Aquarium Plants Deficiency Chart – All That You Need To Know

Analyzing plant development is a simple and practical approach to checking for nutritional deficiency.

Deficits in nutrients or environmental conditions that prevent proper development occur in aquarium plants.

To diagnose nutrient deficiencies, you must first check for symptoms. This aquarium plants deficiency chart will be helpful for you.

Let’s dig into this post to get into details!

Aquarium Plants Deficiency Chart

Each nutrient serves a purpose, and each deficiency has associated symptoms.

Level Deficiency Symptoms
1 Severe nitrogen Yellow or white small new growth
2 Calcium Twisted, pallid new growth
3 Iron Yellowing older leaves and greenish nerves
4 Phosphate Death patches and yellowing on old leaves.

The leaves rapidly wither and drop off.

5 Magnesium Lighter old leave tissue and dark veins
6 Normal leave Green leaves and rapid new growth
7 Nitrogen deficiency’s early warning symptoms Older leaves wilt and become yellow.
8 Potassium Edge-yellowing pinholes

Nutritional deficiencies can cause symptoms. In some circumstances, nutritional deficits might hinder the vegetation from effectively utilizing another nutrient.

How To Detect Aquarium Plants Deficiency?

As shared earlier, each nutrient deficiency shows different symptoms. Therefore, it’s best to know how to detect your plants’ suffering.


Although potassium deficits in aquatic plants are uncommon, they can still harm your vegetation if you use the wrong fertilizers or maintain poor water conditions.

This element is essential for the well-being of vegetation because it promotes robust root development and overall growth vigor.

The edges of the leaves of the aquarium plants may become brown or yellow and develop pinhole-like holes when they are potassium deficient.

A reverse osmosis filter causes a potassium shortage and iron chlorosis, which causes yellowing.

planted tank

Potassium deficiency


One of the most frequent problems that vegetation encounters in aquariums are a shortage of iron.

Many different plants will grow yellow or brown leaves if they don’t obtain sufficient iron in the surroundings, albeit it doesn’t happen to all species.

Some types will lose their leaves, returning to a simpler, more compact version of the vegetation.

Your vegetation may have ceased blooming if it suffers a severe iron shortage.


The aquarium’s nitrogen level is equally crucial for the well-being and aesthetics of your vegetation.

A nitrogen shortage can still develop in your aquarium if the species are overcrowded or underfed, although this mineral is typically available in aquatic creatures’ waste.

Plants lack their brilliant color and have a dreary appearance when the water doesn’t have enough nitrogen.

Vegetation portions damaged by the disease will have light or yellowish tissues with brown patches at the tip.

Carbon Dioxide

Most experts agree that carbon dioxide is a macronutrient to foster the development and growth of vegetation.

Low amounts of carbon dioxide are frequently to blame for an aquarium’s deficiency of carbon.

Dull leaves or yellowing leaves with brown patches at the tip and edge are signs of this deficit.

When the vegetation strains to remain upright, its stems will deteriorate and grow weak and thin.

tank with lighting

Carbon dioxide deficiency


Although it’s hard to detect calcium deficiency, it can harm your aquatic vegetation significantly.

The exterior cell membranes may burst without calcium, which causes brown holes around foliage or curled leaves.

In many instances, it might result in developmental delays and a swift deterioration of health.


When vegetation has trouble collecting co2 and cannot release oxygen, it is the main reason for oxygen deprivation.

Aquarium vegetation that lacks oxygen becomes stunted or an excessive amount of algae growth will cover your tank.

Additionally, the oxygen deficit stops the nitrogen cycle in your tank because aerobic bacteria need oxygen to function correctly.


Old leaves have a yellow-brown hue due to a phosphate deficit. The leaves shrivel up and perish in conditions of severe nutritional deficiency.

This issue often arises when the tank’s algae population is out of control. The tiny organisms need phosphate to develop.

How To Fix Aquarium Plants Deficiency?

Depending on the deficiency your vegetation suffers, you should apply different solutions.

Regularly apply a potassium supplement or potassium-containing fertilizer to your vegetation to address the potassium shortage.

Utilizing an iron addition, substrate, or fertilizer that contains iron will balance the amounts of the element.

If nitrogen levels are low, you might want to add an ammonia supply, such as ammonium chloride.

Adjust the water agitation, aerate the tank, and apply a co2 fertilizer to address the dioxide shortage.

You must add salts or supplements that will make up for the lack of minerals in your vegetation to control calcium insufficiency.

Moreover, you should inspect the filters of your aquarium and ensure the light is sufficient and suitable to fix oxygen deficiency.

Always test the water in your aquarium before making any adjustments. Do not use excessive amounts of supplements because most fish foods include phosphates.

Your tank will have excessive phosphate levels if you don’t make routine water changes or if there is not enough aquarium water.

You must plan and carry out regular maintenance. If you don’t know to conduct it, let’s watch this video:


How Do You Identify Nutrient Deficiency In Aquarium Plants?

Each deficiency shows different signs. Yet, you may notice some symptoms. For instance, the new foliage, roots, and buds appear to have stunted growth.

What Does Potassium Deficiency Look Like In Aquarium Plants?

These are barely discernible as tiny black patches, but they eventually develop into obvious holes partly framed in black or yellow.

What Does Iron Deficiency Look Like In Aquarium Plants?

The younger leaves of iron-deficient vegetation will develop in a lighter shade of green, yellow, or even white without any unusual spots, while the old foliage will look normal.

What Does A Magnesium Deficiency Look Like In Plants?

The veins of the leaves appear yellowing, occasionally with red-brown colors, and the leaves may fall early.

What Does Nitrogen Deficiency Look Like?

The overall appearance of vegetation with a nitrogen deficit is a light, yellow-green color, poor growth, and inadequate tiller development.

Plants keep light green, develop more slowly, and the stem appears weak if the deficit continues.

The Bottom Line

Now you have an overview of the aquarium plants deficiency chart, so you can check whether your vegetation is healthy or not.

The most important thing is you must find ways to treat your plants immediately once you’ve noticed the symptoms of nutrient insufficiency.

If you have other solutions mentioned above, please comment below. Thanks for reading, and see you in the next post!