Do I need a liquid fertilizer?

kelm23

I’m planning on doubling the amount of plants in my 20 gallon long tank this week. I don’t remember all the species of plants in there now. I do have flourish root tabs in there now and have eco-complete substrate. My nitrites have never been above 5 with weekly water changes and a moderately stocked tank (pH- 7.4, ammonia-0, nitrites-0). Should I plan to use a liquid fertilizer in addition to the root tabs? If so what is your best recommendation? I have Excel but purchased it awhile ago without really understanding how it worked and I don’t currently have an algae problem.
 

cmid21

Short answer: yes.

But it depends on the type of plants you have. If they get nutrients through the water column, then you definitely do. I would imagine that most people would recommend it regardless, and I happen to be one of them. Especially if you are doubling your plants. I would run a system of root tabs and fertilizer to the water column. The eco complete will soak up the ferts. Excel is a CO2 substitute if I'm not mistaken, not fertilizer.
 

kelm23

Thank you! I figured the answer was yes. Do you have a preference for a good general one? I know it can get complicated. I did add new root tabs throughout on Sunday with my water change. Yes you are right on the excel, which I purchased about a year ago thinking it’d help my plants grow. I’ve read that basically it’s just an algaecide.
 

Dennis57

Nilocg Thrive is an excellent all in 1 fert. Buy at Amazon ships in 1-2 days
 

cmid21

+1 for Thrive.

I also use Thrive.
 

kelm23

Nilocg Thrive is an excellent all in 1 fert. Buy at Amazon ships in 1-2 days
Thanks! I actually have items in my amazon cart (who doesn’t). I’ll check it out

Ok sorry for all the questions, but everyone is so helpful on here! Looking at the Thrive products there are a few different ones. I think I’ll order the Thrive C which seems to have less nitrates and designed for smaller tanks. Do you dose per the bottle (1 pump per 5 gal) or start with less? I’m worried about a huge spike in nitrates, but maybe I don’t need to be?
 

TWiG87

I wouldn’t be concerned about the nitrates.
Just to throw another option out there. I use easy green with Flourish tabs and my plants look great
 

cmid21

I would second the advice of twig87. Especially if you are doubling the amount of plants in the tank. They will soak up any nitrates, and depending how many plants you have you might not even get any readings of nitrates.

I don't profess to know the intricacies of each Thrive product, but I use the low-tech one for tanks without shrimp and the shrimp specific one for those that have shrimp. (even though the copper is negligible in the low tech one)

As far as the dosage. As with anything, it will depend on your tank. I would just experiment until you get the balance correct.
 

Dennis57

It depends on how many plants and what types also you have, In my 2-20 gallons I use what the bottle says, in my 125 I use a lot more because I have a lot more plants in there, every week when I do water changes, I usally have to trim most plants back as they grow crazy
 

kelm23

Thank you all! I tend to overthink everything. I appreciate your help and I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m going with the Thrive since I can order it easily on amazon.
 

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