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Plants yellowing/whitening - Any ideas?

xZaiox

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31 Mar 2022
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Hi guys,

So I'm a bit confused about this one. My plants seem to have this yellowing/whitening and I can't figure out what's causing it. I use a pressurized CO2 system and I'm dosing standard EI levels of fertilisers. My light is a twinstar 900S, dimmed to 40% in order to limit algae growth.

I know CO2 is always the top priority when it comes to "deficiencies", but I do thiiiiink my levels are high enough. My drop checker is yellow, and the pH is relatively stable (about a 0.1 swing from start to end of photoperiod), I'm also experiencing a pH swing from 8.2 (degassed for 24 hrs) to 6.9, so this is a 1.3 pH drop, surely that's going to be injecting enough CO2? The CO2 comes on 4 hours before the lights, because for some reason my tank takes forever to equalise, if I were to make it drop over 2 hours then it would gas the fish by the end of the day... Anyway, the pH measurements were taken with a freshly calibrated pH pen, and I also simultaneously did API liquid pH tests, although I'm sure everybody knows they can be difficult to interpret...

I understand that flow is also important in a planted tank, and whilst I feel like there is room for improvement in my tank, the limnophila hippuridoides in these pictures is in the path of a good flow, it's leaves move and sway constantly, so if flow was the issue, then I would suspect that high flow areas would flourish whilst low flow areas would show the issues, right? My filter is a fluval 407, whereas the tank is 180L, so it's rated for roughly 8x the turnover.

These plants have been in here for nearing 2 months now. The water being used is tap water that is notably quite hard, with a dKH of 10 and a dGH of 20 (roughly). I thought this seemed to look most like either a magnesium or iron deficiency, but the magnesium is being dosed to 10ppm per week. I'm aware that certain iron chelators can have issues in harder water, and at first I was only using EDTA iron, so I decided to also add EI levels of DTPA iron, and ALSO dose Seachem's ferrous gluconate. I think this might have slightly helped because some of the growth used to look noticeably more 'white'... but here we are, still with the discolouration...

I need help gurus :nailbiting::lol:
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
The water being used is tap water that is notably quite hard, with a dKH of 10 and a dGH of 20 (roughly). I thought this seemed to look most like either a magnesium or iron deficiency,
Because it is the <"new leaves that are chlorotic"> it is likely to be iron (Fe) and/or manganese (Mn) deficiency. Because these elements <"aren't mobile within the plant"> it can't store them for a rainy day, or move them from old to new leaves.

You could try <"Chempak Sequestered Iron">.

cheers Darrel
 

Lemonhands

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My drop checker is yellow
That would mean your co2 is too high, it should be green, especially if you have fish in the tank. Is there a reason youre putting it on 4 hours before lights? That seems a bit excessive, not to mention that your plants consume oxygen when the lights are out.

Correct me if im wrong of course, im by no means a guru and still very much learning myself
 

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Nick potts

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That would mean your co2 is too high, it should be green, especially if you have fish in the tank.
Drop checkers aren't perfect and yellowish/yellow can be just fine (i run mine rather yellow), it's about watching your livestock and making sure they are ok with whatever levels you are injecting.

Is there a reason youre putting it on 4 hours before lights? That seems a bit excessive, not to mention that your plants consume oxygen when the lights are out.

Correct me if im wrong of course, im by no means a guru and still very much learning myself
2 hours is often the recommended starting point, but at normal injection rates some people struggle to get a nice green drop checker in that time, so rather than have a stupid high bubble rate, which could lead to too much CO2, it is better to have the gas come on earlier.
 

xZaiox

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Because it is the <"new leaves that are chlorotic"> it is likely to be iron (Fe) and/or manganese (Mn) deficiency. Because these elements <"aren't mobile within the plant"> it can't store them for a rainy day, or move them from old to new leaves.
Hi Darrel, this is both interesting and confusing to me. I'm currently dosing 0.2ppm of EDTA iron, + another 0.2ppm of DTPA iron + 0.1ppm of Seachem's ferrous gluconate 3x a week, surely an iron deficiency couldn't get through this? I'm unsure about the manganese however, the micros I'm dosing are from https://www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk/ (obviously before they shut down). I'm not really sure of the quality of the micro mix, but I would hope it contains the proper amount for EI dosing.

My substrate is also Seachem's flourite, and while it doesn't initially contain many nutrients, it's my understanding it should contain some amount of iron?.. I guess I'm just confused by all of this, because it sure looks like an iron deficiency to me, but I can't wrap my head around how that's possible given the amount I'm chucking in the tank.

I tried looking up the ingredients in this but couldn't find any information - What type of iron is used in this product?

That would mean your co2 is too high, it should be green, especially if you have fish in the tank. Is there a reason youre putting it on 4 hours before lights? That seems a bit excessive, not to mention that your plants consume oxygen when the lights are out.

