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I like the sensible answers from both of you :) Furthermore, sufficient fish load can provide adequate CO2 for plants in a NPT. Plants also are capable to utilize other carbon sources in the water and fish wastes, and I suspect some plants are more efficient than others to take advantage of the alternative carbon sources.

There is no question that CO2 deficiency is real, especially when the demand exceeds the supply. Slow growth, gangly branches, and yellow leaves are the symptoms I recently read from various sources. So yeah, yellow leaves would be similar to N deficiency.

Hi Neil, by saying “fine” I meant sustained, not too fast but healthy growth when a plant treated with organic fert in good soil as compared to a plant put exclusively on steroid a.ka. Miracle Grow :D

Wayne
 

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Thank you guys for your kind words!

I am a firm believer of constructive discussions rather than debates...here is an updated version based on your comments, feedbacks and suggestions.

We are making great progress here so let the dialogue continue.....cheers!

INFO GRAPHIC UPDATE:

 

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This diagram is great and i like that you added CO2 as a consideration. Ruling it in or out as a diagnostic factor may not be as simple as you indicate.

Determining adequate CO2 levels thoughout the tank can be tricky and there can always be variation in concentration even with our best attempts with flow. When a "checker" (or pH +KH measurements ) senses CO2>30ppm, levels can be lower in the vicintiy of some plants, say where there is less circulation or farther from the point of CO2 injection. Also, there might not be CO2 deficiency at all, even if checker senses level < 30 (plants can get carbon from sediment or from HCO3... and not all plants can use bicarbs).

Other diagnostic checks:

what you know or believe are nutrient levels. For example, if you have reliably tested the water column and find that non-C nutrients are available(and in good proportions), then you can look to CO2/flow or light as a potential cause.

Not my area of expertise, there are also the issues of nutrient excess (toxicity), which may provide visual Q's or simply bad ratios (where one nutrient blocks the uptake of another).


Unfortunately, i dont have simple suggestions for you to implement.
 

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Very nice chart, the diagnostic flow chart is a great idea IMO.

I've got a few bits of my own to add, take what you will of it:

Drop checker minimum for me is 30ppm. I like to sit between 30-45ppm, given that toxicity starts in around 60-75ppm. I'm not sure if others feel this way, but that's become my outlook and I figure it was worth mentioning to see what the common consensus is.

It may be worth mentioning moving your drop checker to troubled areas of the tank. I recall on one occasion someone saying that their CO2 couldn't be deficient because it was yellow. I told them to move it over by the ground cover they were having trouble with, and it turned blue. IME the real effort of a planted tank is getting CO2 into the lower parts.

I think it's worth noting that you can get BBA (Audouinella spp.) developing just about everywhere in a tank if CO2 is limiting. I've had a needle wheel modded powerhead pushing directly onto leaves that BBA had taken a good foothold on when under limiting conditions. I had a bright yellow drop checker too. As it turns out, early morning sun at the right time of year was lighting up half the tank.

It'd be worth working in something about mmol PAR because of cases such as this. Your CO2 can be complete perfection, but too much light is always too much light.

Lower leaf shed on stems is possibly worth mentioning; there may be no structural issues to see because the leaves are actually dropping right off the plant.

nfrank is bringing up a good point with toxicity. Column levels of nutrient toxicity are very unlikely; Hoagland stock solutions used in many scientific experiments are 10x EI dosing in the same sort of parameters. There's no point dosing this much, and it will kill the fish while the plants are still happy. Your first symptom of fertilizer OD tends to be dead fish. This is not the only way to poison your plants though. Various plant dips aren't so nice to the plants either, some medications will kill plants while the fish are still fine, some fish can stand brackish conditions where the Na destroys certain plants. Major cases of toxicity can show different symptoms, but in almost every case they end up acting far faster than a nutrient deficiency. For more mild/prolonged cases it tends to be something added repeatedly to the tank.
 

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Column levels of nutrient toxicity are very unlikely; Hoagland stock solutions used in many scientific experiments are 10x EI dosing in the same sort of parameters.
Toxicity can also come from the sediment. This situation may be of interest to followers of "the natural aquarium," aka "El Natural" here on APC. Soil based sediments can create a wide variety of plant toxicities, particularly if lots of water changes are not done (as suggested) during the initial setup. Some of these toxicities can create a nutrient imbalace for the plant which are not toxic to the fishes. I recall Diana talking about zinc toxicity and it may even be covered in her book.
 

