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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I'm making progress on my planted tank. Hopefully I can get some CO2 set up with Christmas money but in the meantime, I've added a few red plants and well...the new growth is green. I dose the tank with Seachem Flourish and Iron once or twice a week, so stuff is growing well, just not red. I'm not sure light is the issue either bc I have some mermaid weed in there and its new leaves are all needles, which apparently only happens under high lighting.

I have some ludwigia, the mermaid weed, some rotala, and some red cabomba and the ludwigia is the only one that's even close to what it's supposed to look like. If I need to go heavier on the iron, how much is too much for the fish? :confused:
I've tried reading up on them but I just feel like there's too many it-could-be's


Thanks again!
 

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Hi everyone!

I'm making progress on my planted tank. Hopefully I can get some CO2 set up with Christmas money but in the meantime, I've added a few red plants and well...the new growth is green. I dose the tank with Seachem Flourish and Iron once or twice a week, so stuff is growing well, just not red. I'm not sure light is the issue either bc I have some mermaid weed in there and its new leaves are all needles, which apparently only happens under high lighting.

I have some ludwigia, the mermaid weed, some rotala, and some red cabomba and the ludwigia is the only one that's even close to what it's supposed to look like. If I need to go heavier on the iron, how much is too much for the fish? :confused:
I've tried reading up on them but I just feel like there's too many it-could-be's


Thanks again!
https://buceplant.com/blogs/news/four-tips-for-achieving-red-aquarium-plants
 

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Hi everyone!

I'm making progress on my planted tank. Hopefully I can get some CO2 set up with Christmas money but in the meantime, I've added a few red plants and well...the new growth is green. I dose the tank with Seachem Flourish and Iron once or twice a week, so stuff is growing well, just not red. I'm not sure light is the issue either bc I have some mermaid weed in there and its new leaves are all needles, which apparently only happens under high lighting.

I have some ludwigia, the mermaid weed, some rotala, and some red cabomba and the ludwigia is the only one that's even close to what it's supposed to look like. If I need to go heavier on the iron, how much is too much for the fish? :confused:
I've tried reading up on them but I just feel like there's too many it-could-be's


Thanks again!
Judging by the color of your Mermaid, you have low to medium light. Your only chance of getting some red is Ludwigia, no chance for all others.

Read this

https://www.2hraquarist.com/blogs/freshwater-aquarium-plants-guide/how-to-grow-red-plants
 

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If I need to go heavier on the iron, how much is too much for the fish? :confused:
I've tried reading up on them but I just feel like there's too many it-could-be's
Iron has nothing to do with making plants red. That's an old myth.

The plants you have need to be healthy and under high light to turn red.

Flourish only contains micro nutrients. You are dosing no macros (NO3/PO4/K) and it shows. Notice your Ludwigia how the older growth has larger leaves, and the new growth has smaller leaves. My guess is when you bought it the leaves were large and now are shrinking. That's because they are starving from lack of macro nutrients.

Also guessing your light is closer to med/med low. You need pretty high light to get some color on all those plants.

But in larger scheme of things, you are going to have a very difficult time getting those plants healthy and red with no CO2. When you provide enough light to produce color, you also increase the need for both ferts and CO2. Just saying keeping colorful stems red and healthy with no CO2 is tricky. Not impossible, but very few are able to do so.
 

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I thought I might share my knowledge of red since I'm trying to grow them as well in my 75 gallon. Basically there are 4 main things that affect the redness of a red plant, the light, the co2 amount, iron content, and the nitrate levels. Red plants reflect most of the red light, hence why our eyes see red photons. Green plants reflect mostly green light and absorb mostly blue and red photons, hence why led manufacturers use mainly red and blue diodes, and it is cheaper to convert electrical power into red photons, thats another reason. Basically, if your light fixture doesn't have enough red wavelengths, then you will never see red on your plants, high tech guys that run 4 t5 above their tanks usually have one bulb that is just red for this purpose. Second is co2 level, it needs to be high enough. You can add extra iron into the water, but if your light fixture isn't correct or if you don't have enough co2, then again, no red. In my tank for example, my red plants light red tiger lily, ludwiegia repens, and my amanias, all turn darker red when the nitrates are super low, like less than 5ppm. There are plenty of youtube videos or people explaining how nitrate levels in the tank along with iron and co2 affect the appearance of red in plants. Light is only one factor. My regular fish store uses finnex planted and fugeray and their display tanks have awesome looking red amanias. And they are low tech tanks too, so the whole thing about red plants needing high light is not accurate, there are other factors to take in. You could have two tanks setup with the same co2 level, light fixture, and iron dosing, but one tank is going to have darker red plants and the other the red plants will be green, simply because of the nitrate levels. This is just an example and don't take it word for word since there are so many factors involved with growing red.
 

