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Discussion Starter #1
Long story short and it should have clicked for me months ago but I realized it tonight. I have a Mg deficiency. Adding standard Seachem ferts exasperated the Mg issue but resolved several others. GH runs 15-16 but is high Ca and adding the ferts Mg can't keep up at the tap.
Symptoms affect various plants to various severities over several tanks. Wavy leaves, white with green veins, transparent leaves and the tell tale hook which has only occurred in a few fast growers.

What is the best way to increase the Mg without adding Ca? My 55 is the most affected for some reason and is the tank I'm specifically looking to correct the issue first. Recommendations as to products and methods are appriciated. If Epsom salt is best, what quantity should I start dosing? I'd rather start very conservatively and wait and increase if after several weeks I'm still experiencing issues. Anyone have info on toxicity signs and if it builds up in the system, or am I solid to dose weekly after water changes?

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I have fairly hard water pH 7.6 12dgh in 80 gal low tech, and dose maybe 1/2 tsp Epsom salt after each weekly water change for my water's hardness is from mostly,, calcium.
Might try quarter tsp once a week in 55 gal after water change to see if this helps.
If it is magnesium deficiency the Epsom salt should produce near overnight greening for it is key nutrient for chlorophyll production.
If after a week there is no benefit,then try 1/2 tsp for another week.?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have fairly hard water pH 7.6 12dgh in 80 gal low tech, and dose maybe 1/2 tsp Epsom salt after each weekly water change for my water's hardness is from mostly,, calcium.
Might try quarter tsp once a week in 55 gal after water change to see if this helps.
If it is magnesium deficiency the Epsom salt should produce near overnight greening for it is key nutrient for chlorophyll production.
If after a week there is no benefit,then try 1/2 tsp for another week.?
Thank you! I am glad to hear it shows improvement quickly too that's great news! I'll start with 1/4 teaspoon and go from there.

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I have one small 20 long that has one plant which I have spent far too much time trying to correct. But in running through what might be lacking, I have come to MG as a potential problem. I also have this tank in limestone country where it is assumed there is a ton of CA. But I am getting a change after adding Epsom salt. Adding 3/4 teaspoon with each macro dosing on alternate days is getting the leaves on Java fern straight but I'm still waiting to see what else it may change as that is a lot.
The sick anubia that I meant to cure? Still doing the same silly thing! Not a lack of N,P, or K. Not CA and the other plants seem pretty happy so , maybe MG.
At least it is an easy, cheap fert to get and use.
 

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Hi sfsamm,

It seems that Ca and Mg deficiencies are more common than I imagined.

Rotala Butterfly recommends 3/8 teaspoon of Epsom Salt (MgSO4 + 7H2O) per 10 gallons 2X per week to achieve a recommended EI level of 5 ppm.
 

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Hi, Roy. Glad you dropped in on this as you might be the one to know. Is there a preferred ratio of sorts for CA and MG? Seems I read about it but not sure.
My thought is that I am certain that I have tons of CA as water softeners are almost required for the area and limestone is the bedrock all around. Any type of spray dries on all the glass as a grainy white layer, so my thinking is that CA is the primary thing in my hard water. Both GH and KH are somewhat near off the charts on testing. In the 300PPM range? But the thought has come up in conversations that even though we have lots of Ca, we may not have MG in the correct proportion.
I'm currently dosing extra Epsom salt and think I see some results but not declaring any victories, yet.
 

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Hi PlantedRich,

You have tons of Ca in your water but is the water in your tank going through the water softener?

In answer to your question typically a Ca:Mg ratio or 3:1 to 4:1 is what I have found when researching but attaining that ratio may not be possible nor recommended. In your case, with that much Ca adding sufficient Mg to get to that ratio would likely mean adding 2.5 tablespoons of Epsom Salt per 10 gallons and that would increase your hardness by 23+ dGH. I don't worry to much about the ratio but rather do I have sufficient Mg, Ca or whatever nutrient in my tank to satisfy the needs of my plants. Adding Mg to your tank may be helping, and increasing if further may provide even more positive results but here is a caution.....it may not. Why?
Necrosis occurs at tip and margin of leaves causing a definite hook at leaf tip.

