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Plant problems, please help

FishKeeper55

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Hello

I'm having a bit of plant problem in both of my tanks, not sure why at this stage but over last few months both of them was doing fine, weekly water changes and daily dosing of liquid ferts, all of a sudden I'm having lot of GSA in both tanks also plants started to suffer, over the last 2 weeks I'm getting on top of the GSA slowly by removing as much as possible but I'm sure I'm not out the woods just yet. To me feels like something has crashed and very quickly.

Both tanks what I would consider low tech, lights on for 7hrs a day, and daily dosing of Evolution Aqua Ferts, I do have high Nitrate due to tap water, 60-80ppm tested with API kit, ammonia and nitrite 0. My only way to reduce this is to purchase RO water from local shop so hoping to avoid this unless I have to.

Now the problem, some plants leaves going bit yellow, others have developed tiny holes, some Java Fern turning bit black and is not the nodes, I'm not expert when it comes to all this water chemistry and plant ferts so could do with your help. Not sure at this moment if using ferts that have Nitrogen is good for me due to high Nitrate in tanks, wonder if my plants lucking a bit of Potassium?

I will upload later today more pictures but for now, any help appreciated.

Many Thanks

20210208-200957.jpg
 

FishKeeper55

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Couple of more pic of Staurogyne repens and I think Java Trident from Tank1

20210209-071634.jpg


20210209-071602.jpg
 

Hufsa

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Its likely your plants lack either iron or magnesium, or both. Iron doesn't like to stay in water so especially in hard water needs to be "packaged" - chelated with something to hold onto the iron so the plants can get it. What is your pH? Can you get some Epsom salts (MgSO4) and some chelated Fe, im thinking either DTPA or EDDHA depending on your pH.
 

FishKeeper55

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Its likely your plants lack either iron or magnesium, or both. Iron doesn't like to stay in water so especially in hard water needs to be "packaged" - chelated with something to hold onto the iron. What is your pH? Can you get some Epsom salts (MgSO4) and some chelated Fe, im thinking either DTPA or EDDHA depending on your pH.
Ph in both tanks is 7.6 tested using API, my water is also very hard looking a the water report, also lime scale is a huge problem looking on taps ect., is Epsom Salt save for fish?
 

FishKeeper55

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I think I got things wrong when you mention Salts

Do you mean this

 

Hufsa

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Yes Epsom salts are safe for fish as long as you dose the right amount. Another name for it is Magnesium sulfate. It raises the GH slightly. It is not Sodium Chloride (table salt).

From what I understand many places in the UK have hard water with mostly Calcium and very little Magnesium. Plants need both nutrients to do well.

You can use Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator to figure out how many grams of Epsom salts to add to your water. Im currently out of the house so my apologies for the short-ish replies. If you want us to check your results with the calculator you can post here and we can make sure its all right.
I have a pH of around 7.1-7.3 or so. I use Fe DTPA as my iron source, it is stable to pH 7.5.
Fe EDDHA is stable to ph 11 (i think).
Solufeed sells both of these. You will want to make up a liquid solution to be able to dose iron (Fe) in right amounts. Plants dont need a lot, they just need a tiny bit.

That website is a good source of Epsom salts yes
 

FishKeeper55

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Yeah that's fine no rush with replies, any help is greatly appreciated, only thing is I wished I could understand everything you saying, I'm sort of ready mixed type of guy, without getting complicated would it be possible to just get

Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4) and Chelated Iron mix this then dose it? On Iron says mix 2tsp in 500ml water but nothing on Iron so need to figure out how the calculator thing works.

 

Hufsa

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Yeah I understand how it is when youre new to Fe and Mg and all these things. Don't worry we will get you sorted :thumbup:
Unfortunately the iron from APF uk is EDTA, this is a different chelate (iron wrapping substance) and is not strong enough for your ph.
If you buy some MgSO4 from that website and the iron from Solufeeds webshop we can figure out the dosing while you wait for the salts to arrive.


I can walk you through the calculator when I get home 🙂
 

Hufsa

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1 kg of iron is a little bit expensive but this will last the rest of your life and will be much much cheaper than ready made fertilizer in the long run
 

Hufsa

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No problems, I will order them both
I almost forgot, you will need these two as well to prevent mold in your liquid.


 

Hufsa

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Okay so im back home at the computer now and a bit more able to help.
I need some info from you though to put in the calculator, you may have written it elsewhere on the forum but just for simplicity could you answer the following questions.

How do you change the water, by hose or by bucket? If by bucket, how much water does your bucket contain?
How many liters is your tank and what percentage of water do you usually change?
How often do you dose your all in one fertilizer, once a week, more days than that or?
We can set it up so you add the dry magnesium to your water-change water and then you dont have to think any more about it.

While the iron is best to add at least once a week as a normal fertilizer.
2-3 times a week would be ideal but not everyone has time or can remember regularly :)
You will need a bottle for the iron liquid, any kind of bottle will do, its best to keep it dark and not too hot so the fridge is a good place.
You can use a soda bottle or a fancy bottle from the store or anything in between.
If you know what bottle you would like to use I would however like to know how many mililiters it contains.
We need to know this for when we calculate things later.

This all seems like a lot of hassle right now but I promise once you do it one time it will be a lot easier to understand and you really do save a lot of money this way. Plus, your plants will love it!

