Apparent plant deficiency, or something else... But which? Orwhat?

LadyDay

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Hi guys.

I'm at a loss and hope you can help! Something is wrong with my Hygrophila Siamensis. The leaves are turning a pale brownish colour. I've had plants of the same species look the same before and they've gradually turned pale and stopped growing. These plants were planted 5 days ago.
I fertilize with Tropica Specialised Nutrition and Tropicas root tabs (the substrate is coarse sand). I inject CO2 and they have moderate light according to Tropicas homepage. The light is on for 6 hours per day, since I'm trying to keep down an algae outbreak (I did a blackout a week ago, before I planted these plants. The algae appears gone. It was green hair algae and BBA.) and I'm changing 30% water every second day for the same reason. Looking around the internet I thought it looked like a Phosphorous deficiency, but I just tested the water (with a liquid test kit) and it said 2 mg/l. So plenty. I also tested Nitrate levels and got 25 mg/l. Again, plenty.
What do you think is going on?
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
Welcome, it doesn't look very happy. Because you live in Denmark I'm going to assume you have hard (high dKH/dGH) water?
The leaves are turning a pale brownish colour. I've had plants of the same species look the same before and they've gradually turned pale and stopped growing.
If the new leaves are pale and small it is an indication of a <"deficiency of a non-mobile element">, and the most likely one of these is iron (Fe). Have a look through the <"linked threads">, they should get you started.
Looking around the internet I thought it looked like a Phosphorous deficiency, but I just tested the water (with a liquid test kit) and it said 2 mg/l. So plenty. I also tested Nitrate levels and got 25 mg/l. Again, plenty.
Other than iron, deficiencies are <"quite hard to diagnose">.

I'm not personally great fan of test kits, it isn't that I don't want to know what the tank parameters are, I would really like to know, but I have some experience of water testing in a lab. situation and I'm aware that there are potential problems with a lot of test kits, meter and protocols.

I use the growth of a <"floating plant to indicate nutrient deficiencies">, the advantage of a floating plant is that it has access to aerial CO2, so any growth issues aren't CO2 related.

cheers Darrel
 

milla

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I got a pot if 53b fron tropica. It was enersed grown and lost all its leaves in two weeks. Took twelve weeks before recovering to the point they could be trimmed and replanted.
 

LadyDay

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Hi Darrel.

Thank you for the welcome. Yes, it looks a bit upset. I hope I've caught whatever it is in time. Yes, our water is pretty hard. The water providers website says 18 °dH (Don't know if that refers to dGH...).

I can start giving the plants an iron fertilizer supplement and see if that does the trick. Do you think I should increase the dosage of the liquid fertilizer I'm currently giving them? I'm a bit worried about too high Phosphate and Nitrate levels. Kinda wish I'd gotten the version without these (I bought a 5 liter container to save money in the long run).

I believe you in that the test kits may not be particularly precise. The floating plant trick is very clever! I do worry about getting completely overrun by Duckweed though? Would f.ex. Limnobium laevigatum do the same trick? They are much prettier ;)
 

LadyDay

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I got a pot if 53b fron tropica. It was enersed grown and lost all its leaves in two weeks. Took twelve weeks before recovering to the point they could be trimmed and replanted.
I did wonder if it might be plant melt, since they're new. But I figure the leaves would then look more... melted.... than just miscoloured? And I've had the same species look exactly the same before, they just stopped growing, they didn't lose leaves. What did yours look like?
 

milla

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They went brown / yellow and fell off. New growth then started at each leaf node.
The stems allways looked healthy though. No rot or anything.
 

LadyDay

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They went brown / yellow and fell off. New growth then started at each leaf node.
The stems allways looked healthy though. No rot or anything.
If that's the problem then there's hope :) Did it start with the top leaves too like this does?I would assume it was all the leaves then, not just the top ones?
 