Calcium is essential for the growth of shoot and root tips (meristems). Growing point dies. Margins of young leaves are scalloped and abnormally green and, due to inhibition of cell wall formation, the leaf tips may be "gelatinous" and stuck together inhibiting leaf unfolding. Stem structure is weak and peduncle collapse or shoot topple may occur. Roots are stunted. Downward curl of leaf tips (hooking) occurs near terminal bud. ammonium or magnesium excess may induce a calcium deficiency in plants... calcium deficiency
Notice what I highlighted in red? Sometimes a deficiency is not caused by a lack of a nutrient but too much of another. Looking at your Huntington Beach Water Quality Report shows a lot of Ca and also a fair amount of Mg. Unfortunately we do not know if those nutrients are in the most common forms - calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate both of which are very difficult for plants to uptake....even more so in alkaline conditions (PH>7.0). I have not yet found quantitative numbers as to what comprises "excess' levels for the nutrients but it does make me think. If it were me I would continue to dose Epsom Salt, slowing increasing the amount until improvement in the plants are no longer occurring.
 

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Sorry, My posting may create as much confusion as anything else. When I move back and forth from Huntington to Texas to Tampa, I never know where to post as an address as the forum has a quirk of going back to change ALL my previous postings to that address, so I just stopped trying to keep it current.
I'm currently working on the tanks in the Central Texas area where limestone is all around. I do use the raw water which has a hardness reading of 21 grains (300 PPM?) and mostly comes out of solid limestone.
A ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 is good enough data for me to think over. Possible that it is too alkaline but I will continue on upping the MG for a while longer and look for changes.
When it gets too simple or if it gets too hard, I'll look for a different place to bang my head on the wall!

Thanks for the info.
 

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Hi PlantedRich,

I hope my suggestions help. I have dealt with Mg, Ca, and Fe deficiency for several years. First learning to identify the issues, then researching possible causes, and finally finding ways to address them has been challenging but I think I may finally have a handle on many of my deficiency issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm super glad that you guys had the back and forth. Very helpful for me in my circumstances as well. I also went a round with iron after thinking I had things worked out in the beginning and although I don't think Ca will ever be in short supply getting Mg right may spur something else to come up short and I again should have but hadn't thought that far ahead. One more reason for me to get at least the 55 off the Seachem and into something that I have more control over. Hard water has been quite a learning curve for me, I thought the fish would give me more fits but instead it's the plants that seem to struggle more lol

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I did not mean to try to get onto another subject as I was thinking there was most likely some one single item missing. What is the big question and that is what Roy has helped me so much on as he has a better understanding of what the chemical side is likely to do.
I have run into much the same problem in outside plants at times. We have various plants which seem to show a lack of iron with yellow leaves, etc. But simply adding iron did not help, even when we felt we had added excess iron they still persisted with looking iron deficient. But when we added Epsom salt to get a better "balance" of MG for the almost solid layer of limestone (CA) that the plants are setting on, we got rid of the yellow.
Bottom line on the outside plants was not that there was a lack of iron but that the plants were not able to take the iron in and use it.
So when dealing with the tank plant, I started with making sure those which I could measure were there. Nitrate and phosphate are both test kits that I use but then for Potassium (K) I went with adding potassium sulfate to the mix until I was sure there was enough. Iron was next as it was on hand for other tanks. Calcium is almost a sure thing here so I next have moved on to making sure MG is high enough.
Somewhat a shotgun approach but the only real way to sort through? Start with the charts and signs as they are from people who have studied this much longer/deeper than I will, but if those obvious things don't work out, I have to move on to sorting what DOES work.
Many times, I have simply swapped out the problem plants and found those which did work as there are certainly plants growing in all kinds of water, if we just got better info on which fits best.
I look at my hobby expenses as I do other expenses and I'm a real bear for holding down the excess spending but when I look at what it costs to do tanks versus some of the other habits and I find a bag of ferts for five dollars that lasts a year is pretty cheap entertainment!
I guess we could say I prefer Epsom salts over Starbucks???
>:)
 

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Warm water and Epsom salt also work's well for tired aching feet.
Spent nearly fifteen year's as track laborer walking/working on loose ballast/gravel, and it took a toll that was not fully realized until recently.
That Epsom salt that I do not use in my aquarium's,I soak my feet in on occasion.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Haha yeah my green thumb in the garden is only capable of growing things since my move... So many deficiencies I've taken to this year compost, straw, mulch then ferts and as much black dirt as I can next spring... Nothing grows here lol

But I took some photos this morning from the 55 that has so many issues. Forgive the mess it's tank day but here's photos of my issues.

