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Sword Nutrient Deficiency


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Hey all,

I saw some trasparent on my sword, so at first I thought it was maybe a iron defency. I added root tabs and added some of the tropica premuim fertilizer. 

All though nothing seems to be working. So I have been doing some research and on other forums some say its a lighting issue. But swords are fairly low light plants, right? It is very low light, I have some really cheap LEDs that came with a tank a few years back. I'm using them until my Fluval 3.0 Nano comes in the mail.

What should I do? is it a iron defency? lighting issue? other issue...?

Just an FYI i live in Canada so I cant get the easy iron, etc.

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Edited by James Black
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@James Black @Saldid you have any root tabs in there before the root tabs that you added about a week ago? Or is this a new plant? Are the effected leaves older leaves or new leaves? 

Swords are very heavy root feeders so I would focus on adding more root tabs rather than a liquid fertilizer. Usually there is an iron deficiency when the new leaves are yellow but the veins in the leaf remain green. 

If this plant is a new addition, it may simply be that it is acclimating to your aquarium conditions. You would typically see this with the older leaves only though.

If the issues are occurring with the new leaves, it is likely a nutrient deficiency issue. 

@James Black I am not so sure what type of sword you have but looking at the picture again(now that I have gotten some sleep haha), I would guess that is a newer plant(recently purchased)? The leaf shape, texture and long stem make me think that these leaves are from emerged growth rather than submerged growth. If this is the case, then I would also think that this sword is simply acclimating to your aquarium conditions. 

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1 minute ago, Isaac M said:

@James Black @Saldid you have any root tabs in there before the root tabs that you added about a week ago? Or is this a new plant? Are the effected leaves older leaves or new leaves? 

Swords are very heavy root feeders so I would focus on adding more root tabs rather than a liquid fertilizer. Usually there is an iron deficiency when the new leaves are yellow but the veins in the leaf remain green. 

If this plant is a new addition, it may simply be that it is acclimating to your aquarium conditions. You would typically see this with the older leaves only though.

If the issues are occurring with the new leaves, it is likely a nutrient deficiency issue. 

@James Black I am not so sure what type of sword you have but looking at the picture again(now that I have gotten some sleep haha), I would guess that is a newer plant(recently purchased)? The leaf shape, texture and long stem make me think that these leaves are from emerged growth rather than submerged growth. If this is the case, then I would also think that this sword is simply acclimating to your aquarium conditions. 

Yep the sword is a new plant got it also a week ago. The tank is also a new setup so, yes those root tabs I inserted a week ago were the first root tabs. I inserted two root tbas. 

@ARMYVET I have 15ppm of Nitrates, I will be dosing more today as well as inserting more root tabs.

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@James Black, ok that makes sense then. I would let it acclimate to your water conditions and new leaves will eventually began to grow that will likely be longer sword shaped than the shorter circular leaves it has now.

If those new leaves are not healthy, then you have a nutrient deficiency and likely need more root tabs (assuming you do not have an enriched substrate). Swords are very heavy root feeders and will usually prefer to have more root tabs rather than have more liquid fertilizer. 

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This is so helpful!  Thanks!

@Isaac M For me, some of the swords have been in the tank since March (so 3+ months) and a couple of them have been in there closer to maybe 6 weeks, so I expected the initial melting.  I am starting to see the same issues with the very few new leaves that are coming in and just in general the plants don't seem to be growing or doing well.  I added root tabs to both sets of plants when they were put into the tank, and on the older set of plants I put new root tabs in about a month ago....

I am wondering if I am just not putting enough root tabs in?

We did have an unexpected ammonia spike about 2 months ago, and had to dose prime for about a week, so I am wondering if that didnt help the cause any either...

I have other plants that are growing out of the tank, and some that are just NOT doing well...  It's frustrating, but I'll keep tweaking!

 

 

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@Sal I am glad the information was helpful. However, if you would prefer, we can take a look at your aquarium to come up with a specific solution. 

The amount of root tabs required will depend on the size of the sword, growth rate, etc. Generally the plant itself will tell you as it will either grow slowly or the leaves will indicate a specific deficiency. 

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Ok @Isaac M I went and snapped a couple pics...  Now you guys have me second guessing that maybe I am overthinking it, and it's just the normal melting, and maybe I just need to snip those leaves off!  🙂

This one has been in there for closer to 3 months...  This is about how big it was when I purchased it, it's putting out new leaves, but just not really getting any bigger.  And as you can see, something is munching on it, I assume because it's kinda dying?
IMG_6556.jpg.4650730404696c9428996dd6705992a0.jpg

 

Here are the 2 larger plants that I purchased about 6-8 weeks ago... Again - maybe those are just the initial melting leaves and I just need to trim off?  I guess I am just expecting to see more growth than I feel I am?
IMG_6551.jpg.780daeb988b37697e83eadc3563ecb53.jpg

Edited by Sal
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@Sal the larger more circular leaves on the outside can just be snipped off. Those are older emerged growth leaves. 

It looks like you have new green growth there and fluval stratum as your substrate? 

As far as the leaf that has been munched on, what fish do you have in that aquarium?

Do you have a bristlenose pleco? If you do, maybe it is a little underfed and is therefore eating the sword? 

The new growth looks fairly green and healthy however. From these pictures, it looks like you are on the right track. 

2915D860-D5AC-4DCC-B657-004C7430A6F9.jpeg.f0226507d3a61910c6cf5f99ff79ebd3.jpeg

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27 minutes ago, Isaac M said:

@Sal the larger more circular leaves on the outside can just be snipped off. Those are older emerged growth leaves. 

