Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
Tropical Fish Forums
Aquarium fishkeeping around the world!
 
ChatChat  HelpHelp   Search BoardSearch Board   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Check your private messagesCheck your private messages   Log inLog in   RegisterRegister 
Echinodorus/Cryptocoryne Species Suffering in Shallow Sand?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 Forum Index > Plants and Planted Tanks  Reply to topic   Post new topic
Author Message
shinio
Regulars


Joined: 03 Oct 2008
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: 2012.01.15(Sun)11:11    Post subject: Echinodorus/Cryptocoryne Species Suffering in Shallow Sand? Reply with quote

Hello! Very Happy

Currently, I'm maintaining a 31G tank which has been running planted for well over a year and has 50W of T8 light over it. It was stocked with 12 wild C. pygmaeus last September, 6 of which passed away due to starvation - I didn't have any live food available. Sad Silly mistake that I should have had avoided!

Because this tank was planned to be a Corydoras tank, it has an extremely shallow sand depth of 0.5-1.0cm, except for the planted areas where the added depth helps keep the plants down. I've also purposely gave the deep-rooted plants (I.e. Echinodorus/Cryptocoryne species) a depth of almost 3.0cm and even a couple of root tabs. However, growth of these plants have been sparse. I even bought 2 new Echinodorus plants about 6 weeks ago, thinking that maybe the previous one was a weak specimen.

The Echinodorus plant also seemed to be deficient in potassium and nitrogen. As such, I dosed dry fertilisers diluted into a stock solution in the hope of the plant having healthy growth again. However, four weeks have passed and it has not even grown a single new leaf. Even the newly bought ones have hardly transited from emersed growth, with their new leaves barely formed and with pinholes - characteristic of potassium deficiency.

So having made sure that Echinodorus can cope with low light conditions and having ruled out the likelihood of the plants being unhealthy and having given them time to recover from nutrient deficiency, I was wondering if it could be due to the shallow substrate. Have any of you successfully grown Echinodorus/Cryptocoryne species in substrates shallower than 2-3" which seems to be the common substrate depth for planted tanks?

I also looked up various Corydoras tanks by fellow Corydoras fanatics like nikelodeon79. Laughing With reference to her 55G Corydora Community tank, nikelodeon79 made the following comments:

nikelodeon79 wrote:

I am thinking of removing the Amazon sword in the middle. It just seems kinda... blah.

nikelodeon79 wrote:

I have no idea why the sword stays so small... it just does. I suppose when I get the right bulbs for my light (*grumbles about backorders*) it might take off...

The (seemingly) shallow sand bed may have had an effect on the plant's growth. So, have anybody had bleak experiences with deep rooting plants or plants with massive root systems growing at a slow rate or even appear stunted in shallow substrate depths, fertilised or otherwise, in high/low light conditions?

I've always read that Echinodorus species will easily overwhelm a tank and make people rethink their decision to plant a tank with said plants. Sadly, I've yet to experience this.

Perplexed and at wit's end,
shinio Confused
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nikelodeon79
Regulars


Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.01.15(Sun)16:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm.. I'd always thought the sword didn't thrive because I suck at plants.
Laughing,

It's definitely possible the reason was due to a too shallow substrate, although the sand was a bit thicker than usually recommended for cories, and I did pile it up a bit around the roots... although I suppose since the root system tends to be quite large, that wouldn't help much.

I did end up taking out the sword and putting it in my mbuna tank, and they ate it.

I'll be interested to hear what the plant experts have to say.. hopefully someone chimes in.
_________________
Dumpster Tank
Nano Fish
Mbuna
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger Yahoo Messenger AIM Address
unissuh
Advisors


Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.01.15(Sun)16:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got some pretty big Cryptocoryne cordata var siamensis growing in a blackwater tank with less than 1" of sand - 1-2 cm in most places. No problems here and a DIY root tab (blood & bone mixed with clay) under each plant seems to be working well. No other fertilizer.

Just a few questions I have (assuming you wanted some ideas tossed around about what your problem could be Very Happy):

Have you got a picture; what are you basing your diagnosis of nitrogen and potassium deficiency on?