All Anubias new growth in this tank is like this, there's a variety of anubias plants. Nana, narrow leaf, coffeefoilia and bartoli.


Thin leaves on all my crypts, noticed much more hooked tips on them than before. I wasn't looking for it until the other day.



An example of what happens to my swords, this is just a spot starting on a new sword that's been in the tank about a week. It's starting to turn transparent. I am aware it's new and could be adjusting and that spot could have already been on it but it's very similar to what happens to the entire plant and over a few weeks I'll lose it.



Is this not Mg? What's your opinions?

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Have you taken a look at some of the plant deficiency charts?
Not to sidetrack but then it seems there is never to much info for us to decide to trust or not trust but I like to have multiple sources and compare. So here is one more if it has not come up to you yet.
Plant Deficiencies - Aquatic Plant Central
Some info is old and no longer posted but lots of info at least?
What I find is the written info seems to be quite certain but my plants often don't read the same info! Anyway it get to be a bit more muddled at times. So that does bring me back to doing some trial and error at times. That's where I get into throwing a bit of this and then some of that to see which my plant feels better about.

But for the current situation, I would certainly try some Epsom salt as a very easy to find, cheap shot. But then different water with different plants does make for different things to look the same but act different so if the first doesn't work in a few weeks, move on to the next most logical item.
 

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@PlantedRich
Definitely different water different problems lol and I completely agree on muddled info, I've been throwing seachem stuff at my tanks for several months simply because it's easy, I know exactly what's in it and there's a TON of detailed info available for when I switch off it...

This site http://bigpictureagriculture.blogspot.com/2015/12/plant-nutrient-deficiency-leaf.html?m=1 is what actually started a completely different thought about a different problem not in my tanks which after jumping down the rabbit hole and reading a bunch all night I ended up coming out with my tank issue being a likely Mg issue and still more questions about my garden issues lol, but I learned a ton about why I wasn't showing this deficiency or that deficiency before I fixed this or that and about why an over abundance of one can look like a deficiency in another and why presentation is different.... Mg fit my bill in my perspective by a process of elimination. I have a variety of plants presenting differently with the only common factor I could find being Mg, though lots of other things are blamed too for the various presentations all can be attributed to Mg deficiency from one cause or another. And yes it's about the cheapest thing I can try for something. The more reading I do, the more sold I am it's my issue lol I'm going to be completely confused if it's not lol

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Wow! Minding blowing to see that much info in one place on something that we often look at as simple?
Thanks for the post as I will now have lots more study materials. It does give me an almost unlimited supply of possible cures---as if I would run out. And then we get to throw in the idea that plants in water may not fully act the same as those in the field.
Something about bumble and stumble and even the blind sow finds an acorn?
 

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In answer to your question typically a Ca:Mg ratio or 3:1 to 4:1 is what I have found when researching but attaining that ratio may not be possible nor recommended.
I have been looking into this and haveseen 3:1 averages ins some water quality reports from various rivers. For many GH booster a 4:1 Ratio of calcium sulfate to magnesium sulfate. However in a river some if not all the Ca or MG in the form of carbonate which is not soluble. GH boosters use sulfates or chlorides that easily resolve in water. If you make adjustments for the weight of the sulfate the weight mix ratio of 4:1 which results in CA:Mg ratio of about 3:1.


However when I looked for date for lakes and rivers I found information that indicated big swings in Ca:Mg ratio occur seasonally and they can be dramatically different than the 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. Also if you look at the mineral content in the plant (not in the water) you will find a ratio of 2:1. Based on all of this I don't think the exact ratio is important as long as the plant can get what it needs when it needs it.
 
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