Correct me if im wrong of course, im by no means a guru and still very much learning myself

Hi Lemonhands, my understanding is that drop checkers and pH testing etc are just tools/guidelines, and that CO2 is best dialled in by watching the livestock, this is how Tom Barr / Clive handle their CO2. At this level, my fish do seem to breathe faster, but none of them go to the surface for oxygen, and my dwarf ram cichlids are still as feisty as ever and doing their whole displays of dominance / fighting over territory. I do however notice that my shrimp hide and stop moving, so I would definitely like to turn it down, but I had an outbreak of filamentous diatoms and algae, so optimizing the CO2 seemed like the best response.

The CO2 comes on 4 hours earlier because unfortunately it doesn't seem to dissolve very well in my tank. If I were to increase the bubble rate to have it drop after 2 hours, then by the end of the day my fish would be killed because the pH keeps dropping, it only seems to stabilise after around 4 hours. Plants do consume oxygen when the lights are out, but the levels of oxygen and CO2 are independent of each-other, and my tank also has a good amount of surface agitation + a surface skimmer.
 

Lemonhands

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Thanks for the clarification both! May have to revisit my co2 set up, but think my plants and fish are healthy as is so maybe best i dont mess with it
 

plantnoobdude

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uk
Hi Darrel, this is both interesting and confusing to me. I'm currently dosing 0.2ppm of EDTA iron, + another 0.2ppm of DTPA iron + 0.1ppm of Seachem's ferrous gluconate 3x a week, surely an iron deficiency couldn't get through this? I'm unsure about the manganese however, the micros I'm dosing are from https://www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk/ (obviously before they shut down). I'm not really sure of the quality of the micro mix, but I would hope it contains the proper amount for EI dosing.

My substrate is also Seachem's flourite, and while it doesn't initially contain many nutrients, it's my understanding it should contain some amount of iron?.. I guess I'm just confused by all of this, because it sure looks like an iron deficiency to me, but I can't wrap my head around how that's possible given the amount I'm chucking in the tank.


I tried looking up the ingredients in this but couldn't find any information - What type of iron is used in this product?



Hi Lemonhands, my understanding is that drop checkers and pH testing etc are just tools/guidelines, and that CO2 is best dialled in by watching the livestock, this is how Tom Barr / Clive handle their CO2. At this level, my fish do seem to breathe faster, but none of them go to the surface for oxygen, and my dwarf ram cichlids are still as feisty as ever and doing their whole displays of dominance / fighting over territory. I do however notice that my shrimp hide and stop moving, so I would definitely like to turn it down, but I had an outbreak of filamentous diatoms and algae, so optimizing the CO2 seemed like the best response.

The CO2 comes on 4 hours earlier because unfortunately it doesn't seem to dissolve very well in my tank. If I were to increase the bubble rate to have it drop after 2 hours, then by the end of the day my fish would be killed because the pH keeps dropping, it only seems to stabilise after around 4 hours. Plants do consume oxygen when the lights are out, but the levels of oxygen and CO2 are independent of each-other, and my tank also has a good amount of surface agitation + a surface skimmer.
Hi, If it really is the new leaves with pale colours. then you should look into adding additional Mn ( aim for 2:1 ratio in total of Fe:Mn), I recommend Mn EDTA, and Mg (depending on your tap water/remineralisation) as these nutrients are heavily involved in chlorophyll production.
 

xZaiox

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Hi, If it really is the new leaves with pale colours. then you should look into adding additional Mn ( aim for 2:1 ratio in total of Fe:Mn), I recommend Mn EDTA, and Mg (depending on your tap water/remineralisation) as these nutrients are heavily involved in chlorophyll production.
Thanks for the advice! Does EDTA Manganese work fine in my pH range? (6.9-7.0 with CO2 on, 8.2 degassed). I'm currently already adding 10ppm of Magnesium weekly, so I would doubt that's the issue unless the uptake is being blocked for some reason.
 

plantnoobdude

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Thanks for the advice! Does EDTA Manganese work fine in my pH range? (6.9-7.0 with CO2 on, 8.2 degassed). I'm currently already adding 10ppm of Magnesium weekly, so I would doubt that's the issue unless the uptake is being blocked for some reason.
don't quote me on this, but I think the ph stability range for Mn EDTA is something like 4-9.
anyway since you're adding a lot of Fe but very little Mn you could be having an induced Mn deficiency caused by too much iron in relation to Mn. your total of Fe is 0.5, so i'd recommend ~0.25ppm Mn in total. apfuks micro mix has quite little Mn even before the extra Fe!
 

xZaiox

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don't quote me on this, but I think the ph stability range for Mn EDTA is something like 4-9.
anyway since you're adding a lot of Fe but very little Mn you could be having an induced Mn deficiency caused by too much iron in relation to Mn. your total of Fe is 0.5, so i'd recommend ~0.25ppm Mn in total. apfuks micro mix has quite little Mn even before the extra Fe!
This is all helpful, thank you for your input :thumbup:
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I'm currently dosing 0.2ppm of EDTA iron, + another 0.2ppm of DTPA iron + 0.1ppm of Seachem's ferrous gluconate 3x a week, surely an iron deficiency couldn't get through this?
Yes, that definitely should be enough, if it is plant available. The issue with iron (Fe) is, nearly always, plant availability at high pH.

