Myriophyllum tuberculatum red

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by Oz_planter, 28 Oct 2008.

  1. Oz_planter

    Oz_planter Newly Registered

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Hi all,

    I have what could be a stupid question, as I think I already know the answer...

    I have Myriophyllum tuberculatum red and when I first got it, it was growing really well which surprised me as I didn't think i had sufficient lighting (Interpet CF 2x56 and 2x24 watt)...

    But since i've changed from TMG to semi-EI fertilsing it appears to have stopped growing as well...

    I'm wondering if it is similar to what i've been told about R. Macranda in that it is N intolerant? I only mention this as I have changed to semi-EI which means that i'm putting more N in than I was previously and this is the only factor that has changed, well that and the fact that I am no longer using TMG and TMG+...

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Justin
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Sorry, but claims of N intolerance are completely absurd, either for Myriophyllum or for Rotala - or any plant for that matter. Other than Carbon, Nitrogen is the most important element. Nitrogen is a critical component of Amino acids which are used to build Nucleotides which are the foundation structure upon which DNA and RNA are constructed. Nitrogen is THE key ingredient with which plants fabricate Chlorophyll. It is for this reason that plants suffering Nitrogen deficiency lose their ability to produce Chlorophyll, turn yellow or pale, and slow their growth.

    In Rotala and Ludwigia species, high Nitrogen uptake produces high levels of green Chlorophyll which obscure the other pigments such as red, therefore many hobbyists limit Nitrogen dosing in order to have the other non-green pigments dominate. This may in fact be the origin of N intolerance myth. The penalty however is that limiting N then limits growth since the plant is unable to rapidly generate the DNA/RNA and Chlorophyll necessary for implementing new tissue.

    I guess I'm not really sure what "semi-EI" is but I'm fairly certain you have drawn a false correlation between your change in dosing methods and the reduction of growth. There is no way adding more Nitrogen slows growth - I mean, No Way. It's fundamental. You'll need to look elsewhere. You problem could be as a result of poor CO2 or your dosing formula may even be erroneously low. We would need more specifics in order to troubleshoot that problem.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Oz_planter

    Oz_planter Newly Registered

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Um... Ok...

    I was just going on something that i was told by a planted tank enthusist in Australia and he had fantastic plants...

    All I think he was saying was that in his experience if his Nitrogen level was high, he found that his Rotala didn't grow as well... I took his word for it as his tanks spoke for themselves... But he was one of the people that didn't believe that EI was the end all and be all of planted tanks...

    Sorry to have piped up... Will just go back to reading the forum.

    Justin.
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Justin,
    Well, there are no end all or be all dosing strategies. In that I agree with your colleague. Each dosing strategy has it's advantages. They all work and if they seem not to work then the fault is our own for not having executed them properly. It's much more important to understand the why and how of plant growth. It's also important to understand cause and effect. Biochemistry is a very complicated affair and people make false correlations and draw invalid conclusions all the time. You can do something to your tank three weeks ago, not see it's effects until today and then attribute the cause to something that was done yesterday. It's also possible to do the right things for the wrong reasons and to then see results which seemingly confirm the incorrect theory.

    Now, this might all seem like rhetoric but consider the case of R. macandra. Here is an example of high Nitrogen dosing of this plant=> Is there such a thing as a 'highlight' plant? An experiment The OP in this case doses his tank using PMDD+PO4 which means that there is plenty of Nitrogen dosing via KNO3 in addition to whatever N levels are obtained by organic waste.

    There are plenty of fantastic plants grown via the use of Nitrogen as well as evidence that the supplementation of Nitrogen resolves growth related issues. So it's premature to draw the conclusion that Nitrogen starvation is an asset. There are also many hobbyists who do not need to add much N due to the high N levels of their water supply. It would be very easy for them to conclude that adding N is unnecessary.

    The key to unravelling the mystery is to understand the science of plant growth. In your previous post you mentioned for example;
    which is always a dangerous assumption because in fact many things can change without your having accounted for them. How do you know that the increase in plant bio-mass over the duration has not affected the dosing or CO2 uptake requirement? So the plants, say, double in mass and require more nutrients than what you were adding when there was less mass, and as a result, their growth slows. When new plants are placed in the tank they are often been grown emersed and they would have a fair bit of energy reserves which they use when first submerged. After a while, if the environment is low in nutrients, their growth rate starts to peter out because they cannot replenish their reserves. There are hundreds of scenarios which can explain poor growth but ultimately, these scenarios always boils down to poor nutrition. This principle is a guide, the basis of which we can use to troubleshoot.

    As I said, if you care to give us more data we can help to troubleshoot...

    Cheers,
     
  5. Oz_planter

    Oz_planter Newly Registered

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ceg,

    Thanks for the explanation... Sorry, I was tired and defensive...

