EI dosing advice

Nikola

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Hi all,
I'm dosing with full EI method for like one month until now. Hygrophila costata is growing like crazy, also hair grass. Crypt's are doing well but my Alternanthera rosaefolia and Ludwigia sp red are having deformed and small new leaves, looks like some deficiency.

At he beginning they all started growing good. Than I was testing my GH and KH which were 14 both and decided to go with mixing RO water and tap water to hold it around 6 or 7. After that deficiency started. What can it be?
Maybe I need to up the dose a little, or I'm putting to much because my plants are not filled in yet?
Also I have started dosing Excel flourish two days ago, hope that it will help.

Aquarium is 29 gal.
I have strong led light, CO2 is lime green from lights on already, PH drops 0.8 morning and around 1 during day. I have good flow in aquarium, was giving a lot of attention to this because at beginning I had some algae problems, still have a little of staghorn on hair grass but they are dying already from excel.
Right now I'm using two canister filters. One is Eheim 1050lph, another sera 750lph I use like co2 reactor, with spray bar which is on the back wall and spraying into the glass with small down angle so all the plants are gently weaving there. There are no dead spots in aquarium.

ps: I accidentally started this post on another forum second ago butt wanted it here
 

Simon Cole

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We need a picture of the suspected nutrient deficiency to see whether it could be an immobile or mobile nutrient. Conversely you could be looking at nutrient lock-out or excess. At this time of year there are lots of concentrated phosphates in the water (a hot year) and they can lock out iron, and high calcium levels can lock out suphur. It would also be useful to know where you got your EI kit so that we can check the salts. But that said, I don't think this is likely. Could you also detail your substrate/soil.

Secondly, can we have your pH and how long the tank has been established, and details of your light so that we can check the PAR. You also need to check your temperature in this hot weather (not sure about Slovakia). If it is relatively new planting, then yes, it is common for both of these plants to show stunted or deformed leaves initially. I hope that puts your mind at rest Nikola.
 

Nikola

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Hi
Here the temperature is not so high.
I will take poctures later, I’m not at home now.
So I would need to take phosphorus test to make sure?
I’m using Chihiros A series 80cm, A801.
50w 7200Lumen. 7 dimmable steps, mine is on 5th.
Ph in the morning is 7,4 and during the day 6,5.
I have lava rock on the bottom, than dirt substrate, over it clay based substrate and over it sand 1-2mm.
I planted althernathera 3 weeks ago, and Ludwigia one week ago.
Didn’t buy EI kit, I have bought everything on place where they sell chemicals, it’s one of package of each.
Just they don’t have CMB, they had Tenso cocktail.


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Witcher

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Than I was testing my GH and KH which were 14 both and decided to go with mixing RO water and tap water to hold it around 6 or 7.
So you've made your Fe more available for the plants by lowering ph/hardness overall.

Also I have started dosing Excel flourish two days ago, hope that it will help.
then you've started to dose even more Fe (Flourish is generally micronutrient fertiliser, with easy available but unstable source of Fe (gluconate).

After that deficiency started. What can it be?

I think these changes should be accompanied with upping your NO3 as well (and probably Mg but not sure about this one - depending what amount of Mg you have in your water). And if you are aiming at red plants, I'd also think about upping PO4.
 

Simon Cole

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Tenso are quite reliable. Lighting and pH seem okay. You have clearly worked hard to optimise your set up.
I think what you described is quite normal for both species when they are growing out. New plants do suffer from plant-tissue nutrient lock out and this can have nothing to do with your water. It can happen because vascular tissue and roots are regrowing and chemical transporters are not up to strength, so they cannot move nutrients around the plant as effectively.
I would be very surprised if you had any symptoms in a months time. It is worth mentioning that you should dose the macro and trace mix separately (trace during dark period). I would certainly not increase any fertilser dosage further.
Sometimes dirted tanks have a very high phosphorous load initially - so you just need to bear in mind that if the problem persists, to get back to me. If a month down the line you are looking at the same problem, then the place to start would be running your tank on RO water that you adjust up to your desired pH and hardiness range, for two weeks. That would show you whether it is your tap water causing nutrient lock out. You don't need to bother with water quality testing at that stage. That might come afterwards. So the plan is:
1) wait three more weeks
2) try RO water adjusted to a suitable pH and hardiness range using an additive (mineral GH up) for two weeks
3) test for dirt-phosphate loading
4) look at upping specific elements in your fertliser dose.
Hopefully one of these options will work. Don't worry about the photograph; tends to lead to conjecture.
 

Nikola

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Thanks @Simon Cole , I will wait it out little bit more, but I suspect that maybe I'm overdosing.

@Witcher I didn't test my tap water but I have found some specs online. It should have 96ppm Ca and 28ppm Mg.
I was adding Mg few weeks, and stopped. I stopped it when I found that I have 14 GH. But plats seemed enjoy it. Should I continue dosing it?
 

