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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

I'm seeing a deficiency in my Ludwigia sp. Super Red, and I just wanted to know if I'm correct. Before going any further, this is looking very washed out from my camera for some reason, but it's actually much more red than this. The difference in color between the veins and the flesh of the leaves is really there, just the whole leaf is far more red than these pictures.

My initial guess was a Mg deficiency, but I've been adding some with my water changes, and haven't noticed a difference in 2 weeks. My hard well water is almost all Ca, with very low Mg. Should I be adding more?

Parameters:
NO3- 10ppm
PO4- 2ppm
Ca- 70ppm
Mg- 7.5ppm
CO2- 40ppm
KH- 7.5
GH- 12
ph (degassed)- 7.8
Lighting- 80'ish PAR
Temp- 76F
BDBS substrate

EI Dosing (50%, low plant mass & new tank) with CSM+B

For more info and a FTS, my journal is in my signature





Thank you!
 

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Hi @jellopuddinpop

It appears that a couple of things going on with the plant. Yes, it appears that the plants are getting insufficient calcium (Ca) causing the hooked leaf tips and new growth deformities. How can that be if you have 70ppm of Ca? It may not be the amount of available calcium in your tank but another mineral effecting the calcium uptake by the plant (Mulder's Chart). Two of the most common mineral interactions that effect calcium uptake by plants are magnesium and iron. If there is an excess of magnesium (Mg) in a tank that can adversely effect the uptake of calcium. Also if there is insufficient available iron (Fe) in a tank that can also adversely effect the uptake of calcium.

You indicated that your pH is 7.8 'degassed'......does that mean you are using CO2? If so what is the pH of your tank when the lights are on? This will help us determine the next step.
-Roy

Mulder's Chart
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the reply. Yes, Im running pressurized CO2, with a ph of 6.5-6.6 during photoperiod.

I thought the same thing about lack of Ca, but I triple checked the testing, with two different kits. In addition, the dGH/Ca ratio calculated to near zero Mg.

It's absolutely possible that I'm low on iron. I'm not dosing additional Iron above CSM+B, and I'm wondering if the high ph water is binding up the Fe, or releasing it from it's Chelate.
 

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Thank you for the reply. Yes, Im running pressurized CO2, with a ph of 6.5-6.6 during photoperiod.

I thought the same thing about lack of Ca, but I triple checked the testing, with two different kits. In addition, the dGH/Ca ratio calculated to near zero Mg.

It's absolutely possible that I'm low on iron. I'm not dosing additional Iron above CSM+B, and I'm wondering if the high ph water is binding up the Fe, or releasing it from it's Chelate.
Hi @jellopuddinpop,

I think you are on the right track and if it were me I would first try using additional iron, and one that may be more acceptable to the plants. Plantex CSM (the B is added by the seller) uses EDTA chelated iron in their CSM product which does not do well when the pH is greater than 7.0. Although you have a pH or 6.5 - 6.6 during your photoperiod and the CSM should be adequately available (about 80% available) you stated you are only dosing about 50% of EI recommended levels. I would pick up a bottle of Seachem (Flourish) Iron and dose per the recommendation on the bottle (1 ml per 10 gallons). This should add 0.26 ppm of iron to your tank. Dose the Seachem Iron for two to three weeks and watch the new leaves that emerge after you start dosing; do not watch any existing leaves...they will not change. Because both iron and calcium are immobile nutrients by the third week the new leaves should start to look better if the primary issue is iron related. The leaves should not show the 'hooking' nor the interveinal chlorosis (darker leaf veins / lighter in-between) that we currently see in your photos. If you can provide progress reports and pictures as things progress that would be appreciated. Hope this helps! -Roy
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
what is water column K
I’ve never tested the Potassium, but was under the impression that this was covered in the Macro mix from NiloCG. I can pick up a K testing kit if you think it’s worth it.

how much Fe is added
As far as Fe, I’m not dosing anything other than what comes in CSM+B. The concentrations from NiloCG website show this is .50ppm, but I'm only dosing at half strength right now. I do have DTPA Fe 10% already, so I just need to mix some up to try it out.

can you post green plant with deficiencies because it is difficult to see it on red plants.
The only other plants in the tank are DHG, E. Vivipara, and ‘HC’ Cuba, so no big leafy stems to look at. I'll try to get some closeup pictures of the other plants tonight.
 

