Using root tabs in sand to help plant growth?

Daeraizover

hey all, I currently have a 55 gallon that have pool sand as its substrate. Currently I have it with fake plant decorations but am now thinking about switching over to live plants but didn't want to go thru the hassle of scooping out all the sand and such especially considering how heavy the tank is to lift. a person an a LFS store suggested that I could keep the sand and purchase some sachem flourish root tabs and plant them in the sand so when I do plant live plants, the root tabs will provide supplemental nutrients to help them grow even this I don't have something like fluvial stratum or sachem fluorite as my substrate.

Can anyone chime in if this is true or has any experience using root tabs in a substrate that is not soil based?
 

kallililly1973

The root tabs will help all of our tanks have PFS . Another good investment would b a bottle of Nilog Thrive-c cause it’ll be a low tech planted tank without co2. Here are a few pics.
 

Daeraizover

so just to be clear your saying that it is true I can add root tabs to sand and then add in things like flourish and excel to help with the plant growth?
 

altermac

That depends on the plants you choose.

Stem plants need no root tabs, they feed from your water column. They are only stuck into the ground. Should work fine without.

Cryptocoryne should have root tabs, they feed of the ground. Valisneria is a root feeder. And so on.

Anubias and fern have roots, but are planted above ground. They almost completely feed from the water column. So no root tabs for them.

Keep your pool filter sand in your tank. This will work fine, because water and liquid fertilizer will flow through the sand. This sand will not clump.
 

mattgirl

so just to be clear your saying that it is true I can add root tabs to sand and then add in things like flourish and excel to help with the plant growth?
Yes, but instead of flourish and excel get an all in one liquid fert like the one kallililly1973 recommended. Plants are growing in my pool filter sand with the help of root tabs. There are three choices from nilog, Thrive, Thrive-C or Thrive-S for shrimp. I started with flourish and excel and soon found it wasn't the best choice. I then got Thrive and found it added more nitrate than I was comfortable with so then switched to Thrive-C and have continued using it.
 

RedOnion

Just add root tabs or you could use Jobes Houseplant spikes as root tabs instead. I have Pool Sand in my big 40g tank and the plants do great with just root tabs + some 24 HR APT complete liquid fert.
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Oriongal

I set this up at the end of March. It's just play sand, though on the far left there is some Eco-Complete under the sand (I was going to do the whole tank that way, but decided I didn't like it showing through and didn't want to make the sand too deep to make sure it didn't show through.)

Tank after the first week or so:
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Tank at the end of May, two months in:
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Tank right now:
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Just Flourish root tabs, no liquid ferts added. The golden nesea didn't make it in this setup, and the initial two crypts I put in also didn't. The Marble sword just behind the driftwood on the left isn't doing great either; it's still green and alive, but it lost all the larger growth and isn't putting on any new. In the last pic, the sword showing behind the driftwood on that side is a daughter from a regular sword, and the marble is to the left of it - it's not now tall enough to be seen. Meanwhile the sword on the far right quickly outgrew the space it was in towards the back of the tank, so I moved the Ruben sword over to the left and moved that one forward, and it's still growing like mad. And the limnophila got so thick that I'm actually having almost too many fry surviving the hungry adults now.
 

Daeraizover

what chemical media are u using for this tank
I set this up at the end of March. It's just play sand, though on the far left there is some Eco-Complete under the sand (I was going to do the whole tank that way, but decided I didn't like it showing through and didn't want to make the sand too deep to make sure it didn't show through.)

Tank after the first week or so:
You must be registered to see images


Tank at the end of May, two months in:
You must be registered to see images


Tank right now:
You must be registered to see images


Just Flourish root tabs, no liquid ferts added. The golden nesea didn't make it in this setup, and the initial two crypts I put in also didn't. The Marble sword just behind the driftwood on the left isn't doing great either; it's still green and alive, but it lost all the larger growth and isn't putting on any new (in the latest pic, the sword showing from behind the driftwood on the right is a daughter from a regular sword). Meanwhile the sword on the far right quickly outgrew the space it was in towards the back of the tank, so I moved the Ruben sword over to the left and moved that one forward, and it's still growing like mad. And the limnophila got so thick that I'm actually having almost too many fry surviving the hungry adults now.
another thing is how often do you place new root tabs? and how were you able to anchor your plants? from the pictures your sand looks like maybe 1 - 2 inches high
 

ProudPapa

I have a wide variety of live plants thriving in my tanks, and they all have either pool filter sand or sandblasting sand for substrate. I dose weekly with Easy Green, and occasionally stick in a few root tabs.

I know the Thrive root tabs are highly recommended, along with the others and I have no doubt they're good, but I prefer the ones from API. The ones from API are tablets, so they won't float up out of the substrate like capsules can.
 

Oriongal

what chemical media are u using for this tank

another thing is how often do you place new root tabs? and how were you able to anchor your plants? from the pictures your sand looks like maybe 1 - 2 inches high

No chemical media, just foam and biomedia in the canister (IIRC it's Seachem Matrix in that one.)

I have put in a couple of new root tabs when I moved plants around or planted some new, but otherwise I haven't replaced any yet. I figure I'll let the plants tell me when they need it; for example the limnophila are starting to lose a few leaves and some of the newest growth looks a little stunted, so that's probably a good indication that it could use another tab.

The sand is probably 2 inches, thinking the black frame itself is at least close to that on a 40B? [Not at home where I could measure it, maybe someone else can answer that one.] I didn't anchor them with anything, they all had great roots when I got them. I did have to replant a few several times because there's corys in there, but eventually they weren't uprooting them anymore. The darker crypts on the left that I put in later, I cheated and weighed a couple of leaves down (under the driftwood and with a small rock on the opposite side) so they could decide for themselves how much or little soil depth they wanted.
 

Daeraizover

I have a wide variety of live plants thriving in my tanks, and they all have either pool filter sand or sandblasting sand for substrate. I dose weekly with Easy Green, and occasionally stick in a few root tabs.

I know the Thrive root tabs are highly recommended, along with others and I have no doubt they're good, but I prefer the ones from API. The ones from API are tablets, so they won't float up out of the substrate like capsules can.
I've seen those but they also dissolve the minute they hit the water so it almost feel like your on a timer when using those
 

PAcanis

Good thread. I had the same question earlier today and was told the same.

Plus I just returned from the aquarium shop and asked one of the owners and she said they have several sand only planted tanks at home and use the tabs.
 

Daeraizover

Good thread. I had the same question earlier today and was told the same.

Plus I just returned from the aquarium shop and asked one of the owners and she said they have several sand only planted tanks at home and use the tabs.
Good stuff. Although any type of soil substrate is better suited for plants its just something about sand that makes tanks stand out more.
 

anmlvrj

That depends on the plants you choose.

Stem plants need no root tabs, they feed from your water column. They are only stuck into the ground. Should work fine without.

Cryptocoryne should have root tabs, they feed of the ground. Valisneria is a root feeder. And so on.

Anubias and fern have roots, but are planted above ground. They almost completely feed from the water column. So no root tabs for them.

Keep your pool filter sand in your tank. This will work fine, because water and liquid fertilizer will flow through the sand. This sand will not clump.
Does anyone have a table of which plants need root tabs and which don't. Any suggestions?
 

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