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I thought I might share my knowledge of red since I'm trying to grow them as well in my 75 gallon. Basically there are 4 main things that affect the redness of a red plant, the light, the co2 amount, iron content, and the nitrate levels. Red plants reflect most of the red light, hence why our eyes see red photons. Green plants reflect mostly green light and absorb mostly blue and red photons, hence why led manufacturers use mainly red and blue diodes, and it is cheaper to convert electrical power into red photons, thats another reason. Basically, if your light fixture doesn't have enough red wavelengths, then you will never see red on your plants, high tech guys that run 4 t5 above their tanks usually have one bulb that is just red for this purpose. Second is co2 level, it needs to be high enough. You can add extra iron into the water, but if your light fixture isn't correct or if you don't have enough co2, then again, no red. In my tank for example, my red plants light red tiger lily, ludwiegia repens, and my amanias, all turn darker red when the nitrates are super low, like less than 5ppm. There are plenty of youtube videos or people explaining how nitrate levels in the tank along with iron and co2 affect the appearance of red in plants. Light is only one factor. My regular fish store uses finnex planted and fugeray and their display tanks have awesome looking red amanias. And they are low tech tanks too, so the whole thing about red plants needing high light is not accurate, there are other factors to take in. You could have two tanks setup with the same co2 level, light fixture, and iron dosing, but one tank is going to have darker red plants and the other the red plants will be green, simply because of the nitrate levels. This is just an example and don't take it word for word since there are so many factors involved with growing red.
I would say you are partly right.

If you really want to get into a discussion of what makes plants red, you need to take into account the individual plants.

Some plants do respond to low nitrate levels. But that's a small subset of all aquatic plants, probably about 10%. Mostly Rotala's and Ammannia. It's actually a distress reaction, and to bring out bright reds with nitrate limitation is walking a fine line. You can also starve the plant and it will stunt. So it's a bit trickier than just lowering nitrates. Works for some plants, but will starve/stunt most.

For about 80% of aquatic plants it's strictly good health and light. It's simple, more PAR = more red/color.

About another 10% are genetically disposed to be red. Nitrates/light makes little difference. Think of plants like AR mini. Can be grown red in almost any condition.

So the point is different plants turn red for different reasons, but for most there is no question light is the biggest factor.

And iron makes no difference for any of them. They do need iron, just like they need all of the essential macros and micros. But adding more iron does nothing to bring out more red. This is a myth that has been widely disproven.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the responses y'all!
Since co2 is looking to stack up to around $200 (half of which is just the local price for a filled co2 tank) that will have to wait a bit (Merry Christmas to me woo?).
As for lighting, I have an Aqueon 18" deep tank with a matching 2 bulb LED fixture with their 'daylight' bulb and their 'colormax red' bulb. I think it's sufficient because that mermaid weed's new growth is narrow and comblike instead of broad and serrated like the older leaves below it. I took the top off to start propagating it and it too is growing comblike but green. I read it grows that shape in high lighting which is why I thought my lighting was sufficient. I also read that it 'slowly' turns red which is why, combined with the green growth on other red plants, I thought it must be something else.
Greggz, that's good to know on the macros. I don't suppose fish poop is a sufficient source, huh? Any recommended products? I'm pretty sure my Miracle-Gro isn't fish safe lol
 

