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Re: Decaying plants???

Boris Kaushansky writes:
> The amazon sword shoots out long thin leaves rather than the broad 
> ones.  Each leaf is very "veiny".  Secondly, portions of the leaves 
> are turning brown and deteriorating.  They never seem to turn yellow, 
> just brown.
>[snip] kh - 4, PO4 - 0.4 mg/l, NO2-N - 0.4 mg/l
> I feed the fish daily, and dose the tank with ferro vit (iron sup)
> weekly, floreal is added during water changes of 10% every 4 days.

You have not given your general hardness or indicated if you have been
adding calcium if you have soft water. This may be part of the problem
but more likely you don't have enough nitrogen for a sword plant. Try
adding a Jobe's stick near the roots or a fertilizer impregnated clay
ball or two. Brown leaves are necrotic or dying which means you have a
shortage of a mobile nutrient such as Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus
or Nitrogen. Potassium, magnesium and nitrate can all be safely
fertilized in the water. Potassium, magnesium and calcium really should
be dosed in the water. The other nutrients can often come from the

Does anybody know what is in Floreal? I can't endorse a nutrient
additive unless we know what's in it. I'm not saying it won't work, just
that its a lot harder to guess what's missing from a system if you're
not sure what's going into it. At least with the Dupla fertilizers we
know from experience, reputation [and analysis by George and Karla] that
the Dupla method provides a complete nutrient balance. Tropica Master
Grow and Flourish are another additives which publish the list of
ingredients (there may be others that I don't know of). Many people have
success with their favourite fertilizers but often luck is a factor in
having enough of the proper minerals in the tap water. 

Another way to excellent approach nutrient dosing (that doesn't require
ANY test kits!!) is to measure a known amount of nutrients into a bottle
of water and then calculate the appropriate dose to add with each water
change to achieve a desired dosage. If you combine this with a water
analysis complements of your water utility, you can know your nutrient
levels fairly accurately or at least roughly enough to know that no
important minerals are missing. I prefer to fertilize nitrogen,
phosphorus, iron and other trace nutrients from the substrate; this
gives the rooted plants a huge boost over the algae.

The absolute best way to determine which mineral nutrient is lacking is
to add an appropriate dosage of your best guess and see if it stimulates
the growth. Often improved growth can be seen in days or a week or two.
There is a very handy chart entitled "COMMON SYMPTOMS OF NUTRIENT
DEFICIENCY IN AQUATIC PLANTS" which you can find in the TAG back issues,
the APD archives or the Krib web pages that will help you determine
which nutrients may be lacking. Every aquatic gardener who wants to be
successful should find a copy of this and save it for reference. You'll
use it over and over. Most of the time, its just one nutrient that's
lacking but with the addition of that one and good growing conditions,
soon another one becomes the growth limiting factor. It may or may not
cause a deficiency symptom which causes the leaves to look unattractive
or die off prematurely.


PS. I hope we all learn how to reply to the APD without quoting the
entire previous one soon! ;-)