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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Few of plant addicts, including myself, started a conversation couple years ago about burned tops, curled leaves and stunned growth vs. deficiency. The question was - Which deficiency ?. Back in the days when I wasn't situated on such a roller coaster with 4wpg and daily fertilization and my E. stellata was growing like crazy with beautiful/healthy/purple leaves. When I crossed over to the "dark side" and many things started to slip away very quickly, I wasn't able to grow E. stellata on 3 different occasions, Neasea pedicillata on 2 occasions and Ammania gracilis on 4 occasions.

We were going back and forth with different nutrients deficiencies but Potassium was always crossing our minds. Then some people did further reading and Calcium came up in more conversations. It was no longer excess of K but rather combination of both.

I won't get into details of why and how. This was covered a lot on APD for those who want to start from scratch.

Tank:
55G w/ 220 AHsupply
CO2 - 30ppm
NO3 - 10 or more ppm
PO4 - 1-2 ppm
TMG - 60ml weekly
Fe - 25ml weekly

no Potassium

Below picture example shows Neasea pedicillata at the beginning 100% infected stages, through recovery.

I bought this plant in 100% healthy condition. All 4 stems were completely infected within 2 weeks. Typical scenario with curled/burned leaves and stunned growth.



I decided to invest in Turbo Calcium by Kent to provide extra source of Calcium. I started dosing 1/2 tsp in 55G weekly after water changes. After 1 week I was able to see the difference.



3 week after the same fertilization plant growth improved and trimming was in order.



This is how healty tips of Eusteralis stellata look like now. No more burned tops.



Next steps:

- I will try to keep this for couple more week and start adding Potassium (K2SO4) and see how far I could go without seeing adverse reaction.
 

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Jay,


Great Post!!!

Can you comment on the gH level at the beginning and after dosing Turbo Cal?

Some people say 4 gH is enough to keep the plant happy, but that is not the case in my tank. I know when it started showing burnt leave tip and stunt growth it had to do with either Ca, Br, or too much Na in the tank; but I have not been able to determine how high of a gH I need to go before it stop showing ca deficiency symptoms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Edge,

I will have to get back to you on friday since this is the only day I see my tank. For now :wink:
 

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Jay, I've been staying out of the "too much K leads to Ca deficiency" threads because I can't say any of my tests in the past have given me any indications that this is the case.

As you know I have done similar tests in the past including running a tank on large quantities of K without any problems. I can however confirm that the 30ppm suggested level is unnecessary, I have seen no negative reaction or signs of deficiencies running my tank on 10ppm K.

I experienced signs of burned edges (black edges) on leaves with too many traces. I also experienced calcium deficiencies such as the ones in your photos due to.... well.... calcium deficiency :?

I have experienced this with A. Gacilis, E. Stellata, Hygro and a host of other plants. Both calcium tablets and Flourish Tabs placed under the plants worked well at overcoming these problems. Flourish tabs contain 20% calcium so I'm guessing that is the element the plants needed.

I know there are many people talking about K effecting Ca uptake, and most of them have a better understanding of chemistry than I do. I can only say what I have observed in my own tanks. But doing these trials yourself is the best way of finding out for yourself. It is very difficult to draw any conclusion from somone elses tests, perhaps during my testing there were other factors that I did not take into consideration and therefore came to incorrect conclusions...

Keep us updated though, this is a topic that I have been following (lurking) silently with great interest.

Thanks
Giancarlo Podio
 

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Great post. I am having this problem currently with Micranthemum Micranthemoides. I will post pics later. I use R/O water mixed with tap so maybe adding calcium will help.
 

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I just want to interject here for a moment say that this is NOT a cure all. If your plants are stunting, I would go through all the other nutrients (nitrogen, phosphate, iron, micros) first before suspecting high K+ or low Ca.

I will tentatively suggest that there are only a handful of species which seem to show severe K:Ca problems in people's tanks:

Alternanthera reineckii
Ammania gracilis
Ammania senegalensis
Eusteralis (Pogostemon) stellata
Nesaea pedicellata
Nesaea sp 'Red Leaved'
Possibly a few species in the Ludwigia and Rotala genuses such as L. arcuata and R. wallichii

Coincidentally, the Ammanias, Rotalas, Nesaea are all in the Lythraceae family. :)

These stunt or crinkle, fail to grow, etc.

For what it's worth, I learned that Ammania gracilis and Alternanthera reineckii grew just fine in my 4 wpg tank with plenty of K+ by just having a richer nutrient column (10+ ppm NO3, 2 ppm PO4) or placing fertilization tabs (jobes, seachem) at the roots.

