[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Possible Potassium Deficiency

Thank you everyone for such helpful responses.  I am going to just do one big email
as they all have the same topic, so hopefully these don't all get jumbled.  I knew I
should have paid attention in writing class :)

James Purchase wrote:
> 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.

I am really nervous about adding anything to the water column, as I thought swords
were predominantly root feeders.  Wouldn't this just help the other plants in the

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

Now if I do have a potassium deficiency and I add potassium, will another nutrient
become the limiting nutrient?  At some point, some nutrient (including light) will
start limiting.  I know there are different nutrients that different people like to
have as the limiting nutrient due to growth patterns.  If I add potassium to just the
gravel around the swords, would that be better, as they would get the potassium they
need and the other plants, like the hygrophilia will not grab it away?

Roger Miller wrote:
> As an alternative to potassium deficiency, do you think the damage might
> be caused by your pleco rasping the leaves?

This could very well be occuring and I would never know.  The gold nugget pleco that
I spent way too many dollars on, never appears when the light is on.  I know he is in
there because I have snuck in and turned on the light and seen him in the tank.  He
has always been innocently sucking on the glass.  I don't do this very often, so I
don't have any idea what he does all night.  Maybe providing a nice hiding cave in a
big piece of wood wasnt' the brightest idea with a nocturnal fish.  The holes in the
leaves always start at the ends and progress down to the base.  I would imagine that
a hungry pleco would nibble everywhere and not just at the ends.  

Steve Dixon wrote:
> nitrate, or perhaps both.  What I wish I knew was how much lighting you
> have on the tank.  I'm guessing you're in the 2-3 watt per gallon range
> since you have CO2 supplementation in the 25 ppm range, right?

Sorry, I was so good about describing my tank and then forgot the most important
thing!  I have a 300 watt halogen shop light (two bulbs at 150 watt) hanging over an
open top tank.  There are two ruffled sword plants, one directly under a light and
one to the left of that. These are both in the middle depth of the tank.  The E.
parviflorus is at the front of the tank, in front of the right light.

> Your fish load seems on the lighter side of 'moderate' to me which also
> leads me to suspect a macronutrient deficiency.

For brevity, I only mentioned algae eaters.  I actually have many fish swimming
around in there, especially because the guppies are on a personal mission to fill up
the entire tank with baby guppies.  My mom also overfeeds sometimes and so there is
plenty of rotting stuff in there.  One of my reasons for heavily planting was to keep
up with the fish.  Yeah, no ammonium problems!

> need.  The plant leaves looked fairly washed out in the first picture
> and left me wondering if there was enough iron in the water column

The washing out was due to the digital camera coming up with its own version of
life.  For some reason, it recalibrates colors sometimes.  I have laterite under my
gravel, so hopefully it will provide enough iron.  The symptoms do not seem
consistant with nitrogen or iron deficiencies from what I read on the krib, but I
could be missing something.

> Good luck and let us know how your tank grows!

If anyone wants to check up on my tank, I keep an online running journal of my
aquarium at
If anything crazy happens (the dreaded algae outbreak), you can be sure I will be
posting :)

Oh and speaking of web stuff, I have another picture showing the skeletonization
(real word?) of a Ruffled Sword leaf.  Also visible is a healthy leaf.

Thank you so much for the help everyone.  It is so wonderful that things like this
list exist for information sharing.  I think my next step will be to put Jobes Plant
Sticks (they don't have fern ones around here) underneath the swords and look into
buying some potassium.  One thing at a time, right?

Jennifer Glover
(in sunny, warm, Waldorf, MD)