Do I need root tabs?

devsi

Well Known
I've got quite a heavily planted tank (picture below), for which I use Seachem Flourish Comprehensive (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00025696M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1) once a week after a water change.

The Limnophila Sessiliflora is going brown in places, which was the topic of another post for which the summary is it's brown algae.

However, I have been thinking about whether I need to start adding root tabs.

I have read the pinned posts, but I'm still confused if I need them and, if I do, what ones I need.


IMG_4459.jpg
 

Mudminnow

Well Known
Do you need root tabs?...maybe. It depends on what nutrients are in your source water. But, most likely, in the long run, your plants will need some macronutrients (and most likely among the macros-potassium). You have the micronutrients covered in your use of Flourish, but Flourish Comprehensive is a bit light on the macros. So, to provide the macros your plants will likely need, you'll need to use a liquid fertilizer and/or root tabs that contain more of them. I prefer adding my macros primarily using root tabs as those nutrients are under the substrate and less available to the algae.
 

Mudminnow

Well Known
I think Seachem's root tabs are too light on macros...especially potassium. I prefer NilocG's Thrive Root Tabs or Osmocote. But, I don't think I'd use Osmocote in a gravel substrate...too great a chance for leaching. With a gravel or sand substrate, I'd use a root tab that contains clay. Also, while I haven't used them, Vishaquatics (a seller here on Fishlore) sells root tabs that look good.
 

Angles4ever

New Member
I like Easy root tabs because they have clay and are cheap. I have found them to be effective, especially with my tiger lotus.
 

Mudminnow

Well Known
Easy root tabs because they have clay and are cheap. I have found them to be effective, especially with my tiger lotus.
Easy root tabs may be good, but I've never used them. And, I've not used them, because I can't find a guaranteed analysis of their nutrient content anywhere. It's hard for me to trust a product that doesn't post precisely what's in it. I mean, how am I supposed to make an informed decision on whether their tabs are right for my tank if I don't know what % of NPK is in them (for example). Seachem and NilocG make it easy to find their products' analysis.
 

devsi

Well Known
I think Seachem's root tabs are too light on macros...especially potassium. I prefer NilocG's Thrive Root Tabs or Osmocote.
Thanks Mudminnow ! NilocG doesn't seem too readily available in the UK, but I'll keep searching :)
But, I don't think I'd use Osmocote in a gravel substrate...too great a chance for leaching.
Got it, thanks!
Also, while I haven't used them, Vishaquatics (a seller here on Fishlore) sells root tabs that look good.
Unfortunately they're in the US :(
And, I've not used them, because I can't find a guaranteed analysis of their nutrient content anywhere. It's hard for me to trust a product that doesn't post precisely what's in it. Seachem and NilocG make it easy to find their products' analysis.
That makes sense! I'll stay away from Aquarium Co-op if they don't post what's in their root tabs!
 

Mudminnow

Well Known
Another option, if you can't find good root tabs, is to use Seachem Potassium in addition to the Flourish Comprehensive. Along with your fish waste (which provide nitrogen and phosphate), this combo will likely cover all the needs of your plants--provided you don't increase your light levels too much.

And, as I've said, it's possible you don't need to add any fertilizers...it's just unlikely. But, adding them (even if they are not needed) doesn't hurt. Even excess Nitrogen and Phosphate in the water column are ok...you'll just get algae on your hardscape.
 

devsi

Well Known
Another option, if you can't find good root tabs, is to use Seachem Potassium in addition to the Flourish Comprehensive. Along with your fish waste (which provide nitrogen and phosphate), this combo will likely cover all the needs of your plants--provided you don't increase you light levels too much.
Awesome, thanks :) I have the lights on for about ~8 hours a day.
And, as I've said, it's possible you don't need to add any fertilizers...it's just unlikely. But, adding them (even if they are not needed) doesn't hurt. Even excess Nitrogen and Phosphate in the water column are ok...you'll just get algae on your hardscape.
I don't mind algae as much as most :) I let it grow on some stuff because I like the look of it.

Thanks again for all the help, really appreciate it !
 

TClare

Well Known
Another option, if you can't find good root tabs, is to use Seachem Potassium in addition to the Flourish Comprehensive. Along with your fish waste (which provide nitrogen and phosphate), this combo will likely cover all the needs of your plants--provided your don't increase you light levels too much.
This is what I am doing and it seems to work well for most of my plants. A couple of Echinodorus varieties are growing slowly though.
 

