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Pale sickly plants (brown, yellow)

Tom101

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30 Mar 2021
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24
Location
UK
Hi all, hope you're well.

I'm struggling with the following - older plant growth turns pale yellow/brown and seems to shrink. New growth is healthy and green, however, deteriorates to the above condition after a week or two.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Tank
  • 72 litres (80x30x30cm)
  • Fluvial 206 (biohome ultimate and mech filtration)
- 4 months old (using previously cycled media)
- With livestock

Ferts
Tropica Premium (dosed daily, 2ml)
Colombo floragrow carbo (dosed daily, 4ml)

Light
Fluvial Plant 3.0
8hrs daily (full spectrum, 55% intensity incl 1 hour combined warm up, cool down)
Placed 3" above tank for good coverage

Substrate
Tropica soil

Maintenance
Weekly 50% water change
Weekly gravel vac

Temp
Room temperature (no heater)
Approx 16c (autumn, winter)
Approx 20c (spring, summer)
 

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John q

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6 Jan 2021
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Lancashire
Are you injecting co2?

I'm sure someone that knows a bit more than me will be along to give more help but for now I'd turn the intensity of the light down. You appear to have a few algae issues that need resolving and high lighting will only make it worse.
 

Tom101

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30 Mar 2021
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Are you injecting co2?

I'm sure someone that knows a bit more than me will be along to give more help but for now I'd turn the intensity of the light down. You appear to have a few algae issues that need resolving and high lighting will only make it worse.
Not currently (proper co2), just adding the liquid stuff.

Thanks for the lighting tip, I'll give that a try.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
You can pinch the yellowed leaves off the Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus), they aren't contributing anything now.
Tropica Premium
If you want to stick with Tropica's fertilisers? Try <"Tropica Specialised">.
older plant growth turns pale yellow/brown and seems to shrink. New growth is healthy and green, however, deteriorates to the above condition after a week or two.
It is lack of one (or more) of the <"essential nutrients for plant growth">. Because new growth is fine, and older growth suffers, it is a mobile nutrient within the plant and the most likely options are nitrogen (N) or <"phosphorus (P)">.

This is because your plants need lots of these (they are macro-nutrients) and you are using a fertiliser that <"doesn't supply any of either">.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
very insightful RE the nutrients.
I'm still using the <"Miracle Gro"> from <"this thread">. I don't recommend it because of the ammonia/urea content, but it gives you some idea of the <"mark-up"> on many "aquarium" fertilisers.

You might also be interested in the <"Duckweed Index">. It is simple technique where you only add nutrients when plant growth begins to suffer.

We have our own <"fertiliser calculator">.
@Zeus. . and @Hanuman have taken all the fun out of this, by providing a spreadsheet that provides all the answers at the click of the button. They have removed all the mystery and totally deskilled potion making, it is an absolute disgrace and they should be very pleased with themselves.

cheers Darrel
 
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Tom101

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@dw1305 @John q Hi guys - wanted to circle back to this if I could.

I took your advice and dropped that light intensity (35%) and switched to a complete fert (TNC). I also added root tabs.

It's been a month, however, the plants have continued to deteriorate. I now have curly brown edges on most leafy plants too (anubias, hygrophilia etc).

Is there anything else I can try?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
It's been a month, however, the plants have continued to deteriorate
I'm sorry to hear that, can we have another picture? I'm particularly interested in <"the leaf colour">.
I took your advice and dropped that light intensity (35%)
Not my advice as such, <"I like plenty of light">, because that way we've ensured that we've reached Light Compensation Point (LCP) and taken <"lack of light" out of the equation">.
and switched to a complete fert (TNC).
I'm not sure, it might be the <"assembly line"> nature of plant nutrition.
Plant growth is <"like an assembly line">, you need all the components or you don't get a finished "car".
Hopefully a photo may give us some more idea about what isn't quite right.

cheers Darrel
 
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Tom101

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Hi all,

I'm sorry to hear that, can we have another picture? I'm particularly interested in <"the leaf colour">.

Not my advice as such, <"I like plenty of light">, because that way we've ensured that we've reached Light Compensation Point (LCP) and taken <"lack of light" out of the equation">.

I'm not sure, it might be the <"assembly line"> nature of plant nutrition.


cheers Darrel

Hi Darrel thanks for your reply. I reduced the lighting on John's recommendation, however, I'm happy to adjust it again.

Pics attached (the plants looks more yellow/brown irl - the camera isn't quite picking that up).

It's worth mentioning that I'm dosing TNC based on the Rotala Butterfly site. I think it's 8ml per day or so (70l tank). My assumption is that this would be more than enough (again - co2 only via EasyGrow Carbo).
 

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Raws69

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I use tnc complete, but find I need to double ‘ triple the dosag. It depends on volume of plants in tank.
 

Tom101

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I use tnc complete, but find I need to double ‘ triple the dosag. It depends on volume of plants in tank.