Do you also have a set of water parameters (nitrate, hardness, phosphate if you have this kit)?

Also, what tabs are you using and what exactly is your dry fertilizer mix? It sounds like you're just dosing nitrate and phosphate?
_________________
Fishing in the Rivers of Light
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
shinio
Regulars


Joined: 03 Oct 2008
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: 2012.01.16(Mon)11:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

nikelodeon79 wrote:

Hmm.. I'd always thought the sword didn't thrive because I suck at plants.


You suck at plants? No way! Just look at that Aponogeton ulvaceus! Laughing Though I'm not one with a green thumb. Rolling Eyes

I did pile up quite a bit of sand for the sword and the crypts to give their massive root systems space to spread, but it seems like these plants aren't content with 3.0cm of substrate underneath them.

It's a pity that your sword was eaten. If it wasn't, maybe it could have flourished in the different conditions, and possibly even solve the mystery of stunted swords.

unissuh wrote:

I've got some pretty big Cryptocoryne cordata var siamensis growing in a blackwater tank with less than 1" of sand - 1-2 cm in most places. No problems here and a DIY root tab (blood & bone mixed with clay) under each plant seems to be working well. No other fertilizer.


I'm rather surprised that plants with such large root systems can thrive in such an environment. Do wild plants of this Cryptocoryne species grow in shallow substrate depths? Maybe they have evolved to requiring minimal substrate depth...

unissuh wrote:

Have you got a picture; what are you basing your diagnosis of nitrogen and potassium deficiency on?


Well, I'm unable to get decent pictures as I do not have a quality camera and my phone's camera only works with flash. I'll try to get some when I get my hands on a decent camera.

For potassium deficiency, I noticed multiple holes on the leaves of several plants like Java Fern, Anubias and the sword - these were the only "leafy" plants I had then. The holes were rather small and almost unnoticeable. The leaves looked like they were randomly run through by a mini hole-puncher. Now, most of the holes have been enlarged, thanks to my huge pond snail population. Embarassed I doubt I can find any leaf with the typical pinholes.

I noticed one of the Anubias had a leaf that was yellowing from the tip which degraded after a few days. It looked like early nitrogen deficiency, or phosphate deficiency. Considering that I've had a BGA (Blue-Green Algae) infestation prior to stocking, I concluded that it was due to the lack of nitrogen. Besides, how much bioload would 6 C.pygmaeus produce? Moreover, I supposed that the food (mainly Hikari Sinking Wafers and TetraMin Mini Granules) would have provided ample phosphate.

unissuh wrote:

Do you also have a set of water parameters (nitrate, hardness, phosphate if you have this kit)?


Sadly, I do not test my water parameters anymore. I think I'll perform the nitrate and hardness tests tomorrow and get back to you; the test kits I have may be faulty though as I bought them about 3-4 years ago. I do not have a phosphate kit. From memory, I think the hardness of the water was barely 2dKH about 5 weeks ago.

unissuh wrote:

Also, what tabs are you using and what exactly is your dry fertilizer mix? It sounds like you're just dosing nitrate and phosphate?


I'm using Wonder-Gro Root+. Here are a couple of links: (1) and (2). I have gotten this over Seachem Flourish Tabs due to the higher composition of nitrogen.

My dry fertiliser mix contains 1 teaspoon of urea Confused , 1/4 teaspoon of KH2PO4 and 5 teaspoons of K2SO4, diluted into a 500ml of distilled water. I dose 5ml daily to give about 0.32ppm of urea, 0.08ppm of phosphates and 0.84ppm of potassium. I tried to make it such that my N : P ratio is about 10:1 - currently 8:1, not including waste products from livestock.

Before you freak out at me dosing urea into my tank, you need to understand that Singapore has strict regulations on KNO3. Thus, I sought an alternative which was urea. I didn't want Ca(NO3)2 because I wasn't sure about the calcium and whether it would have had any effects on my livestock and plants. I hope you would understand the situation I'm coming from. I've already reduced the ppm of urea and have even purposely bought stem plants (2 different species of Hygrophilla) to act as nutrient sponges. All is well thus far, though the stem plants are barely growing too. Sad

I have considered lights and nutrients, and both seem to be sufficient. I wondered if it could be due to excessive surface agitation I provide to keep dissolved oxygen levels high, especially with the warm climate of Singapore. Moreover, I thought with better surface agitation, there would be better gaseous exchange, and perhaps more consistent CO2 levels.