Carlos
 

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I have a question to throw out here in regards to this topic. In my 29gal, my A. reinickii grows out crinkled as in Jay's pics, but seems to grow ok otherwise. The parameters: co2: 25-30; no3: 10; po4: 1; kh 9; gh 11; Potassium is dosed at 1/4 tsp at weekly 50% water changes, iron I am adding 1/2ml daily; traces 2ml twice a week (Flourish). Gravel is a mix of plain gravel and flourite (60/40). Lighting is 75W. Tank is well established.

On my established 10 gal with the same parameters, and dosing schedule, they do not grow out crinkled. The only difference is it is a 100% flourite substrate.

On a second 10 gal which I have just torn down and re done using eco-complete, the A. reinickii I have there is putting out new leaves normally as well.

With my gh as high as I have, I wouldn't think the K/Ca uptake differences would be a factor, or am I wrong? Would you think that the gravel differences alone are enough to explain the differences I am seeing?

And if there are any suggestions for preventing the crinkling on the new leaves in the 29 gal, I would love to hear them!

Sorry for the length. Mods, if you think this deserves its own topic, please feel free to move.
 

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Not sure if any of you considered this, but Kent's Turbo Calcium is Calcium Chloride. One would want to do frequent water changes to keep the chloride in check. If your doing your regular dosing, perfect. If you let it slip, that is a problem.

Try getting some Calcite instead, the most commercially available source is SeaChem's Onyx either sand or gravel. The Gravel form would do well in the bottom of the gravel tank. I seperated 3 bags of Onyx sand into 2mm+ and less and used the 2mm+ in my tank when I set it up ohhh say 7 months ago and have not added Calcium or Magnessium since.
 

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Chloride (Cl-)is actually a micronutrient in plant tanks. It's used in osmosis, ionic balance and photosynthesis. Even if you add dechlorinators Cl- should still be in sufficient quantity for the plants, and it's even included in some ferts, like SeaChem root tabs.

However consider Cl- is one of the main parts of NaCl-, Sodium Chloride. Salt :D One wouldn't want too much salt in thier plant tank. Cl is Chlorine :)
 

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Justin Fournier said:
However consider Cl- is one of the main parts of NaCl-, Sodium Chloride. Salt :D One wouldn't want too much salt in thier plant tank. Cl is Chlorine :)
This is not a concern at all. We're adding part-per-million levels of calcium, salinity as we know it ("brackish to salt" levels for example) is part per thousand levels of sodium... Also folks have been using potassium chloride for quite a while with no ill-effect to dose potassium in much higher concentrations than Jay is suggesting here. Chloride ion is extremely inert and very safe. In fact, you're likely to have more chloride from broken chloramine than what turbo calcium would add.

Something like CaCl2 is needed as calcium salts are usually stubborn about dissolving (like Calcium carbonate). I have heard calcium nitrate Ca(NO3)2 does dissolve nicely however.

Jeff
 

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The issue probably started when folks try to run their nutrients too lean for colours. Even folks with good test kits for NO3 like LaMotte or Hach gets nailed by it as they don't test that often or test at the wrong time. Personally, I believe it has something to do with the running out/lean NO3 levels. Different plants prefer different levels of nutrients. Those plants you mention probably didn't like the low NO3?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
PeterGwee said:
Personally, I believe it has something to do with the running out/lean NO3 levels. Different plants prefer different levels of nutrients. Those plants you mention probably didn't like the low NO3?
Not the case. My fish load is high and I feed my fish well. NO3 levels are higher then 10ppm :idea:
 

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Not sure what levels are a problem Jeff. I know the Reef community is very sensitive to the Chloride levels, but they are adding it in high quantities then plant people are. Cl- is a normal part of thier water though....

Maybe someone should do some experiments! :D

Personally I find it easier to just use Onyx and never have to dose 8)
 

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I am having the same problem in my tank. Could this be cause from over fertilization. I've been dosing my tank like it is a high light tank, but I think it might actually be a medium light tank, and therefore I am just adding to much fertilizer.



 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Do me a favor and add more Calcium (Turbo Calcium or Calcium Carbonate). Report your results. :idea:
 

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Jay, yeah I started last weekend. I'll let you know. Before I was mixing tap with R/O. So maybe the tap didn't have enough calcium?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
IUnknown said:
Jay, yeah I started last weekend
How much are you dosing and how big is your tank ?

I'm not 100% satisfied with results but its better then before. Try adding 1/3 of Jobe underneath as well.
 

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Lets see,
Alternative : 1/2 tsp of magnesium sulfate in 5 gallon will give you 14 ppm mg. Turbo•Calcium will increase the aqueous calcium concentration in 5 gallons of purified water by 30 ppm; this is about 1/4 teaspoon and gives you a GH of 6. 3/4 tsp baking soda= 6 dh (KH) to 5 gallon jug.
 

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Jay, have you looked into Boron as a deficiency? Another thing that I changed was that I switched from flourish to tmg. Tmg has less boron.
 
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