Bonsai Rotala Leaves Changing Shape- Why?

BlackOsprey

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It's not super important for me to know, just a matter of curiosity. I got some growing in a 5.5... at the start, their leaves were round and broad with red tips, much like this.

Ammania_Bonsai_-_Submerge_1024x1024.jpg


At the time, the tank temp was in the mid 60s to low 70s, had ADA aquasoil as the substrate, got about 10 hours of light from an Ecosmart LED light bulb, and had no water flow to speak of.

Now, the water's being heated into the low 80s, it's been receiving 8 hours of light from a finnex stingray (which seems to be dimmer than the light bulb), and there's an aquaclear stirring up the water a bit. Same substrate. The rotala no longer have the red tips, and the leaves are becoming much thinner.

Any ideas which factors might have had the greatest effect on the leaf shape?
 

MD_Plants

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I would put money on the light being the factor. The wide leaves and compact growth would indicate it is at an ideal light level, and is able to produce wider leaves to increase photosynthesis. The red is a biproduct that only really occurs in naturally green plants when they have enough or excess amount of light.

The thin, green leaves tells me they could be trying to put all the energy into the growth of the stem, so it can grow closer to the light. The red is not there since it is not in ideal light yet.
 

BlackOsprey

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Interesting, thank you! I have since swapped out the finnex for the original light bulb and started letting the tank get an hour of evening sun, so we'll see how that affects the rotala.
 

SeattleRoy

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Hi @BlackOsprey

+1 for the light being an issue. The red coloration is caused by anthocyanins which the plant produces when there is strong light intensity. As for the thinning leaves either the ADA Aquasoil is starting to become depleted of nutrients (typically 6 months to one year) or the plants need more calcium.
 

BlackOsprey

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Yeah, they've gotten that red look back already and the new leaves they're putting out are round again. I guess it was the light after all. Don't think the aquasoil could be anywhere close to depleted, the tank's been running for only about a month now.

Now I just wish I could find a light that has the same intensity as my current one, but isn't a light bulb and can light up the whole aquarium evenly... Those seem to be both rare and very expensive.
 

MD_Plants

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Iv had really good luck with nicrew 6500k plant lights. They’re pretty cheap too.
 

BlackOsprey

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Iv had really good luck with nicrew 6500k plant lights. They’re pretty cheap too.
I've used those in my first planted tank. They're very good for low-medium light plants (most "beginners plants") but they lack the intensity that I need to grow higher light plants.
 

MD_Plants

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How many kelvins are you looking for? you can get some pretty high floodlights, and those work well
 

BlackOsprey

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Ehh... any kelvins that are good for growing plants I guess, so the 6000-7500K range.
I've thought about floodlights, but they;re either obscenely expensive for what I actually need em for, or they'd be way too bright. I don't have injected CO2 to make a high-light setup work without massive algae problems.
 

MD_Plants

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Ehh... any kelvins that are good for growing plants I guess, so the 6000-7500K range.
I've thought about floodlights, but they;re either obscenely expensive for what I actually need em for, or they'd be way too bright. I don't have injected CO2 to make a high-light setup work without massive algae problems.
Nicrew is 6500k
 

BlackOsprey

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Nicrew is 6500k
Yes, I'm aware, I own one... but that's just the color of the light. The actual amount of light is something else altogether, and Nicrew is too dim for what I'm trying to grow.
 

JustinCG

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I've got 2 flood lights on my 29 gal. Plants are doing great. They are rated 20 watts with 6500k. Apparently they are dimmable but I have tried a dimmer switch yet.
 

JustinCG

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Just did a water change and the water is a little murky. I have a walstad setup for about 2 months. But I pruned about a shopping bag full of trimmings. I'm still new to the whole aquascaping and I tossed 10-12 different types of plants together and they all seem to be growing well.
20190904_192705.jpg
 

BlackOsprey

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What a fantastic tank. Thanks for sharing!

I'm thinking my tanks may be due for light upgrades. My 10g walstad has been running for a bit under a year, and the s repens looks very very pale despite the soil, thrive root tabs, and easy green dosings. I've heard s. Repens tends to wilt and melt under lower light without CO2 supps so that could be what I'm looking at here... geez i need more money.
 

JustinCG

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Hmmm I'd try one of the led floodlights but maybe use a 10 watt instead of 20. Check out MD fish tanks on YouTube. He makes a cheap DIY co2.
 

BlackOsprey

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Hmmm I'd try one of the led floodlights but maybe use a 10 watt instead of 20. Check out MD fish tanks on YouTube. He makes a cheap DIY co2.
I know how to do DIY CO2 but decided against it when considering the amount of trouble it can cause. That stuff requires daily checkups, and if anything is just a *little* bit off, algae explodes, all the fish die, or your cycle crashes. No thank you...
 

JustinCG

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Thanks for the complement by the way. I never ran co2. I get busy sometimes and definitely dont want to have a time bomb on my hands Haha.
 




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