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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys and Gals,

Last week everything was going fine in my tank, in fact so fine I came home from being a week away (my brother added ferts for me while I was gone) to find an enormous amount of growth from every plant. So much so I had to take out my glosso entirely and start over because the bottom layer had started to die. Every plant was super green - ludwigia repens had no sign of red in it, instead big bushy green leaves. My jungle val grew over a foot last week. My baby tears, narrow chain swords, rotala indica, an limnophila indica had all grown twice in size.

Along with CO2 I dose my 20 gallon long with EI daily ferts as recommended for a 20-40 gallon tank.

This week however, I've decided to cut the KNO3 back just a tiny bit - from 3/16 tsp daily to about 2.62/16 tsp (I make a stock solution of 2tsp divided by 12 doses instead of 2.25tsp divided by 12 doses)

Other than that I have not changed my other fertilizers. Other macros and micros are all 1/16 tsp on their days until I do a water change of 50%

I do add 1/2 tsp of MgSO4 (Epsom Salt) on Macro days...and recently checked my GH for the first time finding it to be 16 dhk and my KH 6 dhk...is this too hard of water in my aquarium? Out of the tap both are 2 dkh

The only thing that I can think of other than changing the KNO3 dosing amounts is that I made my stock solutions with tap water this week instead of distilled water...Could this have caused a problem? My Alternanthera reineckii has new leaves coming in that are very long and thin compared to the original leaves.

New leaves are also coming in with clear spots. :confused:

I'll see about getting some photos when I get back today.

Thanks all,
Garrett
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Alright I was hoping someone would have chimed in. Here's a picture that I took of the Ludwigia repens, at least that is what I was told it to be.



By the way I took a nitrate reading on the aquarium this afternoon and it was suggesting 0 ppm. I dosed nitrates yesterday as today is a "micro fert" day.

Also I checked the GH and it came out to 14 today whereas yesterday it was 16 dkh. Does it lower over time as plants use up the dosed magnesium and calcium in the water?

- Garrett
 

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Garrett, these symptoms are quite typical of nitrogen deficiency. Steadily smaller growth along with deteriorating older leaves (which I can't see in the photos you posted above but are probably there further down the stems of stunted plants). The low nitrate readings are also probably indicative of nitrogen deficiency.

Look over Rotala macrandra during a nitrogen deficiency for a comparison:
http://deficiencyfinder.com/?page_id=620

  • Are any other plants showing these signs?
  • Can you take photos of them?
  • Are older leaves deteriorating?

To answer your questions: plants will use Ca and Mg over time, which will decrease the GH. This does not happen very quickly and should not cause a problem if you do water changes. 16 dhk and my KH 6 dhk is not too high for plants if there is roughly equal Ca and Mg or more Ca and Mg, however, it is possible to cause problems if your GH is totally made up of Mg because of your dosing, so just be aware of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the link. I'll make some adjustments on the KNO3 dosing.

Is there a good GH booster formula on the forum? I think my Ca to Mg ratio might not be ideal.

Edit: I checked the link out and it matches what is going on with most of my plants. I'll up the KNO3 dosing this week and see what happens.

I just need to figure out how to dose calcium and magnesium properly using measuring spoons as I don't have a decent scale to take weight measurements. The smallest measuring spoon that I have is 1/64th of a tsp.
 

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Would you mind taking photos of your plants? New and old growth of as many of them as you can manage. If we are able to confirm nitrogen deficiency then I'd like to add the photos to the deficiency finder with your permission.

As for the calcium, you don't need to be too specific about ratios, just make sure the calcium is = to or more than the magnesium for a problem free experience. You can use the fertilator on APC or wet's other calculator to figure out teaspoons/tablespoons. Also, a good quality digital scale can be bought on ebay for about $10-20 shipped, so you might want to consider that in the future. Spoons are difficult to work with because you have to constantly deal with fractions, estimate the grams, then calculate out ppm values instead of directly using a known gram amount for ppm values.

The first thing to do is to not change anything with the Mg/Ca at the moment, fix the nitrogen issue, then once we confirm that is causing the problem then we can fix the GH. If you change two things at once you won't know for the future which caused the problems or how to specifically correct it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Zappins,

I know these are not the greatest photos but hopefully you get the idea of how things *were* growing and how things are stunted now, and I think only because I short changed them on the KNO3. Today is a water change day and I'll be starting over on the KNO3. Do I need to use distilled water for making my stock solution?

Tank just before I left for spring break:


Tank just over one one week later when I returned:


So I thought holy moley, I need to cut back on KNO3 dosing to slow the crazy vegetative growth! So I did and after trimming here is the one week result:



 

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Thanks for the extra pictures.

I'm finding it difficult to make out for certain but are the old leaves (the mottled looking ones) actually damaged or is that algae on them?

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is translucency you see there. The only algae that I can see in my tank right now is what's forming where the glosso used to be. Hopefully the carpet will grow back soon.
 

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Thanks for the clarification. I'm looking forwards to the next update to see if the nitrates you added solve the funky new growth. If they do then this problem is likely nitrate deficiency and I can add it to the deficiency finder. I don't have any nitrate deficiency Ludwigia entries yet :)

Any more close up photos would be helpful if you'd like to take more pictures for the database.

The new growth should start growing normally within a few days. Probably 3-5 days you'll see healthy looking growth coming off the plants and within a week or two the plant will have several nice healthy leaves.
 
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