Something not right... i think stunting is happening

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by Aeropars, 12 Jun 2008.

  1. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Leicester
    Hi Guys,

    I got some Pogostemon stelleta from Clive a while back and up until recently, its been growing very well but is now starting to look worse for ware. I think the problem is stunting and while this is showing clear signs of a proble, nothing else appears to be showing a problem that I can see apart from having sime minor GSA.

    Heres a picture I just took:

    [​IMG]

    And here's a recent picture of how the tanks looking in general. Not quite an aquascape but its teaching me lots!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Lee,
    Hey the tank is looking pretty good. Everything looks healthy, although I felt like I was looking up out of a well. Were you downstairs when you took that shot? :lol: GSA and stunting are a classic PO4 deficiency syndrome. CO2 could also be a factor. Try tweaking both. We often need to tweak the dosing/CO2 as the plants fill in simply because there are effectively more plants which need to be fed.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Leicester
    Thanks for the comments Clive.

    I dont have a full sized tripod as yet so i placed it on a table which is slightly lower than the tank so its not the best shot.

    I did 'up' the PO4 a while back to combat GSA and this knocked it back quite a bit although some still present. The CO2 is still nicely green in the drop checker so would this mean that CO2 is still OK?

    Finally, was a right in thinking this was stunting? I notices some E. Tennilus this morning which had the same symptons although i dont know if these are getting eaten when they are newly produced plants.

    Unfortunatly I'll have to wait a little longer before I can act on this as i'm off to Majorca tonight and dont have the time to change the solutions. :(
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, that is definitely stunting and it's almost certainly due to PO4 demand not being met. You don't need to change the solution, just add more of it. The only ramification is that you run out of it sooner that's all, but you'll be getting more of everything in the tank. If you are currently adding 50ml for example try upping the dosage to 75ml.

    Sure, the green checker mean the CO2 is OK(ish) but your flow could have slowed down due to more growth and the demand will increase with higher nutrients uptake so CO2 constantly has to be fiddled with to keep up with growth rates. After you do a major trim you can then lower the injection rate if you want or if the fish respond negatively since there will be less biomass to uptake the CO2.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Leicester
    Thanks for the input clive.

    I doubt it would be the flow as the filter outlet is directly next to these plants. I'm about out of the PPS solution so think I'm going to try something else. I've found PPs to be OK but its caused a few problem which need tweaking (i.e. the PO4 problem)

    I'm not in a position at the moment to dedicate myself to an EI type methos so I'm thinking about giving James DIy method a try and see how my results change. If nothing else I'll be learning the hard was. For too long now i've wanted great results in a planted tank without needing to know about the chemistry behind it. I think in my lazyness thats where my problems have come from so now i'm getting to grips with the deficiencies and how to overcome them its starting to bare fruit as this is certainly the best tank I've created to date.
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Lee,
    Yeah, I guess I don't really get the whole "dedication" issue of EI. To me it's just the opposite. With your current dosing scheme you have to be dedicated to solving deficiency problems and cleaning algae. How is that easier? With EI you fire and forget. I guess you do have to prune more...

    Cheers,
     
  7. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    10,290
    Location:
    London
    I agree, people seem to think EI is like a monster, its the easiest thing ever, I find it even easier than dosing TPN+ lol just empty one quantity of my pre measured dry ferts into the middle of the tank and thats it, how hard can that be? lol
    And prunning is much easier than cleanign algae thats for sure and the tank looks much better too ;)
     
  8. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Leicester
    I guess part of me now has the hunger to learn more. OK, i'll never be at the point of knowing as much as Clive or James but now I'm starting to get somewhere I'm almost looking for a deficiency to challenge me! Seems odd I know!

    I think I'll go EI on my nano when I get that up and running in a couple of weeks. Just waiting for the CO2 stuff from malasia.
     
