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Re: Possible Potassium Deficiency

Jennifer Glover has noticed a problem with her sword plants, which she
thinks might be caused by a lack of Potassium.

> I have observed what may be a potassium deficiency in my sword plants and
I was
> wondering if someone could help me out with a verdict.

< SNIP> Lots of info regarding symptoms and links to photos.

> When I stopped fertilizing (Mira-vit and Ferro-vit, I was dosing following
> directions), the holes definately got worse.  I am hesitant to change the
balance of
> nutrients in my tank as it has been algae free the whole time it has been

<SNIP> Good details about the tank setup and the "dupla thingy" (gosh, I
didn't know that they made "thingy's" <g>)

Good post Jennifer - I wish everyone requesting advice was as detailed in
their description of both their problems and their set-up. However,
diagnosing a nutrient deficiency (ANY nutrient deficiency) is chancey at
best and folly over the web. The absolute best (and actually the easiest, in
your particular case) way to find out if it is indeed a shortage of
Potassium that is causing your problems is to dose your tank with Potassium
and see what happens.

And in this particular case, and with this particular nutrient, this is a
relatively simple task - go to your nearest drug store and pick up a bottle
of Potassium supplement pills (they are sold in the Vitamin section - look
for a house brand which contains nothing else other than Potassium. Typical
sizes are 50 mg tablets.) the pills contain Potassium gluconate and will
dissolve easily in water.

Potassium is best added to the water column, as opposed to the substrate, so
just drop a pill into the tank (it should be a matter of simple math to work
out how much to add - you want a target doseage of between 5-10 ppm K in the
tank). If Potassium is the nutrient which is limiting growth and causing the
problems with your swords, the problem will lessen and eventually go away
(within a few weeks) following the addition of the nutirient.

This is the only SURE way to diagnose a nutrient deficiency (dosing with
ONLY the nutrient under suspicion).

> I was thinking about ordering something from a mail-order place, but I
> wanted to make sure that I was doing the right thing before flinging
nutrients into
> my tank.

Always a good idea! Dosing your tank at random is seldom wise.

> My goal in life...is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am!

Don't we all wish we were as wonderful as our pets think we are?

Good luck, and keep us posted as to the results.

James Purchase