I hope this pile of information is helpful. If not, just treat it as a rant. Laughing

Thanks a load,
shinio Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
unissuh
Advisors


Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.01.16(Mon)20:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

shinio wrote:
Do wild plants of this Cryptocoryne species grow in shallow substrate depths?


Not as far as I know - in fact, like most crypts, they are supposed to have deep root systems to prevent being washed away in the annual monsoon.


You do describe the typical deficiency symptoms, but it's hard to really be confident of the symptoms as they vary between plants. I can't pick them out with confidence myself and am hesitant of concluding much from them. Since you have Hygrophilas, do you notice any potassium deficiency symptoms on these too? Hygrophila as a genus are very K hungry plants and usually is the first to show the symptoms. If you don't, might not actually be K at all.

I also notice you don't seem to have a micro nutrient mix that you're dosing. I think you should add this as a second solution to your fertilization. To completely generalize, these are more commonly limiting in low light tanks than the macro nutrients.

To go on a small rant myself - one thing I find kind of strange is the aquarist quirk to dose nutrients independently. All the terrestrial fertilizers I can think of put all the nutrients in combination. Ditto with all the standard aquatic dosing regimes I can think of (EI, PPS, PMDD excluding the PO4) etc. If you're not sure whether it's a fertilizer problem...just dose them all!

The root tabs seem OK based on elemental composition but I haven't heard of them before. I use the basic DIY tab - clay plus blood and bone (about 1:3 blood and bone:clay ratio mixed together). I usually make about 1.5-2 cm balls, flatten them a little into thick discs and dry them out before inserting under plants. Could try this if you want - I'm absolutely positive these work for heavy root feeders including swords, crypts and lotuses.

Some other things to do with the fert mix (probably not your direct problem though):

Is the 5 tsp of K2SO4 correct too? Seems unnecessarily high relative to the others. Usual recommendation in EI is to dose equal amount of K2SO4 as KH2PO4 if you want to boost K.

I also can't seem to get the same ppm results as you (I could be wrong here). I end up with about 0.42 ppm of urea (assuming tank volume is 117 L and a tsp is 5 g), 0.07 ppm of PO4 (close enough) and 0.03 ppm (from KH2PO4) + 0.95 ppm (from K2SO4) = 0.98 ppm K.

When you're calculating NRazz:K ratios I think you're supposed to base it on elemental ratios - yours ends up at about 4:1:25 NRazz:K. Low N (as per your design) and high K. I don't think the ratios are supposed to matter in non-limiting situations, but yours sounds like something is limiting.
_________________
Fishing in the Rivers of Light
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
keithkyli
Members


Joined: 27 Apr 2010

PostPosted: 2012.01.17(Tue)2:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not keen on maths and chemistry so I won't go deep into your fertilization plans.

I have kept an Echinodorus uruguayensis for about 20 months now and its growth is stunning. I hope my experience can give you some insight.

The plant:
It started out as 4-5 leaves. It spouts new leaves almost every week which eventually grow to 8-9 inches. Its leaves and root system occupy half of my tank. It flowered in the autumn of 2011.

My tank's situation:
I have about 5cm of substrate, a random mixture of pebbles (2-3cm), small pebbles (1cm) and sand (1-2mm). For lighting, I only have an ornamental violet light which is seldom used. The tank is next to the window and the plant basks in morning sun from 8am to noon. From 7pm to 9pm I open the lid to let the room fluorescent light illuminate the tank. I use an overhead filter with no activated carbon (AA whole-set tank). I don't vacuum my tank. I poke and slide through the substrate with chopsticks to remove anoxic pockets. There are some fine powdery degradation products in the substrate but I simply let them sit there as they don't seem to be accumulating or affecting my corys (Corydoras peleatus; they've even tried to breed). I don't dose any fertilization except fish food. I do a weekly water change of 25%. Temp: 25-27C, pH 7.

