Curled and blackened leaves

kschyff

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Hi, I have a problem which I have not been able to solve for awhile now. Several of my plants show signs of defincicnies. For the most part the leaves are curled in plants like the hydrocotyle tripartite although they grow really well. This only happens with the older leaves. Some of these leaves then also seem to die off and start developing blackened look and some have green algae. The black parts are not algae as far as I can tell as I can't rub it off and plants like the Rotala are unaffected. In fact the Rotala in general do not seem to suffer these issues. The amazon sword also have curled leaves. The same with the crypts I have. Lileaopsis brasialiensis does not grow at all and just gets black over time. My specs are as follows:

1.) pressurised co2 8 hours which goes on with the lights for 8 hours.
2.) the lights I have are aquael 10w x2. total lumen of 1320.
3.) tidal 55 filter
4.) use Seachem stability every 2nd week when I change water in that week.
5.) use salty shrimp to raise the GH
6.) use Aquavitro to control KH as it is low because of the co2
7.) Active Amazonia 2 substrate
8.) Tank is over 90 days old and the growth is not bad other than these issues
9.) I use all four of the new line of ADA ferts every day (3 pumps as it is a 60p). Brighty K Iron, Potassium, Nitrogen and Minerals.
10). 40% water change twice a week.

I have attached a photo of the tripartite and the tank as a whole. The TDS reads just under 200 so its high as I initially thought this was a magnesium problem.
 

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JoshP12

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Hi @kschyff,

I have been watching the thread to see if anyone responds - as I am intrigued myself; however, I felt I should share my thoughts to maybe get the ball rolling.

I would like to share my thought process.

My first glance (yesterday) was as follows:
1) Glanced over details
2) Noticed you are increasing KH with a product ... didn't look into it deeply.

3) looked at CO2 turning on when lights on come on -- thought that perhaps at startup there is not enough CO2 in the system -- looking at drop checker, thought that maybe the picture was taken in the day before the pH drop. Maybe you can advise us here about your lighting and CO2? How does the light ramp up? How quickly does your pH get to where you want/the CO2 concentration get to where you want?

Looking at your leaves, aside from the curling that you suggest, I see no issues that poor CO2 causes (the curling could be from lack of CO2) - your leaves on the Rotala have great shape. They are plump enough, but not as plump as an EI dose tanked - but not as needle-like as a starved tank. It tells me that for your Rotala - your macros have to be good - and I include CO2 here ... you can tell. I haven't grown most of your other plants, but you can see some paleing. You don't see the paleing in the Rotala - **but I do see a leaf which is crunched ... I am not sure if this is just the reflection/lighting (both the crunch and the paleing)

4) You are dosing ADA system.

I have not used the ADA system, but I am going to assume that you are following it and providing all of the nutrients appropriately. From all I have read, the water column itself is leaner (I use EI).

So I said maybe it was micronutrient or CO2 related.

At this point, I thought that (and I still do) using a floating plant may help with the diagnosis. Darrel's (@dw1305) duckweed index uses a floating plant to rule out CO2 and light issues. If the duckweed suffers a deficiency, then you know it is nutrient related, if it doesn't but your plants do, then it's CO2/Light related.

This was day 1.

Day 2: I looked at your post again today and thought that I should look into that aquavitro. It raises potassium. How much do you dose? Further, ADA is rich in potassium. So you are getting a double whammy. So you have potentially lots of potassium and minimal micronutrients in the water. You may have cation competition and the potassium is winning. It was at this point, I started looking at your rotala for any sign of abnormality**.

Assuming that you added magnesium and saw no health increase, it has to be a different micronutrient. But I trust (albeit blindy) that the ADA system when done properly will deliver everything that the plants need - again I am just trusting in the system and really do not know from experience.

The only thing you are doing different than ADA system is that remineralization which is giving more potassium.

What I would do: Knowing everything I have outlined above, I would cease adding the potassium bicarbonate remineralization from the Aquavitro. You already do large water changes, so one day just do not add it and keep going with that (The low KH is not a huge issue ... I run about 1dKH or .5dKH).

I shared all of my thoughts because I am not entirely sure and did not want to send you in the wrong direction. Another very important path to consider is your CO2.

Edit: Note that I just re-looked and noticed the Salty Shrimp bit. Is your water void of all minerals or do you have at least some? Perhaps like 9 ppm Ca and 2 Mg or something? If so, I may even cease the salty shrimp. Just to strip your water of additives - and see if you can grow plants without remineralization (you are doing two water changes weekly which should replenish minerals provided your tap water has some.