Lastly, just because im curious, does your fertilizer bottle say on it what it contains? Mostly because im curious. Its not super important.
 

FishKeeper55

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Hi Hufsa

First of all Thanks for your time and patience.

I change by bucket, it holds 30L, I have 2 tanks 30L and 60L, change water once a week at 50% so 15L for small tank and 30L on larger, using the Evolution Aqua ferts I do it daily 99% of the time, not going to lie and I have misted the odd day, 1ml for small tank and 2ml for larger.

Bottle I haven't looked for one, if we setup for 500ml then I will get that if 250ml then I get that, fairly flexible
 

Hufsa

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Okay so this is what we're looking at.

Magnesium first.

Mg1.jpg


We are gonna treat the bucket as an aquarium, so that the calculator will give us the right amount of magnesium salt to add to each bucketful of water.
We put in 30 and select L (liters) as our measurement.
We're going for "Do It Yourself" so we will select DIY.
We select our chemical which is MgSO4.7H20. Sounds really complicated but we dont have to get into why it has all the numbers and letters, as long as I know we got the exact right one you dont have to know the details unless you want to. The Mg part stands for Magnesium though. And the other parts I have under control for you :thumbup:
We want to use the magnesium salt dry so we select Dry Dosing.
"EI Low Light/Weekly" is a good target level to try first for a low tech tank, so we select that.
We press Calculate, and now we get some results on the right side here:

Mg2.jpg


EI Low Light/Weekly is suggesting we go for 5 ppm Mg (Magnesium). This sounds good to me as well. And to do that we need to add 1.52 grams of magnesium salt to one (30L) bucket full of water.
I dont know if you have a tiny scale that measures very low amounts, but the calculator also lists the grams in approximate teaspoons.
If you want to buy a scale that measures for 0.01 gram I recommend it. Otherwise I have tried to work my guide around a kitchen scale and teaspoons.
For your convenience I have measured out 1.52 gram on my tiny scale and attached a picture of it on one of my teaspoons.

spoon.jpg

Some things in life are very important to get exactly right. Magnesium is not one of them and you can dose more than this without doing any harm. So its not a big deal.
The magnesium raises the GH of your water a little bit, you can see the calculator lets us know it will be raised by 1.15 degrees. This should be fine for your fish. I would say the only danger of overdosing magnesium would be if you add so much the GH jumps up a ton all at once. But you would have to overdose a lot for that.

So to sum it up, get a teaspoon, grab a bit of magnesium and add it to the bucket every time you change water. Job done.
If your plants were lacking magnesium, they will quickly become more green all over because the plants can move the new magnesium into all the old leaves.
If you dont get the response you want you can add twice as much magnesium, 10 ppm, but we can try this amount and the iron first and see how it goes.


Now onto the iron.

fe.png


Here we put 60 liters as our aquarium size. I started with your biggest tank, so we can just use half the dose for your little tank.
We pick EDDHA Fe (6%). This is our chelated iron. The chelate (EDDHA) makes it so that the iron doesnt turn into a different kind of iron that the plants cant grab and eat.
We want to make a solution this time.
Lets pick 500 ml for our bottle size. Its usually a good idea to not make up too much fertilizer at once, in case it goes moldy as it ages.
With 500 ml and our dose size at 6 ml, it will last a bit less than three months.
Some people only make for one month or so at a time but im lazy and I have been lucky not to get any mold issues.
Our dose will be 6 ml for the 60 liter tank.
We want to reach a specific target so we select that.
0.1 ppm Fe (iron) per week is a good place to start for low tech, but we want to dose daily. So 0.1 ppm / 7 days = 0.014 ppm per day.
The calculator does its magic and we see that we need to add 1.17 grams of the EDDHA powder to our 500 ml.
It gives us a helpful warning that EDDHA can tint the water slightly pink.
This is not something we can get around, but if you find that the pink tint is a little bit too much for you, you can reduce the dose some.
I think that with this low dose it will probably not be noticeable.

I always use demineralised or deionised water for my fertilizers. Especially since iron doesnt like to play nice with some of the other things in water.
You can buy this water at car supply shops as battery water (for refilling batteries). Sorry I dont know the correct english term for car supply shop but I think you understand what I mean ;)

So you get the water, room temperature or warmer is best for things to dissolve.
Measure out 500 ml of it.
Measure out 0.5 g of Ascorbic Acid (E300), or alternatively go "yolo" and just do a teaspoon tip or so.
This is mine measured out. Ascorbic acid is just vitamin C, so its better that you use a bit too much than not enough.
vitc.jpg
And then 0.2 g of Potassium Sorbate (E202), or approximately half as much as our first one.
Add it to the water, stir or shake it a bit and then add the 1.17 grams of iron EDDHA.
Stir/shake again, bottle it up and put it in the fridge. Away from light, maybe in a black plastic bag is best.

All done!
Then you dose 6 ml from it daily for your 60 liter tank, and 3 ml daily for your 30 liter tank.
No worries if you miss a day here and there :)

Plants cannot move iron around in their leaves, so only new leaves will be nice and green if your plants were lacking iron.
I think with these two supplements you should see much better plant growth, and if you still have any lingering issues or questions then we are here to help 😊
 
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FishKeeper55

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WOW, very good instruction and explanation, I see what you mean the powder will last me live time if I only have to add 1.17grams to 500ml water, we do have small kitchen scale so will try it on normal salt how well it does.
 

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