Witcher

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Hi @LadyDay I think it's the effect of low nitrates while other nutrients are on decent level - this will also turn many generally green plants looking pale due to low chlorophyll content. I got something similar on my l. sessiliflora when nitrates are around 5ppm weekly:

20200515_161356.jpg


Bacopa caroliniana turns nearly copper at the same time:

20200515_163741.jpg


...and Ranunclus papulentus melts within few days (it seems to be very good indicator for low nitrates):

20200515_165712.jpg


PS. Don't trust hobby grade tests, the main reason they exist is to get out of you as much money as possible.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
But I figure the leaves would then look more... melted.... than just miscoloured?
They often melt, but your's don't look melted.
The water providers website says 18 °dH (Don't know if that refers to dGH...).
Probably both, if all the hardness is from CaCO3, then dKH/dGH will be the same. Our aquifers are mainly chalk, in southern and eastern England, and that same <"chalk extends under a lot of N. Europe">. My tap water <"would be pretty similar">, it just means <"it is fully saturated with CaCO3">.
Do you think I should increase the dosage of the liquid fertilizer I'm currently giving them?
No, just try a different iron source. Have a look at @Zeus. 's and @Craig Matthews <"FeEDDHA thread">.
The floating plant trick is very clever! I do worry about getting completely overrun by Duckweed though? Would f.ex. Limnobium laevigatum do the same trick? They are much prettier.
Yes, Limnobium laevigatum is <"actually my "Duckweed" of choice"> I'd already started calling it the "Duckweed index", before I <"swapped from using Lemna minor">.

If @Witcher is right (and they may be for all, or part, of the problem) then adding more nitrogen (N) should lead to be pretty rapid greening, because nitrogen is mobile within the plant and can be moved to the newest leaves.

cheers Darrel
 
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LadyDay

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Thank you guys for being so helpful!

Hi @LadyDay I think it's the effect of low nitrates while other nutrients are on decent level - this will also turn many generally green plants looking pale due to low chlorophyll content.


PS. Don't trust hobby grade tests, the main reason they exist is to get out of you as much money as possible.
That does look a lot like mine! It would make sense because I'm changing so much water. So I'm surprised I'd have much in the way of Nitrates at all. My water provider (whatever that's called in English) says that the Nitrate content of our water, out of the tap, is only 1,4 mg/l. What is the best approach to that? Change less water?

I've always been told "use drop tests", but I also imagine there's a difference between people mainly focused on fish, where it's just important not to have Nitrite and Ammonia, and people mainly focused on plants, where the smaller details matter in order to keep plants alive. I just want a tank with pretty fish and pretty plants! The tests do seem a bit dodgy!

They often melt, but your's don't look melted.
That's what I thought.

Do hardness generally matter to plants? And if so, do they matter to Hygrophila siamensis you reckon'?

just try a different iron source.
Done :) Makes sense to rule out this element as the problem first. I'll have a look at the links.

Yes, Limnobium laevigatum is <"actually my "Duckweed" of choice"> I'd already started calling it the "Duckweed index", before I <"swapped from using Lemna minor">.
Aaaaaaaah. The direct translation of "Duckweed" into Danish refers to the teeny tiny ones, the Lemna minor. I like the bigger ones with the lovely hanging roots. And it's easier to get rid of them again if i feel like it I imagine. I worry a bit about floating plants cutting off light from my other plants...

If @Witcher is right (and they may be for all, or part, of the problem) then adding more nitrogen (N) should lead to be pretty rapid greening, because nitrogen is mobile within the plant and can be moved to the newest leaves.
What sort of source of Nitrogen do you suggest? I have pure Potassium Nitrate salt... I'm not sure just feeding my fish more is a good solution, though I'm sure they would disaggree. :) I can also just cut down on the water change. I'm changing so much water on the advice of Tropica, on their website.

I'm definitely getting some floaty plants!
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Makes sense to rule out this element as the problem first. I'll have a look at the links.
It will <"only be the new leaves">, formed after iron ions become available, that will be greener.
So I'm surprised I'd have much in the way of Nitrates at all. My water provider (whatever that's called in English) says that the Nitrate content of our water, out of the tap, is only 1,4 mg/l......
Your water company will be right, they have a whole analytical lab. with trained scientists and a lot of kit.
.....What is the best approach to that? Change less water?
No, just add some more nitrogen. Your plants can't make use of the CO2 that you are injecting, if other nutrients are limiting growth. Potassium nitrate (KNO3), was going to be my suggestion, have a look at @Zeus. 's <"nutrient calculator">.
Do hardness generally matter to plants? And if so, do they matter to Hygrophila siamensis you reckon'?
No, it is fine in hard water.
where it's just important not to have Nitrite and Ammonia, and people mainly focused on plants, where the smaller details matter in order to keep plants alive. I just want a tank with pretty fish and pretty plants!
Plants are the gift that keeps giving <"in terms of water quality">. I want everyone to have a successful planted tank <"with healthy plants and fish">.
The tests do seem a bit dodgy!
Have a look at <"new to this......">.
The direct translation of "Duckweed" into Danish refers to the teeny tiny ones, the Lemna minor.
Duckweed is Lemna in English as well, we call Limnobium laevigatum "Amazon Frogbit". It doesn't matter <"what your floating plant is in terms of the job it does">, it is just Amazon Frogbit is a nice green and will grow in soft water with very low nutrient levels, and hard water with high nutrient levels.