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I would get a cylinder from airgas, it's your cheapest solution. Don't go to praxair, those guys are nazis and way overpriced. You buy your first cylinder with a deposit of like 160 bucks because that's the cost of an empty aluminum cylinder these days. I wouldn't buy a cheaper cylinder on ebay because very few co2 venders with refill owner cylinders because they weren't hydro tested at their approved location. So it's a liability issue. I paid 205 out the door here in chicagoland at airgas for 20 lbs of co2, which on a 75 gallon tank lasts about 9 to 12 months if you don't bomb it into the tank. Afterwords i just do an exchange for 26 bucks, its around 20 bucks in other states where you don't have the ridiculous taxes we have here. I've tried different regulators and most regulators around 50 bucks are garbage imo, either they leak or are inconsistent . Mine cost 140 and has all brass and stainless parts; I wouldn't buy a reg that has any kind of plastic on it except for handles. The black tubing is best for co2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Airgas is the only local place around and they recommended a 5lb tank for my space. $99.64 for the first time purchase and then about $30 for refills. I'm in the 'Greater Atlanta' northeast metro area
 

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I don't suppose fish poop is a sufficient source, huh? Any recommended products? I'm pretty sure my Miracle-Gro isn't fish safe lol
You don't need a product, you need nutrients.

KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4.....maybe CaSO4/MgSO4.

But how much is tricky. Still not convinced your light is very high. That Mermaid Weed getting spikey is not an indication of how much light you have, it has to do with nutrient parameters.

Here it is under high light and rich dosing. Not spikey but colorful. Limit nitrates and it would get more spikey. If yours does not start showing color, likely light is not high enough to do so.



 

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I would say you are partly right.

If you really want to get into a discussion of what makes plants red, you need to take into account the individual plants.

Some plants do respond to low nitrate levels. But that's a small subset of all aquatic plants, probably about 10%. Mostly Rotala's and Ammannia. It's actually a distress reaction, and to bring out bright reds with nitrate limitation is walking a fine line. You can also starve the plant and it will stunt. So it's a bit trickier than just lowering nitrates. Works for some plants, but will starve/stunt most.

For about 80% of aquatic plants it's strictly good health and light. It's simple, more PAR = more red/color.

About another 10% are genetically disposed to be red. Nitrates/light makes little difference. Think of plants like AR mini. Can be grown red in almost any condition.

So the point is different plants turn red for different reasons, but for most there is no question light is the biggest factor.

And iron makes no difference for any of them. They do need iron, just like they need all of the essential macros and micros. But adding more iron does nothing to bring out more red. This is a myth that has been widely disproven.
True. You are walking a tight line if you try to get redder plants by nitrate limitation, which is antithesis of EI that advocates excessive dosing. Tom Barr has noted that nitrate limitation can bring out red in some plants, but warned against doing it for risk of stunting plants. Dennis Wong advocates ADA lean dosing approach but in combination with rich substrate, so it is not lean overall. Many Dutch style grow colored stems in inert substrate (so replanting won’t make a mess), and lean dosing will guaranteed plant melt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
According to aquaticarts' website on mermaid weed, "When allowed to grow under high-intensity lighting, the leaves will become more bristle-like, resembling tiny, delicate combs."
How do I add nutrients if I don't buy a product? Is this something I can...cook?
 

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According to aquaticarts' website on mermaid weed, "When allowed to grow under high-intensity lighting, the leaves will become more bristle-like, resembling tiny, delicate combs."
How do I add nutrients if I don't buy a product? Is this something I can...cook?
In regards to Mermaid Weed don't believe everything you read. I can get Mermaid Weed quite yellow/orange under very high light with wide leaves as shown above. Spikiness is no indication of level of light, color is.

What I meant when I said you don't need a "product", is you don't need some type of all-in-one liquid fert or something.

They all contain the same things, just in different amounts/ratios. You can buy them all much cheaper individually, and dose them at the levels most suitable for your tank. The more serious you get about the hobby the more it will make sense.

Here is a link to a recent post where I discuss liquid ferts vs dry ferts.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/1020497-greggz-120g-rainbow-fish-tank-saturday-maintenance-11-21-2020-a-244.html#post11389589
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
In regards to Mermaid Weed don't believe everything you read.


