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Let me trot out a theory that may explain why some aquarium plants are more red when N deficient. The theory is that, when N deficient, plants make an excess of carbohydrates. They wouldn't have an excess of carbohydrates if they had enough nitrogen because they could convert the carbohydrates into amino acids and then into proteins which would be used for growth. Since growth is slowed for lack of protein, the carbohydrates build up and some of these are diverted into making red pigments.
 
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