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Very nice. Changing "30 ppm" to "non-limiting" CO2 may be the answer to some of this, hariom.

For Philosophos's points about water flow, could the flow chart have a step that asks if there's proper water flow by the plant? Only an idea.

nfrank,

It is - p12 of Walstad. But the entirety of Chapter 2 "Plants as Water Purifiers" is probably relevant here.
 

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Maybe include GSA and BBA as an indicator of CO2 deficiency and a short plant list of CO2 dependent plants. The chart recognizes CO2 deficiency thats the main thing. Great Job!
 

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I have a lot of doubts about the symptoms listed for CO2 deficiencies. They all resemble nutrient deficiencies. for example, the "twisted pale or stunted new growth" could be calcium or boron deficiencies or even severe iron deficiency. The old growth symptom, holes developing, could be potassium deficiency. The BBA developing on older leaves isn't going to happen if you don't have BBA in your tank, and, hopefully, you don't. I don't. Is it a sure thing that BBA doesn't grow when CO2 is sufficient?

I have seen that Hygrophila polysperma is a good indicator of CO2 levels. It does not show the symptoms described above, but it does show very clearly, high, middle, and low CO2 as shown in the drawings below:




 

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Hey, Martin.

I'm obviously not hariom, but you may have missed his recent thread discussing his new project: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...ute-new-calculator-help-formaulas-dosing.html hariom and I have swapped proof of concepts and templates and -- fwiw -- I am impressed and am excited. hariom is a special talent. I would not be surprised if he takes a while to answer to your post considering he is a graduate student and the time of year, fyi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
aaah...guys....just catching up on all these threads...

thanks carlo for covering up my back..i have moved base from Savannah to Cincinnati for an internship! hence the disappearance..

anyways...what do you think about pK comments...

Having BBA not in the tank and using it as a sign is a good question...but the same goes for what if polysperma is not in the tank...the co2 deficiency symptoms were added in from comments from other members...it might not be a sure thing...but many do face the problem...again...i validate the comments by my own experiences in my tank...i do have polysperma in my tank and it is a good indicator... but should we make it a base standard to have polysperma as the second indicator of co2?

carlo....have you seen dan anywhere lately...??? i need to update you on the calc project as well....i'll send you a mail soon.
 

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Hi guys
Just short comment about note in the brackets in point 1, right hand side, about K and M overdose.
I don't think that is likely to be true.
My tap water is soft 2dKH 5dGH and I was keeping K+ level at about 120ppm for 4 weeks with no effect on plants. I dont know what is my Ca and Mg content in my tap water, but I know that there is enough Mg, as I was not adding any Mg to the tank for several weeks and Mg defficency didn't appear so Ca level can't be high, it is probably just enough. Later I was adding 10ppm of Mg per week for several weeks and I suppoose that my Mg level could be as high as Ca level or even higher and I did not experienced any trouble with plants. So I think that statement about Ca defficency in this point is enough and note about K and Mg overdosing can be confusing for many and can lead to defficency of these elements if somebody will think that these elements are overdosed and will cut on dosing them.

Other thing which is quite rare is sulfur defficency which can looks like more or less number 4 on the drawing. In some soft tap water it can be not enough sulfates and I think it could be in my case. As I stated before my tap water is soft, and I dont know my water composition, but I have been able to test the PO4 level with calibrated test and it is 2ppm of PO4. My whole plants for long time has been yellowish and I couldn't figured out what's the reason. I am using EI method so I didn't use any sulfates just KNO3 i KH2PO4 as I never had Mg defficency problems thus I didn't use MgSO4 x 7H2O like many other EI users. One time I have added few spoons of K2SO4 after water change and all plants became greener by the end of the week. My first thought was that I had K defficiency, but after a while I realize that just impossible. First of all dosing KNO3 according to EI is providing enough K, and second I have never seen any pin holes. To prove this I started to dose CaSO4 x 1/2H2O and it worked as well. Now I am just adding MgSO4 x 7H2O to my macro mix as it has much better solubility. By these observations it looks like my tap water hardness is caused by phosphates and maybe chlorides in some bigger part than usual and has not enough sulfates. The only problem is that I can not confirm my observations by certain numbers as I don't run laboratory and I can't get any data from my water supplier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
suplhur deficiency is interesting...i need some comments from the pros on this one...any thoughts moderators???
 