I use a floating plant to diagnose <"nutrient deficiencies"> (and for <"so much more">), because they aren't CO2 limited, and that takes CO2 (and light) out of the equation.
I guess I'm just confused by all of this, because it sure looks like an iron deficiency to me,
I'd tend to "trust the plants" and I'd try FeEDDHA and the <"pink tint"> method. It will take a while to see any improvement, because only new leaves will be green.

cheers Darrel
 
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xZaiox

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Hi all,

Yes, that definitely should be enough, if it is plant available. The issue with iron (Fe) is nearly always plant availability at high pH.

I use a floating plant to diagnose <"nutrient deficiencies"> (and for <"so much more">), because they aren't CO2 limited, and that takes CO2 (and light) out of the equation.

I'd tend to "trust the plants" and I'd try FeEDDHA and the <"pink tint"> method. It will take a while to see any improvement, because only new leaves will be green.

cheers Darrel
Darrel, I read all of those posts, and I found it interesting that Seachem's Purigen was discussed as potentially removing chelated fertilisers - I'm currently using Purigen myself, so I will be taking that out of my filter and seeing if any improvement occurs.

Since you seem to know quite a lot about nutrients, I was hoping I could get your opinion on a few questions?
1. With Iron being immobile, does that mean that older plant leaves affected by an iron deficiency will forever be weak and not green-up even in the presence of appropriate levels of bioavailable iron?
2. Should this weak growth be pruned when the deficiency is fixed?
3. Can an iron deficiency and/or other micronutrient deficiencies result in overall stunted plant growth? Or would this typically only be seen with CO2 and macros?
4. You mentioned looking into FeEDDHA, is FeDTPA not suitable for my pH range? (6.9-7.0 with CO2 on, 8.2 degassed)

I've actually purchased some frogbit myself, so hopefully it will help me correct these plant issues.
 

ElleDee

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You might consider daily dosing for a week or two with either chelated iron when your pH has dropped during your photoperiod or the Seachem Iron. You would still be bottoming out at night when your ph rises (or however long the ferrous gluconate sticks around for, which I understand is pretty brief) , but that might be good enough to improve your symptoms and confirm that it's actually an iron issue. Iron deficiency definitely stunts growth, but once it's fixed the new growth look good.
 

Gorillastomp

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4. You mentioned looking into FeEDDHA, is FeDTPA not suitable for my pH range? (6.9-7.0 with CO2 on, 8.2 degassed)
You have similar ph range than me and i do not get iron deficiency from dpta. I tried just dosing once a week and had no problem but i had to dose a bit more like 1 ppm
 

xZaiox

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Thanks for the input and help everyone! I think my plan of action is to order some EDDHA iron and possibly some manganese too, but in the meantime I'll increase my dosing of DTPA and see if that has any effect. I'm also going to remove the purigen from my filter in-case that's interfering.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I found it interesting that Seachem's Purigen was discussed as potentially removing chelated fertilisers - I'm currently using Purigen myself, so I will be taking that out of my filter and seeing if any improvement occurs.
I think the answer that <"Seachem give"> to @Craig Matthews pretty unequivocally shows that Purigen will remove any organic particle of an appropriate size, including chelates like FeEDTA.

screenshot_20190509-180818-png.124158

1. With Iron being immobile, does that mean that older plant leaves affected by an iron deficiency will forever be weak and not green-up even in the presence of appropriate levels of bioavailable iron?
Yes, that growth will <"always remain chlorotic"> and it will take a while before plant growth improves.
2. Should this weak growth be pruned when the deficiency is fixed?
Entirely up to you, it is a <"matter of aesthetics">.
3. Can an iron deficiency and/or other micronutrient deficiencies result in overall stunted plant growth? Or would this typically only be seen with CO2 and macros?
Shortage of any of the essential plant nutrients can limit (or even stop) plant growth. This is because of the <"assembly line aspect of nutrient requirement">.
4. You mentioned looking into FeEDDHA, is FeDTPA not suitable for my pH range? (6.9-7.0 with CO2 on, 8.2 degassed)
I'm guessing that once the Purigen is out of the filter things will improve without you having to use a different chelator.

cheers Darrel
 
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