Name the deficiency

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by Ray, 18 Nov 2007.

  1. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    These are new leaves on a Microsorum pteropus 'Narrow'. Sorry for the grainy image - had to photograph from above, and they are only 2cm long. Note translucent leaf tips, yellow leaf and green veins.

    [​IMG]

    In the same tank I have two types of Vallais growing well and producing daughters (although one is pushing out some "crinkly" leaves), Echinodorus tenellus sending out runners and Java moss going nicely.

    Tank 25L 40x25x25
    Light - 13W compact flourescent (desk lamp style, so light most intense over centre where this fern is).
    Filtration - 250L/hour HOB, cartridge replaced with ceramic noodles and filter wool.
    Dosing 140% dose daily of Easylife traces
    CO2 - none but 100% daily dose Easylife EasyCarbon
    No nitrate dosing except by the 2 adult and 20 baby guppies inside.
    Substrate - quartz gravel (I knew no better when I set this up).
    GH 9, KH 8, PH 7.8, Nitrates 0.

    I'm assuming either nitrate or CO2 is the issue but if someone has seen this before and can save me the trial and error so much the better.
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi ray,
    Poor plant health often occurs when we focus on trace elements, of which plants need very little, and neglect the macronutrients N, P and K, of which plants need a LOT ':wideyed:'


    N, P and K are to plants what meat is to us. Traces are to plants what vitamin/mineral pills are to us. If you think about the amount by weight of meat we eat versus the weight of vitamin tablets we consume it should be easy to see that the plants need a lot of NPK. Roughly speaking, plants need about 50 times as much Nitrogen than Iron and probably about 1000 times as much Potassium than Boron or Manganese, so it's likely that they are starving for NPK.

    I doubt that your nitrates are actually zero but if you are not dosing the macros then each of the three macros are too low. Matt's magic calculator shows the following macro dosing schedule for 25L:
    1/16 teaspoon KNO3 3X per week
    1/64 teaspoon KH2PO4 3X per week

    If you start adding these and ignore the nitrate contributions of the guppies you ought to see improvements in a few weeks.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    I concur with Clive..

    thats a sure sign of nitrogen and/or phosphate deficiency. Hygrophila's also react very similarly with leaf curl/deformities and often taking on a red colouration. what you might find is that the plants growing well, have relatively low feeding requirements, while the ones that arent, do.

    Bear in mind that the calculator my signature is based on the Estimative Index method of dosing, and requires full co2 injection and lighting levels.

    The NO3 produced by even a full stock of fish is negligible and is going to come nowhere near providing enough of the plants needs.

    The other point to make.. is that for plants to actually use any nutrients properly, they need Carbon, and alot of it.. not having experienced easyCarbon I cant comment on its validity as a carbon source.

    the choice needs to be made as to whether youd like to do a full high tech tank, with full co2, lighting and ferts... or if you wish to stick to a low tech approach. Either method is perfectly do-able, but you need to stick to one or the other, rather than going half way between.

    relying on test kits is a very hit and miss exercise, unless calibrated, most of the test kits we have available are totally useless as they are extremely inaccurate... for instance, measuring KH/GH/PH can be as much as 30% out (in my experience).

    incidentally, theres nothing wrong with your substrate at all.. ive grown full planted tanks in nothing but silver-sand for years, with the addition of a few root tabs for heavy feeders.
     
  4. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    Messages:
    358
    Location:
    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    i cant add much here as it's already been said. definatly nitrogen deficiency and probably carbon as well.

    **as above**
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Thank you Clive and Matt, that's very helpful - this is such a small tank so to keep things simple I've ordered a small bottle of Tropica Plant Nutrient+ which includes nitrates and phosphates. I will report back with results.

    There I respectfully disagree that you can have either low tech OR high - I believe it is a sliding scale. Tom Barr supports this in his beginners section where he says "choose your method" - El Naturel, Excel, Low Light CO2, High Light C02. Tom suggests even low light natural tanks can benefit from some macro dosing. Takashi Amano supports this in so far as some of his earlier tanks were quite low light and ran with C02 at only 15ppm.

    I think at any given light level there is a range of CO2 levels within which your plants can adapt to grow without symptoms of CO2 deficiency. The precise levels will vary from plant to plant - but plants are adaptable and so it will be a fair sized range. At lower light levels C02 is not necessary - liquid carbon/Excel is enough; at even lower light levels not even liquid carbon is required (at least for low light plants, others are, of course, impossible).