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I’ve never tested the Potassium, but was under the impression that this was covered in the Macro mix from NiloCG. I can pick up a K testing kit if you think it’s worth it.
No, not worth getting the test kit. I was hoping you know how much K you are adding so we can get the idea.
As far as Fe, I’m not dosing anything other than what comes in CSM+B. I do have DTPA Fe 10% already, so I just need to mix some up to try it out.
I am not suggesting you start adding more Fe only. What I was hoping is to see how much Fe is added.
The only other plants in the tank are DHG, E. Vivipara, and ‘HC’ Cuba, so no big leafy stems to look at. I'll try to get some closeup pictures of the other plants tonight.
All other plants look okay? I was expecting to see loss of chlorophyll which cannot be identified on red plants.

Wanted to show you two nutrient ratio charts. One showing what other minerals should be with 70 ppm Ca, and one with your present levels. But to be able to make them I need your K and Fe levels. Example, you add 20 ppm K per aquarium size after 50% water change, that makes it 40 ppm K in the water column. Similar idea for Fe.
 

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if anything, I would try switching the Micros and lower the NO3, or at least combine the NO3 with some Urea. last option to try, I suggest Modifying the CSM+B like Edward has done and go from there. even better if you make your own Micros, I know many people still use CSM+B but its the last thing I would recommend from my personal list.

I am fully confident that its not Ca, Mg Related.
 

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if anything, I would try switching the Micros and lower the NO3, or at least combine the NO3 with some Urea. last option to try, I suggest Modifying the CSM+B like Edward has done and go from there. even better if you make your own Micros, I know many people still use CSM+B but its the last thing I would recommend from my personal list.

I am fully confident that its not Ca, Mg Related.
happi, I was just about to suggest the need to increase N and Mg to match the high Ca, and also mention that I have learned this from you. I can’t do it now, obviously I still don’t understand your proven ratios.

Good to see you back!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
All other plants look okay? I was expecting to see loss of chlorophyll which cannot be identified on red plants.

Wanted to show you two nutrient ratio charts. One showing what other minerals should be with 70 ppm Ca, and one with your present levels. But to be able to make them I need your K and Fe levels. Example, you add 20 ppm K per aquarium size after 50% water change, that makes it 40 ppm K in the water column. Similar idea for Fe.
I looked at the tank really thoroughly today, and maybe the DHG is curling as well? This plant has never grown straight up for me, it always grows in an arc and sorta tangles with itself. Also, there are multiple shoots of DHG that are a very dark green.

I also noticed that my Cory's seem to be doing some damage to the DHG. There are several sections that are getting pulled out, with exposed roots.

Going by the info on NiloCG's page, the dosing numbers of his mix are K- 4.27ppm & Fe 0.50ppm. I don't know if that's per dose, or if it's weekly. Also, I'm only using a half dose.

https://www.nilocg.com/shop/diy-ei-liquid-premium-fertilizer-aquarium-plants/

Bump:
if anything, I would try switching the Micros and lower the NO3, or at least combine the NO3 with some Urea. last option to try, I suggest Modifying the CSM+B like Edward has done and go from there. even better if you make your own Micros, I know many people still use CSM+B but its the last thing I would recommend from my personal list.

I am fully confident that its not Ca, Mg Related.
When testing my tap water, I'm getting absolutely zero for Mg on the test (Red Sea). I increased the solution by 5x, and still didn't need the third reagent to get a color change. I've posted a thread about it here:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11-fertilizers-water-parameters/1316201-can-adding-mg-cause-rapid-change-tank-health.html

While it can absolutely be true that the Ca/Mg ratio isn't what's causing my problems, will it be hurting me to dose some Mg?

Also, if not CSM+B, what would you recommend for a Micro mix? I'm just going with the simplest, most popular choice, but I'm willing to change it up. Will dosing DTPA Fe do the same thing, or is there other issues with CSM+B?

Also, you mention lowering the NO3, or adding Urea. Was that a typo? I would think adding Urea would only raise NO3, not lower it.
 