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I know that sulfur is being used in protein synthesis and its deficiency is pretty similar to nitrogen deficiency - leaves yellow pretty fast. Magnesium overdose however can wrinkle, deform leaves on plants. It happened in my tank.
 

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HeyPK,

Respectfully, I think that diagram is showing H. polysperma as a healthy, living, and starved plant of not just CO2, but all nutrients and light. For example, while I associate the size of the leaves (and plant mass) with CO2 (C being the biggest portion of plant mass), I think that horizontal growth is the result of non-limiting light. A tank already with B or Ca deficiency may exhibit the symptoms of curled leaves, for example, but before the aquarist with a CO2 enriched tank investigates the smaller macros and the larger micros, s/he should look at CO2. For this reason, I think the use of CO2 as a first step is appropriate in hariom's infographic.

I see how this may be different in a CO2 limited tank.

I do really, really, like the idea of using common aquarium plants as standards for deficiencies. However, I would suggest we stick with smaller scaled plants instead of a H. polysperma. For example, R. indica, H. micranthemoides, B. japonica, M. fluviatilis, and Glosso/ET/HC are great indicator plants and also double as excellent pieces for us folks trying to figure out an aquascape. Perhaps we could start a thread or continue this one with what plants we each like and for what indicators, then see if there's a consensus to build upon?

hariom,

I've not seen Philosophous around this or the other forum I frequent. Might tackle toxicity on our proof of concept in a second though.
 

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HeyPK,

Respectfully, I think that diagram is showing H. polysperma as a healthy, living, and starved plant of not just CO2, but all nutrients and light. For example, while I associate the size of the leaves (and plant mass) with CO2 (C being the biggest portion of plant mass), I think that horizontal growth is the result of non-limiting light. A tank already with B or Ca deficiency may exhibit the symptoms of curled leaves, for example, but before the aquarist with a CO2 enriched tank investigates the smaller macros and the larger micros, s/he should look at CO2. For this reason, I think the use of CO2 as a first step is appropriate in hariom's infographic.

I see how this may be different in a CO2 limited tank.

I do really, really, like the idea of using common aquarium plants as standards for deficiencies. However, I would suggest we stick with smaller scaled plants instead of a H. polysperma. For example, R. indica, H. micranthemoides, B. japonica, M. fluviatilis, and Glosso/ET/HC are great indicator plants and also double as excellent pieces for us folks trying to figure out an aquascape. Perhaps we could start a thread or continue this one with what plants we each like and for what indicators, then see if there's a consensus to build upon?

hariom,

I've not seen Philosophous around this or the other forum I frequent. Might tackle toxicity on our proof of concept in a second though.
I picked H. polysperma because it shows such variability in growth at different CO2 levels. In my experience, the type of growth (horizontal or vertical) seems to be most dependent on CO2 and rather independent of light from about 2 watts fluorescent per gallon on up. Even with a lot of room, good nutrient levels, 2-3 watts per gallon and no crowding from other plants, I see vertical growth as in the second drawing when I am not adding CO2, but the fish are supplying some. In this case the Hygrophila has enough CO2 to grow slowly. When bicarbonate using plants are drawing the CO2 down to very low levels and the pH is high, Hygrophila polysperma stops growing and the leaves slant downwards as in the third drawing. I know of no other plant that shows such changes in appearance based on CO2 levels.
 

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Thank you -- progress!

I am only speaking of my experience in my tanks, of course, but I pick H. micranthemoides, which will get transparent new growth with trace deficiency and specifically lose it's rather unique candy-apply-green color with low Fe. In reading HeyPK's description above, I would include it and R. mexicana 'Goias' as plants who "droop" with low CO2, which I have seen, but I'm still standing by my light argument and that a plant allowed to fill a space will usually fill a space to ensure it outcompetes its neighbors :)

I also pick R. indica, which, after trimming, will send oblong leaves with N limitation. This can be fine if you're limiting N for whatever reason. Example: younger stem on the right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Greetings all,

I have updated the infographic. For ease of documentation and maintenance, i have created a special website which will host all of these infographics. A bunch of features will be added to the site over a period of time.

So, i invite you all to view the updated version here:
Aqua Calc Infographics
 
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