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This is a discussion on New to Plants within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by Ami Thanks for the note on balance Byron. Yesterday while giving my weekly dose of Flourish Comprehensive, I noticed that the ...

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Old 02-26-2012, 05:05 PM   #21
 
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Thanks for the note on balance Byron.
Yesterday while giving my weekly dose of Flourish Comprehensive, I noticed that the side of the bottle mentioned about other Flourish ferts for the macronutrients like potassium. Have you ever needed to used them?
I'm going to start with balance again, as this is the key. In every planted aquarium, no matter what method you use, there absolutely must be a balance between all 17 nutrients and with light. And this means the nutrients themselves must be in balance with each other, as well as the total in balance with light. Most of us here use the natural method, sometimes referred to as low-tech. We rely on nutrients occurring naturally--some from the tap water at water changes, some from the fish foods we feed. It is possible to have a good balance with only these, and no added fertilizers. But depending upon the tap water you might need to add some, and with this "natural" system the best way is a single complete fertilizer which is itself balanced among the nutrients included.

As one moves closer to a high-tech method, where you add CO2 and have more light (to balance--again), the rather minimal nutrient level in a complete product like Flourish Comprehensive is often inadequate, and there are better (and less expensive) ways to fertilize. You might need to add nutrients every day. And once you get to that level of fertilization, the supply need difference between macro- and micro-nutrients is much greater. More macro-nutrients are necessary to balance the higher light and CO2, but fewer (though more than with a natural system) micro-nutrients. It is at this stage that you get into needing more potassium, iron (perhaps), nitrogen, etc., and this is what the other products in the Flourish line are meant to supply. Though again, using these gets quite expensive, and most aquarists at this level use dry fertilizers and mix their own. I won't get into that.

But in whatever method, one thing must be remembered: balance (again). Too much of some nutrients can cause plants to alter their assimilation and actually shut down on some other nutrients. Just as too little of some nutrients can cause plants to take up too much of another if it is available.

So, for those of us running natural method planted tanks, it is not normally necessary to be dosing large amounts of the macro-nutrients, and while some of these are present in Flourish Comprehensive in relatively small amounts, they are intended to be naturally supplemented via fish foods and tap water, so it generally works well.

Those of us with very soft water have another problem, and that is insufficient calcium, magnesium, potassium in the tap water. It is often necessary for us to add more of these, and I'm presently doing this with Seachem's Equilibrium. But this is not something that would be needed by those with medium hard to hard tap water.

Byron.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:51 AM   #22
 
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Those of us with very soft water have another problem, and that is insufficient calcium, magnesium, potassium in the tap water. It is often necessary for us to add more of these, and I'm presently doing this with Seachem's Equilibrium. But this is not something that would be needed by those with medium hard to hard tap water.
I have pretty soft water, 35-45 ppm. Which I believe is roughly 2-2.5 dGH.

My KH is actually lower at 25 ppm.

Should I be using Equilibrium? How much? The directions say the target should be 3-6 degrees, or match your KH ... which I already exceed.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #23
 
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I have pretty soft water, 35-45 ppm. Which I believe is roughly 2-2.5 dGH.

My KH is actually lower at 25 ppm.

Should I be using Equilibrium? How much? The directions say the target should be 3-6 degrees, or match your KH ... which I already exceed.
It depends upon your fish and plant species. I'll explain via my personal circumstance.

My fish are soft water forest fish that occur in water with near-zero hardness and varying pH on the acidic side. And they are mainly wild caught. The water out of my tap has near-zero GH and KH, with a pH of 7 [they add some type of ash to raise the pH, can never remember the name, but it has no effect on hardness or fish]. So in my aquaria if I leave them alone, the pH quickly drops to 5. For what I have in fish, this is fine. But not the plants.

Plants need calcium, it is essential for cell structure. I found my swords in particular were developing large brown blotches which spread until the entire leaf was dead, and this was literally wiping out the plants. Research determined it was lack of calcium. When there is insufficient calcium available, plants will take up iron in place of calcium. The excess iron causes the brown blotches.

For years I never had this problem, and my water has always been the same (very soft). But following the advice of my fish store, I kept a half cup of dolomite in a mesh bag in the filters on each of the large tanks, and without really knowing it, this was providing just enough calcium and magnesium in addition to my Flourish Comprehensive. At this point I should mentino that Flourish contains some calcium and magnesium but not much, since they assume most aquarists will have medium hard or harder water and not need these minerals as much.

Two years ago the above condition worsened to the point that I basically lost all the large swords which were the worst affected. Last fall, with the help of Diana Walstad, the problem was identified and I began experimenting with methpods to deal with this. Not being able to track down dolomite locally (my existing dolomite in the filters had, after some 12+ years, simply worn out), I tried aragonite which is a similar mineral compound. This added the GH, but unfortunately raised the pH above 7. After 3-4 months, the pH lowered back a bit, and I removed a bit of the aragonite, until it was roughly 6.8, but this is still too high for many of my fish. And the GH only came up to 3 dGH which is still not sufficient; the swords showed improvement, but after 4 months of this were still developing the calcium/iron issue. This experiment I carried out only in 2 tanks, so it was more controlled. I then turned to Equilibrium.

