Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Redknee 12-11-2010 02:09 PM

Aquarium plant deficiency
A simple and ilustrated guide that can be very useful if your plants have some sort of deficiency.
Let's say your plants have yellow leaves or brown spots or holes or simply something is not good with them this guide can help you find out what's missing from your tank(nutrient wise).

Creat 12-12-2010 12:57 AM

Love it !! XD

thefishboy 12-12-2010 03:43 AM

My plants seem to be dieing but there is none of those symptons... Ive been told that it could be my bn pleco.. Could this be???

Byron 12-12-2010 02:30 PM

A guide such as that linked can be useful, but one must be careful not to jump to conclusions. Tom Barr, an acknowledged authority on aquarium plants, has elsewhere written against following such guides.

As one example, yellowing leaves can be caused by several factors, and one cannot assume this or that and start remedying the supposed nutrient imbalance because this can create further nutrient deficiencies through nutrient excess of this or that. For instance, an excess of potassium can cause an iron deficiency; but increasing iron is not the solution because this will then create other deficiences, or worse yet, poison the fish and plants.

Many of these nutrients are heavy metals, and highly toxic at increased levels. One first has to understand the nutrients already in the water--occurring from tap water, fish food, organics--in order to safely consider any fertilization.


Redknee 12-13-2010 09:12 AM

before anyone starts on something he/she is supposed to do some water tests. the guide is simply a guide, you see your plants, check the guide and you see what might be wrong. then you do your water tests according to what the guide sais it's wrong. it can save you 4-5 tests if you check it before testing.

Byron 12-13-2010 04:22 PM

The problem is, there are many members here who will read something like this and jump into a fix. My warning was aimed at them primarily.

However, as you mention water tests for nutrient deficiencies, these I have found totally unreliable. The expense of test kits for CO2, iron, potassium, etc is just not worth it, and I speak as someone who has gone down that road. It is easy to set up a balance, if one starts minimally and builds up. Also, using a balanced comprehensive fertilizer avoids all such issues. As I mentioned, any "problem" with plants is more likely to be a very general issue, such as insufficient nutrients in total, or light intensity/spectrum/duration. The nutrients needed by plants are needed in fairly specific ratios to each other, as I alluded to previously.

Another thing should be mentioned, and that is that I (and most planted tank aquarists here) have low-tech setups, and increasing any individual nutrient in such a system is very dangerous. In high-tech setups there is somewhat less risk, and when one is dosing individual nutrients using the EI or some other system a slight increase of this or that will be much less likely to create trouble.


Redknee 12-13-2010 05:34 PM

I am sure that a ballanced tank is the way to go but to get there you need to give your plants all they need.
You will never find a fert that contains all that plants need. You might find something that has micro(they all do) and macro(some do) but the macro will always be just not enough. Plants start "eating" they deplete the macro you start having problems.
Sure, if you don't take care of what you do and you put to much of this and that you get into some serious problems. BUT if you learn what your plants crave and do not have you will soon learn how much of what to use and when.
What would you have this people (that you speak of, the ones with the low tech tanks) do when plants start to look like dried weed? Ballance the tank how?
Easy from my point of view, take a look at the guide, look at your plants, identify the problem, do a water test to see if that really is your problem.
Let's say you find out you do not have enough PO4. Good, now as a planted aquarium keeper you should know that PO4 has a very close relationship with NO3. If you do not, google PO4 and you will find out.
Next you test your NO3 and discover you have... 20ppm. Now you dose nuff PO4 to get it to the right level in relationship with your NO3. And you have ballanced the tank.

Byron 12-13-2010 06:12 PM

With respect, this sort of problem never occurs if the necessities are provided at the start. If you care to look at the photos of my planted tanks under Aquariums below my name on the left, I think you would agree the plants seem OK. And I have had tanks like these for 15-20 years without any water testing (except for that one time when I tried this) or dosing of specific ferts. It simply is not needed. The E. cordifolius on the left in the 115g is more than 13 years old; all the pygmy chain swords in the same tank are offspring of an original plant from 1997.

Plants need 17 nutrients and these must be in a fairly specific proportion with each other; not being a botanist, I would find it very difficult to work out all of this. If any nutrient is in excess it can cause problems. Fortunately there is a prepared fertilizer that contains all essential nutrients, Flourish Comprehensive. The only nutrients missing are oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, all of which are present in any healthy aquarium in sufficient levels for the plants--provided the light is balanced to this. The level of the nutrients is in balance and works fine in natural or low-tech systems.

This would not be sufficient in high-tech setups. And individual nutrient fertilization is usually suggested.

I prefer to keep it simple, as the less that goes into the aquarium the less chance of it being unbalanced. Nature will work it out wonderfully if we dont interfere beyond providing the essentials.


Redknee 12-13-2010 07:07 PM

I will put this guide to a test and i have a perfect tank to do it in.
It's been cared for but since it's low on fish it's missing some macro.
Will come back with the results but i am sure it will work as i seen many tanks that are cared for by adding specific nutrients that seem to be missing and all i can say is that those tanks are beyond stunning.
The person who i have my home made potions from keeps a tank that he ferts this way and it looks... godsent! only heaven could make something more stunning than his tank.
I also seen, as i said, other tanks kept this way and i have no words to describe them, no english or non english word is nuff to tag those tanks.
Also i have never heard of Flourish Comprehensive wining any competition, never even heard of it to be honest but it is true i don't know all ferts on the market.
As for testing.. you only test 2-3 days and see how much of what is being used each day, after that you just dose acodring to whay you seen in the tests.
And in time you should learn your plants and one look should be enough to know what is missing.

SinCrisis 12-20-2010 10:03 AM

I think Flourish is a North American product and isnt really exported to other countries. Flourish is a concentrated liquid fert with a lot of various nutrients to help cover all the bases of potential deficiencies. Although it may not be enough for tanks that are very deficient in one or two minerals, it should be enough for the simpler fishkeeper.

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