  9. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    It can take weeks for plants to adjust to new dosing regimes so don't expect too much too quickly. A sudden change can cause a plant to shred old leaves and grow new ones which often has a habit of producing algae due to ammonia leaching from the plant. Patience is required.

    My biggest gripe with EI is the high CO2 and flow levels that are needed. Conquer those and you'll do well. Other lower dosing methods tend to work with lower PO4 levels and just slow everything down a bit. PO4 is one of the things that you can limit without too many probs. Saying that I did bung 5wpg of HOT5 above my tank and did have some stunting problems with certain plants. Others loved it though.

    For me I think stability is the most important thing. Never get algae now (except some GSA at times which is no big deal) even when I'm adding urea with my high lighting levels.

    No harm in trying different things. It's what I do all the time and IMHO the best way to learn.

    James
     
  10. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Leicester
    Hi James,

    Thanks for your input. I agree on the stability although i never used to untill recently and i think that might have been half my problems. Now I'm hitting the CO2 well before lights on so its at peak levels when the lights come on.

    Indeed, I have the same problems with the CO2 factor as my needle valve is so sensative i find it almost impossible to make very slight changes. I'm all for slower growing plants. As long as they look lush and healthy I have no problem sitting it out for an squascape to take shape.

    Would you be in agreement that is PO4 causing my stunting? I'm slightly confused as you said that PO4 can be limited without too many problems.

    Lee
     
  11. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    IME I've never seen low PO4 cause stunting as long as you don't bottom out. Limiting means keeping a constant low level without letting it bottom out. My test tank reads 0 on my PO4 test kit and everything grows really lush with not a single GSA spot in sight. Lighting is 4.4wpg T5 with CO2 diffuser. I know PO4 test kits are a bit unreliable but I use it to get an idea. My main tank does read PO4 levels and gets small amounts of GSA. I do dose 7 days a week to maintain levels.

    James
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Well, I'm not even go there with the test kit. I'll just get all riled up. :twisted: James have you ever considered the Hanna PO4 meter?=> http://www.hannainst.co.uk/acatalog/HI- ... Meter.html They've come down in price but the reagents are still expensive. I recall Barr saying they were OK. If your kit says your PO4 is zero yet you have good growth and no GSA, and just the opposite in the other tank then I really wouldn't know what to think honestly.

    Barr explains the stunting/reduced growth issue as low PO4 limiting the uptake of NO3. Also P. stelleta is one of those inefficient feeders that seems to need more of everything but once it gets what it needs grows like a bonfire. I think Lee stated that he did have a bit of GSA so that seems to corroborate the low PO4.

    Hey Lee, after I sent you and a couple of other people the clippings, I was left with two crowns which I replanted in the front as shown here:
    [​IMG]

    So with unlimited PO4 as well as unlimited everything else except for maybe CO2 (which I can't really achieve) that scene was obliterated since that time to look like this. I dose 5 days a week (Macro 3X, Trace 2X) and I don't have to test anything to maintain any specific levels of anything. I just don't care about any levels because I know what levels I'm dumping into the tank:
    [​IMG]

    I mean, it doesn't even seem like we are talking about the same plant. From my point of view your plant looks MAJOR stunted, and, OK, James might not agree, bu for better or for worse I'm blaming low PO4.
    Growth is ridiculous in my tank and I've had to hack all that back. Twice. The stem that was on the right was cut to the nub (you can see where bright green new stems have emerged (bottom center of the frame) and the left one was shaped as best I could so it looks like this now. All of those crown heads are the tips of branches emanating from the pruned stem (on the left in the first shot):
    [​IMG]

    At the end of the day everyone has to choose their pill. You can take the Blue Pill, wake up in your bed tomorrow morning and believe...whatever you want to believe, or, you can take the Red Pill and we can show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    To the best of my knowledge this is what God/Nature intended Pogostemon Stelleta to look like: It'll be hard to achieve that by limiting PO4.
    [​IMG]

    "The Flowing Robes of Lady Stelleta" Courtesy of EI. Is this worth doing a 50%-80% water change once a week? Yes, I definitely think so.
    [​IMG]


    Cheers,
     
  13. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Leicester
    All comments apreciated guys!

