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What deficiency is this?


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I dose Easy Green 10 pumps once a week. 75g. Fully planted and plenty of fish 💩
 

I cannot figure out what deficiency or nutrient I am missing that’s leading to the plants ending up like this.

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2x L200

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3x Bolivian ram

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I usually treat holes in leaves as a potassium deficiency, but the Java fern in your pics looks like mine when they convert from air grown to submerged. I’d say the same applies to the anubias.
I’d start by trimming the dead or dying leaves, that’ll allow the plants to put effort into new growth. Secondly I’d make sure your easy green pump is dispensing the correct amount. Mine takes about 8-9 pumps for 5 ml. I use a api test tube to calibrate it. You might be dosing  way less than you need. 

How long have you had the plants and what are your Nitrate levels? I suspect they’re adequate with seven Plecos and three Rams in there. 

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I’ve had this tank running for a couple of years. Everything eventually gets holes and loses leaves. 
 

I remove dead leaves every month or so. Plants are all at least a year old.
 

Nitrates are normal. 
 

On 2/6/2022 at 12:53 PM, Patrick_G said:

I usually treat holes in leaves as a potassium deficiency, but the Java fern in your pics looks like mine when they convert from air grown to submerged. I’d say the same applies to the anubias.
I’d start by trimming the dead or dying leaves, that’ll allow the plants to put effort into new growth. Secondly I’d make sure your easy green pump is dispensing the correct amount. Mine takes about 8-9 pumps for 5 ml. I use a api test tube to calibrate it. You might be dosing  way less than you need. 

How long have you had the plants and what are your Nitrate levels? I suspect they’re adequate with seven Plecos and three Rams in there. 

 

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On 2/6/2022 at 11:28 AM, Saltinthedesert said:

I dose Easy Green 10 pumps once a week. 75g. Fully planted and plenty of fish 💩
 

I cannot figure out what deficiency or nutrient I am missing that’s leading to the plants ending up like this.

 

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Hi @Saltinthedesert

Do you happen to know any of your water parameters?  Specifically pH, dKH, dGH, and nitrates?  Any information would be helpful.  I am guessing your pH is above 7.0.

I agree with @Mmiller2001that you are under-dosing your nutrients but there is more going on based upon the photo below.
 -Roy595875169_CareAdjLgArrow.jpg.f33d9c4cb13b9542476de4ea9924a67a.jpg

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On 2/9/2022 at 10:09 AM, Saltinthedesert said:

Should I slowly add potassium bicarbonate to get the KH to 2-3?

Hi @Saltinthedesert

OK, I think I have a plan that should help you resolve some of the issues in your tank.  In my first post in this thread I included a blown-up portion of one of your pictures with an arrow pointing to a leaf of your Anubias (see below).  This is not the youngest leaf of your Anubias but one that is fairly young and if you look closely (even from the underneath) you can see the dark leaf veins and much lighter (almost yellowish) interveinal areas (area between leaf veins) - that condition is called interveinal chlorosis.  There are two nutrient issues that can cause interveinal chlorosis. When it happens to older leaves that have matured it is an indication of insufficient available magnesium.  When that condition occurs on newer leaves it is typically caused by insufficient available iron.  Since the condition is occurring mostly on your newer leaves I would suspect and issue with iron.

Notice I said "insufficient available" as opposed to "not enough".  There are many reasons for "insufficient iron" the obvious one is not dosing enough but that is not the only possible cause.  There are many forms of iron that are used as plant nutrients.  The most common ones are (in order of expense); EDTA chelated, DTPA chelated, and ferrous gluconate.  Since EDTA chelated iron is the least expensive it is the one most commonly used however it has some definite drawbacks.  The availability of iron to plants in the EDTA chelated products drop very quickly as the pH of a tank goes from acid to alkaline.  At a pH of 7.0 the actual percentage of EDTA iron is only about 15% of the total iron in the solution.  (See Chart Below) By the time the pH increases to pH@7.5 only about 3% of the iron in solution is available to the plants.  The key is to use an iron source that works well for the pH in our tanks.  Ferrous gluconate is reasonably priced, relatively easy to find, and works well until we get to high pH levels.  I recommend Seachem Iron over any of the others (including Easy Green) because it is 100% ferrous gluconate. 

