was told here: Get a nitrate, phosphate and iron test kit and figure out what you need and then add it until your tests come out right.
Others on this message board will probably have more insight on this topic.
Good luck!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2004, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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the "soil" isnt actually soil its more like a lightweight gravel made for aquatic plants. i have seachem flourish. so i should go ahead and dose that? what about the nitrates?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 12:21 AM
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Seachem flourish is a regular fert by seachem

Flourish™ is a comprehensive plant supplement for the natural freshwater aquarium. It contains a rich assortment of important micro elements, trace elements and other nutrients. These include calcium, magnesium, iron and other important elements that have been shown to be beneficial to aquatic plants. For macro element (NPK) fertilization, use Flourish Nitrogen™, Flourish Phosphorus™ or Flourish Potassium™ as needed.

Sizes: 50 mL, 100 mL, 250 L, 500 mL, 2 L, 4 L, 20 L


DIRECTIONS: Use 1 capful (5 mL) for each 250 L (60 gallons*) once or twice a week. For smaller doses, please note that each cap thread is approximately 1 mL. Refrigeration after opening is recommended but not required.

Guaranteed Analysis
Total Nitrogen 0.07%
Available Phosphate ( P2O5) 0.01%
Calcium (Ca) 0.14%
Magnesium (Mg) 0.11%
Sulfur (S) 0.2773%
Boron (B) 0.009%
Chlorine (Cl) 1.15%
Cobalt (Co) 0.0004%
Copper (Cu) 0.0001%
Iron (Fe) 0.32%
Manganese (Mn) 0.0118%
Molybdenum (Mo) 0.0009%
Sodium (Na) 0.13%
Zinc (Zn) 0.0007%

Derived from: Potassium Chloride, Calcium Chloride, Copper Sulfate, Magnesium Chloride, Ferrous Gluconate, Cobalt Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Boric Acid, Sodium Molybdate, Zinc Sulfate, Protein Hydrolysates.





Secech flourish EXCEL is a liquid co2 basically

Flourish Excel™ is a source of bioavailable organic carbon. All plants require a source of carbon. This is typically obtained from CO2, but, may also be derived from simple organic compounds (such as photosynthetic intermediates). Therefore, one can derive a substantial benefit with the use of Flourish Excel™ either alone or in conjunction with CO2 injection. Flourish Excel™ also has iron reducing properties which promote the ferrous state of iron (Fe+2), which is more easily utilized by plants than ferric iron (Fe+3). Flourish Excel™ is an integral component of Seachem’s plant products and is recommended for use with the entire Flourish™ line as well as our Flourite™ and Onyx Sand™ substrates. Contains no phosphate or nitrate.

Sizes:100 mL, 250 L, 500 mL, 2 L, 4 L, 20 L


DIRECTIONS: On initial use or after a major (> 40%) water change, use 1 capful (5 mL) for every 40 L (10 gallons*). Thereafter use 1 capful for every 200 L (50 gallons*) daily or every other day. Dosing may be slowly increased in high-growth aquariums. For smaller dosing please note that each cap thread is approximately 1 mL.

DO NOT OVERDOSE!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 02:15 AM
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Yes plants should be using nitrates. It can be that your fish load is producing more nitrates than the plants are processing. The N-P-K ratio, temperature, and the types of plants you have are the factors that affect this rate.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 03:00 AM
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I've always judged pearling as meaning that things are good. For example when they stop, I play around with nutrients and get them going again. Am I wrong?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 03:33 PM
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I need to jump in here and ask a couple of questions myself.

Do all plants pearl and if so how can I get mine to start.

Currently I have an 15gal eclipse2 w/2x15w bulbs

ph-7.2, kh 4,

My plants are Hygro, Java fern, mondo grass, and a sword.

All plants are showing good growth and the Hygro is reaching the top of the tank every couple of days. They just aren'y pearling.

