Liquid fertilizer vs tabs and dosing

FunnyFish
  • #1
Hi there,

I've recently in the last month started putting live plants into my tank. I currently have water lettuce, java fern and I've added some bacopa caroliniana, and lilaeopsis brasiliensis for carpeting.

I have placed an order for jungle val so I can replace the water lettuce eventually, and Amazon Sword and I'm wondering about fertilizers. I currently use Flourish and it's been my understanding that given I'm growing all easier plants (since I'm a newb) that this should be enough, but would my rooted plants benefit from tabs at this point since I'm going to have so many?

Also, I only dose my tank a couple times a week with flourish (less than a cap given my tank is a 32gal). Should I be doing more? I am only using a regular light as well, no special plant lights. Would you have any other recommendations to give me for this tank? TIA :)
 

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kansas
  • #2
My mentor tells me to use an all in one fertilizer. I use Thrive liquid once a week and root tabs when I remember.

I've read that if you use Seachem ferts, you need to know what you're doing and use several of them.
 

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FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
My mentor tells me to use an all in one fertilizer. I use Thrive liquid once a week and root tabs when I remember.

I've read that if you use Seachem ferts, you need to know what you're doing and use several of them.
I have read that about seachem too that there are multiples to use. I have also read that some just use Flourish. It can be so conflicting.

I have seen multiple posts before I got into plants about Thrive but haven't looked into this one myself. All in one is definitely what I want vs using multiple products if possible.

Do you have a photo of the Thrive you're using so I can check it out and make sure I'm looking at the right one?
 
ruud
  • #4
Hi there,

I've recently in the last month started putting live plants into my tank. I currently have water lettuce, java fern and I've added some bacopa caroliniana, and lilaeopsis brasiliensis for carpeting.
Great choices.
I currently use Flourish and it's been my understanding that given I'm growing all easier plants (since I'm a newb) that this should be enough, but would my rooted plants benefit from tabs at this point since I'm going to have so many?
It's the other way around. The high tech / high energy tank nerds only perform water column dosing, because plants in high energy conditions (CO2, bright lights) require a lot of minerals. Because plants take up nutrients via ANY location, from the root end to the tip of a leaf, a rich soil won't keep up and water column dosing is much easier and efficient to feed plants. Many use an auto-doser that doses different minerals via different channels, directly into the water column.

If you have a low tech / low energy tank, you can do anything you want.

"Rooted plants" doesn't mean plants have roots specifically to acquire minerals. You might learn this from a biology text book. Terrestrial plants (which we use in our aquaria), get minerals via the roots on land and not via the air. In water, the options broaden.

Also, I only dose my tank a couple times a week with flourish (less than a cap given my tank is a 32gal). Should I be doing more?
I dose once a week. Plants store minerals they don't need. Also, the minerals not used directly, won't fly out of your tank....
I am only using a regular light as well, no special plant lights. Would you have any other recommendations to give me for this tank? TIA :)

There is no such thing as special plant lights. There are lights sold as such and also come with a special price tag, but plants won't care.

There are special lights outside of our hobby. These are special in terms of energy-efficiency and applied in horticulture / agriculture.
 
FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Great choices.

It's the other way around. The high tech / high energy tank nerds only perform water column dosing, because plants in high energy conditions (CO2, bright lights) require a lot of minerals. Because plants take up nutrients via ANY location, from the root end to the tip of a leaf, a rich soil won't keep up and water column dosing is much easier and efficient to feed plants. Many use an auto-doser that doses different minerals via different channels, directly into the water column.

If you have a low tech / low energy tank, you can do anything you want.

"Rooted plants" doesn't mean plants have roots specifically to acquire minerals. You might learn this from a biology text book. Terrestrial plants (which we use in our aquaria), on land, get minerals via the roots and not via the air. In water, the options broaden.


I dose once a week. Plants store minerals they don't need. Also, the minerals not used directly, won't fly out of your tank....


There is no such thing as special plant lights. There are lights sold as such and also come with a special price tag, but plants won't care.

There are special lights outside of our hobby. These are special in terms of energy-efficiency and applied in horticulture / agriculture.
Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to all of this. This is a lot of great information. Much appreciated! :)

I was hoping that I wouldn't need to make a ton of changes to what I was already doing, but wanted to ensure that I am doing everything right to ensure the plants grow well and fill out the tank. I know my fish definitely enjoy them being in there and it brings a whole new look to the tank that I'm really looking forward too.
I use this one

NA Thrive All-in-One Liquid Aquarium Plant Fertilizer

Aquarium Coop sells one people seem to like.
Thank you for the link. I believe this is the one I found on Amazon. People's reviews mentioned they had an algae bloom when dosing, did you find that at all?
 

