Curling Plant Leaves and Others - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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I'm wondering what's causing some of my plants' leaves to curl. I have naturally soft water and sand. My amazon Swords love the conditions and grow very majestically. However, SOME of my anubias and crypts seem to have problems.

SOME Anubias: older leaves curl

SOME Crypts (Green): new growth looks healthy, as the leaves age they seem to melt

SOME Crypts (Red): new growth looks healthy, as they age leaves curl severely to the point where they look like sticks, although the leaves are still completely intact

These symptoms appeared over quite some time. I do NOT fertilize, because SeaChem Flourish seems to burn leaves of anubias, causing yellowing at first, then the leaves die. Also, up until recently, I didn't SEEM to need ferts. Some plants are over two years old, some are propogates from existing plants. I also have corkscrew vals that do well, as does my Rotala. This is consistent across several tanks, as well.

Lights are compact flourescents, temps in the low 80's, no CO2, no fish meds recently, no changes to water chemical make-up.

Some web sites attribute this to possible Potassium deficiency, some refer to magnesium deficiency, so I'm not sure. Since Flourish contains both these minerals, should I chance the Flourish again at 1/2 dosage? I'd hate to kill off my anubias! :-(

Any ideas or coments would be greatly appreciated, as would feedback from those of you who might've previously experienced this same phenomenom.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 04:37 AM
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Here's an article about nutrient deficiencies that I found really helpful. From what it says, the curling leaves is a sign of calcium deficiency -- makes sense since you say you have naturally soft water.

I've got the same problem up here in Vancouver. Water comes out of the tap with 0 GH and KH!

Oh, and I should add that only two of my plants ever showed any sign of curling leaves. One was a crypt wendtii brown and the other a rotala macranda. Who knows why the others didn't seem to mind it.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 05:03 AM
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I have to agree, my first gut feel was calcium deficiency and this is common with leaf curl.

Using a buffer to increase you calcium carbonate might see an improvement.

Paul
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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OK, so if you both think it's a calcium deficiency, what kind of buffer could I try to test the theory without upsetting my water balance too severely all at once? Will the Seachem Flourish serve the purpose in some small dose that won't hurt my other plants, or is an inanimate object like a small limestone more appropriate. I really am a newbie at trying to balance out minerals, and I don't want to unncessarily harden my water. What about baking soda? I've used this in the past to temporarily raise some levels, but am not sure it will raise the proper levels in this situation. Additionally, you probably already know like I do that baking soda is not a permanent deal, so would I possibly end up harming my plants and fish with fluctuations of certain minerals?

Thank you! :-)
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 06:20 AM
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I've used baking soda in the past, but unlike others I have found it to be fairly permanent. At least it lasts each week until I do a water change...

But then I decided not to mess with my KH too much because it, in turn, affects my PH.

So I started using R/O Right to raise my GH instead.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 11:28 AM
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Baking soda doesn't have any calcium in it. You need to do one of the following: add some liquid 'reef calcium additive', put some crushed coral in your filter in a mesh bag so you can remove it, add a handful of dolomite to the substrate.

You might want to consider a different fertilizer and feed your plants a bit, Flourish ain't the 'end all be all'.

Sean

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 05:20 PM
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I've been using the granual Turbo Calcium and mixing it up with Magnesium Sulfate to healf out my plants. I am having the curling as well, and think it may be a K overdose/No calcium like wellbiz had. I hadn't been adding any calcium into my soft water and just buffering with magnesium/baking soda, and now I am showing true symptoms of calcium deficiency. Hopefully in a week or two of using the turbo calcium and laying off the K (except in KNO3) I might be able to see some normal leaf growth instead of curled and construed leaves.

Matt
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 05:52 PM
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Are you using R/O or tap? Make sure you remove chloramine from your water with a conditioner. Add some root tabs to help with root fertilization. Low micros can cause curling.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IUnknown
Are you using R/O or tap? Make sure you remove chloramine from your water with a conditioner. Add some root tabs to help with root fertilization. Low micros can cause curling.
I am using Tap water, but extremely soft (less than one degree KH/GH). I am making sure I keep up on dechlorinators since of the chloride that is in the turbo cal. I also have been using root tabs all along. I also don't think it is low micros, since I had been dosing TMG extremely regularly. Tmg of course doesn't contain calcium, so I had zero calcium in the system for a few months. I assume this would cause calcium deficiency.. It seems to be the true signs of it for sure. What is odd though is I am having the pinhole problem in old growth of my sunset hygro, ludwigia, red temple (same exact plants wellbiz was watching and same problems he was experiencing) and his was a K overdose. Mine I believe is probably a K overdose with zero calcium in the water. I guess time will tell, still trying to balance everything out on my end, but am hoping that I am getting closer to a balance. I'll report back in a week or two to let you know how the new growth is on my plants to see if adding tubo cal and slacking back on my K dosing (to just dosing the K with KNO3 which I am having to dose daily-every two days).

Matt
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 07:39 PM
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Just to throw a curve ball at you, but I've traced my pinhole + curled leaves problem with the compacta swords to low nitrates. I've increased the nitrate dosage and gone to daily additions.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 08:09 PM
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I started a topic recently about such growth in my Ammana gracilis. I am confident that it is not a K overdose in my tank, and thus suspected calcium deficiency.

Subsequent to that post, I purchased a Calcium test kit, and have come to find that my tank shows a Calcium level of ~80ppm. This doesn't seem all that low to me. However, my overall GH is ~200ppm. This would indicate to me that the other 120ppm is from Magnesium of course. So anyway, getting to the point. I remember reading in another thread that a proper ratio of Ca to Mg might be what is truly important. Does anyone have any input on this? Would a ratio of 4:1 of Ca to Mg be more appropriate?

-Jeremiah
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2004, 12:17 AM
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2004, 02:38 AM
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I suggest that you take time to measure the nitrate levels frequently. I found my tank was consuming much more than I knew and was at zero nitrates most of the week. Increasing fertilizers has correted the bad growth I saw, holes and shredded looking new growth on swords,.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2004, 11:03 AM
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It's amazing what you can notice just looking closely at your tanks every other day or so. Testing as anona recommends is the best way to learn to recognize what you see going on and eventually you get a feel for what to do just based on what you see. Thats when you start saving money on test kits.
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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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