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What could cause leaf edge curling in frogbit + friend?

Hufsa

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2019
Messages
1,263
Location
Norway
Im having an interesting issue with my Nesaea/Ammania, where the leaf edges curl up quite dramatically. The spine of the leaves also bends horizontally. It looks like it has increased in severity lately, which could be related to decreased water changes and leaner dosing.
Normally I would write it off as impossible to know the cause of, since I run low tech / no CO2 and it would be impossible to rule CO2 out as a cause.

But I am also seeing this leaf curling in my frogbit, which is light and CO2 unlimited.
Im aware its a bit of a guessing game but does anyone fancy a shot at what nutrient I could increase (or perhaps less likely decrease) to alleviate this?

Stats:
180 liter tank
Filtered by Ultramax 2000 and Eheim 350
Lights are two Fluval 3.0 currently running at 15% each. 10 hours lighting duration.
Substrate is plain sand, although the Nesaea and some other plants are in pots with Tropica Soil and a sand cap.
Non CO2

Weekly total ferts (dosed daily by doser)
7.12 ppm NO3
0.37 ppm PO4
4.62 ppm K
0.025 ppm Fe DTPA
0.05 ppm Fe EDTA
0.011 ppm Mn
0.007 ppm Zn
0.006 ppm B
0.0009 ppm Mo
0.001 ppm Cu

Water change lately 25% every two weeks.

Soft tap water, no nitrate, waterworks reports average of 22 ppm Calcium. Traces and other elements are unknown. TDS ~65
KH somewhere around 3 and GH comes out of tap as 3, upped to 6 with GH booster containing Calcium and Magnesium sulfate.
Tank TDS usually sits around 140 ~ 160. I do not dose calcium and magnesium as ferts, only as part of the water change water.


Leaf curling in frogbit seems to have decreased some, so it was hard to capture on camera, but I have circled the worst leaves in red. They also seem strangely oblong.

Overall frogbit status looks a little pale in real life, they show up greener on camera. Circled in blue is a leaf that shows the paleness a bit more realistically.
I just bunged a bit of Magnesium in the tank. If lack of Magnesium is causing the paleness, it should green up fairly quickly.
I will retake photos of frogbit in a few days to check. But I dont know if magnesium or iron deficiency can cause curling leaf edges?
I think maybe the paleness is not related to the leaf curling


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Last edited:

John q

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Joined
6 Jan 2021
Messages
1,151
Location
Lancashire
Hi Hufsa.

I can't directly answer your question but wonder if the the gradual light increase that you've been doing and the leaning off on the ferts has now reached a tipping point.
Totaly understand why you only want to add "just enough" fertiliser but couldn't you increase the overall dosage a tad and see if there's any improvement.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
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7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,677
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
A little time has passed and the added magnesium doesnt seem to have done much.

@dw1305 do you have an idea what could cause this curly frogbit?
No, I don't really have any more suggestions. What does plant health look like otherwise?

cheers Darrel
 

Sarpijk

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2015
Messages
639
I had sth similar happening to Hygrophilla 53B and Cryptocoryne leaves after adding extra Tropica Specialised.
 

Tom101

Member
Joined
30 Mar 2021
Messages
38
Location
UK
@Hufsa I'm currently having a similar problem with my Hygrophilia Polysperma. Ca deficiency seems to be a common thread that pops up across a few other forum posts. So it may be worth investigating.

I'm under the impression that any changes in fert will likely only affect new growth, not reverse the damage to the old (someone else may be able to clarify this for me).
 

Hufsa

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Aug 2019
Messages
1,263
Location
Norway
What does plant health look like otherwise?

Overall plant health is pretty good, better than it has been in a good while.

1.jpg
The Blyxa on the left is potted in soil while the one on the right is in sand, it looks to me like the older leaves are slightly pale on the right, and I have seen some Blyxa leaves shedding around the tank. Doesnt look to be in the center of the rosette, so not the new leaves in this case which means a mobile nutrient.

2.jpg
H. polysperma has a few strange looking leaves and some older leaves with pinholes, could this maybe mean it needs a bit more K?
Based on my new anubias and the Hydrocotyle in this image it also looks like I am possibly running slightly low on iron.

Hi Hufsa
I had similar leaf curly on my Cryptocoryne green geko.....I put this down to low Nitrate!

I somewhat doubt its low nitrates, I dont rely on the nitrate test 100% but it reads somewhere around 60 ppm after three weeks of no water changes, and the readings reduce as I would expect when I dilute the test samples. The nitrate test has also given the results I would expect when I was dosing more but changing more water. So im using it as a rough guideline. Using the duckweed index the frogbit leaves are of decent size so that adds support to that. The TDS is also increasing steadily around 10 ppm per week, which Im aware could be a buildup of anything.