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Parameters:
NO3- 10ppm
PO4- 2ppm
Ca- 70ppm
Mg- 7.5ppm
CO2- 40ppm
KH- 7.5
GH- 12
ph (degassed)- 7.8
Lighting- 80'ish PAR
Temp- 76F

@jellopuddinpop
If these Parameters are correct then you could try raising the Mg if it’s really 0 like you are saying, but I also doubt that you are getting 0 for the Mg test, I mean 7.5 ppm Mg is more than enough, can you test the Mg few minutes after adding it to the tank?

Can you post more close up pictures of the other plants including this one? Let’s see how the other plant are doing. Far as the csm+b goes, the one from Nilocg, I don’t know what’s wrong with the batch that he sells, some people has reported having some issues if compared to GLA csm+b as example, the results were different. The only major thing they add separately is Boron, I cannot be certain if your issue is more linked with Boron here, but it’s worth a try to add a different micro and see what results you get. You can make your own and there are plenty of people who are making their own, the links can be found here in the TPT. If you cannot make your own, I highly recommend Tropica especially in case of harder water.
In your case I also suggest adding DTPA Fe and more Manganese (don’t confuse with Magnesium). Urea combined with KNO3 should help the overall plant growth and help with reduced smaller tips on the plant by making them grow as they suppose to.

The major problem with higher KH and CO3 tanks are that it hinders the Iron, PO4 and several other Micro Nutrients. Some nutrients get precipitated or locked out under such condition.

@Edward
I don’t think we could change his Ca levels or lower them unless he uses RO water, which will help overall. But for now we can only recommend what might be better solution based on the given Parameters. Far as adding more Mg, this will be only to bring the ratio closer to 4:1 but in such a case I don’t think he really need to add so much Mg, if one has 200 ppm Ca, I won’t be recommending 50 ppm Mg, even 5 ppm Mg should work, Ca is very forgiving in such scenario, but Ca can interact and interfere if there is higher KH/CO3 Present in the water as described above. We here in Utah deal with such a scenario where our water is much harder than the above parameters, Micro and Iron deficiency were quite common, Mg also low, plant appeared Fe/Micro Deficient despite adding tons of CSM+B, what really helped was Mg, DTPA Fe and more Mn. Urea also helped but one has to be careful not to overdose it in such a parameter, green water is just around the corner under such condition. In his case he could start with daily dose of 0.1 N from Urea combined with his KNO3 and observe.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Parameters:
NO3- 10ppm
PO4- 2ppm
Ca- 70ppm
Mg- 7.5ppm
CO2- 40ppm
KH- 7.5
GH- 12
ph (degassed)- 7.8
Lighting- 80'ish PAR
Temp- 76F

@jellopuddinpop
If these Parameters are correct then you could try raising the Mg if it’s really 0 like you are saying, but I also doubt that you are getting 0 for the Mg test, I mean 7.5 ppm Mg is more than enough, can you test the Mg few minutes after adding it to the tank?

Can you post more close up pictures of the other plants including this one? Let’s see how the other plant are doing. Far as the csm+b goes, the one from Nilocg, I don’t know what’s wrong with the batch that he sells, some people has reported having some issues if compared to GLA csm+b as example, the results were different. The only major thing they add separately is Boron, I cannot be certain if your issue is more linked with Boron here, but it’s worth a try to add a different micro and see what results you get. You can make your own and there are plenty of people who are making their own, the links can be found here in the TPT. If you cannot make your own, I highly recommend Tropica especially in case of harder water.
In your case I also suggest adding DTPA Fe and more Manganese (don’t confuse with Magnesium). Urea combined with KNO3 should help the overall plant growth and help with reduced smaller tips on the plant by making them grow as they suppose to.

The major problem with higher KH and CO3 tanks are that it hinders the Iron, PO4 and several other Micro Nutrients. Some nutrients get precipitated or locked out under such condition.