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ruud
  • #7
People's reviews mentioned they had an algae bloom when dosing, did you find that at all?

Don't worry about that either.

People attribute problems to whatever cause comes to mind.

Algae feed off plant fertilizers and then grow (clone), but plant fertilizers won't cause algal spores to germinate. In other words, those people already had tanks with plenty of algae and the fertilizers just threw oil on the fire.

Thrive will cause this and so will all the other fertilizers. Thrive will also serve plants and so will all the other fertilizers.

+++++++++++

A tank in a well lit room and with plenty of water changes (refill of minerals), is a very healthy basis for plants. All the other stuff such as lights, soils and fertilizers, is easily overdone or overrated. Be modest and don't spend a lot of money on it.
 
FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Don't worry about that either.

People attribute problems to whatever cause comes to mind.

Algae feed off plant fertilizers and then grow (clone), but plant fertilizers won't cause algal spores to germinate. In other words, those people already had tanks with plenty of algae and the fertilizers just threw oil on the fire.

Thrive will cause this and so will all the other fertilizers. Thrive will also serve plants and so will all the other fertilizers.

+++++++++++

A tank in a well lit room and with plenty of water changes (refill of minerals), is a very healthy basis for plants. All the other stuff such as lights, soils and fertilizers, is easily overdone or overrated. Be modest and don't spend a lot of money on it.
You're amazing! Thank you so much.

I have not had an algae outbreak doing what I'm doing other than some diatoms which makes sense since my tank is only about 5 months old and they really aren't bad or hardly noticeable. I have a well lit room and water change every week so I'm good to go.

Thank you again for being so awesome and taking the time to write out an extended post. I truly am grateful :D
 
kansas
  • #9
Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to all of this. This is a lot of great information. Much appreciated! :)

I was hoping that I wouldn't need to make a ton of changes to what I was already doing, but wanted to ensure that I am doing everything right to ensure the plants grow well and fill out the tank. I know my fish definitely enjoy them being in there and it brings a whole new look to the tank that I'm really looking forward too.

Thank you for the link. I believe this is the one I found on Amazon. People's reviews mentioned they had an algae bloom when dosing, did you find that at all?

I had quite a bit of algae at first. I removed what I could when doing water changes and removed leaves that were particularly bad. After a few months, I got amano shrimp. Algae hasn't been a problem for a long time.

I now run my lights 12-14 hours a day without algae problems. Mostly this is luck as I was a noob when I set these up. I have a lot of plants and do a 50% water change every 7-10 days. I run the light a long time but have it at a fairly dim setting as too much light doesn't look natural to me and causes the fish to get over excited.

I have a couple different anubius and crypts, vals, wisteria, frogbit and of course duckweed. Some common plants like java moss and red root floaters wouldn't grow in my water.
 
FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
I had quite a bit of algae at first. I removed what I could when doing water changes and removed leaves that were particularly bad. After a few months, I got amano shrimp. Algae hasn't been a problem for a long time.

I now run my lights 12-14 hours a day without algae problems. Mostly this is luck as I was a noob when I set these up. I have a lot of plants and do a 50% water change every 7-10 days. I run the light a long time but have it at a fairly dim setting as too much light doesn't look natural to me and causes the fish to get over excited.

I have a couple different anubius and crypts, vals, wisteria, frogbit and of course duckweed. Some common plants like java moss and red root floaters wouldn't grow in my water.
Thnak you so much for all this info as well :)

I know everyone has such different experiences so it's always great to hear imo. I don't have a dimming option on my tank, but the water lettuce blocks out some of the light so the fish feel more comfortable. I leave my lights on about 10 hours a day plus some natural light from a larger window that comes in. I also do 50% water changes every week to clean up all the plant debris that has broken off (I get lots with water lettuce) and also I like the clearer water look and my fish love it too.

I'm excited to get my vals in there and sword. Delivery is on Wednesday. The bacopa caroliniana I have in there now has grown about an inch or more in the last two weeks. I just love seeing it happen and can't wait to get rid of these fake plants and have it look so natural.
 

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Sewerrat
  • #11
Amazon sword will benefit from root tabs there heavy root feeders no experience with val
 
FishDin
  • #12
Hi there,

I currently use Flourish and it's been my understanding that given I'm growing all easier plants (since I'm a newb) that this should be enough, but would my rooted plants benefit from tabs at this point since I'm going to have so many?

Also, I only dose my tank a couple times a week with flourish (less than a cap given my tank is a 32gal). Should I be doing more? I am only using a regular light as well, no special plant lights. Would you have any other recommendations to give me for this tank? TIA :)
Flourish might be all you need. It depends on your tank. Fish will produce the nitrogen fertilizers via respiration, ammonia and the cycle. Food will provide phosphates. I think Flourish has potassium. So, in a heavily stocked tank the fish and food will usually provide enough macronutrients depending on the plant mass. Water testing will tell you if that is the case. Your plants should "tell" you as well.

If your plants are doing well with the current approach, I see no need to change what you're doing.
 
FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Flourish might be all you need. It depends on your tank. Fish will produce the nitrogen fertilizers via respiration, ammonia and the cycle. Food will provide phosphates. I think Flourish has potassium. So, in a heavily stocked tank the fish and food will usually provide enough macronutrients depending on the plant mass. Water testing will tell you if that is the case. Your plants should "tell" you as well.

If your plants are doing well with the current approach, I see no need to change what you're doing.
Thank you for your response! I appreciate it :)

My water lettuce has tripled in the last 1.5 months and my bacopa is growing nicely so far, still only a couple weeks old but has grown a couple inches, and the carpeting is too. My java fern still has some issues. While it is growing new leaves, the other leaves have some holes and are brown and I often have to pick leaves out that have broken off. I feel it is missing something. It's about a month old. I can get a picture later when the lights go on, and I know the fern will have some melt as well but I feel it should be doing better, and this is where the concern came for the new plants.

My tank isn't heavily stocked by any means I don't think. I have 4 honey gourami, 11 Ruby tetra and 8 pgymy cory in a 32 gallon tank. Based on the fish calculator I'm stocked at almost exactly 100% and they are little fish so I'm not sure how much waste they are producing that maybe the Java fern is lacking.

My other new plants arrive today.

Edited**
I added the java fern photos now
 

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ruud
  • #14
You could try some potassium, but I'm pretty sure it's either too bright light or too low CO2. Dim or block the light and / or add CO2. The former is easier and cheaper.
 

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FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
You could try some potassium, but I'm pretty sure it's either too bright light or too low CO2. Dim or block the light and / or add CO2. The former is easier and cheaper.
I had bought excel by mistake but everything I've read says that it is more for algae problems, yet when you look up co² it always comes up. Would that work? Or is there a better solution that isn't going to break the bank?
 
ruud
  • #16
I had bought excel by mistake but everything I've read says that it is more for algae problems, yet when you look up co² it always comes up. Would that work? Or is there a better solution that isn't going to break the bank?

The cheapest by far is reducing the light intensity. Either directly or by placing the fern in the shades.

Placing a bubbler/airstone below the fern to strongly increase the water flow at that spot, could help also.

Since you have Excel, you could experiment a little with it. Plants should be capable of extracting CO2 out of Excel, but in modest ways. Also, Excel can hurt certain plants and, yes, a lot of microbiota, including algae, also. So be carful.

Optionally, you might be missing some potassium or perhaps magnesium of manganese.
 
FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
I don't have the option to dim lights as my tank just has the basic light setup that comes with most tanks. The fern is under water lettuce which is blocking out some of the light, but I can look to see if I can block some of the light just over the fern and see if that helps along with your other suggestion of the bubbler.

With the jungle Val's being plants this week once those start to grow and cover up more light, maybe the fern will need to be moved closer to them for less light. I will give these things a try first and maybe very little excel. I don't want to create additional problems. Thanks again. I appreciate all your knowledge :)
 
FishDin
  • #18
My tank isn't heavily stocked by any means I don't think. I have 4 honey gourami, 11 Ruby tetra and 8 pgymy cory in a 32 gallon tank. Based on the fish calculator I'm stocked at almost exactly 100% and they are little fish so I'm not sure how much waste they are producing that maybe the Java fern is lacking.

My other new plants arrive today.

Edited**
I added the java fern photos now
You can test for nitrates as a crude indicator. If your testing very low nitrates before a water change you may need to fertilize.
 
FunnyFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
You can test for nitrates as a crude indicator. If your testing very low nitrates before a water change you may need to fertilize.
Great! I know currently with the plants that I have I'm testing at about 10ppm for nitrates still. I just added the buce, jungle val and sword yesterday so we'll see what happens with the nitrates.
 

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