cheers Darrel
 

sparkyweasel

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I've always been told "use drop tests", but I also imagine there's a difference between people mainly focused on fish, where it's just important not to have Nitrite and Ammonia, and people mainly focused on plants, where the smaller details matter in order to keep plants alive.
And the people mainly focused on selling you tiny amounts of chemical reagents for a lot of money. :)
 

LadyDay

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No, just add some more nitrogen. Your plants can't make use of the CO2 that you are injecting, if other nutrients are limiting growth. Potassium nitrate (KNO3), was going to be my suggestion, have a look at @Zeus. 's <"nutrient calculator">.
I'm in over my head with the calculator I must admit. It got complicated quickly after the first few steps! Any chance there's a "for dummies" way of figuring out how much to add?

Plants are the gift that keeps giving <"in terms of water quality">. I want everyone to have a successful planted tank <"with healthy plants and fish">.
At least my fish are healthy and happy. That's priority number one. Now I just need to crack the code to keeping healthy plants too. It's supposed to be "easy" plants I have, so I'm surprised how much I'm struggling to keep them thriving. I'm not about to give up though!

I'll call around today to see if I can get hold of some Duckweed. I'm really curious to see how that does in my tank!

And the people mainly focused on selling you tiny amounts of chemical reagents for a lot of money.
It seems they exist too! These kits are expensive!
 

Zeus.

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Hi

Could we have some tank details as guidelines for plant help!

Plus have you done a pH profile to see if your CO2 is stable, your plants don't look like a CO2 deficiency, but CO2 deficiencies are the main cause of deficiencies in CO2 injected tanks so would be nice to rule it out.

How much of the TPN are your dosing ? the standard dose gives

1589614771532.png


Going from your NO3 test I would say 3 times standard dose
1589614907299.png


So about 0.25Fe which in TPN I think is Fe HEDTA ??? breakdown of TPN here, getting your hands on your water report would help too as if like myself my tap water has at least 30ppm NO3 in in at any time off the year.

so you might need to consider its solubility esp with your high pH which you will have with your hard water, as @dw1305 has already pointed out

1589615345391.png


I dont think its excess ferts as @ceg4048 points out many times on here he had is tank 3-5x times the EI dose and no issues - plants looked better in his words
 

LadyDay

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Hi Zeuz.
Thank you for the thorough reply.

Here are the tank info:

1) 325 Liters (150x50x50 cm)
2) Eheim Professional 4+ 600 external/canister filter
3) A HeliaLux Spectrum 1200 and two of Akvastabil's LED lights 1100. (The old version https://www.akvastabil.dk/da/belysninger/leds). A total of 96 W. However, yesterday I turned the Akvastabil ones (2 x 18W) down to about half power. I have them on for 6 hours. Planning on gradually increasing to 9 hours once I'm sure the algae is under control.
4) Coarse sand (about 2 mm grain size)
5) CO2 injection
6) 5 ml Tropica Specialised Nutrition per day + Tropica root tabs.
7) Currently 30% every 2nd day except 50% once per week. Planning on just 50% once per week once the algae are under control.
8) Hygrophila siamensis, Hygrophila siamensis 53B, Limnophila sessiflora, Bacopo caroliniana and Microsorum pteropus 'Narrow'.
9) 4 Angelfish, 6 Keyhole Cichlids, 7 Crossocheilus Oblongus (still small), 2 Bristlenose Plecos and 5 Copper Corydoras
10) Attached. Taken 5 days ago (the lights are off right now). The plants are just planted. The air bubbler is only on at when the CO2 is off.

By pH profile do you mean the change in pH during the day? I have done that in the past. I then got the pH to drop by one point (from 7,4). I turn on the gas 1 hour before the lights, but the pH hadn't fallen by 1 before the lights came on. I can measure again today.

I dose 5 ml TSN per day. A dosing pump takes care of it so I don't forget.

So you think I should up the does to 15 ml per day?

I don't know if it's Fe HEDTA.