    If my fern is also experiencing Carbon defficency then that means I am pushing it to grow at too high a light level - I have to either increase CO2 or reduce light. If these symptoms are just nitrates it will, I hope, soon be looking like the one in George's sig(!) I hope so, don't fancy bothering with C02 or reducing my light for a 25L pilot tank...
     
  6. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    that should work fine with Tropica PN+.

    what were saying though, is watch your light levels.. light is the primary accelerator of the entire system. When Tom suggests macro dosing, as youve said, hes suggesting with low light. What were saying, is that your driving the system very hard with high wattage T5 lighting, combine THIS with no co2, and macro's and your creating algae heaven.

    So actually, what youve said, and what weve said, are in agreement. Drop your lighting to low light and dose, with no co2, no problems.. keep your lighting as is, add co2 and dose, no problems. keep high light, no co2 and dose, youll have issues.

    Light > carbon takup > nutrient takeup > growth.

    photosynthisis works in that order.. the first link in that chain will drive the whole system.. take your foot off the throttle, and you can have many more options in the rest of the system.

    remember T5 light outputs upto 3 times the amount of light per watt.
     
  7. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Regarding that last statement, when people refer to watts per gallon are they talking T8s or T5s? If I'm running 2wpg T8 then is that equivalent to 6wpg (T8) if I'm running T5s?

    I know it's only a rule of thumb, but it should have some kind of basis behind it otherwise it's completely useless.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    My understanding is that T5 light is more "intense" than T8 since it originates from a smaller area. This presumably means it has more penetration power or punch and the plants get more from it. I can't believe a 20W T5 can actually emit more light than a 20W T8 unless the latter is emitting more heat and less light, which I don't think it does.

    Matt, Clive, someone else?
     
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi ray,
    Well as far as I can tell more intensity would mean more photons. I'm pretty certain that 1 square centimeter on the surface of a T5 is brighter than 1 square centimeter of a standard T8 at the same wattage. I'd say almost twice as bright. As Matt said, once installed, with the proper reflectors you might be able to almost triple the amount of light by comparison. It's not clear to me whether their ballasts do a better job of current management or whether the bulb coatings are more radiant or some combination/other factor.

    T5 light enabled reef lovers to have the lighting power to penetrate to the bottom and to avoid the the costs of metal halide. Since the advent of T5, high tech planted tanks were made possible and I do believe that the later and current wpg calculations are based on T5 not on standard T8. As I recall, in the days before T5 I didn't hear a whole lot of discussion of wpg because the various wattages/combinations was simply not available. These days, if someone says they have 3 wpg for example I just assume he/she means T5 or a unit whose output is similar to that of a T5. All that really tells me though is that the tank is likely to be bright and that he/she ought to be dosing high nutrient levels as well as CO2.

    Lighting is getting more complicated now because it's possible to overdrive the T5 or T8 bulbs through ballast/wiring modifications as well but the "reference" is T5.

    Cheers,
     
  10. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I remember reading when I was looking at T5s that one of the claims was that the controller is alot more "efficient" then the old magnetic type and runs alot cooler. Whether the wattage stated on the bulbs is just the bulbs/tubes themselves or the unit as a whole I'm not sure.
     
  11. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    the wattage stated on any bulb is the amount of power it draws, not the output of the tube. T5 tubes run alot cooler than T8, which is more efficient, therefore, they put out more light than the T8 equivilent (roughly about 30%).

    the wattage stated on the Balast unit, is the amount of power that its capable of PROVIDING to the tube.

    This is one of the main reasons why the old routine of stating wpg, is very inacurate. what we should be stating is lumens, there are better measurements, but lumens is the only data that will be available on the tube itself.

    also remember, that the depth of the tank, is very important in relation to how much light reaches the substrate.
     
  12. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Also remember that lumens are a measurement of how bright the lamps are to the human eye, not actually light output.

    Generally speaking, equivalent tubes with a lot of green will have more lumens than tubes with a lot of red/blue, because we are more sensitive to green.

    Red/blue is more important for plant growth so a 1000 lumen 'red/blue' tube may well be more effective than a 1300 lumen 'green' tube.

    I don't bother looking at spectrums, lumens or watts anymore. As long as it's a nice light to my eye and there's enough light there, it will grow my plants.

    BTW Tropica+ is all I dose these days, even in a 200 litre 3.6wpg HO T5. I have hard water with lots of NO3 and PO4 (I think) though...
     
