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Discussion Starter #1
I'm seeing some dark veins in my leaves, which I've seen to be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. It appears most noticeably in my Rotala Indica, Rotala Macrandra, and Ludwigia Repens and Ludwigia Glandulosa. All are pictured below.

The tank is 29 gallons and I add 2 teaspoons of Equilibrium with every ~50% water change which bumps the GH up to 6 in the tank. The system has pressurized CO2, EI dosing, and 96w T5HO lighting (4x24w).

I thought the Equilibrium would have me covered, and looking at the Fertilator it does but is at the low range (2.34ppm). Adding .5 teaspoon of MgSO4 would be at 4.63ppm (towards the higher end of 5ppm suggested). Would that be advisable, or should I try/do something else?

And would I only add the MgSO4 directly after a water change, similar to how you would Equilibrium? Or should I add MgSO4 on a more regular schedule throughout the week? ...or are those signs not a magnesium deficiency and are actually something else (or nothing)?
 

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Wow, after seeing my own pictures on the computer I think I answered my question... I think I'm deficient in Magnesium and Calcium. I thought I had figured this out previously, but looking at the Fertilator my 2 teaspoons of Equilibrium leaves me short on Calcium at 7.83ppm and at the low end of Magnesium at 2.34ppm. I do use straight tap water but it's very soft water.

I ordered "Ultimate GH Booster", MgSO4, and CaSO4 when I ordered my last round of ferts but haven't used any yet. Should I be upping my Equilibrium until I run out, then I was planning on replacing that by using Ultimate GH Booster. Is that a direct replacement? Should I use that but in higher amounts than I was previously using Equilibrium? Or would I be better off using MgSO4 and CaSO4 independently?

Deferring back to Fertilator, 4 teaspoons of Equilibrium puts me mid-range Calcium (15.65ppm) and high end Magnesium (4.68ppm), but way high on Potassium (37.87, where as 20 is the suggested high). Is that a problem? I do also dose K2SO4 per EI suggestions. Would this also have any negative effects of hardening my water and raising GH by that much? And again are these doses one time after water change only, or should I be adding some over the course of a week?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Zapins is he who can give you a much better answer on the deficiency.
I should like to ask if there is any particular reason you add the K2SO4 as it's
usually listed as "optional" on EI list and for the most part is only needed when
Hygro type/family plants are in a tank.
I use it, but as a percent of my dosing of KNO3. That is to cut down on nitrates
because my bio-load is very minimal. So those bacteria which would normally be
present in the filter are in short supply. And 95% of my plants are slow growing.
Check the list of what the Equilibrium contains. In order for the Magnesium to
be used it needs the calcium as they work together.
Diana suggested to me that I add them in a 1/4 ratio for my GH booster. Four parts
calcium that is. But since then I've noticed that they are in a 1/3 ratio in any GH
boosters sold ready made. I'm suggesting that the Equilibrium may not have enough
of one or the other for the Magnesium to get to the plant properly. But just a
possibility.
 

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If you want more Ca and Mg without too much more K, why not dose the same amount of Equilibrium and K2SO4 you are currently dosing (so no more K than it is currently getting) but simply add a little of each MgSO4 and CaSO4 so that you maintain the right ratio between these 2 minerals but increase the amounts of Mg and Ca.

You are bringing the GH up to about 6 of which units on water change day? Then what is it the day before a water change? Have the plants used most of these minerals?

The first line is from Seachem site. The others are me, doing the math to figure out how much you are adding to your 29 gallon tank.
3 degrees = 1 tablespoon per 20 gallons.
1 degree = 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons.
1 degree = 1.5 tsp per 30 gallons.
17.9 ppm = 1.5 tsp per 30 gallons.
Note that 1 German degree of hardness (the degree I am using here) = 17.9ppm.

I think you are not adding enough Ca and Mg with the Equilibrium.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@Raymond - I don't really have a good answer as to why I add K2SO4. I add 1/4 the amount of KNO3, following the guidelines for the 20-40 gallon dosage amounts here (Estimative Index Dosing Guide - Fertilizing - Aquatic Plant Central), but add equal parts K2SO4 and KHP04. It sounds like I can probably stop the K2SO4 without issue, particularly if I end up using more Equilibrium.

@Diana - I am using units of dKH. I just tested my tap water and it is at ~2 dKH (it's kind of hard to tell, I have the "add drops until it goes from yellow to green" tester, so it's hard to tell a color change when there is only 1 or 2 drops in there). I feel like it was higher last time I tested but I'll have to track that down in my notes. Good question on the before/after water change test, I haven't been doing that but surely will start. Generally when I have tested throughout the week though it's pretty consistent at 6 dKH.

I don't know that I necessarily want to raise/lower/maintain the level of K in my tank. I don't know much about K or it's deficiencies or potential issues with higher amounts (I'll do some more research into that), but I definitely agree with you both that my Ca and Mg are low and I am seeing issues due to that.

I just added 2 tsp of Equilibrium to the tank (hope that was a good idea). I am essentially out of it now, but have 1lb of Ultimate GH Booster, CaSO4, and MgSO4 each. So come next water change, I need to figure out how to use those (unless Equilibrium would be better for whatever reason, in which case I'll go get more of that).

Ultimate GH Booster has K2SO4, CaSO4, and MgSO4, but I don't see amounts/ratios on their site or on the bag. It does have the exact instructions of Equilibrium though for 1 tbsp raises 20 gallons 3dH. So should I add 4 tsp of this after a water change, or try to use the MgSO4 and CaSO4 independently (and then keep dosing K2SO4 to make up for what would be missing from the equilibrium), or some combination of the above? I guess it's hard to tell since I don't know my tank's K requirements as of now at least (or how much K is actually in Ultimate GH Booster).
 

