Why So Many?

Discussion in 'Plant Fertilizers' started by stashattack, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. stashattackValued MemberMember

    So, I've been scrounging around kensfish.com looking for so plant ferts for my tank and saw that there were so many different kinds of flurish: excel, normal, iron, phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, trace.

    I was wondering which ones you guys use, or if there is only one that you swear by.


  2. JessiNoel21Well Known MemberMember

    I've been using the excel it been working great so far in my 10 gallon and I plan on using it in my 75 gallon once it is cycled.

  3. stashattackValued MemberMember

    Cool, so what exactly is the difference between the normal and excel?

  4. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Ok there are so many because they all do different things.

    Depending on your water parameters depends on what you would need to dose.

    Most likely, you will need:
    Iron, Potassium, trace, and excel can always help as it is a co2 replacement.

    I have found that while comprehensive is nice it is alot easier to deal with things in other ways.
  5. stashattackValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the info. So how would I test these parameters? Any good test kits for them?
  6. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Please be careful.

    Here's a brief for you:
    The Seachem range of fertilisers for the planted aquarium is known as the Flourish Range.

    Comprehensive Liquid - commonly referred to as simply Flourish - is pretty much an all-in-one fertiliser, containing most elements for successful plant growth.

    Root Tabs - pretty much the same as the Comprehensive Liquid, except they go in the substrate for root feeders.

    Excel - is a liquid carbon. It can be used to supplement carbon dioxide (CO2) in the absence of a dedicated CO2 setup (DIY or pressurised)

    * Nitrogen (N) - is a liquid nitrogen supplement for low nitrate systems

    * Phosphourous (P) - is a phosphate supplement

    * Potassium (K) and Iron (Fe) - potassium and Iron supplements

    * Trace - are trace elements for the lesser elements

    Those marked with * should only be used if a particular deficiency is identified. Generally a solid regime of using the Comprehensive Liquid and/or Root Tabs should get you through most. In High Demand systems, dosing the *'s may be necessary too.

    A note on supplementing: If you're not testing for the specific property/element, don't dose it into your aquarium.

    API provide test kits for most elements, for Iron I use the Seachem MultiTest.

    Also - comprehensive liquid generally has the required amount of Iron for most setups. Unless your Iron uptake is particularly high, you may not require the specific supplement.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  7. stashattackValued MemberMember

    Thanks Ryan.

    How would I test for the *'s in my tank water? I have the master kit from API but obviously it does not have tests for these elements.

    I believe I am good on P because I have a nice piece of slate in my tank and I heard, if I remember correctly, leach P into the tank.

    Another question, I don't have a CO2 system in place, so should I use both Excel and Comprehensive in tandem? Or should I just use one or the other?
  8. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    You can test
    N with a nitrate test. Nitrogen is a form of nitrate (in loose terms, for the simplicity of this discussion)

    P is tested with a Phosphate test kit (PO4)

    K I've never tested (I rely on the plants to tell me).

    Iron has it's own test kit.

    Trace elements you possibly wouldn't need, unless it's a really high demand setup, the plants will tell you.

    Most of the major brands do test kits for these elements - API, Seachem, Sera, Salifert (I think)

    Excel and Comprehensive perform two very different things - Excel is a carbon supplement (CO2), Comprehensive is a fertiliser. So yes, using them in tandem is a good idea. Providing your setup requires both. Low-tech low-light setups typically get by on water changes.

    Also, for reference: https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/aquarium-plants/12744-deficiency-list-plants.html

    But don't blindly add supplements, make sure you watch your plants, if they show signs of a deficiency, then test for it, then supplement if required.

    Getting the balance of light, nutrients and CO2 wrong can result in more algae than you can deal with.
  9. stashattackValued MemberMember

    Thanks ryanr!

    This has been a lot of help. I'm new to the whole plant thing, and I know they can't feel but I want to make them as happy as my fishies!
  10. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    No problem. It's a bit confusing at first, but it gets easier.

    I should add too that you can also get simple CO2 tests. I know Sera do one. It's not as accurate as others, but can give you a broad indication of CO2 concentration in the water.

    And I should mention, the reason I've never tested for K is because I haven't seen a deficiency yet, so haven't bothered looking for a test kit ;) But again all the major brands do one.
  11. stashattackValued MemberMember

    Yes, plants sure boggle my mind. I've never had much luck of growing anything green anywhere >.< Hopefully I don't kill these plants.
  12. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    I would like to add the in a low light tank, Fluorish Comprehensive is usually all that is needed. This product is basically watered down Trace. It greatly lacks macros and iron.

    In a planted tank, to be able to monitor levels to find that critical balance, I recommend the following test kits:

    Nitrogen kits...ammonia, nitrite, nitrate
    GH, general hardness used to estimate calcium and magnesium levels.
    KH, carbonate. Plants will consume carbonate when there is not enough CO2 available in the water. When KH drops below 4 degrees, pH becomes unstable. As calcium carbonate is the primary form of KH, used in conjunction with GH to determine calcium levels
    Iron, used to determine iron concentration, but if using a Trace/micro product and help estimate dosage

    Potassium does not need to be tested as the plants will tell you when they are not getting enough. They get tiny pinholes in the leaves.
    CO2 kits are greatly over prices, and are not all that accurate. Last time I checked into these kits, they were over $100! Not worth the expense IMO. Instead I use the change in pH to estimate CO2 and plant growth.

    Low light tanks are very forgiving when it comes to supplements. High tech tanks have a much greater demand on dosages. In larger tanks I recommend using dry ferts because it allows you to customer the dosage to your tank's needs. For example, I have too much PO4 in my tap. So, I simply do not dose this component.
  13. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I'm currently using SeaChem Flourish Tabs for my plants in the substrate and Flora Pride for plants attached to driftwood and other ornaments (not in the substrate)

    Flora Pride can also be found at PetCo

    Root Tabs:

    My plants seem to be doing very well. Lots of new growth.

  14. stashattackValued MemberMember

    Thank everyone!

    I have a well lit tank, seeing as I just got a new T5HO light. You can see the plants and the light in the freshwater photos section of the forum.

    My corkscrew plants seem like the ones that are struggling. My water wisteria and java fern look better, but I'm sure they could use some more ferts to help with the growing.
  15. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Vals are root feeders. Are you using root tabs? How are these plants struggling? Dieing back? Growing algae? Holes? Yellow spots or other discoloration?
  16. stashattackValued MemberMember

    Growing algae, browning, and small holes. I haven't had time to ordered root tabs or flourish yet. School is killing me at this second.
  17. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Those are signs of severe deficiencies developing. If nothing else, pick up some Root Tabs at a local PetCo or PetSmart type store.
  18. stashattackValued MemberMember

    I ordered the bottled flourish, I'll probably head over to petsmart tonight and pick some root tabs up tonight.

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