Water report: https://www.aarhusvand.dk/api/DownloadWaterQualityPdf/Download?plantId=4751000498&reportTypeId=1

The solubility of the NO3? So, the dose needs to be higher because the solubility is low in hard water with a high pH?



Thanks again, all of you, for taking time to help! :)
 

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Zeus.

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By pH profile do you mean the change in pH during the day?
pH before CO2 on then every 30mins till CO2 off and pH at lights on

I turn on the gas 1 hour before the lights, but the pH hadn't fallen by 1 before the lights came on.
Cant see you getting the full pH drop in one hour (only one user I know can do that and they have twin CO2 injection controlled by a PLC) 2 - 3hrs would be about normal for your size off tank. So I would say your CO2 is unstable which could be the cause of the perritation of the issues.

Air Stone :eek: hope thats off when CO2 is on - night time only as it dives off CO2

As for your ferts - set my calculator for you tank and dosing 6m/50l seven times a week

1589622994590.png


So (if my calculations are correct) we can see the weekly yield in ppm for your tank - and the cost

Cost to make your own

1589623172884.png


and weekly cost of a DIY Fe DTPA and Fe EDDHA solution to yield 0.5ppm Fe DTPA/EDDHA is

1589623733412.png

and cost comparisons off differnt products DIY regimes
1589624050286.png

The solubility of the NO3? So, the dose needs to be higher because the solubility is low in hard water with a high pH?
1589624165145.png


cant see the Gh or pH affecting its solubility that much once fert is in tank, and if it does precipitate out once the [NO3] isn't saturated any more it will dissolve back into solution- so IMO not an issue

Water report wise and a reultant 100l WC
1589624889216.png


(some off features above are in the prelease V1.9 of calculator)

I would get your CO2 right first, but dosing extra fert should do no harm IMO but with your plants mass cant see it being needed


Zeus
 

LadyDay

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Thank you Zeuz for the reply. It's complicated, but I think I understand it. I will do pH measurements today and start the CO2 earlier. It makes sense! The air bubbler isn't on when the CO2 is. Should I just remove it completely?
I have already added an iron supplement and am about to go to the store to get some Limnobium laevigatum. I will keep the Tropica fertilizer as it is for now, and see what happens with the first changes.
 

Zeus.

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The air bubbler isn't on when the CO2 is
:thumbup:

Should I just remove it completely?
No great for night use to drive off CO2 and increase [O2] in water

I have already added an iron supplement
which one?

I will keep the Tropica fertilizer as it is for now, and see what happens with the first changes.
I would also esp with the extra Fe - then long term look into DIY ferts and save some money
 

LadyDay

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which one?
Easy-life Ferro (I had it already)

I would also esp with the extra Fe - then long term look into DIY ferts and save some money
I tried that, with the EI starter kit from aquariumplantfood.co.uk , but didn't get good results. The plants developed the same problem as now. They got pale and stopped growing. Then they got covered in algae. Maybe that's because the unstable CO2 was the problem? I also had a UV filter running. I've since read that that's bad for chelated elements. It's off now.
I'm probably up for trying again, once the 5 liter canister of fertilizer from Tropica runs out (the advantage of the ready-made fertilizer is that I can use the same fertilizer every day, thus being able to have the pump dose it automatically. I am not good at remembering putting fertilizer in manually and it's also nice to be able to go away for a few days without worrying about it.). Saving money is very good though!
Is it possible to home-mix a fertilizer that isn't separate micro and macro, but can be dosed the same every day, that doesn't need a day off and where it's fine to mix a large amount at once? To minimize the hassle. Due to illness I have some issues with memory and energy levels, so minimum hassle is good.

So, just to make sure, I should wait with adding KNO3 right?

I am measuring the pH every half hour and have just gotten some tiny (1-2-grow) Limnobium laevigatum.
 

Zeus.

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Easy-life Ferro
Which is Fe EDTA - I think! had a google and found nothing on which iron it is !! which suggests its Fe EDTA to me

tried that, with the EI starter kit from aquariumplantfood.co.uk , but didn't get good results. The plants developed the same problem as now. They got pale and stopped growing.
Yep same here as ADA AS lost it buffering capacity - but APFUK salts with another Fe chelate should do the trick, about the same hardness of water here as you

Sound like some Fe DTPA or Fe EDDHA is needed as @dw1305 surgested and unstable [CO2] will not help
 
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