I don't know what species your Echinodorus is/are, but generally speaking, from what I have found and experienced, they are not fussy about fertilizers, but strong light is vital to Echinodorus. Just give what you think is most similar to what the plants will meet in the wild. Razz

I don't know about Crypts though.
_________________
Diamond Hill, Hong Kong
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
shinio
Regulars


Joined: 03 Oct 2008
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: 2012.01.17(Tue)11:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I tested the water and I've gotten 0 nitrates and 2 dKH.

unissuh wrote:

You do describe the typical deficiency symptoms, but it's hard to really be confident of the symptoms as they vary between plants. I can't pick them out with confidence myself and am hesitant of concluding much from them. Since you have Hygrophilas, do you notice any potassium deficiency symptoms on these too?


I didn't know that the symptoms differ between plants; I just thought that since my plants were displaying typical signs, my diagnosis would make sense.

Nope, there are no pinholes on my Hygrophilas. However, it could be because I started dosing not too long after having gotten them. On the other hand, I have 2 stalks of (what I think is) Hygrophila polypserma that aren't growing like the rest. Could this be related? Pictures below.

The stalk that grew the least, and looks like it is getting stunted for every new growth.

"Number 2". Slightly taller but also stunted with each new growth.

Healthy specimen sandwiched by "Number 1" and "Number 2".

unissuh wrote:

To go on a small rant myself - one thing I find kind of strange is the aquarist quirk to dose nutrients independently.


Guilty as charged! Laughing

I think this could be due to people being only certain that they are lacking in this one nutrient and thus buy that only one. For me, I thought that the tapwater from the biweekly water change would be supply more than enough micro nutrients. :S I can try to get a bottle of Seachem Flourish Trace, or a 100g packet of a Micro Nutrient Mix.

unissuh wrote:

Could try this if you want - I'm absolutely positive these work for heavy root feeders including swords, crypts and lotuses.


Sure! Thanks for sharing! Very Happy I do have to try to source for these materials though - I barely enter nurseries and garden centres.

unissuh wrote:

Is the 5 tsp of K2SO4 correct too? Seems unnecessarily high relative to the others. Usual recommendation in EI is to dose equal amount of K2SO4 as KH2PO4 if you want to boost K.


I'm certain that it is 5 tsp of K2SO4. I was looking through for the recommended levels for K and it seemed that many agreed that P:K ratio should be about 1:10. I can't really remember the common ratio for NRazz:K though. I think as of now, I'd just continue using my solution unless the high K is causing issues.

unissuh wrote:

I also can't seem to get the same ppm results as you (I could be wrong here). I end up with about 0.42 ppm of urea (assuming tank volume is 117 L and a tsp is 5 g), 0.07 ppm of PO4 (close enough) and 0.03 ppm (from KH2PO4) + 0.95 ppm (from K2SO4) = 0.98 ppm K.


I keep missing this one part out: my 31G tank has a 6G side sump. Embarassed So it should be 37G or 142L. I used this dosing calculator as I wasn't sure how much a tsp weigh.

unissuh wrote:

When you're calculating NRazz:K ratios I think you're supposed to base it on elemental ratios - yours ends up at about 4:1:25 NRazz:K. Low N (as per your design) and high K. I don't think the ratios are supposed to matter in non-limiting situations, but yours sounds like something is limiting.


I'm not sure what you mean by elemental ratios, but I assume you meant to compare the ppm of the element and not the compound. So by my calculations, it should be 8:2:21 for urea:phosphate:potassium and thus, 16:2:21 for NRazz:K (urea is (NH2)2CO). Did I miss anything?

keithkyli wrote:

I have kept an Echinodorus uruguayensis for about 20 months now and its growth is stunning. I hope my experience can give you some insight.


Wow! I love the look of Echinodorus uruguayensis - it looks like a wider and bushier version of Vallisneria. I would only progress to the labelled (and usually more expensive) plants when I'm able to grow the common ones successfully. Though this doesn't seem to be progressing well.

