Magnesium or iron deficiency?

Ssnaaiil

I am trying to figure out what’s going on with my plants, I think it’s either magnesium or iron deficiency or maybe both… some new leaves on my plants seem to be smaller than normal and lighter in color and some old leaves are turning pale but still have dark veins… I will post photos below

red circles around the leaves are old leaves and blue cirlcles are new growth/leaves


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the last 2 pics are the same plant just different angles

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Mudminnow

As far as I know, those deficiency charts we use to determine this kind of thing were created by intentionally depriving plants of specific deficiencies and observing the outcomes. This is nice to know, but it's tough/impossible to apply these in a non-controlled environment. In the real world/our aquariums, there could be any number of factors like a combination of nutrient deficiencies, lighting, temperature, disease, pH, toxins, etc. So, what exactly is wrong with your plants may not be possible to diagnose via images.

Therefore, given it may not be possible to know exactly what's wrong, I think the best approach is to offer your plants everything they could need. If a nutrient deficiency is suspected, give them all the nutrients they could want. If your right about the nutrient deficiency, this will fix the problem. But, even if you fix the problem, the old leaves may still never recover.

Also, your plants may not be as bad off as you think. New leaves are often lighter in color than the old ones. So, your plants with new, light colored leaves may be perfectly healthy. But, I agree that the chlorosis shown in your other pictures is most likely due to some sort of deficiency.
 

Ssnaaiil

As far as I know, those deficiency charts we use to determine this kind of thing were created by intentionally depriving plants of specific deficiencies and observing the outcomes. This is nice to know, but it's tough/impossible to apply these in a non-controlled environment. In the real world/our aquariums, there could be any number of factors like a combination of nutrient deficiencies, lighting, temperature, disease, pH, toxins, etc. So, what exactly is wrong with your plants may not be possible to diagnose via images.

Therefore, given it may not be possible to know exactly what's wrong, I think the best approach is to offer your plants everything they could need. If a nutrient deficiency is suspected, give them all the nutrients they could want. If your right about the nutrient deficiency, this will fix the problem. But, even if you fix the problem, the old leaves may still never recover.

Also, your plants may not be as bad off as you think. New leaves are often lighter in color than the old ones. So, your plants with new, light colored leaves may be perfectly healthy. But, I agree that the chlorosis shown in your other pictures is most likely due to some sort of deficiency.
Thank you for this. I dose my tank with ThriveC and the ‘new’ leaves that I posted are the newest leaves but they have been grown/growing for a couple weeks now and still look like that. I did add some more plants to this tank a few weeks ago so I am wondering if the addition of the new plants is causing a deficiency in some because there are more plants now using the fertz. I have been doing planted tanks for a little over a year or so now, so I am still learning. Any recommendations on what the next step I should take would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

John58ford

Are the red circled "old leaves" actually new since the plant went into your(this specific if you have multiples) tank or are they from before it was put in this tank?

As said above it's hard to tell what the issue is when plants grow differently but if all of that growth (old and new) happened in this tank it would indicate you had a lighting change, or a specific change in water quality or source. There are specific nutrients that cannot be stolen from old growth to nurture new, and others that can; with more plant history we can figure out if there is a problem, and then figure out if it is something we can diagnose.
 

Mudminnow

Thank you for this. I dose my tank with ThriveC and the ‘new’ leaves that I posted are the newest leaves but they have been grown/growing for a couple weeks now and still look like that. I did add some more plants to this tank a few weeks ago so I am wondering if the addition of the new plants is causing a deficiency in some because there are more plants now using the fertz. I have been doing planted tanks for a little over a year or so now, so I am still learning. Any recommendations on what the next step I should take would be appreciated. Thanks!
ThriveC is a good fertilizer. If it were me and my plants, I'd double what I was dosing and see if that helps. Note that even if it helps, it will happen slowly, and you may only notice it as new leaves grow in.
 

Ssnaaiil

Are the red circled "old leaves" actually new since the plant went into your(this specific if you have multiples) tank or are they from before it was put in this tank?

