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stunted vals

Gabriella, good to hear from you again

Gabriella Kadar wrote:

> Now for the mystery:  The Jungle Vals are no longer.  They are rather
> mini-Vals these days and don't seem to be interested in developing back to
> their former glory.  (Mixed blessing in a way.)  Is it possible that the
> Cryptocoryne have exuded some type of allelopathic chemical substance into
> the substrate that is causing the Vallisneria to be dwarfed?

I've had this happen a couple times to vals.  The last time it happened
I assumed the problem was a nutrient deficiency and decided to do some
controlled dosing to find out what was missing.  In that event, the vals
were very pale, as well as stunted, with short, narrow leaves.  There
were lots of them.  The stunting kept the plants short, but didn't do
much to keep them from putting out new runners.

I think that I first treated with calcium in the substrate.  It didn't
change anything.

Second I added some iron gluconate tablets to the substrate below one
plant, while leaving the other plants untreated.  The treated plant
greened-up fairly quickly, as did all of the other plants on the same
chain (so apparently, iron can be transported through the chain).  The
other plants remained pale, so I guess there was not enough iron leakage
out of the substrate to treat the symptoms in the other plants.

Treating with iron -- while it did fix the pale color -- didn't change
the plants' growth habit.  The plants stayed stunted.

Next I added some Hagen PlantGro fertilizer.  The fertilizer label lists
nitrogen (which according to my Tetra kit was building up in the tank
anyway), potassium and magnesium (which I dose at water changes), iron
(already tested) and phosphorus.  The plants started normal growth very
soon after I added the PlantGro, so I concluded that the stunted growth
was probably caused by a phosphorus deficiency.  Perhaps there was some
other unlisted ingredient that cured the stunting.

In an earlier incident I cured the same symptoms by uprooting everything
in the tank and replanting only about 1/4 of the original plants.  I
think that treating with small amounts of phosphorus is probably a
better solution.

> Also, my pH from the tap is 7.8,  KH 4. (maybe 4.5)  If I lower the pH to
> 6.8, the fish are puffing in the a.m.  If I increase surface movement to
> increase O2 levels, the pH goes up because the CO2 is bleeding off.  Is this
> because there aren't enough plants as yet to provide sufficent O2?

That (or too many fish) would be my guess.

> Gabriella Kadar
> Toronto.
> p.s. anyone want a cat who gains oral satisfaction through destruction of
> various cords, cables and hoses?  He's smart.  Never chews live wires or
> ones with max. voltage running through them.  :)

No thanks.  I already get all the "help" I need from my three.

Roger Miller