I presumed I'd be okay with 8ml per day to be honest, however, I've noticed that the plants are getting worse and the algae is starting to build up again.
 

John q

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Hi Tom.

If you're dosing 8ml of tnc a day and you've added root tabs then that could well be your issue. I'm not sure where tnc complete gets its nitrogen from but if its urea based your ammonia levels could well be a tad high. This is the breakdown purely of the tnc complete.
Screenshot_20210427-153301_Chrome.jpg


Regards the light, I don't know for sure if 35% is enough light for the plants, but I do know at 55% you had bba, green spot algae on the leaves and glass, algae on the hardscape and melting leaves, all that points at to much light.

I think at 35% that equates to about 12w of light, admittedly wattage on its own is meaningless, but considering I use the same brand of light a comparison should have some benefit.
The tank below runs a total of 18w and its over 3 times the volume, even at this low light, the plants and algae are telling me to turn the lights down even more.
20210427_155023.jpg
 

Hufsa

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Not sure if this information is useful, but I have the same light as you and a 40 cm deep tank. I run the light at 15%, although I have two of them because my tank is wide.
You dont inject CO2, which is perfectly good, but CO2 management is still a part of low tech. You want to make sure that you have enough gas exchange at the surface, flow to carry the CO2 to the plants and need to balance the light to match the CO2 availability.

How is the flow in your tank? Can we have a picture of the full setup?
 

Tom101

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@John q - that's a good shout John, to be honest I've just had another scan of the tank and noticed a few dead bladder snails. Makes sense if the ammonia has spiked (I'll get the test kit out).

@Hufsa - thanks for the info, pic of the set up/flow attached. Currently running a Fluval 206 on full power and using the outflow to disrupt the surface.
 

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Hufsa

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Hm, it does look like your flow could be a bit better.
Do you have movement in all of the plants in your tank, or are there any dead spots you can see? Alternatively, are there spots were plants grow better than in other spots?
Would you be open to trying a spraybar all along the back? A custom/homemade one would be ideal but you can also use a premade one and tape up a few of the holes using PVC tape.

I second Johns concerns about ammonia, and think its a good thing to look into. I believe some kinds of algae use ammonia to signal a rapid increase in growth.

I just wrote up a post here for some similar issues, you could give it a read and see if any of it applies to you as well?

I understand @dw1305 concern about dipping below Light Compensation Point, but I believe a shift in mentality may be needed, as modern LEDs have gotten almost ridiculously powerful and I have seen quite a lot of posts on forums around where people have literally melted their plants into jelly using high powered "aquascaper" lights.
So yes, not enough is a real and valid concern, but too much is definitely a very real risk with modern LEDs, more so than it used to be with T8, T5 bulbs.
For low tech it may be neccessary to stay at quite low percentages to have balance.
 

Tom101

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Hm, it does look like your flow could be a bit better.
Do you have movement in all of the plants in your tank, or are there any dead spots you can see? Alternatively, are there spots were plants grow better than in other spots?
Would you be open to trying a spraybar all along the back? A custom/homemade one would be ideal but you can also use a premade one and tape up a few of the holes using PVC tape.

I second Johns concerns about ammonia, and think its a good thing to look into. I believe some kinds of algae use ammonia to signal a rapid increase in growth.

I just wrote up a post here for some similar issues, you could give it a read and see if any of it applies to you as well?

I understand @dw1305 concern about dipping below Light Compensation Point, but I believe a shift in mentality may be needed, as modern LEDs have gotten almost ridiculously powerful and I have seen quite a lot of posts on forums around where people have literally melted their plants into jelly using high powered "aquascaper" lights.
So yes, not enough is a real and valid concern, but too much is definitely a very real risk with modern LEDs, more so than it used to be with T8, T5 bulbs.
For low tech it may be neccessary to stay at quite low percentages to have balance.

Thanks for the info - I will take a look at the other thread. Certainly open to a spray bar, so happy to try that. Plant movement looks good along the back wall, but everything is fairly still upfront.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I understand @dw1305 concern about dipping below Light Compensation Point, but I believe a shift in mentality may be needed, as modern LEDs have gotten almost ridiculously powerful and I have seen quite a lot of posts on forums around where people have literally melted their plants into jelly using high powered "aquascaper" lights.
You are almost certainly right. I think I'm probably reasonably good at judging light in the flesh, but I haven't actually seen a lot of these lights, so it is mainly guesswork.

cheers Darrel
 

PARAGUAY

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Agree with @Hufsa and dw1305 Darrel about lighting we seem to see a lot more lighting algae issues since the development of LEDs. I have a couple of t5 LED replacement tubes said to be equivelent of the t5 ho they replace They look a lot brighter not convinced they are equivalent.
 

Tom101

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Thanks for the input everyone. I'm going to adjust the following and see how I get on for the next fortnight/month
  • Reduce lighting
  • Reduce fertiliser dose (low tech)
  • Improve flow/surface agitation
 

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