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The common "target" numbers I've seen on here for KH/GH are 3/5.
If you have low levels of these in your tap water(test BEFORE adding it to the tank) and
you want to raise it, then I would only use the MGSO4 and CaSO4 to do that/w.
Equilibrium is substituted for CSM+B by a few on here. But if you already dose
the CSM+B then you already have those other nutrients in what you are dosing.
Redundancy is great...for a check valve. Don't double the nutrients.
There is a 4 page thread on here about the possible toxic side effects of CSM+B
which is temporarily removed for moderator clean up of "things" which are not allowed
on the forum. Then also on "Live Aquaria" as in Doctors Foster & Smith's had(they removed it) a note by the Rotala Macrandra..."may have stunted growth from excess micro nutrients blocking the up take of other nutrients".
 

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l understand why you might think this is Mg deficiency, but are you adding a bit of iron to the tank as well? Mg and Fe work together to form chloroplasts (the green you see in plants).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The common "target" numbers I've seen on here for KH/GH are 3/5.
If you have low levels of these in your tap water(test BEFORE adding it to the tank) and
you want to raise it, then I would only use the MGSO4 and CaSO4 to do that/w.
Equilibrium is substituted for CSM+B by a few on here. But if you already dose
the CSM+B then you already have those other nutrients in what you are dosing.
Redundancy is great...for a check valve. Don't double the nutrients.
There is a 4 page thread on here about the possible toxic side effects of CSM+B
which is temporarily removed for moderator clean up of "things" which are not allowed
on the forum. Then also on "Live Aquaria" as in Doctors Foster & Smith's had(they removed it) a note by the Rotala Macrandra..."may have stunted growth from excess micro nutrients blocking the up take of other nutrients".
The KH in my tank is almost non existent, maybe 0.5 or so. I haven't seen much about plants requiring any specific KH, so I've just left it as-is. Is it suggested to raise the KH, using something like baking soda?

Also for the MGSO5 and CaSO4, those would only be added immediately after water changes, and not throughout the week, right? Do I just target numbers based on something like the Fertilator for the first dose after water change and only replace the amount of water changed during a water change after that? I do 50% water changes in my 29g, so do I dose to reach target ranges for 29g or 14.5g?

Bump:
l understand why you might think this is Mg deficiency, but are you adding a bit of iron to the tank as well? Mg and Fe work together to form chloroplasts (the green you see in plants).
I do dose 10% cleated iron in addition to CSM+B. I dose iron at 1/2 the amount of CMS+B, so I would think that hopefully has me covered on iron, but it's been a while since I tested so I'll have to run a test and see where it's at currently.
 

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There are a few on here who use the Equilibrium as a substitute for the CSM+B.
But they are almost the same thing. You may be adding too much of one or more
of the micros by using both. I forgot that you are adding the GH booster for the KH/GH.
When I used a GH booster I made it from MGSO4 and CaSO4, but left out the K2SO4
intentionally so I wouldn't overload the "K". After re-reading this thread...
I'd suggest that you use the suggested amount of...KNO3 and KH2PO4 and CSM+B
(dosing the CSM+B plus 25% of that amount of CSM+B which is suggested {example
1/6 tsp CSM+B plus 1/64 tsp Fe} on separate days) and the GH booster as directed
on the package it comes in. But don't add any K2SO4 to the KNO3 and KH2PO4 doses
nor use the Equilibrium.
I think this will clear up the problem. You may be over doing something in your dosing
but determining exactly what is more difficult than starting the whole thing over with
a normal list to see how the plants react to that.
That normal list is for the average tank(and just what is that) but it's a regular starting
point, but with a little extras iron and a GH booster to bring up the KH/GH levels.
I had to re-write the thing twice to feel that you would not be confused by the instructions so if you are just let me know.
Note: It will take about three weeks for this to become the remaining ferts in the tank.
Since you have injected+ mega light in there you can help this out by skipping the first dosing after the water change to let the plants draw down the levels of nutrients better.
This is only on the first week.
 

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All science crap aside whenever I see badly stunted / discolored new growth I just dump a bunch of Ca and Mg in my tank and I'm all set. Now after water changes in my 75g I add 1tsp CaSO4 and 1/4tsp MgSO4. Been fine for a while now. Used to get stunted growth across my rotala, ludwigia, and AR mini at times but now they're all perfect.

Right now I believe that you just need 'enough so bad things don't happen' vs a perfect balance of these. I have never seen issues dosing extra but I have certainly seen issues in my tank if I don't supplement. Every tank is different though...

I also use CSM+B but at lesser volumes. I think it is recommended I use 1/2tsp every other day but instead I use 1/4tsp

Because you have incredibly soft water you will certainly need to buffer it. My water is pretty hard and I still see ill effects if I don't add supplemental Ca and Mg.

Honestly dosing advice is a crock of [email protected]%# and you should just find out what works for you. I swear I've tried everything at this point and the only thing that has worked for me has been modifying my own regimen over time and figuring it out myself. Every tank is different and everyone thinks they can 'out-science' their tanks to figure everything out. After many many months of struggling by taking people's various advice I don't really buy any given fert solutions anymore.

Just in case you care here's what I do in my high tech 75g:

Macro day: 3/8tsp KNO3, 1/8tsp K2SO4, 1/8tsp KH2PO4
Micro day: 1/4tsp CSM+B, 1/8tsp Iron Chelate
Water change day: 1tsp CaSO4, 1/4tsp MgSO4

I don't have any good reasons for why I dose my tank like that except for that it has been working great for me.
 
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