Cheers,
Josh
 
Last edited:

dw1305

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Hi all,
At this point, I thought that (and I still do) using a floating plant may help with the diagnosis. Darrel's (@dw1305) duckweed index uses a floating plant to rule out CO2 and light issues. If the duckweed suffers a deficiency, then you know it is nutrient related, if it doesn't but your plants do, then it's CO2/Light related.
Yes, that's the one.
.......use Seachem stability every 2nd week when I change water in that week.
5.) use salty shrimp to raise the GH
6.) use Aquavitro to control KH as it is low because of the co2
7.) Active Amazonia 2 substrate
8.) Tank is over 90 days old and the growth is not bad other than these issues
9.) I use all four of the new line of ADA ferts every day (3 pumps as it is a 60p). Brighty K Iron, Potassium, Nitrogen and Minerals.
What is your starting water like? That is quite a list of additives, but necessarily the ones that <"your plants need">.

I'll be honest I haven't got a lot of time for the companies that sell <"pH buffers"> and <"fertiliser systems">, they are at <"best disingenuous">, and at worst they are the factor that stands between you and you <"having the tank you want">.

I'm not a CO2 user, but carbon (C) is often the nutrient that is limiting plant growth, plants can only make use of that extra carbon if other nutrients aren't limiting.

Have a look at <"Bedside Aquarium"> (with traditional apologies to @Miss-Pepper) and <"Liebig's law of the minimum">, at the moment we just have too many <"unknown unknowns">, to be able to offer much helpful advice.

cheers Darrel
 

kschyff

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South Africa
Well thank you very much for the initial advice. I have a lot of tings to look at here and I agree with dw1308 that the ADA story is not looking to great to me. I am all the way from South Africa so I can't easily get the good EI dosing ingredients, but will probably buy some from Aquarium Plantfood UK and see if that helps. Unfortunately I can't use my tap water as its very hard. As such, I am using RO water, hence my thought that it is a mineral deficiency. I am new to the hobby so not too sure when the CO2 actually reaches the optimum point, but the drop checker only turn lime green about 4 hours into the photoperiod.

At this point let me cease the Aquavitro stuff and reduce salty shrimp a bit (I still need some as I use RO water). I have tried my best to duckweed and although I know it should be easy to get I just can't find any. That to me is the best and definitive route. Was thinking about this yesterday actually. Let me ask the guy that sells me my fish to see if he has any floating around. Its my understanding that it grows almost like a weed in a tank.

As for the light, I unfortunately di not buy the greatest stuff when I started so I can't dim or ramp it up. I should look into another light and move these two to a nano tank I want to redo. In terms of lights I can't get hold of twister in SA, but can get ADA ones or Fluval if I import again. I think these are dimmable. Could get Chichiros. Let me first do as instructed and get back to you guys. Thanks again - much appreciated.
 

JoshP12

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Well thank you very much for the initial advice

Don't worry! UKAPS is here for you!

Unfortunately I can't use my tap water as its very hard. As such, I am using RO water, hence my thought that it is a mineral deficiency. I am new to the hobby so not too sure when the CO2 actually reaches the optimum point, but the drop checker only turn lime green about 4 hours into the photoperiod.

...


As for the light, I unfortunately di not buy the greatest stuff when I started so I can't dim or ramp it up. I should look into another light and move these two to a nano tank I want to redo. In terms of lights I can't get hold of twister in SA, but can get ADA ones or Fluval if I import again. I think these are dimmable. Could get Chichiros.

To optimize CO2, I suggest turning your CO2 gas on 2 hours before lights on. Don't worry that your light has no ramp. We can simply set CO2 to match your maximum light. The 30 minute ramp will allow the plants to "wake up" so to say ; however, I think for now it is ok. After you set that 2 hours, tell us what your drop checker reads at 1 hour, 1.5 hours, and at 2 hours.

An important question is the stability of your CO2. Does it maintain that lime green color all photo period? The reason is that your light is driving your photosynthetic rate. As a result, your nutrient demand. Assuming you have enough nutrients, your CO2 demand becomes limiting as per Liedbig. That said, you cannot afford to have a drop in CO2 levels during the photoperiod (they always need to be present) - and more importantly the delivery of those nutrients to your plants -- the flow/distribution of water in your aquarium.

Everything is growing, so I don't think we need to spend more money on lights ... yet.