@Edward
I don’t think we could change his Ca levels or lower them unless he uses RO water, which will help overall. But for now we can only recommend what might be better solution based on the given Parameters. Far as adding more Mg, this will be only to bring the ratio closer to 4:1 but in such a case I don’t think he really need to add so much Mg, if one has 200 ppm Ca, I won’t be recommending 50 ppm Mg, even 5 ppm Mg should work, Ca is very forgiving in such scenario, but Ca can interact and interfere if there is higher KH/CO3 Present in the water as described above. We here in Utah deal with such a scenario where our water is much harder than the above parameters, Micro and Iron deficiency were quite common, Mg also low, plant appeared Fe/Micro Deficient despite adding tons of CSM+B, what really helped was Mg, DTPA Fe and more Mn. Urea also helped but one has to be careful not to overdose it in such a parameter, green water is just around the corner under such condition. In his case he could start with daily dose of 0.1 N from Urea combined with his KNO3 and observe.
Thank you for the reply @happi

The Mg @ 7.5 is only after dosing Mg to 7.5 with MgSO4, it was truly near zero. I verified with both a Red Sea test kit (used 5x the solution to try to dilute the titration), and by calculating Ca and dGH, and using the Mg/Ca formula to get to the conclusion that I have almost no Mg. I don’t need to raise it from here, I just wanted to be sure that adding it wasn’t going to hurt anything. I’m also going to be dosing DPTA Fe starting after this coming water change, so that will be the first change I make to see if it have any impact.

I’ll try to take some pictures when I get home, and I’ll post them later today.

I have no issue making my own, but I’ll have to dig into the recipes and purchase all of the individual chems. Is @burr740 still selling a kit? I tried going to burraqua.com, but it doesn’t look like the website is active yet.

Lastly, would you recommend I increase my EI dosage to full strength, or wait to see what changes the DTPA Fe have? There are lots of tank pics in my journal to have a look at the overall tank, and look at the plant mass.
 

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Thank you for the reply @happi

The Mg @ 7.5 is only after dosing Mg to 7.5 with MgSO4, it was truly near zero. I verified with both a Red Sea test kit (used 5x the solution to try to dilute the titration), and by calculating Ca and dGH, and using the Mg/Ca formula to get to the conclusion that I have almost no Mg. I don’t need to raise it from here, I just wanted to be sure that adding it wasn’t going to hurt anything. I’m also going to be dosing DPTA Fe starting after this coming water change, so that will be the first change I make to see if it have any impact.

I’ll try to take some pictures when I get home, and I’ll post them later today.

I have no issue making my own, but I’ll have to dig into the recipes and purchase all of the individual chems. Is @burr740 still selling a kit? I tried going to burraqua.com, but it doesn’t look like the website is active yet.

Lastly, would you recommend I increase my EI dosage to full strength, or wait to see what changes the DTPA Fe have? There are lots of tank pics in my journal to have a look at the overall tank, and look at the plant mass.


You can certainly add more Mg if you want, but try the other options first. Also, you are not the first one to report having a low or 0 Mg levels, I have some other people report this as well. am not sure where is all the Mg going after adding it to the water, there are several possibilities, some of them are that plant absorb Mg rather quickly but again I doubt they will absorb the entire 7.5 ppm Mg so quickly, other possibility are Mg forming MgCo3 which is less soluble in water, last possibility the CEC of soil absorbing the Mg. go ahead and try DTPA Fe, if possible try to get Mn as well if you can.

You don’t really need to buy it from Burr website, all those chemicals are available at Alpha chemicals and from many other sources, I highly recommend using DTPA/EDTA based Micro in Harder water, the Non chelated one will work as well but you might be adding them daily or more often to get the desired results.

You can use my recipe or methods if you want to make your own recipes, I have given the formulas and methods which should help user make whatever recipe or whatever numbers they want. Making your own Micro are the way to go now days, this will help save money as well as give you full control of your water parameters, good example is there is plenty of Copper in majority of tap waters, which can be completely taken out when you make your own recipe, otherwise you are stuck with adding more copper coming from CSM, Miller etc

Lastly, I personally Don’t use or Recommend EI, this is just my opinion. Half of EI is probably better option but with some tweaks. You can also Try PPS

Based on your Current Parameters, you could try something like this:

Ca 70 (coming from Tap)
Mg 17 (if you want to try the 4:1 ratio)
NO3 (1 ppm NO3 daily from KNO3, 0.1 N from Urea daily, total 1.44 NO3 daily)
PO4 1 ppm weekly (might have to adjust due to higher Ca and CO3 levels)
K (I personally add less, but in your case aim for 10-15 ppm Weekly)
Fe (0.1 ppm Weekly from DTPA Fe)
Fe (from CSM+B 0.25 Fe weekly)
Mn (0.05 ppm Weekly)

These numbers should give you some insight of what might be happening in your tank, if they fail to work, we will continue from there and see we could do
 

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well, there you have it, Burr can hook you up with the Micro and you can ditch the CSM+B and go from there. but like I said those chemicals are available on Alpha Chemicals, you could also buy a smaller gram scale and make your own for lifetime.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You can certainly add more Mg if you want, but try the other options first. Also, you are not the first one to report having a low or 0 Mg levels, I have some other people report this as well. am not sure where is all the Mg going after adding it to the water, there are several possibilities, some of them are that plant absorb Mg rather quickly but again I doubt they will absorb the entire 7.5 ppm Mg so quickly
I'm dosing 7.5ppm Mg with my water change, but haven't checked it at the end of the week to see if it bottomed out. The only thing I know is that my tap has almost none, so I've been adding some with my water change. I don't think I'll need to add more than I already am, I just wanted to make sure that dosing the 7.5ppm wasn't going to cause problems.
 

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happi
we were talking about the importance of elemental ratios, here, and I was trying to find some consistency in your approach. The way it was explained and what I understood was that following the ratios is ideal but was difficult to maintain with secondary elements Ca and Mg and also with K. This is where we determined that we can have up to 10 x the set concentrations for those three elements.

And because here with jellopuddinpop we have extremely high Ca causing deficiencies, I was going to suggest mineral additions to restore the ratios.

This chart below shows what the other minerals should be when Ca is 70 ppm. Obviously we cannot have 93 ppm NO3 due to toxicity to fauna and 140 ppm K due to extreme TDS values. However, it helps to identify the needed additions.




This chart below is what jellopuddinpop has now. It shows plenty of trace elements, but not enough NO3, PO4, K and Mg.




I would remove the CSM+B and start dosing Tropica 10 x recommended dose (10 x 0.012 ppm = 0.12 ppm a day), it is a proven product. Then increase NO3 to 30 ppm, 6 ppm PO4, 50 ppm K and 20 ppm Mg, water column levels.
 

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Ludwigia Super Red is known to be temperamental. It can stunt quickly and also recover quickly.

How long has it been in the tank? Looks like the older leaves are fat and healthy but the new ones are missing something.

But what is that something? Keep in mind it's not only nutrients that can be deficient.

You say your dKH is 7.5 and and degassed pH is 7.8 which makes perfect sense. But when you say 40 ppm CO2, what does that mean? What is the pH drop from degassed, and how are you measuring it?

People chase ferts but many times dialing in CO2 has much more of an impact.

There can also be a light deficiency. Is the L. Super Red still in the far left back corner? If so, that will be the very lowest PAR spot in your tank. You might just try moving it to the middle for a bit and see if it perks up.

And with your inert BDBS substrate 10 ppm NO3 in the water column might not be enough for many Ludwigia. The typical symptom is what you see there, much smaller new growth.

You mention dosing half EI, but what does that mean? What is the weekly total ppm of NO3, PO4, and K? And what is the water change percentage and how often? That is the way to determine potential accumulation of nutrients.

My guess is that Ludwigia would like more of everything. But then keep in mind the goals of the tank. Are you going to add more stems? Have a lush garden in mind? Or going to keep it more hardscaped focused like it is now? It's kind of important to decide, because your mix of plants will dictate which dosing method is going to work best.

And keep adding Mg. While 4:1 is common old school numbers, many are now closer to 3:1 or 2:1 ratio. More Mg will not hurt anything and might help.

If you go the custom micro route, here is a link to my thread about how to make a batch.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/1020497-greggz-120g-rainbow-fish-tank-saturday-maintenance-11-21-2020-a-77.html#post10937818

It's really not hard, and the iron (DTPA) is a much better fit for your dKH/pH levels. And based on your new build journal that I have been enjoying, it should not be much of a stretch after seeing all of the other intricate detail and work you have put into it.