What else do I need to do? DIY CO2 possibly?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cich
I've always judged pearling as meaning that things are good. For example when they stop, I play around with nutrients and get them going again. Am I wrong?
Not necessarily. It definitely does not mean that things are bad though. You don't need to play around with your nutrients to keep your plants pearling. It doesn't hurt, but it is not necessary. You should adjust your macro and micro nutrients when your water becomes depleted of them. Certain plants, like Riccia fluitans will pearl more readily, but other plants won't as easily.

Pearling on most plants is a sign that your plants are producing oxygen in an amount that is not being absorbed by the water because the water already has a high amount of oxygen in it from the plants to begin with.

A lot of the time, people will see extreme pearling on plants other than riccia when they add something new to the tank such as increased lighting. The new change to the tank can put the plants in overdrive, and they will start producing oxygen like mad. However, over time, they will adjust, and their extreme pearling characteristics will subside.

When I look closely at my A. Reinikii and n. pedicilatta, and my mermaid weed (and other plants in my tank) I see a lot of tiny O2 bubbles under the leaves, but my riccia is the one plant that takes the cake with pearling.

That help at all?

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 04:48 PM
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I find that I see a lot more pearling the day I do my 25% water change. I also notive that since I have upped my iron I have seen more pearling.

Ken
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 06:40 PM
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I'm with fatguy...I think pearling is a good indication of healthy plant growth. it's certainly not the only indication, but usually if plants are pearling, you're doing something right.

In response to katymay - I don't want to argue, but I want to be clear about 'pearling' versus 'bubbles coming up from plants'. If you have a stream of almost microscopic bubbles blasting out of a plant...that's not pearling. That is damage to the plant tissue that's causing it to leech raw oxygen out of the plant cell wall. True pearling is when bubbles gradually form on the leaves, and when they get big enough, rise to the surface. Katy's correct about this process, which just the plant 'breathing' oxygen out. You'll usually only see this in higher light tanks, with CO2, and good macro/micro nutrient levels. These 3 key items allow the plants to photosynthesize so rapidly that the water becomes saturated with oxygen. Since it can hold no more dissovled oxygen in the water, the air bubbles start to form.

Knowing that, you can just logically assume that true pearling means plants are pretty healthy.

Not all plants will pearl. My anubias, crypts, and java fern never pearl. Stuff like hygro usually pearls easily, as does my melon sword. it's harder to see pearling in plants like cabomba & ambulia, but they'll do it sometimes.

Like Ken, the day after a water change (or sometimes late afternoon the same day) I'll see enhanced pearling. My nitrates tend to run rather high due to my fishload. I think the plants like the lowered levels.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 07:47 PM
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If my plants aren't pearling then I will assume that my CO2 has died or my Nitrates are low.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
If you have a stream of almost microscopic bubbles blasting out of a plant...that's not pearling. That is damage to the plant tissue that's causing it to leech raw oxygen out of the plant cell wall.
Yep,

When I prune back my pearlgrass, I get these streams of bubbles coming out the 'cut' portion of the stem. Eventually the plant heals, and the bubbles subside.

Ted


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2004, 11:24 PM
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Alright, some misconceptions going on here. First all plants pearl and stream. Take it from me with metal halides over a tank, you get contant pearling and streaming. And every plant I have in the tank, including anubia stream and pearl. So you need more light and lots of it if you want this all the time. Ten minutes after lights on the pearling and streaming start. Five hours later its like a bubble bath.

Sonic in answer to your question you need maybe double the lighting you have to get what you want, watch your CO2 though.

Paul
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2004, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumples riot
Take it from me with metal halides over a tank, you get contant pearling and streaming. And every plant I have in the tank, including anubia stream and pearl... Ten minutes after lights on the pearling and streaming start. Five hours later its like a bubble bath.
I gotta back this up whole-heartedly!

I switched from a single 175W MH to the dual 150W MH, a little closer to the tank and my plants start streaming within minutes of the lights getting up to full intensity. After 10 hours, almost all plants have bubbles under their leaves. I unfortunately have some anubius too close to the lamps and a few leaves almost look like they have been bleached white. They also seem to have what appears to be pleco rasping marks on them too...

Ron

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75 gallon, Eheim 2026, AquaMedic 2x150W 6500K MH, CO2, medium planted angelfish tank
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