@Hufsa Ca deficiency seems to be a common thread that pops up across a few other forum posts. So it may be worth investigating.

I'm under the impression that any changes in fert will likely only affect new growth, not reverse the damage to the old (someone else may be able to clarify this for me).

I did consider both Ca and Mg running out, however as I understand it Ca deficiency is extremely unlikely, especially if you have a decent GH value of your tank water.
I retested my GH to be sure and it is still around 6 degrees. My remineraliser contains Ca and Mg in correct ratios and I have thought about it and find it unlikely that low tech plants would be able to "eat" all of it in a few weeks.

Wether old leaves would improve or not depends on if its a mobile nutrient or not. A mobile nutrient the plant can move around in its tissues, often resulting in poor old growth as the plant relocates the scarce substance to the newest leaves. While an immobile nutrient is stuck where it was laid down originally, and issues will appear in new growth/leaves as the plant runs out. Holes and physical damage to the leaves can not be fixed as far as I know, but the old leaves can green up for instance if they were lacking something.


Thanks to your replies and some nutrient research and mulling it over I think I will try next to up the K a little bit and increase the Iron+traces slightly. I can also add a minimal amount of Mg to my macro to safeguard against periods of little waterchanges. It could be that one of the traces are slightly low, but adjusting these individually is a rabbithole im not willing to go down in at this moment. But a general increase of traces should still help if that is the case.
I think I will try these things first and go from there :thumbup:
EI as a fertilizing regime avoids many of these issues, as all but a few nutrients should ever be an issue. Because of my health I am not always able to change water every week, and I keep having shrimp deaths with large water changes despite my best efforts, so I have found it neccessary to go to a leaner dose to avoid buildup. All in all I think things are going pretty well though, these are relatively minor issues, but I think there are many here who want the absolute best plant health regardless :lol:

I will keep this thread updated 🙂
 
Last edited:

zozo

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16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,287
Location
Netherlands
I had the same issue with Cryptocoryne indonessi in my tank. All plants suddenly woke up one day with the leaves curling down. Meanwhile, all 3 other crypt sp. in the same tank were unaffected. Without any change in the maintenance regime, it came and went away again without doing anything about it.

I did post a thread about it with the same question and searched the net a few days to find answers. But there seem to be non.

It remains a mystery why aquatic plants can do this...

In terrestrial plants, it is researched and explained. Leaves curling down could be a problem with water retention. Potassium is the agent the plant uses for controlling this, if it ain't a potassium deficiency it could be a watering or temperature issue. Mechanical leave and or root damage from insects etc. can cause it. Or the plant might be simple sick for whatever reason. Plants also can suffer from viral infections.

In how far a water retention issue this can be applied to aquatic growing plants sounds far fetched and totally illogical... When potassium is sufficiently available and insect damage is out of the question.

Leaves curling up in terrestrial plants can be caused by nitrogen toxicity and or again by mechanical damage that again can cause infections.

For terrestrial plants, research is more in demand and determination is a lot easier, damage often is obviously present with finding insects on its leaves or finding grubs in the soil, or take soil samples and analyse this etc. etc. For ornamental aquatic plants, it leaves us guessing if everything in the water column is as we think it should be.

Obviously, plants can suffer from and show some kind of fatigue and there are variables in play we know very little about.
 

dw1305

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Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,677
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I did post a thread about it with the same question and searched the net a few days to find answers. But there seem to be none.

It remains a mystery why aquatic plants can do this...
Overall plant health is pretty good, better than it has been in a good while.
I'd be tempted to ignore it as, "just one of those things".

If plant health begins to look compromised
I think I will try next to up the K a little bit and increase the Iron+traces slightly. I can also add a minimal amount of Mg to my macro to safeguard against periods of little waterchanges.
Sounds a good idea.
The Blyxa on the left is potted in soil while the one on the right is in sand, it looks to me like the older leaves are slightly pale on the right, and I have seen some Blyxa leaves shedding around the tank. Doesnt look to be in the center of the rosette, so not the new leaves in this case which means a mobile nutrient.
Definitely more nutrients are available to the plant in the soil based substrate. My guess would be we are somewhere in the nitrogen (N) and/or potassium (K) area, but it would just be based on that those are the nutrient plants need most of, rather than anything more concrete.

cheers Darrel
 

Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
4,574
Location
Yorkshire,UK
I've got some curling leaves on some plants, but until I move and take the RO route trying to get the the bottom of it is a little pointless as some of my tap waters trace elements can vary 100 fold over the year ATM, plus move is imminent. I feel like you can only know what you have dosed when you have an glass of water with no elements in it to start with eg RO/Distilled/Rainwater
 
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