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Regarding whether nitrogen deficiency might cause small and deformed leaf
growth, Ryan wrote: "I noticed some tiny and deformed leaves on some
plants. Checking the nitrate, I found it to be zero. I'm sure there was
plenty of calcium, potassium, and boron available to the plants. I added
some nitrate (now 5ppm) and I'm betting things get back to normal. Any
I think the answer is yes, Ryan. My first experience with this was when
Karen Randall visited San Francisco a couple of years ago. She looked at a
lawn-type stand of Anubias nana nana in and around some driftwood and
immediately said that the very small leaves (they were about the size of a
thumb nail) were due to N deficiency. I started adding enough nitrate to
keep a few ppm in the water column between water changes and sure enough
leaf size doubled and the new growth seemed quite healthy.
In light of some of our recent conversations and especially those interested
in more fertilization in the substrate, I wonder whether a plant such as
Anubias would be expected to dig into the substrate to grab nutrients or is
it more dependent upon water column fertilization? This would have been
some time ago and my memory is not clear but I think I tried some Jobes'
sticks pushed into the gravel and did not observe the same effects as I did
from increase N in the water column.