At this point let me cease the Aquavitro stuff and reduce salty shrimp a bit (I still need some as I use RO water).

Looking at < this >:
1597758942629.png


It doesn't tell me if their carbonate source is potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate (or it uses a calcium carbonate ... it doesn't matter though). Since it is a special shrimp thing, I think it is probably potassium. Anyways.

Now that we know you have RO, I would add enough booster to raise your dGH to 3 - exclusively with salty shrimp - this should give you ample Ca + Mg and also give you 1.5 KH -- perfect. Forget your tank water parameter right now - target those specs on your water change water. After enough water changes, your tank water will match.

From this point, major water change with the water suggested above and reset those nutrient levels and begin dosing as per your guidelines.

If I were you, I would do the CO2 change and the water change shifts all at once. Some would prefer to do things one at a time, but I like the holistic approach as it is likely that in our tanks we have more than 1 issues at a time - my opinion.

Keep us informed!

Josh
 
Last edited:

dw1305

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Hi all,
As such, I am using RO water,
OK, that makes things a lot easier, because you are starting with a blank slate. I have hard tap water, and I just use a <"small amount of tap"> to harden the tank water (I'm a rainwater user). Have a look at <"James' Planted Tank"> for other re-mineralising options.

The difficulty with pH and "pH stability" is that <"they are quite complicated"> areas of water chemistry and you can't extrapolate from hard to soft water. I use a slightly different approach, where I look at the amplitude of changes in water chemistry, rather than just pH.
I have tried my best to get duckweed
Any <"floating plant will do">. Is Nile Cabbage (Pistia stratiotes) available to you?

cheers Darrel
 

kschyff

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Thank you @hypnogogia but I live in South Africa. Its not a popular hobby here it seems, which is a shame. I will find some eventually. Darrel, I will have a look for Nile cabbage.
 

kschyff

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Hello. I have managed to locate some salvinia and will update the thread once it has been growing for a while. So far, if I start the CO2 1 hours before the lights it gets green at about 18:30 (CO2 started at 14:00). Lights go on at 15:00 and go out with the CO2 at 22:00.
 

JoshP12

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Hello. I have managed to locate some salvinia and will update the thread once it has been growing for a while. So far, if I start the CO2 1 hours before the lights it gets green at about 18:30 (CO2 started at 14:00). Lights go on at 15:00 and go out with the CO2 at 22:00.

I am assuming that the fish so no gasping etc. Since we are troubleshooting some stuff, I’d be inclined to turn it on 2 hours before. This way it will be green hopefully by 16:30 (and that sounds perfect).

My reasoning for the suggestion is so that you have your “maximum, stable” co2 by lights on and since your lights have no ramp, this is imperative.

All of this sounds positive!
Keep us updated!

Josh
 

hypnogogia

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It should get green before your lights come in, not 3 hrs after lights on. The plant need and consume most co2 early on in the photo period.
 

kschyff

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I have been reading some more on these issues and I now notice green algae on several of the plant leaves including the older Rotala ones. The meeboldii ones are almost totally covered in it. Many post claim this is related to phosphate imbalances. I have just order a kit as it did not come with JBL proscan I had. Given that my tank has a lot of fish I am thinking that its overstocked. I never initially shared this info so here we go: 10 neon tetras, 6 rasboras, 4 lampreys and 3 dwarf gourami's. Given that Amazonia comes packed with phosphate I think my levels are probably way to high. Does this make sense? I will test in a few days - what level should I aim for with phosphates?
 

JoshP12

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Hi all,

I made an assumption that green meant lime green/light green.

Personally, I run 2x drop checkers (a 2dKH on the right and a 4dKH on the left in the picture below):
1598927069216.png

1598927098558.png


It was only after I ran both that I could even tell the difference between yellow and green in the water. For me, as long my 2dKH - which is always yellow - is lighter than my 4dKH, then I know I am good (having also watched the fish etc).

In terms of lights on/off the DC has a delay by 1-2 hours ... and that sucks - that means if it is my DC light green color at lights, you can be certain that your CO2 is max at lights on - which is good. Once you do that and the tank gets healthy, reduce your "before lights on" time as suited ... or don't.


I have been reading some more on these issues and I now notice green algae on several of the plant leaves including the older Rotala ones. The meeboldii ones are almost totally covered in it. Many post claim this is related to phosphate imbalances. I have just order a kit as it did not come with JBL proscan I had. Given that my tank has a lot of fish I am thinking that its overstocked. I never initially shared this info so here we go: 10 neon tetras, 6 rasboras, 4 lampreys and 3 dwarf gourami's. Given that Amazonia comes packed with phosphate I think my levels are probably way to high. Does this make sense? I will test in a few days - what level should I aim for with phosphates?

