Speed up plant growth? How Do I

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by funkman262, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    I currently have no fish in my 45g tank that was just planted a couple of hours ago. Is there any way to speed up plant growth before I start restocking my tank with fish in a few weeks? Is it ok for the plants to leave the lights on and supply CO2 for 24 hours a day? Are there any types of drops I should use (keeping in mind that I have Flourite Black Sand as my substrate so they should already be receiving some nutrients)? And about the substrate, would the nutrients get washed away after rinsing off the sand many times? Any suggestions would help. Thank you everyone.
  2. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    It's fine to run the co2 24/7 but not the lights. The plants need a dark period to grow. There's no point having your lights on for more than 12hrs a day unless you want to grow algae.:) I would start with 8hrs light & work your way up from there. The substrate will provide some minerals for the plants to get estableshed but after a couple of months you will need to start dosing either liquid ferts or substrate tablets to top up the minerals in the substrate. Rinsing the substrate will have removed some of the minerals but not so much that it would be noticeable to the plants.

    The only way to speed up plant growth is to increas the lighting, co2 & fertilisers while still maintaining a good balance. I don't think there's much more you can do in your system for the moment. Stick to lights on for less than 12hrs a day (be sure to use a timer), keep the co2 supply consistant & don't worry about ferts for the first 6-12 weeks. Let the plants establish themselves before you start to tinker with the balance of ferts etc.
  3. Nate McFinWell Known MemberMember

    The only nutrient that Flourite sand has is iron. It does have small amounts of Potassium and other trace elements but lacks Phosphates and Nitrates. Both of which are key elements of plant growth. It is not soaked in a nutrient bath as is Eco Complete. What it does have that makes it different from say pool sand (besides the very cool black look!) is a high CEC or Cation Exchange Capacity. What this means is that it has the ability to absorb and hold much larger amounts of nutrients fom the water column. This then makes the nutrients more readily available to the plants roots. Normal pool filter sand has a very low CEC so it holds much less nutrients on its surface. Hopefully that makes sense!

    As Nutter said you should eventually look at fertilizing...if you are low on phosphates and nitrogen sooner might be better. I am guessing since you dont have fish your tank is pretty darn clean. How are you cycling the tank? Ammonia? If so, Ammonia would be a nitrogen source for the plants.