  13. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Tropica Plant Nutrition+ arrived yesterday (postage was as expensive as the bottle :(.) I'm dosing 1ml per 25L per day - what's good for George Farmer is his Rio 125 is good for Ray I! How long will I have to wait until I see improvement - will the existing leaves perk up or do I have to wait for new ones?
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Ray,
    Nothing beats the dry salts for economy.. :lol: Ferns are kind of slow, so it may be a few weeks, and you may see the improvements in new growth only. Your stems ought to respond more quickly though. Patience is called for here. I recall
    Frolicsome_Flora used to have a signature that said - the only things that happen quickly in a tank are bad..

    Cheers,
     
  15. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Update after 5 weeks of TPN+ - things are looking a lot greener but leaf tips on the Java Fern 'Narrow' are still translucent, even some of the new leaves. This fern came from Aquatic Magic in Malaysia 3 months ago, 11 days in the post so there could be quite a lot of recovering to do.

    Reminder - 13w CF on 25L tank, 1ml EasyCarbo/day, 0.5ml TPN+/day, 50% water change/week. Do I need to be more patient?

    I'll post a picture - please be gentle, this is my pilot tank, I knew nothing when I set it up. I just trimmed all the old fern leaves because they were churning out babies which is not where I want it to put its energy, so everything you see of the fern (rear 1/3 of driftwood), ignore crypts behind it, grew in the last few weeks, is this normal?

    [​IMG]

    I'm tempted to go to DIY CO2 for a month and see how that helps but nervous about how to mix a solution mild enough for a 25L tank (don't want to gas the fish, prolific though they are).
     
  16. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    The translucent bits of the Java fern are the new growth and that's completely normal.

    Everything seems to growing nicely!

    AS for the DIY CO2 I only had a problem on my cube when I put a whole teaspoon of yeast in! If you mix it up with 1/2 teaspoon then you should have no problems IME. I use a Nutrafin kit but using Sodium Bicarb and bakers yeast rather than their refills! I use EasyCarbo on this tank as well.
     
  17. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    A further answer with regard to the lighting conundrum is firstly the efficiency of newer lights partly due to the advances in technology andpartly due to the thinness of the lamp produceing the light..

    In answer to beekys quesion the WPG rule was calculated on T12 (1½ inch diameter)

    The third point is the restrike issue in that the WPG rule demands reflectors and some reflected light will hit the tube on the return (restrike) Therefore the thinner the bulb the less restrike.

    Then we come to T5HO or HOT5 which are high output lamps. I personally think that these are equivalent to 2+ x the WPG rule (even though 1W = 1W)

    I downgraded to 60W HOT5 (1.8WPG) and found that in fact the plants grew faster and pearling was intense. I am now using 1 builb for 10 hours with the other for only the central 2 hours so 0.9WPG for the majority of the day and guess what. The plants are still growing faster and still pearling!!!!.

    The WPG rule as I said was based on T12 so roughly speaking you should multiply upwards as you move up the scale (There is a chart somehwere on APC but I cant find it)

    Something like T12=x1, T10=x 1.1, T8=x 1.25, T5=x 1.5, PC=x1.75, HO T5=x 2.

    These aren't the exact figures from the chart but it was something like this and of course there is no exact science to it, just speculation I would gues.

    Andy
     
  18. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    You have no idea what a relief it is to hear you say that! Thank you Ed, I feel like such an idiot worrying about it for the last 2 months...

    Andy, perhaps we should make a lighting FAQ/Sticky and try to combine all that we know as a group since its one of the most confusing areas for newcomers?
     
  19. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I think unless someone has lab test equipment and access to all the types of bulbs and units, it would be pure speculation really.

    In my case I have gone from T8s to PC to T5HO and can really tell the difference from experience of the plants reactions rather than just to my eyes.

    Andy
     
  20. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Name the deficiency - Update 8 months on

    Why am I reviving this ancient thread? Well, a few reasons:

    - to show newer people to the scene that if you have problems you can work through them.
    - because people are always asking about lighting and dosing on 25L tanks and here is one that works.
    - I was inspired by Saintly to take a photo and its too piffling for a journal or the photo's section.

    So, here is the same tank now, please excuse the photo, my wife has the DSLR today so I'm using a Casio Exlim Z1000 compact. Best thing - no algae, and this tank is in my daughter's room and she is pretty lax with the dosing. Worst thing - lost a lot of the Vallais to the EasyCarbo, prolonged exposure seems to be worse for them.

    CIMG1594.jpg

    A few stats to save you trolling back through the whole thread:

    Tank 25 litre 45x25x25cm
    Lighting 13W Compact Flourescent 8 hours/day
    Filtration 250l/hour HOB filter (i.e. 10x turnover)
    Dosing: 1ml TPN+ per day, 1ml EasyLife EasyCarbo per day.
     

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