Sir, are you implying the internet would lie to me?? :surprise:



Is there a way to measure light levels? I don't like that I have no measurable indication of where I am. I really don't want to upgrade my lighting as the fixture I have is made to fit the hood. It's a bowfront tank too so I can't just buy a replacement plexiglass glass hood
Edit: also, I was looking for brand recommendations on the macros. Unless I just buy whatever bag of white powders Amazon shows me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's what their sales rep said. Didn't say if it was special in some way, if there even is a grading scale. The closest location that will fill tanks is 20 min away (at least. With traffic, more like 30). I'm near Gwinnett Place Mall if anyone knows better search terms than me. As for the other equipment I'm looking at, here's what I've liked so far:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07S5L5CZP/ so shiny!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q7YSVNC/ I don't have a background so black hose would be noticeable
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08GSSBF64/ it has a lot of decent reviews?
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MUDDMVP/ I would prefer something digital but I haven't found anything like that
 

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In regards to Mermaid Weed don't believe everything you read. I can get Mermaid Weed quite yellow/orange under very high light with wide leaves as shown above. Spikiness is no indication of level of light, color is.
My Mermaid submerged leaves are spiky and turn from green to yellow/orange on top at medium light (120 PAR near water surface), so I can tell the OP light is insufficient for red. Spiky is induced by submergence, not high light. It can also be but I don’t get the broad deep serrated leaf shape Greggz has. Internet pics of Mermaid leaf shape is all over the map, so I am not sure if locality strain or environmental factors influence the shape.
 

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https://www.amazon.com/Rhinox-Co2-R...cphy=9021515&hvtargid=pla-1048264315333&psc=1

I only use this tubing, the clear stuff is fine but this stuff has a thicker and stronger wall, with co2 you run around 30 psi, so its not like an air pump that cycles with a diaphragm.

https://www.amazon.com/Beymill-Aqua...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

That right there serves as a check valve and a bubble counter, and best of all, the ends screw over the tubing so you never have to worry about cripping the tubing over the fitting or it loosening up. I've had tubing come undone because of the pressure. I recommend two, one as close as possible to the regulator otuput, the other as close as possible to the water line or the bend behind the top of the aquarium, this way the water doesn't siphon too far down when the regulator is switched off, water siphoning down too far with screw with your bubble count and it will take the co2 longer to push out into the water. They are also glass so they are easy to clean and won't degrade since co2 will degrade plastic over time.

https://sevenports.com/product/co2-regulator-adjustable-valve-2-gauges/

thats the regulator I have, you can search similar ones for a cheaper price, they are extremely accurate and solid,just make sure whatever regulator you get, add tons of teflon tape the the cylinder fitting since most cylinders leak like crazy at the threads, becasue the threads have large spacings and turn the pressure handle counterclockwise to decrease the pressure. These are needle valves, so turning it all way clockwise will blow full cylinder pressure into the chamber, and your gauges will blow. I had my output pressure gauge explode in my face because I forgot to turn the handle COUNTERclockwise before connecting it to the cyclinder :( !!!

Bump: you can look further into that Fzone regulator, but I just don't trust the 50 dollar regulators :( The one I'm showing you, the one I have, cost 145 normally, but they have deals where you can get it for 100, usually on the sub par 50 dollar regulator the electro solenoids go out often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The clear tubing I linked is supposed to be co2 rated, which I picked so that it wouldn't show behind my tank. All my other cords are tightly managed to keep them as discreet as possible with some strategic cabomba but I don't want to put kinks in the co2 line so it's just going to be there in plain view. I'll probably have plenty of cabomba to hide it too soon enough lol

That's good to know on the check valve. The diffuser comes with a simple one but the tubing is just pushed onto the ridges. I didn't really think of how much pressure this stuff will be under. That fzone regulator has good reviews but the casing appears to be plastic. That may have no impact on the metal innards though...

I'll definitely be reading and rereading the setup instructions. I want to be as safe and slow as possible since I don't have a great backup tank for the fish. All I have is a 5 gallon betta tank if someone needs quarantine
 
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