Equilibrium raises GH via calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and soluble iron. It has no effect whatsoever on KH or pH. After about 2 months I now have the GH running around 4, 5 or 6 dGH (depending upon the tank and its fish species) with the pH back down where it belongs. In two of the tanks, I retained some aragonite to keep the pH around 6.6 for those particular fish and this has worked. The swords have bounced back, the leaves are bright green and sturdy, and the plants in the 70g have doubled in size from previously. Flourish Comp is still being dosed once weekly.

So, if your plants showing signs of deficiency in calcium, this is the way to go. Provided the GH is still suitable to the fish. I am not a fan of adding stuff to aquaria with fish, but Equilibrium is not chemical, it is 100% mineral, as is Flourish Comprehensive.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 02-27-2012 at 10:41 AM..
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:16 AM   #24
 
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Humm, I have three Amazon Swords. I think they're doing okay. The old leaves started yellowing at the tips which progressed downwards but I expected that. Almost all are gone now after ~2 months. The new growth is significantly thinner and much longer. The veins of the swords almost look back, if not a really dark green. That's the only thing I've seen with that could maybe not be normal but can't find anything about that. No yellowing or spots at all, so hopefully things can be okay when left as is.

I must say though, I haven't seen any pictures of swords that look like what I have, all the photos I've seen have significantly thicker leaves like what it had when I bought it (was emerssed form though). Pictures also show light green veins, while as I mentioned mine are really dark.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:53 AM   #25
 
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Humm, I have three Amazon Swords. I think they're doing okay. The old leaves started yellowing at the tips which progressed downwards but I expected that. Almost all are gone now after ~2 months. The new growth is significantly thinner and much longer. The veins of the swords almost look back, if not a really dark green. That's the only thing I've seen with that could maybe not be normal but can't find anything about that. No yellowing or spots at all, so hopefully things can be okay when left as is.

I must say though, I haven't seen any pictures of swords that look like what I have, all the photos I've seen have significantly thicker leaves like what it had when I bought it (was emerssed form though). Pictures also show light green veins, while as I mentioned mine are really dark.
I just did a quick search trying to find a photo to illustrate but couldn't, so when my tank lights come on I will try to remember to take one. I believe I still have a plant or two with older leaves that have the spots.

Remember that all Echinodorus species are prone to appear a bit different from tank to tank, and sometimes even within the same tank. Light, water parameters and nutrients are all believed to be involved.

Taking this one step further, the most recent DNA and cladistic studies on this genus suggest that there are far fewer species than most sources list. Rataj's 62 distinct species are down to 28 valid species according to Lehtonen, a Finnish botanist who has recently carried out very extensive research on this genus. As one example, Echinodorus bleherae, E. amazonicus, E. parviflorus and E. grisebachii are now all deemed to be one species, namely E. grisebachii. This was suggested by Haynes & Holm-Nielsen (1994) and the cladistic analysis by Lehtonen (2006, 2007, 2008) confirms it. But the point is that these "species" do grow quite differently, which is interesting if they are indeed the same.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:17 PM   #26
 
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I just did a quick search trying to find a photo to illustrate but couldn't, so when my tank lights come on I will try to remember to take one. I believe I still have a plant or two with older leaves that have the spots.
Here they are. Bit cloudy as I was in the middle of the water change when I remembered before i started removing leaves. First is of a fairly small spot beginning. They are usually within the leaf blade, and just expand. Second is of a more advanced stage. So far, the increased GH seems to be working, none of the new leaves are getting these blotches.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Echinodorus calcium-iron (1).jpg (63.3 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg Echinodorus calcium-iron (2).jpg (46.6 KB, 24 views)
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:17 PM   #27
 
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Those look like I would expect of a sword, minus the hole. Mine are so skinny looking!

And the dark veins in the leaf, not sure what that is.

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Old 02-27-2012, 06:52 PM   #28
 
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Geo I have some like yours and some like Byrons in the same tank. They were both said to be Amazon Swords. The one that is like yours has been in the tank for 8 months or longer and is not getting real large. The other ones have been in maybe 5 months and have gotten significantly larger. I suspect they are just a different species?

Your sword looks quite healthy. Nice and green and not spotty or anything. I have also not been able to find swords like those I lost which were also supposed to be Amazon swords and were huge, dark green and their leaves were very long with a short stem.

One of mine is Echinodorus bleheri

Last edited by Inga; 02-27-2012 at 07:10 PM..
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:54 PM   #29
 
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Now you got me thinking too lol (i might be a aquarium hypochondriac) I was going to put one of my large swords from my 55g in my 110g to provide more cover and give it room to sprawl. Now I need to go get a more accurate PH test because I suspect the Ph in the 110 may be lower than 6, but thats the bottom of the test chart.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:02 PM   #30
 
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Those look like I would expect of a sword, minus the hole. Mine are so skinny looking!

And the dark veins in the leaf, not sure what that is.

What name/species was this plant sold under? And can you post a photo showing the entire plant so I can get an idea of its size? I'm thinking this might be E. quadricostatus.
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