Good luck and looking forward to seeing how this tank evolves. It has huge potential.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You say your dKH is 7.5 and and degassed pH is 7.8 which makes perfect sense. But when you say 40 ppm CO2, what does that mean? What is the pH drop from degassed, and how are you measuring it?
I think the 40ppm is actually a little low, and if you believe the charts, I’m actually around 45-55+. I’m measuring it with 24/7 ph monitoring, with a Bluetooth Hanna Instruments ph probe. Copied from my journal:

In addition, a major improvement was adding a ph monitor to the tank. I went out and found a Hanna Instruments wireless ph probe and monitor, that will record ph readings at various intervals throughout the day.

https://www.hannainst.com/edge-blu.html

You can then upload the recorded data, and chart your ph throughout the day. Here are some interesting findings... Initially, I was getting my full 1pt drop in ph, but it was taking a really long time to get there. As I increased the CO2 dosage to get my saturation earlier in the photoperiod, I was "overshooting the mark", and stressing the fish. From there, I increased my surface agitation to lower the peak CO2 levels, and found a nice happy medium. I HIGHLY recommend the following article from 2hraquarist for a really fascinating deep dive into the mechanics of CO2 levels

https://www.2hraquarist.com/blogs/ch...-of-co2-safely

I went back and forth increasing both my CO2 injection rate and my surface agitation, and was able to safely push a 1.4 ph drop without stressing the fish. This wouldn't have been possible without constant monitoring.





There can also be a light deficiency. Is the L. Super Red still in the far left back corner? If so, that will be the very lowest PAR spot in your tank. You might just try moving it to the middle for a bit and see if it perks up.
This is possible. A reefer buddy of mine has a PAR meter, so I can borrow it to find out. I was measuring 60PAR all the way at the front glass though, which is like 18” farther from the light than the Ludwigia is.

And with your inert BDBS substrate 10 ppm NO3 in the water column might not be enough for many Ludwigia. The typical symptom is what you see there, much smaller new growth.

You mention dosing half EI, but what does that mean? What is the weekly total ppm of NO3, PO4, and K? And what is the water change percentage and how often? That is the way to determine potential accumulation of nutrients.
I’ll be honest, I buy a Macro mix from NiloCG, and just doubled the amount of distilled water to but the nutrient levels in half. I have no idea how much of each nutrient that adds per week. For water changes, I do about 50-60% per week. I originally had planned on ramping up to full levels eventually, but I wanted to get everything established first. I’m planning on increasing this soon though, because I just started getting a bit of GDA, which (from what I understand) can come from low nutrient levels. This may also help the Ludwigia.


My guess is that Ludwigia would like more of everything. But then keep in mind the goals of the tank. Are you going to add more stems? Have a lush garden in mind? Or going to keep it more hardscaped focused like it is now? It's kind of important to decide, because your mix of plants will dictate which dosing method is going to work best.

And keep adding Mg. While 4:1 is common old school numbers, many are now closer to 3:1 or 2:1 ratio. More Mg will not hurt anything and might help.

If you go the custom micro route, here is a link to my thread about how to make a batch.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/1020497-greggz-120g-rainbow-fish-tank-saturday-maintenance-11-21-2020-a-77.html#post10937818

It's really not hard, and the iron (DTPA) is a much better fit for your dKH/pH levels. And based on your new build journal that I have been enjoying, it should not be much of a stretch after seeing all of the other intricate detail and work you have put into it.

Good luck and looking forward to seeing how this tank evolves. It has huge potential.
My ultimate goal is to keep it more hardscape focused, with another dense, colorful plant about 2/3’rds of the way to the right (where the gap in the rocks is). I haven’t been able to find a plant that I like for that spot yet, so for now, it remains open. I’m planning on only having 5 or 6 plant species in the tank total. Thank you for the compliments too! I did everything I could to prepare to have a huge, living piece of art in the wall of my foyer, and I’m still having issues. I’d rather get them cleared up now than wait until it’s a disaster and have to restart =).
 
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