    I'll start off with what I mean by 'semi-EI'... My tank is a Juwel Rio 180 with about 160 litres after hardscape... As my tap water contains over 20ppp N and 1ppm PO4, I don't put in my pre-made N and PO4 mix on water change days... I do 50% water change on sunday then put in 1/2 tsp of K, 1/2 tsp Mg and 5ml Easycarbo, monday is 1/2 tsp trace element mix from AquaEssentials, Tuesday is rest day, Wednesday I put in 2ml of my N&PO4 mix (gives 2ppm N + 0.25 PO4), 1/2 tsp K, 1/4 tsp Mg and 5ml of Easy Carbo, Thursday is 1/4 tsp trace elements. Followed by rest days on Friday and Saturday... I run pressurised CO2, with enough to make my CO2 indicator Light green (it has 4 Dkh water)

    When I was using TMG, CO2, lighting and water changes were the same. I dosed 5ml TMG monday and wednesday and 5ml TMG+ on Friday...

    So looking at this, The only thing I can see (and as I said it was based on what the guy in Australia told me) was that my N had increased too high... When I was using TMG I was measuring N and P twice a week and found that my N levels dropped dangerously low (under 5ppm) by Friday, thus the introduction of TMG+ on fridays to ensure that there was N availible to plants, so I was constantly running the N and P down during the week, whereas with my 'semi-EI' method I keep the nitrate at around 10ppm... In addition to this I had rowaphos in the filter which is now exhausted and I haven't replaced it... I'm trying to get the plants to use the PO4 and save my pennies...

    Originally I was dosing my N+PO4 mix on water change days, but found that I was getting GSA... I assumed it was b/c my PO4 was too low (as I had been told before) but my PO4 was 5ppm. It didn't think it was low CO2 as I always run it in the light green (almost yellow at times). As my N was getting up to around 20ppm I pulled back the dosage and eventually dropped the N+P mixture from water change days... This has stopped the GSA, and the other benefit is that the hygrophilla is not growing out of control.

    I think maybe you have answered my question though... Maybe the myriophyllum had stored energy reserves from being grown in better conditions and now has pulled back it's growth in my tank... I am thinking it may need stronger lighting... But I'm only guessing...

    Without sounding too modest, I can normally grow any aquarium plant really well (i just can't aquascape to save my life) but both the myriophyllum and the pogostemon are new plants to me and I'm struggling...
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Justin,
    I'll begin my sermon by noting that you cannot serve two masters. The EI mindset is to provide unlimited levels of nutrients. Based on these unlimited nutrient levels, this tenet considers that the measurement of nutrients to be therefore irrelevant. The first reason for this irrelevance is that if you provide unlimited nutrients then you already know that there are always adequate levels (or even more than adequate levels) in the tank and a test kit will not tell you anything more than you already know. The second reason for the irrelevance is that hobby grade test kits are essentially rubbish because of their inaccuracy and inconsistency. They can tell you the truth one day and then lie through their teeth another day. Unless they are calibrated regularly one really cannot hope to trust their readings on a regular basis.

    So in the description of your procedures I interpret your actions as having violated both of the basic principles - a) you've withheld nutrients based on b) unreliable measurements. So really, "semi-EI", as you've described it, is not a valid dosing strategy and is a transgression of the basic principles. If you review the EI dosing article in the Tutorials section you'll see that EI is not just about numbers. It's a concept of simulating infinity from a plant nutrient uptake point of view.

    One of the reasons that EI stops you from playing with numbers and measurements is that no two plants are equal. No two plant species have the same efficiency and uptake mechanisms. The leopard and the cheetah are both spotted cats and have a superficial resemblance but the leopard cannot achieve the same speed and the cheetah cannot hope to have the same strength or stealth. Each is optimized for a different environment. The leopard does poorly in the open plains and the cheetah would starve in dense jungle. An aquarium is a fixed environment, it's parameters determined by ourselves. Some plants may do well but others do poorly because each are optimized for a different environment, and when placed in our synthetic environment they struggle.

    The difference between R. macandra and H. polysperma for example could easily be that H. polysperma could be a much more efficient NPK feeder, because perhaps it's native environment requires it to be so whereas the Rotala's environment is less demanding. Or, it could even simply be that H. polysperma is further along the evolutionary chain in terms of adaptation to aquatic environments. In order to have both species succeed then, the tank parameters would need to be optimized for the least advanced of the two. If a plant is inefficient in gathering nutrients under our synthetic environment then more needs to be supplied to account for it's inefficiency. This is especially true of CO2. EI in a way therefore caters to the least common denominator, so the nutrient levels may be extreme for some species while being merely adequate for others. This is hardly problematic, as all it means is that you will simply have to trim the efficient feeders more often due to their higher growth rates.