There are also a couple of other issues I see in your tank.  If you look again at the picture below do you see the sharply turned down leaf tips, that would be a indication of insufficient available calcium.  I see some green spot algae (GSA) on the leaves indicating insufficient phosphate, and lastly - as pointed out @Patrick G above the necrosis in the older leaves is an indication of insufficient available potassium but the yellowing (chlorosis) of the older leaves indicates insufficient magnesium may also be an issue. 

How to proceed? 

First of all, increase to your dosing of Easy Green to the recommended level which is 7 pumps 2 times per week.  Do not change your lighting level, photoperiod, or filtration other than routine maintenance.  We are not going to worry about your dKH unless you are using CO2 in your tank.

Second remove any dead (or almost dead) leaves from your plants and do a 50% water change.  I do 50% water changes on my tanks once every week.  Then pick up some Seachem Iron and some Seachem Equilibrium.  As I mentioned the Seachem Iron is ferrous gluconate.  Dose the Seachem Iron 1/8th teaspoon per 10 gallons 3 times per week.  This will add 0.6 ppm of iron to your tank on a weekly basis.

Third, we are going to increase your dGH by 2 degrees to dGH@9.0 by adding Seachem EquilibriumSeachem Equilibrium contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.  Do an initial dose of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons just once.  Then weekly, when you do your 50% water changes, add 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons of new water added.  This will add about 25 ppm of potassium, 10 ppm or calcium, and 3.2 ppm of magnesium.  Same as with the iron, when you do your 50% weekly water change add 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons of new water added.

Now the hard part........waiting!  Follow the above suggestions for 30 days and watch the new leaves as they emerge and mature.  DO NOT WATCH ANY EXISTING LEAVES THEY WILL NOT IMPROVE AND MAY CONTINUE TO DECLINE IN HEALTH.  As the new leaves emerge an mature do they look greener, healthier, do the leaf tips stay straight and stop 'hooking downward"?  As these new leaves get even older do they stay healthy looking, remaining green without holes?  Your may also notice an increase in plant growth since iron and magnesium are necessary for good photosynthesis.  If conditions improve then you are on the right track.  If you have any questions just ask.  Hope this helps! -Roy

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Edited by Seattle_Aquarist
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On 2/9/2022 at 3:10 PM, Saltinthedesert said:

@Seattle_Aquarist so thankful that you’d take the time to write that up. I’ll follow your directions and report back!

@Seattle_Aquarist

Can Seachem Iron,Equilibrium, and Easy Green be dosed on the same day. I vaguely recall someone advising against that. 

Hi @Saltinthedesert

Sorry, I missed that you were dosing Easy Iron as well as Easy Green.  Discontinue Easy Iron  until we have gotten you back on track and then we can discuss how to progress.  -Roy

75 gallon with F1 Red Spot Green Discus Juvies –  Rio Nanay, Peru  (Symphysodon aequifasciatus)
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Edited by Seattle_Aquarist
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On 2/9/2022 at 3:32 PM, Seattle_Aquarist said:

Ferrous gluconate is reasonably priced, relatively easy to find, and works well until we get to high pH levels.  I recommend Seachem Iron over any of the others (including Easy Green) because it is 100% ferrous gluconate. 

At what pH does ferrous Gluconate stop being available?

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Hi @Mmiller2001

Wow, I really had to dig and I don't know if there is a definitive answer.

I believe it has to do with the form that iron is offered to the plants and the binding agent used with the iron.  EDTA and DTPA are relatively strong binding agents (chelates) for iron in its ferric (Fe+++) form.  The strength of the bond between ferric iron molecules and the chelates increases as the pH goes up and decreases as the pH drops because acidity is needed to dissolve the bond.  That is why less and less ferric iron is available as the pH increases.  Plants react with ferric iron (Fe+++) in the root zone where bacteria break the bond and the roots convert iron from it ferric state (Fe+++) to its ferrous (Fe++) state and then it is transported though the stems to the leaves.  The leaves and stems use iron in its ferrous (Fe++) form.

