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[APD] RE: getting the red out
> Be nice if someone had enough info to give a well
> substantiated and definitive answer to this quesiton.
I've done it a few times.
I've mentioned it here and others have tried it for the last several years,
maybe 1998 or so with NO3 levels and lower levels = more red coloration in
Rotala species and other genera.
> There seems to be lots of confusion in this area. Some
> plants jsut aren't red and some plants tend to grow only
> that way or mostly that way.
True, many assume all or nothing.
> Part of the confusion might be due to folks getting diff
> results with diff techniques because they actually have
> different plants being sold or traded under the same latin
It's possible but I think there are other issue that are more significant.
> For many stem plants that redden, they do it most where
> they are closest to the light -- possibly a function of
> young leaves and perhaps also the brighter light, the red
> coloring serving to protectd from "sunburn".
The (chlorophyll) and chloroplast simply have not developed yet. The high
nitrogen requiments of chlorophyll can easily show this in numerous plant
Anthocyanins and Flavinoids have no Nitrogen. These are the main colors you
see if the plant is not green from the chlorophyll.
If you remove the nitrogen, add other things that help the plant grow, then
the green will be reduced.
Adding NO3 can cause a plant to turn green in a few days, sometimes less.
The parts of the plants that are closest to the light are the apical tips,
the newest and region of fastest growth.......
It's due less to the ___light distance and implied intensity___ as it is
simply the area of new growth and development.
The red color is much more an anti herbivory agent than light protection in
aquatic plants, something seldom if ever needed in our low light (Relative
to natural solar radiation) tanks.Flavinoids are often used to attract
pollinators which do absorb UV-A and UV-B, but that may be less an issue
with protection from high light and more just a signal for bugs.
Most red tropical plants are low light plant as are most aquatic plants in
general vs terrestrail plants.
So this argument that red plants are high light plants is not well
supported clearly since we find the opposite in natural systems.
For many of
> the Echinodorus that have red leaves (Ozelot, the pretty
> plant being passed around as Kleiner Bar that's much too
> big to be Kleiner Bar, Victoria, rubin, etc.), the mature
> leaves lose their redness.
And why developmentally might that be? Takes time for the Chloroplast to
form and herbivores often eat the tender new shoots of the plant, then they
get a large amount of anthocyanin (mainly carbohydates) and no nitrogen.
If nitrogen is low, it makes perfect sense the plant will conserve it and
use it slowly to make new growth.
> Scott H.
You left some things out: photography. I can play with film and with
digital colors and find I get VERY similar colors to some of these really
red photo's we see.
The shades and hues are very very similar, too similar I'd say in some
pictures. I know these plants and I've messed with NO3 levels more than
many folks. I need to see the plant in person. People have said they did
not change the colors etc, we really don't know. I've produced some intense
reds in many species. Then I see the same shade in a photo I just messed
with and enhanced. I've seen a lot of so called red photo's. Red color is
often a stress sign in many plants due to low Nitrogen.
In order to get that red, the plant needs to be in poor health to get some
of these reds.
Having taken some images and playing with them with some red plants, I see
the precise color enhancements as I get.
I doubt it's coincidence alone.
The other issue is where the photo is taken as often times they only show
the reddish top, not the scraggly bottom leaves of greener sections, often
many scapes are all shadows in the lower reaches.
The best method to get good reds is lower light, 2w/gal, CO2(or not), feed
fish and provide slower growth rates through less light-and/or low CO2 to
reduce the nitrogen demand. This prevents stunting and poor looking plant
growth/health while allowing more room for maintaining a low nitrogen level
without bottoming things out and stunting the plant. Fish food can supply
low levels of N continously and this ratio of fish waste to inorganic KNO3
dosing is greater at lower light.
The best reds and colors I've seen in person and also that one sees in
Dutch tanks are not high light tanks, rather lower light, good fish waste
supply, and low, but STABLE levels of NO3. You can also slow NO3 uptake
down through PO4 limitation, but that presents other issues and needs to be
balanced , not bottomed out.
I can induce red color but I do not like it over the long term in higher
light tanks as it impacts plant health, at lowewr light and in non CO2
tanks, this is less an issue since uptake of N is slower while still
meeting the plant health's demands. A reineckii is a favorite red plant
there and can really turn very red without much work.
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