If you read through several of my posts over the past few months, you will probably find a tone of frustration regarding this exact concept - determining implications in the aquarium. Below are some of my thoughts that may help.

First, the "balanced tank" means (generally speaking) healthy growth and little to no visible algae*. The root of the balance is unknown. And, frankly, the cause of algaes are unknown. People can draw correlations - saying that they notice if they skip water changes (several) and have decaying matter, they get black beard algae ... then you could have someone else not get BBA under the same circumstance. It all becomes anecdotal and "experience based".

So, is GSA something with phosphates - certainly many have had luck with it; however, the other day I had a micro bloom - did 2 major water changes back to back and continued dosing EI etc. I had trimmed heavily earlier (the day after a WC) that week and didn't bother changing water (on purpose, just to see what would happen) - and then the GSA appeared ... but then the GSA did not come back ... so did the dirty tank from all those leaky organics from trimmed stems cause the bloom or was it phosphates? Well ...

What I am getting as the best course of action at any time where there is an issue is to water change daily/every two days (and replace nutrients) and then as things fix, start spacing them out longer. I would be apt to water change in the evening, put in an EI daily dose of macro nutrients, plunk in a micro dose in the AM and then change it all out that evening. Repeating that for a while - < while cleaning rigorously >.

Many people advise a reduction in lights to slow down the energy in the system (you can do this), on the other hand, the speed of a high-light system allows you to see stuff happen quicker and attempt to draw connections.

If you dose EI levels using < this calculator >, then - at this point in your tank - we can be almost certain that the nutrients are present. From there, we need to do CO2 as above, we need to do extensive maintenance, and watch new growth. EI will remove the guessing from if you have enough of nutrients. Reduce it later (if you want) once the tank has become healthy.

Do not chase a phosphate level as it will differ for every tank - and each tank is unique - which is annoying to hear.

The ultimate point piece is the flow of water in your aquarium - it delivers all nutrients (including CO2) to your plants. So if your DC reads properly, your nutrients are in check and your plants are still suffering after good cleaning and a few weeks of growth - and your floating plants look good - you can look at Flow (although we should always look at flow first). The problem is we need to gather info from the system (i.e. flora/fauna health etc) to tell us about what to do.

*some people embrace algae and some people don't. There are several great threads on the forum about that.

I am not sure how off-task I got - sorry for that - but if you notice algae (and you don't want), I have had success with intensive water change + put nutrients back in to the tank at the "right" levels. Then remove them and all the algae spores and all the dirt that the bacteria will use and steal your oxygen from your precious plants and fish and create ammonia for algaes to eat ... then ween off the water changes as the tank stabilizes and go from there.

Hope that helps.

Oh and yes your thoughts on accessible phosphates makes sense; however, most of those phosphates in ADA are probably locked up in the substrate and not in the water column. EDIT: I also just realized you have ADA substrate - I am assuming you followed their procedure (which I have never done) for establishing the tank? That would suggest that the initial release of nutrients is "done" ... but maybe someone with ADA experience can comment.

Josh
 

ceg4048

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I have been reading some more on these issues and I now notice green algae on several of the plant leaves including the older Rotala ones. The meeboldii ones are almost totally covered in it. Many post claim this is related to phosphate imbalances. I have just order a kit as it did not come with JBL proscan I had. Given that my tank has a lot of fish I am thinking that its overstocked. I never initially shared this info so here we go: 10 neon tetras, 6 rasboras, 4 lampreys and 3 dwarf gourami's. Given that Amazonia comes packed with phosphate I think my levels are probably way to high. Does this make sense?
Hi,
No, sorry it does not. Excessive phosphates do not cause algae, and therefore it is something that you never need to worry about. The worst thing you can do to analyze your problem is to spend you hard earned money on a PO4 test kit. This will only lead you down the primrose path that dalliance treads. PO4 test kits actually are incapable of measuring PO4 levels. Bizarre, but true. No one actually knows what they measure, but if you are looking for a solid investment opportunity then certainly invest in companies that produce PO4 test kits because everyone seems hell bent on buying test kits forever, so a stable revenue stream is a certainty.

If your tank is overstocked then algae can result due to excessive organic waste, so the solution to this is to perform large and frequent water changes (50% or more weekly or even more frequently if possible).