As I said above plants intake iron in its ferric (Fe+++) state and convert it into the ferrous (Fe++) state for use by the stems and leaves.  Ferrous gluconate works differently.  First of all the bond between the ferrous molecule and gluconate (sugar) is relatively weak and easily broken by bacteria in our tanks releasing the ferrous (Fe++) molecules.  The leaves and stems utilize iron in its ferrous state and can easily uptake the "freed" ferrous iron molecule directly from the water column.  I would guess that any effect that pH would have on the breakdown of ferrous gluconate into usable iron would be the effect a high pH might have on bacteria to the break the ferrous iron / gluconate bond.  BTW,

BTW, a very good question @Mmiller2001, you made me dig into my old chemistry and biology books and check out some old late 1990's postings in an e-mail forum.  I also learned something new about EDTA chelated iron,  Not only is it effected by pH with only 50% availability at a pH or 6.5 but it is also effected by high levels of calcium further reducing the ability to break the EDTA / ferric iron bond.  This means that hard water can further decrease the effectiveness of EDTA iron in our tanks.  I learn something new every day. -Roy

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On 2/11/2022 at 7:05 PM, Seattle_Aquarist said:

Hi @Mmiller2001

Wow, I really had to dig and I don't know if there is a definitive answer.

I believe it has to do with the form that iron is offered to the plants and the binding agent used with the iron.  EDTA and DTPA are relatively strong binding agents (chelates) for iron in its ferric (Fe+++) form.  The strength of the bond between ferric iron molecules and the chelates increases as the pH goes up and decreases as the pH drops because acidity is needed to dissolve the bond.  That is why less and less ferric iron is available as the pH increases.  Plants react with ferric iron (Fe+++) in the root zone where bacteria break the bond and the roots convert iron from it ferric state (Fe+++) to its ferrous (Fe++) state and then it is transported though the stems to the leaves.  The leaves and stems use iron in its ferrous (Fe++) form.

As I said above plants intake iron in its ferric (Fe+++) state and convert it into the ferrous (Fe++) state for use by the stems and leaves.  Ferrous gluconate works differently.  First of all the bond between the ferrous molecule and gluconate (sugar) is relatively weak and easily broken by bacteria in our tanks releasing the ferrous (Fe++) molecules.  The leaves and stems utilize iron in its ferrous state and can easily uptake the "freed" ferrous iron molecule directly from the water column.  I would guess that any effect that pH would have on the breakdown of ferrous gluconate into usable iron would be the effect a high pH might have on bacteria to the break the ferrous iron / gluconate bond.  BTW,

BTW, a very good question @Mmiller2001, you made me dig into my old chemistry and biology books and check out some old late 1990's postings in an e-mail forum.  I also learned something new about EDTA chelated iron,  Not only is it effected by pH with only 50% availability at a pH or 6.5 but it is also effected by high levels of calcium further reducing the ability to break the EDTA / ferric iron bond.  This means that hard water can further decrease the effectiveness of EDTA iron in our tanks.  I learn something new every day. -Roy

I did some digging too and couldn't find an answer at all.

So I was left wondering, is ferrous Gluconate a good option at higher pH? The articles talked about how the roots created a more acid area around themselves to make ferric iron ferrous/ available. 

Is it because it's ferrous and available immediately that pH might not keep it from the plants? (If I bought Ferrous Gluconate to use)

Edited by Mmiller2001
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On 2/11/2022 at 7:05 PM, Seattle_Aquarist said:

something new about EDTA chelated iron,  Not only is it effected by pH with only 50% availability at a pH or 6.5 but it is also effected by high levels of calcium further reducing the ability to break the EDTA / ferric iron bond.  This means that hard water can further decrease the effectiveness of EDTA iron in our tanks.  I learn something new every day. -Roy

Roy, that makes perfect sense. When I am working with pregnant people who have low iron, the first thing I check is what food sources they are getting their iron with, and are they consuming orange juice with added calcium (interferes with absorption in humans, too).

This helped me a lot, I only have one bare bottom tank and the plants in that tank (and only that tank) show iron deficiency and thrive in my other tanks. We have liquid rock that leaves a calcium deposit at the top of my tanks.🙄

So, note to self: calcium interferes with Fe absorption in fish and humans.

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