Witcher

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hey @Nikola the only reason I've mentioned Mg is that its amount in UK tap water is usually very low, but now I've realised you're from Slovakia (with stunning Poloniny National Park) - and you have almost perfect Ca:Mg ration in your water. I usually keep my Mg at approx 6ppm and don't see any deficiencies (and my water in the tank is similar to yours - I keep it at approx 5 dGH).

I also see that I've confused Flourish Excel from you post (liquid carbo) with Flourish (I'm sorry for that) - but do you dose micro/Fe at all?

By the way my Alternanthera reineckii also have occasional problems with deforming its new leaves - usually when I keep water hardness unstable and when I start to mess with K. Now my parameters are 6Mg, 24 Ca, 12K and it seems to be doing ok but... my Ludwigia Inclinata started to have the same problem and I'm 100% sure that deformation of new growth is related with Ca, Mg and K (it only happens after water change with re-mineralised RO). Unfortunately different plants react differently to these levels so you'll need to set the correct level of these ingredients experimentally - personally I'm aiming at rather going slightly up with Ca or down with K.

Images for comparison - as you can see a. reineckii. is doing quite well while l. inclinata looks like after Texas chain saw massacre - same tank, 10 inches away from each other.

reineckii.jpg
inclinata.jpg
 

Nikola

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Hey @Witcher ,
Yes I'm in Slovakia right now, but I'm from Serbia (not important information but when it's already mentioned)
I supposed that u were thinking on just Flourish :) Yes, I'm adding tenso cocktail on alternate days. And adding KH2PO4, KNO3 and KCI for macro.

By the way my Alternanthera reineckii also have occasional problems with deforming its new leaves - usually when I keep water hardness unstable and when I start to mess with K.
I'm very glad that u shared this information, because when I think exactly the same is here with me, it all started when I started lowering Gh and Kh, so maybe they just need to adapt to this conditions. On lot off forums I've read that consistency is a key for planted aquariums.

Your Alternanthera is so red, very nice, mine is red under leaves but on top they are more bronze color. Do u have some trick? Maybe my light is dimmed to much now, but i will rise it up again when plants grow in a little bit more.

By the way adding Mg is confusing me, a lot off people recommend it for EI dosing, and in a BIG amount. Maybe I should continue with it?
 

ceg4048

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I'm dosing with full EI method for like one month until now. Hygrophila costata is growing like crazy, also hair grass. Crypt's are doing well but my Alternanthera rosaefolia and Ludwigia sp red are having deformed and small new leaves, looks like some deficiency.
Hello,
Leaf deformity and stunting are classic symptoms of poor CO2. You need not look any further.
Having said this trying to understand the origin of a CO2 failure is the most difficult task.

Try thinning out the bunch and hopefully the new leaves will grow normally.
Tightly bunched leaves block the flow of water and are therefore victims of their own success. You can also just ignore it unless other, more painful symptoms occur. Otherwise it will require either more flow to penetrate the bush or less light to reduce the demand for CO2.

Cheers,
 

Witcher

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Leaf deformity and stunting are classic symptoms of poor CO2. You need not look any further.
Can we then assume that leaf deformation is not existent in terrestrial/emersed plants, as they have access to almost infinite amounts of CO2?



https://www.plagron.com/en/grow-topics/calcium-deficiency

A calcium deficiency leads to various growth disorders, like deformed buds and leaves.
What is the (possible) cause?
The levels of potassium or magnesium in the soil are too high.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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At he beginning they all started growing good. Than I was testing my GH and KH which were 14 both and decided to go with mixing RO water and tap water to hold it around 6 or 7. After that deficiency started. What can it be?

Why change if it was working for you? What problem was your tap water presenting your plants?
 

hypnogogia

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If you’re now using a mix of RO and tap, and your fertilisation approach has remained unchanged, that suggest your plants are missing something that was in your tap water. (With everything else being equal).
 

ceg4048

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Can we then assume that leaf deformation is not existent in terrestrial/emersed plants, as they have access to almost infinite amounts of CO2?
No we cannot. Terrestrial plants do not live under water, do not have aquatic structure and the problems related to aquatic plants in no way are related to the problems experienced by terrestrial plants.

It has been estimated that 95% of problems in aquatic plants are as a result of poor CO2.
many of the problems stem from the use of too much light.

Very few land plants have difficulty obtaining CO2 but they often have problems obtaining water, for example, or enough light and they can suffer deformity, stunting and necrosis as a result.

Once again, I advise those hobbyist that relating symptoms of problems in aquatic plants with symptoms in terrestrial plants is a huge mistake and will always lead to misdiagnosis.