Curled leaves or blackened leaves are always the result of poor CO2.
As others have mentioned you should investigate your injection rate, injection timing as well as your filter flow throughput and it's distribution pattern.The root cause is guaranteed to be in these areas.

Cheers,
 

kschyff

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First, thank you for the massive amount of information Josh. I will cancel my PO4 test kit for now. I do 50% water changes twice a week as standard so I think let's leave the overstocking for a bit. I have just come home and although the CO2 system has been running for just over 2 hours the dropchecker is not lime green as the lights turn on. I have a complete CO2 Art system with their diffusers which create a fine mist so I don't think it is delivery mechanism. I do, however think it is the use of the HOB filter which I think does not create adequate flow from the diffuser side to my drop checker side.

So, let me see if I can tweak the flow, even I turn on the CO2 a bit earlier. In the meantime I don't think the ADA ferts are working out for me to be honest. Which EI products are you using Josh? and at the same time if I were to invest in a canister filter what about a Fluval 307 or 407? I need to do the filter swop anyway as I need to replace a filter on another nano tank so can swop between the two.
 

JoshP12

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.. and although the CO2 system has been running for just over 2 hours the dropchecker is not lime green as the lights turn on. I have a complete CO2 Art system with their diffusers which create a fine mist so I don't think it is delivery mechanism. I do, however think it is the use of the HOB filter which I think does not create adequate flow from the diffuser side to my drop checker side.

You are correct. For whatever reason, I just assumed (and thought I saw) a lilly pipe - and also assumed the Tidal 55 was some kind of canister filter. So many assumptions - sorry.

The bubbles from your diffuser need to stay in the water column as long as possible (so they can get into the water) - when it bursts on the surface, it is lost (and most of what we inject is lost).

If you can get a second drop checker, I would. Place them on opposite sides and watch their colours. Before my spray bar, it was rather interesting to see a discrepancy in the "speed" they changed.

So, let me see if I can tweak the flow, even I turn on the CO2 a bit earlier. In the meantime I don't think the ADA ferts are working out for me to be honest. Which EI products are you using Josh? and at the same time if I were to invest in a canister filter what about a Fluval 307 or 407? I need to do the filter swop anyway as I need to replace a filter on another nano tank so can swop between the two.

EI dry salts. I am in Canada so I use https://theplantguy.ca/.

@ceg4048's post on EI is a must read. At the top of the page, you will see "articles" ... read all those - they are great.

Here is < Clive's post> .

You "need" to buy: Potassium Nitrate (KNO3), Potassium phosphate (KH2PO4), and a CSM + B Trace mix (I use Plantex). The key will be the chelator which is one of the acronyms: EDTA, EDDHA, DTPA ... they will give rise to a different "amount of time it stays active" ... the chelate holds the metals from the trace (and the point of interest is iron) in an "accessible" form to the plant. If the chelate bond breaks, then the metal will bond to something and become "solid" and fall down ... rendering it unusable to the plant (unless it lands in the substrate and is taken up by roots ... but don't consider that as it is virtually irrelevant).

Since you are using RO (unless you choose to mix your tap water with rain water or implement some of the UK strategies for remineralizing), my inclination is to say that EDTA is fine. You can also just get EDTA and double the dose if the water is harder etc. Most people in the States use DTPA (as it is more stable) and EDDHA is the most stable of all - this is all based on the hardness (and really the KH) of the water. The point is this: get whatever you can get your hands on and we can help you work around it. Maybe post on here what the options are and we can chime in.

A common rule of thumb is to get the filter rated for 10x your tank (example 60 gallon tank, get a filter rated for 600). Some have success with less.
But the point is to be aware of what will happen if you have 5x instead of 10x. What will happen? The filter may not be able to push through your rotala forest and lower leaves may be in areas devoid of nutrients (and CO2) - and they may melt. This is simply because the water is stripped of nutrients as it passes leaves ... not much, but it is. And if the water can't push through a big plant mass, then the plant will not have access and die. In the same way that if you cover a plant with something, it will die from lack of light.

60p is only 17 gallons - so something rated for 170 gallons per hour should be sufficient. I don't have experience with the Fluval products.

The key will be the diffusion method into the tank from here. Set your in-tank diffuser directly into your filter intake (that will be in your tank) and then let your output push CO2 enriched water through the tank.

We can help with the setup and positioning once you have it.

Josh

PS to tag someone, you can use @ kschyff ... but together to give you @kschyff.
 
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