And thank you for joining this discussion! Very Happy

keithkyli wrote:

I have about 5cm of substrate, a random mixture of pebbles (2-3cm), small pebbles (1cm) and sand (1-2mm).


Could the poor growth be due to small grain size of the sand I'm using? I'm using sand with a texture similar to marine sand and it compacts really really well. Gas bubbles do escape from the planted areas when I disturb those areas. Just a thought: the mixture of different grain size may have allowed the plants to spread its roots better and thus be healthier.

unissuh, do you mind measuring the grain size of the sand your Cryptocoryne cordata var siamensis? I would try to measure mine too, though I'm not sure how I should go about with it. Embarassed

keithkyli wrote:

I don't know what species your Echinodorus is/are, but generally speaking, from what I have found and experienced, they are not fussy about fertilizers, but strong light is vital to Echinodorus. Just give what you think is most similar to what the plants will meet in the wild.


Most plant profiles for Echinodorus suggested that low light is acceptable, and I do not look forward to heating my tank to above 30C with the relentless sun of Singapore.

And here's a picture of my Echinodorus:
Any idea what species is this? Some leaf blades are deformed. Do ignore the hideous holes though. Embarassed

And here's a picture of my Cryptocoryne Wendtii and Cryptocoryne Wendtii var. Tropica:
They're barely even 5cm tall after more than a year. Sad

I hope the pictures help clarify the issue at hand. Perhaps the pictures would reveal something else.

Thanks a load,
shinio Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
unissuh
Advisors


Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.01.17(Tue)15:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I've learnt over the years of trying to solve people's problems on the net is that good pictures save a lot of time! That doesn't look like a K deficiency.

Will add more later when I have time.
_________________
Fishing in the Rivers of Light
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
keithkyli
Members


Joined: 27 Apr 2010

PostPosted: 2012.01.17(Tue)19:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

A picture really beats a thousand words. Smile

I think your Echinodorus doesn't look submersed. It seems to me the leaves are stiff and waxy. From my plant and from pictures on the web, the leaves of submersed Echinodorus tend to be thinner, lighter coloured, and softer, with a texture similar to seaweed. Farms usually grow their plants emersed so that they grow faster and look pleasing to the eye. The plants then need to go through a sometimes painful transition to submersed form in the aquarium.

Just that it doesn't look submersed to me. Maybe that's already the submersed form of your plant, I'm not sure. Smile

For my Echinodorus, I bury all the roots and the brown bulb well into the gravel.

Retailers don't label English names or scientific names here. I think mine is an E. uruguayensis after some research.

Below are pictures of my plant on the day of entry, 2010-06-03.
Look how stiff the leaves were. All these leaves were recycled by the plant within a month. They shriveled back but did not wilt.



And here's the same plant yesterday, 2012-01-17.
In addition to the increase in size, notice the difference in leaf morphology compared to the previous pictures.
Please ignore the angels. We're talking about plants here. Wink


_________________
Diamond Hill, Hong Kong
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
unissuh
Advisors


Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.01.18(Wed)3:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure exactly what your deficiency is - all I can say is the Hygro looks a little nitrate starved (opinion not fact). There is something else limiting though I think, probably a trace if you are not dosing this.

Don't buy Flourish trace - just buy regular Flourish and treat it like a trace mix. Flourish trace is just 10x weaker offhand.

I think you should try dosing a trace mix and give the blood and bone tabs a go as a substrate fertilizer like I suggested above - see if this helps the plants along. You'll soon notice an improvement if it does (probably within 1-2 weeks).

shinio wrote:
unissuh, do you mind measuring the grain size of the sand your Cryptocoryne cordata var siamensis? I would try to measure mine too, though I'm not sure how I should go about with it.


It's CaribSea moonlight sand - VERY fine sand (probably 1/10th to 4/10ths of a mm at a guess??). Feels like the powder sand you get on beaches. Compacts very well and frankly I don't bother stirring it, so it's as compact as one can expect.
_________________
Fishing in the Rivers of Light
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
 Forum Index > Plants and Planted Tanks All times are GMT - 6 Hours Reply to topic   Post new topic
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Jump to:  
  You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2008 phpBB Group

oF <=> oC in <=> cm G <=> L