Linda1234

Well Known
It wouldn't hurt to add a couple of root tabs; one under the sword nad the other under what appears to be a crypt. Those were the only two plants i spotted that could benefit from them. They aren't required as both crypts and swords are pretty hearty but they do help. Btw i would not call that aquarium heavily planted.... not that it matters but i wouldn't sweat it unless you notice a specific issue.
 

georgelee1000

Well Known
honestly, contrary to a lot of comments, i think you are fine.

the hornwart is not a root feeder. so no use in terms of that. the swords and crypt are root feeder, but they look pretty healthy, unless you want to grow them larger. i won't bother tbh...

i have both crypt and sword in my tank, they are both fine. new leaves every week. will root tab help? prob yes. is it necessary for my need? prob not.

hope it helps.
 

devsi

Well Known
This is what I am doing and it seems to work well for most of my plants. A couple of Echinodorus varieties are growing slowly though.
Thanks for sharing :)
It wouldn't hurt to add a couple of root tabs; one under the sword nad the other under what appears to be a crypt. Those were the only two plants i spotted that could benefit from them. They aren't required as both crypts and swords are pretty hearty but they do help.
Thanks! I'm not sure which one is a crypt - according to my records I have:

Btw i would not call that aquarium heavily planted.... not that it matters but i wouldn't sweat it unless you notice a specific issue.
Ah ok :) I'm trying to grow it out to be covered in plants so the fish have stuff to play in, but it's obviously taking a while.
the hornwart is not a root feeder. so no use in terms of that. the swords and crypt are root feeder, but they look pretty healthy, unless you want to grow them larger. i won't bother tbh...
I don't think I have hornwart? Not sure what the crypt is, that might be an alternative name for one of the plants I'm not aware of?
i have both crypt and sword in my tank, they are both fine. new leaves every week. will root tab help? prob yes. is it necessary for my need? prob not.
hope it helps.
It does, thank you :)
 

Linda1234

Well Known
Thanks for sharing :)

Thanks! I'm not sure which one is a crypt - according to my records I have:

  • Java Fern
  • Anubias
  • Bacopa Caroliniana
  • Limnophila Sessiliflora
  • Rotala Rotundifolia
  • Salvinia minima
  • Amazon Sword
  • Amazon Frogbit
  • Lemnoideae Minor

Ah ok :) I'm trying to grow it out to be covered in plants so the fish have stuff to play in, but it's obviously taking a while.

I don't think I have hornwart? Not sure what the crypt is, that might be an alternative name for one of the plants I'm not aware of?


It does, thank you :)
I was thinking the plant behind the suken ship might be a crypt but i guess it is a nice java fern. java fern are not root feeder so the only thing you have that would really benefit from root tab is the amazon sword; and quite frankly it isn't worth the purchase for that one plant.
 

devsi

Well Known
I was thinking the plant behind the suken ship might be a crypt but i guess it is a nice java fern.
ah, yeah it's a java fern :)
java fern are not root feeder so the only thing you have that would really benefit from root tab is the amazon sword; and quite frankly it isn't worth the purchase for that one plant.
Is the Limnophila Sessiliflora not a root feeder (I've buried it in my substrate, if that's what it means)?
and quite frankly it isn't worth the purchase for that one plant.
Makes sense, thank you :)
 

Linda1234

Well Known
ah, yeah it's a java fern :)

Is the Limnophila Sessiliflora not a root feeder (I've buried it in my substrate, if that's what it means)?
I have similar plants and I believe it will suck out nutrient from both the substrate and water column. Could be mistaken as I've never had a heart-to-heart conversation with my plants...
 

devsi

Well Known
I have similar plants and I believe it will suck out nutrient from both the substrate and water column.
Ah excellent, thank you!
Could be mistaken as I've never had a heart-to-heart conversation with my plants...
Talking to your plants is fine. The problem comes when they start talking back.
 

ruud

Well Known
Just a quick look on the light, the fish, the plants (which I wouldn't consider "heavily planted"), and not going through this whole thread (sorry about that), my gut feeling says you don't need to add root tabs.
 

devsi

Well Known
Just a quick look on the light, the fish, the plants (which I wouldn't consider "heavily planted"), and not going through this whole thread (sorry about that), my gut feeling says you don't need to add root tabs.

Thanks :)
 

GlennO

Well Known
I use root tabs occasionally but I’m not sure how much benefit they provide. I feel that nutrients in the water column should be available to the roots as well as the leaves. After all, substrate is not impermeable.
 

devsi

Well Known
I use root tabs occasionally but I’m not sure how much benefit they provide. I feel that nutrients in the water column should be available to the roots as well as the leaves. After all, substrate is not impermeable.

Thanks :)

From all the feedback, I'm not going to bother with root tabs.

Thanks all!
 

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