Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Iron Deficiency in Aquatic Plants: The Way to Resolve it

iron for aquarium plants

Iron (Fe) was one of the very first fertilizers that was commercially made for aquarium plants! It explains how much important iron is for aquarium plants! The frequency of iron deficiency in aquarium plants is higher than any other nutrient deficiencies. Among all the micronutrients, iron is the one that is most used. Some hobbyists also take it as a macro nutrient.

Behind the Science:

Iron easily changes its oxidation state from +2 to +3 and vice versa. It is also a cofactor of many enzymes. The main work for Iron is to transfer electrons to redox cells. As a result, Cytochrome, which perform cellular respiration in the mitochondria, is rich with iron.  In many enzymatic reactions of the chlorophyll, iron plays a very important role. When there is a lack of iron in the water column, the chlorophyll production starts to decrease. As a result, iron chlorosis occurs. Some symptoms of this are yellow or whitish leaf tissue between the veins, younger leaves being affected first etc.  Iron can be found in plenty amount in aquatic habitats, but a major part of this is insoluble in water (Iron phosphate, Iron hydroxide), which plants can't use at all. Free irons that are usable by aquatic plants are only found in trace amount in water.

Deficiency Symptoms:

=>Chlorophyll production decreases when there is a lack of iron. The younger leaves are affected first. The shoot tips of the leaves first get a reddish purple stain and then gradually turns to white.

=>In some plants, the leaves grow smaller, i.e. Egeria Densa.

=>light colored spots or stripes may appear on the leaves of Echinodorous species plants.

=>The leaf tissue turns yellow or white faster than the veins, which remains greenish.

=>A strong iron deficiency may result in necroses on the new leaves. Necroses are black holes and spots on leaves.

=>Faster growing plants show iron deficiency symptoms first.

=>If the situation gets worse, the plants may die for having no chlorophyll at all.

How to resolve it?

You can make your very own iron supplement. Here is a video made by the DIY AQUAPROS showing you the procedure to make a DIY iron supplement for aquarium uses:

If you find this to be a lot of work, you can easily buy an iron supplement from the market. There are thousands of iron supplement products in the market. But all of them are not trustworthy. Seachem Flourish Iron has received quite a reputation by many hobbyists for its effective performance. You can check out the product here!

Like Iron (Fe), Potassium is also very important for aquatic plants. Know about its deficiencies here!

Comment below if you have any question and I’ll try to answer as soon as I can!

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