    So lets take a look at what you would be doing if you were to follow the EI strategy:

    A 180L tank is a 50 USG. There is no need to adjust for actual water volume (that's another EI violation). As a baseline, this tank should get:
    3X per week 1/2 teaspoon KNO3
    3X per week 1/8 teaspoon KH2PO4
    3X per week 1.5 teaspoon MgSO4
    2X per week 10 ml TMG or 3/16 teaspoon Trace mix

    These values are completely independent of the nutrient levels of the tap water. You should not make downwards adjustments to this dosing until your plants demonstrate by their growth that these baseline values are adequate. Always ignore the tap values and forget about testing. Only after determining that these dosing values are adequate should one even consider lowering them. Use the values for three weeks and assess plant growth. You never need to worry about taking a test kit reading on Friday or Tuesday or whatever because the values are guarantees, however, their effectiveness are dependent on good flow/filtration, regular water changes and most importantly, that your CO2 is as close to unlimited as possible. Making adjustments due to perceived tap water values based on results of cheesy, time wasting test kits.....is strictly prohibited.

    EI also recognizes that stronger lighting creates a stronger requirement for CO2 and nutrient uptake so I strongly doubt that adding more lighting will help. In fact, it will do just the opposite. These are just a few of the nuances that EI addresses. Many never get beyond the "nutrient overdose" mentality and malign the method unfairly.

    Cheers,
     
  7. Oz_planter

    Oz_planter Newly Registered

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ceg,

    Thanks for that explanation! As I mentioned in the P. Helferi thread, I will get myself a powerhead to increase water flow... I am currently running a fluval 305, so I am looking at the smaller powerhead from AquaEssentials... Another 900lph should bring it up to 10x per hour water circulation...

    I will try the EI you suggested Ceg, admittedly it's a lot more than I thought I should be adding to the tank, but i'll trust your better judgement.

    Will get the camera out this weekend and so some before and afters....

    Justin.
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Justin,
    Yes, it is entirely possible (and even probable) that the dosing values given in the baseline EI scheme are more than you need, however another EI principle is that having more nutrition than you need is always better than not having enough. Plants respond to excess nutrition by implementing excessive growth rates. They respond to malnutrition by decaying which then contributes to the inducement of algal attacks.

    After observing growth rates and confirming that there are no deficiencies one can then slowly pull back on the nutrient levels, so for example the dosages can be reduced by say, 25%, observed for a few weeks, reduced by another 25% and so forth. At the first sign of distress you would simply reverse the trend and go back up to the previous dosing level.

    Since I have no fear of nutrients, I choose never to pull back. The main reason is because of the typical biomass increase discussed earlier which often results in an increased nutrient uptake demand. It's worth repeating that my paranoia is instead centered around making sure I have as clean a tank as possible, that large water changes are performed regularly and that flow, distribution and CO2 are abundant. I reckon it's a great idea getting the powerhead and I would also think seriously about upgrading the filter when I can afford it. If you address these issues then you'll have a pretty good chance of growing just about any plant.

    Cheers,
     
  9. Oz_planter

    Oz_planter Newly Registered

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Hi All,

    Well it has been a few weeks since I have started full EI dosing as per Ceg's instructions and there is no difference in the Myriophyllum :( I have recently (in the last 2 weeks) started dosing Excell at 1.5 times the normal dose and have been keeping and eye on my drop checker for Co2 and it appears that the plants can't get enough... I have just boosted the Co2 to just over 3bps as I like to keep the drop checker in the lighter shade of green... The Co2 along with the Excell is a lot of Carbon, but the plants must be using it.

    I have notices that a number of plants are really coming back, mainly the various Crypts around the tank, with some even changing leaf shape and shooting of side runners, but it has taken about 5-6 weeks to fully see the results...

    I have introduced a powerhead, but am still getting the positioning right... I am moving it every 2-3 weeks as thread algae grows on plants in the flow path, so I am trying to find the right place for it. I have decided that a new filter may be needed, well, I am currently fantasising about the Eheim Prof 3e... Nice looking filter and it's electronic, so i'll be entertained for hours! The larger size does 1800 lph, though i've read that the media reduces flow considerably, with one person reporting that the 1600lph version drops down to 1000lph with full media set, which means that i will definately need the larger model...

    I am starting to think that it may be possiby a lack of light, for this particular plant... When I first purchased the Myriophyllum it was bright red and looked like Candy floss, but the girl at Maidenhead said that she didn't think I had enough light... I got the light with my tank (2nd hand) so I have no way of knowing how old the lights are... I put 2 new lights in to replace the marine blue, but the other two lights could be old...

    The plant is not longer deep red, it's more of an orangish sort of colour and it just does not grow... It's not dying, but it just doesn't grow...

    I know from the EI dosing that the nutrient levels are fine, I've uped Ceg's recommended trace element dosage to keep Fe around 0.5ppm (i have also slightly increased all other nutrients as well, heaped teaspoons instead of flat), Carbon is fine due to increased Co2 and Excell, so the only other limiting factor that I can think of is light (though, after re-reading Ceg's responses, i'm considering it could be positioning of the plant in the tank)

    Any help would be appreciated...
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Justin,

    Well, you'll need to push the CO2/flow as far as you can go before upping the light (which only creates a higher CO2 demand remember?). If there are no fish in the tank then continue to drive the dropchecker into the yellow. This plant is simply a poor CO2 feeder.

    Cheers,
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice