Plant Help With Thrive Or Flourish Products

  • #1
HI all, just been reading for the last few hours on the forums about plant fertilizers etc.
big thankyou to Mak, Dolfan... and many others who help out newbies like myself

Originally googled difference between all the flourish ranges.... and I found a few topics giving a lot of information regarding what plants need and what the flourish products have in them... while I understand what I read.. I do still think there is a lot more to know as I'm quite new with plants

Ive always had plants in my tank but to be honest... the plants never done well.
I do have an amazon sword that does ok.... however it never grows... it just stays the same size..Its been in there for a few years now.

I used to give apI co2 booster and leaf zone... I was told to use that by a local aquarium store.. but I never understood what ingredients in them..

What I do understand after reading the last few hours when it comes to the fert/chemical area the plants need

Your basic sort of fert (micros)
Other ferts Macros (NPK)

Together they make - eg: flourish comp or you can buy separate bottles for NPK with flourish trace etc..

Then I saw dry ferts - this part lost me completely

co2 substitue is a big help when not injecting - eg flourish excel

and extra iron is also good too.

Root tabs are good for plants that feed of root like amazon sword

I was pretty much set... and was gonna get Flourish comp, excel, iron
I was gonna do this for a while and see if I get improvement.. and then I can maybe increase my knowledge and start making using flourish advance and etc.

But then I seen a lot of people here recommend thrive and thrive c..

Can I get some info thrive if possible..
Please correct anything I have said wrong.. I am trying to learn and being corrected is how u learn!

thankyou in advance waterlifelovers
  • #2
Hi, welcome to Fishlore.

Before you jump into ferts, what sort of lighting do you have? Without adequate lighting, plants won't grow as well, with or without ferts.

Also, does the plant show any signs of a deficiency? If not, you may not need ferts.

Dosing ferts, whilst it won't do any real harm, might be a waste of money. If you don't have any plants that are in the water column (e.g. anubias) and they are all planted, then I'd start with the Flourish root tabs as a general fertiliser.

Then, before diving into NPK etc, look for any deficiencies and dose accordingly. For example, if your tank maintains around 10-20ppm Nitrate, there's no need to dose nitrates (aka Seachem Nitrogen) unless the plants start showing a deficiency.

Here's a couple of links to help identify deficiencies:
  • #3
I use Thrive, Easy Green and Flourish liquid ferts. And Thrive, Easy Green and API root tabs. Thrive is the most potent of all 'em though...
86 ssinit
  • #4
Lighting is key. I’ve been keeping plants for 20+ years. Used to use Kent products till I joined this site. Now I’m using the flourish comprehensive,iron and potassium. Also use apI root tabs and osmacote tabs (much cheaper sold on eBay). Plants are flourishing . Recently I started using the apI co2 booster you use. I’m am very happy with this product.
Thrive is being pushed here as of recently and I am using it in 1 tank with very good results. It’s a nice all in one fert. What I’m still not sure I like is the nitrates it produces. People are reading 160ppm after using thrive. Is it better than the flourish products? I think there about the same though I never have high nitrates with flourish.
Dry ferts will be the cheapest. Havnt done it yet but there on the list to try.
Get your light and continue using the co2 booster. Good luck and enjoy.
  • #5
Yeah I dose pretty lightly/sparingly with Thrive because I mix it with some of the "lighter" liquid ferts to avoid any severe nitrate spikes.. Even with a ton of plants, sometimes the nitrate readings would go from 80-100ppm and thus forces more larger water changes.

Yeah EI dosing IS good, but it IS a lot of work lol
  • #6
Greetings and welcome to Fishlore

I am another user of the Flourish line. I use 8 of their products.

It is pricy, but I buy the 2 and 4 liter bottles. It costs much less than the little bottles. I also buy the 40 pack of root tabs. There is a fair amount of work with dosing daily, but it has worked very well for me.

But keep in mind that without proper plant lights you will not get optimal results.

Some of our aquariums.

1. 150 tall.







86 ssinit
  • #7
Above is what we all strive for^^^^ . Below my 45
  • #8
I like your "mini-pots" heh...Mason jars can kinda take up too much space, IMO....yeah?

Nice job with the wood too! : )

Looks good. Surprised your Lily's aren't much bigger, yeah...?

Geez, not sure which one I like best! So basically, that's how to achieve optimal results; proper balance is key, as well as yes, the proper light/light cycle. What most hobbyists with planted tanks sometimes fail to realize when it comes to any algae problems is: FOCUS ON GROWING HEALTHY PLANTS. And thus, your algae issues will never occur, or with time, will dissipate. Light. Ferts. =eco-system=balance.=no algae.
86 ssinit
  • #10
Thanks. Another poster hooked me up with those little glass pots (sold on eBay). Yes I like the wood and so do the fish . Just drilled some holes in them and added suction cups. Ok below is my thrive tank with some new residents about to enter. It was just a plant grow out tank . But now has shrimp and snails and those guys in the bag.
  • #10
Ahh. TRUE SAE's. Those are getting more harder to findeven more so nowadays... :-/

That is a MASSIVE Ulvaceus! O_O
86 ssinit
  • #11
Yes true sae I found them in a tank full of cae. Another thing I use and like is the doctor 3in1.

Ok one more pic my 90
25360DCA-B74F-4E48-A2DD-68A35DAFFBE3.jpeg notice the ulnaceus on the left. It came out of the grow tank.
  • #12 much was the Doctor 3 in 1? Amazon has it "currently unavailable". : ( Yeah, I used to have a mild thread algae problem, but the Molly's just kinda picked it away heh...

Yeah I like that one the best.
  • #13
Let’s please remember this is Horze21’s thread, their question is starting to get overshadowed.
  • #14
Do what you think would work best. Try a few different ferts. Research well, as everyone's tanks and plants are different. : )
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
sorry all, was at work
wasn't expecting so many replies lol
Those photos posted above .. absolute amazing... good work guys!

So my lighting setup is 4 x 4foot T5 Hight Output tubes and they are 54 watts each

Now these 4 globes are split on 2 separate switches, which each switch do a pair of the lights. each pair has 1 x 18000 kelvin, 2150 lumen globe which shows a bright white light and also 1 x Artic Blue globe which is about 1600 lumen (I think this one is more for looks)

Now in all honesty I only ever have 1 pair of the globes on at once.. because it gets quite much..the heater in my tank I hardly see on

Now the light turns on I believe at 7am and turns off at about 10pm ( I can double check this if its important)

Ryanr: thank you for the links ive just had a look at them and I would say that I do have deficiency issues

I'm constantly loosing leaves, and the stems seem to rott and break next to where they are planted.
The leaves go yellow and thin out.
I always thought it was just the fish attacking them... but I'm starting to think else wise, especially after seeing all the photos above!

From that list I would say these seem to be most relating

Leaves to show effects first: Old
Entire plant turns yellow green, and the older leaves become more yellowish than the younger.
Older leaves do not die unless deficiency is extreme.

Leaves to show effects first: Old
Plant stops growing and becomes darker green or stays green.
Some species may become purple with excess anthocyanin pigments building up.
Other species do not produce excess anthocyanins and just stay green and small.
Premature leaf drop-off.
Similar to nitrogen deficiency."

Second link.....Looks like I need a co2 tester

Now a little more about my tank in case it helps

It's a 4 foot tank that holds about 160 litre after all the rock inside

I don't do the whole 10% water change every week.. as bad as that sounds... I do about a 60% water and filter change roughly every 6-8 weeks
And the water that comes out isn't usually that dirty. I'm just running an eheim canister filter and also I run a powerhead pump that pushes water and air (from air pump) into down into a 25mm pipe that is under the gravel and this pipe has small little holes in it.....When I first set the tank up it was my idea of pushing water down into the pipe with air so it would lift debrI of the gravel so the canister filter can suck it up.... it worked at the start.. but I don't think it does anymore as I think the little holes are now blocked but I still hook it up.

But in general fish are pretty healthy and I prob lose 3-4 fish a year and there's usually about 20-25 fish in the tank.....I usually only loose when I have delayed the water change a little because of too many things of life coming in the way, or one of the fish is being naughty to another.. .. or when a 4 inch silver shark decides to jump out of the tank through a hole smaller than him.. (dont get me started, I don't know how its happened... TWICE! and 2 different silver sharks!)

I mainly have community fish, like silver sharks, clown loaches, zebra loach (I don't know the proper name... hes got zebra stripes on him!), rainbow sharks, the white and orange shark, tiger barbs, and few of those fish that are transparent aswell as a few smaller community species (again I don't know the names). Also have about 4 brizzle nose

Tests.... I usually test when I have a problem or it looks like something is not right. Tests are usualy always good. I use the apI freshwater master kit
Ph is usually at 7 to 7.2
ammonia 0ppm mg/l
nitrite is usually 0-0.25 ppm mg/l
nitrate is usually at 0 ppm mg/l
hmmm....... me just typing that .. maybe there's the problem.. I think you said before it should be at 10-20?

if you want some accurate figures (if it helps) I can always test tomorrow.. I did a 60% water change yesterday so I imagine the figures would be pretty low atm.
My temperature of tank is generally 26-27 degrees celcius
Sorry for my measurements being in metric

Now there one more thing that might spark something...... most of the aquariums stores here, sell the plants as clippings. So no roots.. just a bunch of clippings of the same plant bundles together... Ive only ever bought 2 that came in a pot.
One was the amazon swords, and the other was more of a fine sea grass..almost like green hair

I usually buy purple waffle, violet, aluminium, hygrophila (ive tried a few to see if I have better luck with others)

And I plant them in terracotta pots.. Sometimes 2 different plants in the 1 pot.....I use a small fine gravel to fill the pot with like the rest of the tank.

The photos in this folder is my tank as we speak.. These plants except for the amazon sword are about 3 months old. As you can see they are not dead... but not so well either.
Ive taken some close up's of the plants so you can see the deficiency

The photos in the folder below are anywhere from 1 to 8 years old of my tank when I have just done a 60% water change with "fresh plants".. so you can get the idea of how I set it up when I have new plants.. remember the plants are always clippings...... maybe this is the issue?

Sorry for the long post.. and thankyou for the help


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  • #16
Welcome, thanks for the shoutout! Have you read this?

Your nitrate reading 0 can definitely lead to a nitrate deficiency, and flourish does not contain notable amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium.

Thrive is being pushed here as of recently and I am using it in 1 tank with very good results. It’s a nice all in one fert. What I’m still not sure I like is the nitrates it produces. People are reading 160ppm after using thrive. Is it better than the flourish products? I think there about the same though I never have high nitrates with flourish.
It's impossible to be an effect of Thrive, Thrive only adds 7 ppm nitrate per dose

I use regular Thrive

Day 15 small edit.png
86 ssinit
  • #17
Welcome, thanks for the shoutout! Have you read this?

Your nitrate reading 0 can definitely lead to a nitrate deficiency, and flourish does not contain notable amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium.

It's impossible to be an effect of Thrive, Thrive only adds 7 ppm nitrate per dose

I use regular Thrive
View attachment 550471

I hear you. Just been many threads about high nitrates. Could also very well be the apI tests. Nitrate looks anywhere from 20-160ppm with that test. I put up a thread recently about it. Also thrive wants you to do a 50% water change weekly. None of the flourish products do.
86 ssinit
  • #18
Ok how old are the t5 bulbs? They lose Lumins as they get past 6 months. Next that light is on way to long. Try a 3hr on 3 hour off 4hr on timer setting for it. This will stop a lot of the algae. Next water changes!! At least 30% weekly. That key for everything in the tank. Yeah water looks good but anything that was in it (minerals and nutrients) are long gone.
I’m reading and trying to answer as I read. Your fish omg (lol). Buddy there all heavy waste load fish. 50% water changes and probably a 75-125 tank is in your future . Pics please .
For nitrate reeding you have to shake the heck out of the bottles and vial after you mix.
It’s sold as but I don’t think purple waffle is a aquarium plant. Check out aquarium plants factory and toykuaquatics on eBay. Lots of great plants reasonably priced and usually free shipping.
Will check out pics later got to go now. Look into a vivagrow 24/7 and the doctors 3 in 1 on eBay. I think the led is a better fixture. LEDs last forever.
86 ssinit
  • #19
Nice pics nice tank. Clown loaches got big . Swords need a root tab. Purple stuff is being eaten by pleco. The group plants would probably do better just in your substrate taken apart and individual stems planted about an inch apart. Anacharis will also do better in substrate or floating. Oh and if those bulbs are 8yrs old there shot . I’d say your tank is a 40gal breeder.
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
thanks for that post mak
that was a post that I did miss actually and is very informative

this weekend i’ll start getting all this organized

thankyou, my loaches do really well in my tank
love it when they play dead as they get bigger they get lazy and ly on there side and sometimes even upside down....was scary the first time I seen it

the tubes are about a year old now
I might look into the leds as the T5’s get really hot
so with the lighting
3 hour on 3 hour off and 4 hour on
after that...leave it off all night until next morning starts the 3 hour cycle?
amount of hours a day it should be on in total?

i’ll start getting the names of the plants and start doing homework before I get them
i’ll check that website too ..ty

i’ll do a water test tomorrow night and see how things are looking
i’ll keep you posted
ty for the help
86 ssinit
  • #21
That lighting set up will slow down algae growth. If you like the light on all the time look into a 24/7 light fixture. I have them on three of my tanks and they grow plants great and make the tank look great. Water changes!!
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Ok so did some water testing
my Ph was actually really high.. went to 7.6
so did a high ph it came at 8.1
which is very high when I'm aiming for 7

ammonia came at 0
nitrite came at 0
nitrate came at 10
and my carbonate hardness came 50-100ppm

Ive decided to stick with Flourish range atm since a few in this posts have had luck with it...... plus while learning the whole plant dosing.. I feel that the thrive is for more for experienced users.. so I thought ill just stick with flourish until I get the hang of it and learn how to read how the plants are doing.. and get into the hang of doing water changes every week or at least every fortnight.
Last thing I want is to harm the fish because of my lack of knowledge

I ended up getting flourish comp, and flourish excel... they had no tabs unfortunely.. ill go to a different place tomorrow to hopefully get them. And ill prob get some iron
And ill see how that goes and use the process of elimation. I'm sure ill start seeing some improvements and then I can maybe see what's lacking and move onto the thrive later.

Ive changed the light aswell to 6am on.. 9am off.. 12pm on 4pm off and then 8pm on 11 pm off
Do I continue doing the on and off during the night.. or leave it off after 11pm and back on at 6am?

Also with the weekly changes, when you dose the chlorine neutral.... do you dose for the whole tank or just for the percentage of water you are removing and topping up?

When I was doing my large water changes every 6 weeks .. I would dose for the whole tank.. am I doing this wrong?

I got 3 new plants that will be a good start to see what happens
1 actually had no label.. so I have no idea what is
I got a elodea supreme
and also an ambolia
Ive circled the one that had no name

86 ssinit
  • #23
Looks like a hygrophila. I’m with you on thrive for more experienced keepers. I’m experimenting with it and not that happy with it. Reduced to twice a week and am going to add another filter to the tank. Not sure what’s up with the tank yet. Could be many things.
Other 2 plants are bunch plants. Remove them from the bunch and plant each stem about an inch apart. They do grow better this way.
  • #24
I'm team Thrive and dry ferts. Dry ferts are super easy to use and inexpensive if you have a fert calculator. I use for my nutrient calculator. As a general rule for lowtech tanks, I like to dose macros (NPK) and micros (Fe, Ca, Mg, etc) once a week.

On the day after a water change I do 10ppm NO3, 6-7ppm K, 4ppm PO4
Three days later, I do 0.5ppm Fe worth of CSM+B.

Works like a charm for most tanks.

I find that the Seachem products are extremely diluted and do not have much bang for the buck. Personally, I think it's silly to buy multiple different bottles for different highly diluted nutrients when you could easily get all the nutrients necessary in one bottle that is more concentrated. I've never had issues with nutrient deficiencies using Thrive in lowtech tanks, although tank specific nutrient deficiencies will show up when you start using CO2, which is when I start to recommend that one switch from an all in one fert to dry ferts so that they can adjust their fertilization regimen accordingly.
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
well its been about 2 weeks and have to admit plants are doing much better. I'm seeing new shoots running out
Thanks all for the help

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