As said above it's hard to tell what the issue is when plants grow differently but if all of that growth (old and new) happened in this tank it would indicate you had a lighting change, or a specific change in water quality or source. There are specific nutrients that cannot be stolen from old growth to nurture new, and others that can; with more plant history we can figure out if there is a problem, and then figure out if it is something we can diagnose.
The red circled old leaves were grown in this tank, those two plants have been in this tank for months and I just started noticing those old leaves changing/looking different. I did change the light cycle into 2 shorter cycles a couple months ago but all of these leaves changing/looking odd has been within the past 2-3 weeks
 

John58ford

The red circled old leaves were grown in this tank, those two plants have been in this tank for months and I just started noticing those old leaves changing/looking different. I did change the light cycle into 2 shorter cycles a couple months ago but all of these leaves changing/looking odd has been within the past 2-3 weeks
Here's a good article from MSU (Michigan State University) that describes some of the mobile and immobile (translocation) nutrients:
"Knowing nutrient mobility is helpful in diagnosing plant nutrient deficiencies - MSU Extension" Knowing nutrient mobility is helpful in diagnosing plant nutrient deficiencies

And here's a better than average visual guide (I do not use this companies products but so appreciate the illustration they provide and the way it shows different stages in a deficient state):Visual diagnosis of nutrient deficiency - Smart Fertilizer

If you didn't move the plant while planting new stuff (damaging the roots) I would believe you are lacking at least one mobile nutrient, and possibly a non-mobile as well. The non-mobile nutrient I would suspect to be Zn due to the dark veins remaining after the plant has started moving stuff. The mobile nutrient would be Mg, causing a yellowing in both old and new growth as there isn't enough in the nutrient package to replenish the leaves that need to share. There could be more to this story though, and the light cycle could have a delayed and profound change on a plate growth.

The easy way to try to solve this is to increase your fertilizer regimen, the hard way is to go to a dry fert package and mix up some stock solutions to dose a few possible culprits. What plants did you add recently? There is a source somewhere around here that identifies target nutrients for some of the floaters and rapid stem plants that tend to cause deficiency in established tanks when introduced but I can't recall where. It's important to remember plants that reach the surface can use nutrients exponentially faster than others.
 

Ssnaaiil

Here's a good article from MSU (Michigan State University) that describes some of the mobile and immobile (translocation) nutrients:
"Knowing nutrient mobility is helpful in diagnosing plant nutrient deficiencies - MSU Extension" Knowing nutrient mobility is helpful in diagnosing plant nutrient deficiencies

And here's a better than average visual guide (I do not use this companies products but so appreciate the illustration they provide and the way it shows different stages in a deficient state):Visual diagnosis of nutrient deficiency - Smart Fertilizer

If you didn't move the plant while planting new stuff (damaging the roots) I would believe you are lacking at least one mobile nutrient, and possibly a non-mobile as well. The non-mobile nutrient I would suspect to be Zn due to the dark veins remaining after the plant has started moving stuff. The mobile nutrient would be Mg, causing a yellowing in both old and new growth as there isn't enough in the nutrient package to replenish the leaves that need to share. There could be more to this story though, and the light cycle could have a delayed and profound change on a plate growth.

The easy way to try to solve this is to increase your fertilizer regimen, the hard way is to go to a dry fert package and mix up some stock solutions to dose a few possible culprits. What plants did you add recently? There is a source somewhere around here that identifies target nutrients for some of the floaters and rapid stem plants that tends to cause deficiency in established tanks when introduced but I can't recall where.
The most recent plants that I added are Amazon sword, 4 anubias, crypt, Anacharis, and salvinia
 

John58ford

The most recent plants that I added are Amazon sword, 4 anubias, crypt, Anacharis, and salvinia
Salvinia is a nutrient sink, and it shades the tank as it grows cutting lighting more than people often realize. In addition to the other biomass of plants you put in you are definitely going to need to up your nutrients, and likely your lighting. There's a really fun math problem out there, I had to have it spoon fed to me the one time I tried, but it involves total grams of plant production yield vs nanograms of nutrient and joules of energy (lighting). Not saying you need to try and find it (I wouldn't bother), but it is a direct ratio in nutrients and production with a curve for lighting that varies based on all kinds of things(depth and reflection loss/shadowing/layers). If your swords are converting from emersed to submersed it's likely they will plow through the nutrients for a while too, you can limit them a little by cutting an emersed leaf off as soon as it starts to cannibalize to feed a new submersed leaf.

