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Re: deformed echinodorus leaves

Thanks to all who replied on this question.

> Since you know you have insufficient Ca in your soft tap water, do you
> think it might be a bit low in Mg as well?  I may be stretching it, but
> my garden tomato plants show Mg deficiency towards the end of the summer
> by yellowing and necrosis between the veins of older leaves.

Well, I know I have low calcium in my tap water.  Whether or not its
sufficient is (I think) a slightly different question.  Mg is even lower
in my tap water than Ca, but I've been using epson salt in the water I use
for changes so that while I have <2 degrees GH in the tap water I have
about 5 degrees GH in the change water (adding 3 degrees GH of Mg) and 6
degrees GH in the aquarium (increase due to evaporation I think).  I only
use epson salt in the CO2-fertilized tanks.  Growth in the other tanks
seems slow enough not to demand anything extra.

> > What I'm thinking of is 1) repeating the kitty litter treatment on the
> > assumption that what I added originally settled through the substrate and
> > isn't available any more 2) doing something like the kitty litter
> > treatment, but use peat instead  3) inserting some crumbs of white blackboard
> > chalk (CaCO3) into the substrate around the plant 3) adding some boron
> > (from borax?).
> >
> > Other ideas?
> I wonder what the addition of a small amount of epsom salts as well as some
> calcium chloride would do for your plants?  Keeping a piece of shell in your
> tank or filter could provide long term slow release of calcium.

My water (despite being soft) is a little saline compared to most water
supplies, so I'm reluctant to add salts to it - even the epson salt I'm
already using.  One option I've toyed with is to use a water-softening
pillow in reverse.  In stead of charging it up by soaking in an NaCl
solution I'd charge it up with a CaCl2 solution, then pack it into the
media chamber in a filter.  The Ca++ in the resin would exchange for the
Na+ in the water.  This wouldn't be as efficient as softening because, as
Mr. Frank pointed out in another letter, Na has a smaller tendency to be
adsorbed than does Ca, but I think it would still get me some calcium in
the water without increasing the salinity.

> If you try boron, be really conservative in the amount because B is pretty
> toxic at low levels, unlike Ca and Mg.

Thanks for the warning.  Mr. Eckardt's response has raised my interest in
trying a boron addition, but I'll check the toxicity before I decide on a

> I hope this helps.  Let us know what happens.

But... of course! :-)

Roger Miller