Cheers,
 

Nikola

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Hello,
Leaf deformity and stunting are classic symptoms of poor CO2. You need not look any further.
Having said this trying to understand the origin of a CO2 failure is the most difficult task.

Try thinning out the bunch and hopefully the new leaves will grow normally.
Tightly bunched leaves block the flow of water and are therefore victims of their own success. You can also just ignore it unless other, more painful symptoms occur. Otherwise it will require either more flow to penetrate the bush or less light to reduce the demand for CO2.

Cheers,

Hey there,
I have 0,9 ph drop during day. By Kh and Ph chart I have 94 ppm off CO2 there which is not correct for sure. Drop checker is like green since lights are on until they are off.

And my flow is more than enough I think, I’m even thinking reducing it because my plants which are in less flow areas are doing better then on high flow areas.
I use two canisters for 29 gallon tank, 1800 lph total.

Co2 is coming in trough one off the canisters, and trough the spray bar which is tilted towards the back glass and downward. My Althernathera is directly under it and all leaves are waiving, but literally all off them.

Maybe I’m doing something wrong here with CO2?


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Nikola

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Why change if it was working for you? What problem was your tap water presenting your plants?

Good question, I did it because recently I’ve got japonica flyxa, and was reading that Gh should be low for it to grow nicely.
It did its adaptation with leaves melting, but now it started growing nicely and healthy.


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Nikola

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If you’re now using a mix of RO and tap, and your fertilisation approach has remained unchanged, that suggest your plants are missing something that was in your tap water. (With everything else being equal).

I have stoped dosing Mg too, now I think that is a main problem. I have started dosing it again yesterday and will see new leaves in a few days


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Witcher

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Your Alternanthera is so red, very nice, mine is red under leaves but on top they are more bronze color. Do u have some trick? Maybe my light is dimmed to much now, but i will rise it up again when plants grow in a little bit more.
Definitely strong light helps with getting the plants redder, another important thing is nitrate limitation - strong light can destroy chlorophyll cells so plants are protecting them by releasing carotenoids and anthocyanins and use them for energy production and for photoprotection. Less nitrates means less chlorophyll, and in the effect less green pigment. Green color is an antagonist to red - any amount of green makes red color looking simply less red and at certain levels light brownish - that's why your alternanthera looks brown in lower light (more green pigment) and mine looks probably very similar to yours at the bottom parts close to the substrate. High phosphates also help as they are one of the ingredients of carotenoids.

Bear in mind that you need to be careful with nitrate limitation, in long term it will cause other green plants to show nitrate deficiencies and simply melt. By the way I'd suggest to have look a Duckweed index (you can search for it on the forum or maybe ask @dw1305 for some details) - it's a great way of controlling/watching low nitrates as lemma minor reacts very quickly to low levels of N (and Fe) by lack of multiplication and whitening. I use Lemma (for nitrate controlling), Phyllanthus Fluitans (it reacts to low levels of PO4 by reabsorption and dead patches on the leaves) and Amazon Frogbit simply for aesthetics.

Oh, and this:
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/blogs/freshwater-aquarium-plants-guide/how-to-grow-red-plants

Dennis Wong's website is a great source of knowledge, not only about red plants.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Bear in mind that you need to be careful with nitrate limitation, in long term it will cause other green plants to show nitrate deficiencies and simply melt.

I get evolutionarily we’re attracted to reds, signifies potential food. But struggle to understand the desire to punish plants like this other than for a one off photo.

Only add on to your comment @Witcher is root tabs and/or rich substrate offer flexibility to redden plants like Pinnatifida that mostly rely on nutrition from the water column without consequences to those planted in the substrate. Get that it’s only a temporary work around but there’s the competition folk (6 month scapes) and the longer term hobbyists (as long as it goes). On a long enough timeline though completely agree that nitrate limitation will spoil a tank as you’re starving it, but with all the YouTube videos... think a lot of people get fooled into thinking certain looks are permanent rather than a momentary glimpse into a scape. If you’re not in comp, why stress the plant is the point of this post... Obviously not directed at you @Witcher but more in general.
 

Nikola

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Hi @Witcher ,
I was reading this article from link which u left, was reading about low nitrate before... On this link he mentioned that low nitrates are not effecting Alternanthera reinickii. And he showed pictures off plants color on 0ppm Nitrate and on 5ppm Nitrate, huge difference. This is so strict and hard to do. U need to have rich substrate for this, which I do have but don't like the idea off this.
Think I will not try doing it, I'm still not so experienced with everything and would not want to starve the plants for visual effect.

So weird, super red plant = not healthy plant. Think that we are going on a wrong way with this hobby
 

Nikola

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Maybe it is to early to say but new leaves on may plants are not curly any more, they look nice and healthy.
I have started again with Mg dosing at appears that it solved the problem.

Thank u guys for answers :)
 

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