Was the siesta lighting method something you choose to do for algae reduction or was it to line up your lights on time with viewing time better? Using floaters in tank, you may have to evaluate increasing photo period or intensity sooner than later.
 

Ssnaaiil

Salvinia is a nutrient sink, and it shades the tank as it grows cutting lighting more than people often realize. In addition to the other biomass of plants you put in you are definitely going to need to up your nutrients, and likely your lighting. There's a really fun math problem out there, I had to have it spoon fed to me the one time I tried, but it involves total grams of plant production yield vs nanograms of nutrient and joules of energy (lighting). Not saying you need to try and find it (I wouldn't bother), but it is a direct ratio in nutrients and production with a curve for lighting that varies based on all kinds of things(depth and reflection loss/shadowing/layers). If your swords are converting from emersed to submersed it's likely they will plow through the nutrients for a while too, you can limit them a little by cutting an emersed leaf off as soon as it starts to cannibalize to feed a new submersed leaf.

Was the siesta lighting method something you choose to do for algae reduction or was it to line up your lights on time with viewing time better? Using floaters in tank, you may have to evaluate increasing photo period or intensity sooner than later.
I have had water lettuce in my tank since I started using plants and the shading hadn’t affected anything. I chose the siesta lighting to help battle algae and it seems to be working. The sword is doing great. The plants pictured above that I am having issues with are a couple of anubias, and a buce
 

SeattleRoy

Hi Ssnaaiil

It's appears to be a deficiency caused by insufficient available iron; and it has been progressively getting worse over time. Notice I said "insufficient available iron" and not enough iron being dosed. The uptake of many the nutrients we dose are effected by either the pH or the amount of other nutrients in the water, or in some case both.

What can you tell me about your water parameters? Specifically I need the pH but if you have hardness information like dKH and dGH they could be helpful as well. -Roy

 

Ssnaaiil

Hi Ssnaaiil

It's appears to be a deficiency caused by insufficient available iron; and it has been progressively getting worse over time. Notice I said "insufficient available iron" and not enough iron being dosed. The uptake of many the nutrients we dose are effected by either the pH or the amount of other nutrients in the water, or in some case both.

What can you tell me about your water parameters? Specifically I need the pH but if you have hardness information like dKH and dGH they could be helpful as well. -Roy

I believe The ph is either 7.8 or 8.0. I might be able to find where I wrote down the dkh and dgh but it will take me a little while. I will post when I find those numbers but I do know we have hard water

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SeattleRoy

I believe The ph is either 7.8 or 8.0. I might be able to find where I wrote down the dkh and dgh but it will take me a little while. I will post when I find those numbers but I do know we have hard water

1EB19F6C-C2F0-431C-84C1-4199E24037C7.jpeg
Hi Ssnaaiil , I believe you found your problem, it is the high alkalinity in your tank. Iron is available in several forms such as EDTA chelated, DTPA chelated, ferrous gluconate to name a few. Most of these work fairly well in acidic conditions (pH less than 7.0) however become unavailable in alkaline conditions. (See chart below). EDTA is the worst, it starts dropping off in availability at about pH = 6.2 and by pH 7.5 only about 5% of the iron in solution is available however it is also the least expensive and is used in may aquarium fertilizers. Nilocg Thrive C is better than most, it uses DTPA iron which is good until about pH 7.0 but it also drops in availability and by pH = 7.8 only about 35% of the iron is available to plants.

Here is what I suggest, don't add more Thrive C because will overdose the other nutrients. Instead pick up a bottle of Seachem Iron which uses ferrous gluconate and use it to supplement your Thrive C. Dose the Seachem Iron per the instructions on the bottle.

Now the hard part ...............waiting. Watch the new leaves as they emerge over the next four weeks. DO NOT WATCH ANY EXISTING LEAVES THEY WILL NOT IMPROVE. If available iron is the issue the new leaves will start to emerge greener, with little to no dark veins. Also no more Wonder Shells, there are better ways of adding calcium if needed without increasing your pH. Also keep up with you water changes to reduce the dKH and dGH.

Get back with us and let us know how things go! Hope this helps! -Roy
 

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