It looks like you have new green growth there and fluval stratum as your substrate?  Correct on the substrate!

As far as the leaf that has been munched on, what fish do you have in that aquarium?   angels, cardinal & buenos aries tetras, a common and bristlenose pleco, a bunch of panda corys, and 4 mystery snails.

Do you have a bristlenose pleco? If you do, maybe it is a little underfed and is therefore eating the sword?  Yes - I've had a few plants get munched, some are completely gone, and I've wondered if it's the plecos...  I've upped my feeding of repashy soilent green to 3 times a week, and of course they get daily wafers and what ever else I am feeding the fish... spinach/cuke/zuchini a couple times a week too, etc....  feeding tips welcome!    I never see them actually eating the plants, so it's still a mystery for me!

The new growth looks fairly green and healthy however. From these pictures, it looks like you are on the right track. 
 

Added responses in purple....  So I guess I'll just trim away the mature dead leaves, and see what happens from there?

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@Sal yes I would recommend trimming away the older dead leaves. Just to be clear with anyone that may read this post, I am suggesting these older leaves be removed because @Sal already has new leaves that grew in their new aquarium. I would not suggest this if the only leaves your plant has are the older leaves that did not grow in your aquarium. 

From my understanding of others people experience, mystery snails do not eat healthy live plants. I have only kept mystery snails once way back in the day when I did not have live plants so just going by others experience. 

Likewise, I have only kept a bulldog pleco (I believe Chaetostoma formosae) in a planted tank with a sword so the comment about bristlenose eating sword plants is from others experience. I found this care guide from the aquarium co-op that may be helpful as well: 

https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/pleco-care-guide


I also wanted to make another point here for anyone else that may read this and feel discouraged about the state of their sword plant or any other plant. Our aquariums often require patience and delayed gratification with our care. I will admit however, this can be significantly sped up with the use of carbon dioxide. I will use 2 of my personal aquariums as an example. 

55 Gallon Aquarium with organic soil and no injected carbon dioxide approximately 1.5 years apart:

31997DF7-C472-4FC4-9051-0182A8554B74.jpeg.167cec5dc8c76aa01e5260fd1f0a2773.jpeg78798531-F6A7-43DE-AB15-375925F20C5C.jpeg.49166159fea22362f0ceae58c98b145c.jpeg

F649C9A3-E0F0-4862-95C6-BF096EB34F55.jpeg.ba5fcf2381892cf6071d18f7a2222a0b.jpeg

This aquarium has been a great learning experience for me. It was my first aquarium with organic soil and it also allowed me to grow many different species of plants. Some did well and some did not. But you can see the growth of the sword in 1.5 years on the left side of the aquarium. That is the most growth I could get without carbon dioxide and basically unlimited nutrients from the organic soil.

29 gallon with inert substrate and no injected carbon dioxide approximately 1.5 years apart. 
DDBC1361-7DBE-498A-8E99-066E59302FD1.jpeg.47867e597c1ac942f7f2a7a93f0c7f0f.jpeg

7A9725C4-B446-4BE5-8A15-A6504C5110B3.jpeg.a87ddbc83cdef3ef0cd00a8619503e9f.jpeg

This aquarium is the exact opposite as the example of the 55 gallon. I started it showing the mature plant growth and then all of the plants shrinking down. To be totally honest, this is what happens when you are taking care of an aquarium and then get too busy (I let getting my degree consume me too much) to continue adding root tabs and adding fertilizer to sustain your growth. The big sword, rotala, ludwigia and even some of the hygrophila died back due to lack of nutrients. The crypts however stayed growing strong (really speaks to their hardiness haha).

The point of showing this is just to show that the care you are giving your plants now will show as the plants grows a little bit bigger and healthier each day (sometimes this may be in the root system that you often do not see). Eventually it will be this large beautiful plant. Likewise, the lack of care you show your plants (even if they are already large and beautiful) will also show in the future. 

I hope that helps someone remain patient and caring to their aquarium and plants. Even if the aquarium and plants may be going through a difficult phase right now and the care you are showing is not translating to visible success immediately. 

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@James Black please forgive me for completely post-jacking!  🙂

@Isaac M Light is a Fluval aquasky 1200 and I will admit I really did not adjust much aside from the length of time the lights were on...  Here's a screenshot of the auto light cycle - but (disclaimer) I do let my kids play with it often, so although this is the "usual" cycle, it sometimes does deviate a little when they want to play with it.  Like once or twice a week they'll put it on an odd color, and I wont notice for a half hour - that kind of thing.

914191350_IMG_6561copy.jpg.29e89b5ae9648ce6bd244c6da91c15b9.jpg

 

Here are my sad little crypt tropicas...  Both were planted about 3 months ago, they grew a bit, and then started to shrink (or possibly being munched?) and they turned DARK.  They were much more bronzey-green when I received them. Sorry for the distortion in the pics.

98984787_IMG_65582.jpg.314864abb3c51a49e03f8e280e64d87a.jpgIMG_6560.jpg.3c7f6848450124a5a5c881c3be4f972d.jpg

 

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@Sal I would suggest reading through this thread @Streetwise started on fluval light scheduling and programming. Right off the bat I would say reduce your blue light way down as it will likely give you more algae growth than plant growth. But I would read the thread below for more information as it has more than I can provide haha 

The crypts look good. Maybe they are being munched on a little bit because I do not really see any obvious signs of deficiencies. 

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