    Those pictures really do show some difference. It started off as growing well, and did so for a month or so but has recently died down.

    I think i'm going to do James method on this tank and do EI on my nano so i can experiment with both methods and see for myself what happens. The water change thing is what puts me off with EI although I think I remember you saying I coudl get away without water changing for a couple of weeks if everything else was OK. CO2 is also a concern here as I struggle to get sufficient levels in my large tank for some reason.

    I'll conpare the sensativity of my new regulator to that of the JBL one and see how it compares.
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes that's because they had stored energy for a rainy day. When the stores of energy run out they have to make due with what's available. The same happens when you buy a plant from the shop. They have plenty of nutrient reserves and start to grow well, but if they are not fed properly after a while then they start to fail.

    I think either of the EI or PMDD+PO4 methods (they are really not that much different) will work better for you than your current lean dosing. Remember that lean dosing works for many people because they are experienced enough to manage the levels without bottoming out as James alluded to. But that means lots of testing and calibrating and re-testing, which for me is tedious but for some would be enjoyable. It just depends on what entertains you.

    Even on your PMDD tank you still need to change water. You are not likely to be able to avoid that. It seems like you are still hung up on WC as it relates to nutrient levels. You change the water to get rid of waste, not to get rid of nutrients. If you drink more beer and eat more food you'll produce more waste right? The same goes for plants. If they are fed more they produce more waste. I'm just manic about organic waste so I do large changes. You could get by with fewer changes depending on the growth rates. If you restrict PO4 and CO2 the growth rates are lower but as James said it's a balancing act to not bottom out.

    Cheers,
     
  15. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    I don't actually use test kits very often, maybe once a month or two, and really just to get an idea to what's going on. As long as you test them against a know quantity first and are careful to get the same drop sizes then they aren't too bad.

    Plants do seem to be able to do fine with very low levels of PO4. Slower growth yes but I've never seen stunting. You only have to look around on the web at many fantastic scapes with great plant growth that have very low PO4 levels. It doesn't suit everyone though.

    Interestingly when dosing EI I find dosing higher PO4 amounts than suggested works better for me.

    I really enjoy fiddling around with different levels of nutrients just to see what happens. I mainly post my formulations up on my website to provide some thought for others.

    James
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi James,
    Yes I found that a higher PO4 works better as well, even at 2X EI dosages for everything else I use closer to 3X the PO4 EI dosage. That seems to keep the glass clean. I have to wonder about some of those tanks. I guess I'm a bit skeptical and I always suspect that their water supply might be higher in PO4 that they perhaps realize or that their feeding habits supply more than they think. I mean we sure see a lot of GSA reports when people don't dose it - and it disappears when the person decides to dose it so I'm having trouble reconciling the differences. Very strange. :?

    Both Photosystems I and II use phosphate bonded molecules in their main enzymes for energy transfer or for energy consumption. ATP/ADP is a phosphate. Even Rubisco and RUBP are phosphates, Ferrodoxin (NADP+) is a phosphate and even the end sugar product G3P is a phosphate sugar. A lot of these items are recyclable such as ATP/ADP so that maybe explains why you don't need the same PO4 concentration levels as NO3, but there is a need for uptake in order to generate new leaves.

    Cheers,
     
  17. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Leicester
    Hi Guys,

    I'm going by the forumula on James website now so hopefully I'll see some improvement on this.

    With regards to GSA and higher PO4; Will it dissapear in its existing places or will it just not grow anywhere else meaning I have to manually remove the infected leafs ect?

    What chemical do you guys use to up the PO4 level? Isnt 1.5g Potassium Phosphate per 500ml very lean? Is it worth upping this amount? It kinda made me thing when everything else was in double figures per 500ml and this was only 1.5g.
     

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