04-09-2013, 12:37 PM
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I can only speak for the enriched substrate I have personally used, which is Seachem's Flourite. I was very disappointed and would not waste the money again. Having said that, I accept that some other brands might be better, but depending upon what you now have for the substrate, and how long the tank has been running [this affects the effectiveness of any substrate], tearing it down to replace the substrate might gain you nothing.
All aquarium plants assimilate nutrients via both the roots and leaves. Substrate additives obviously only benefit plants rooted in the substrate, and then only for the nutrients normally taken up via the roots. Where I am leading with this, is that the first nutrient additives to use are liquid, or dry dissolved in water. These benefit all plants regardless, and are essential with respect to the nutrients taken up via leaves only. In many cases, these liquid fertilizers will be sufficient.
Some plants are heavy feeders, thinking here of Echinodorus species, tiger lotus, aponogeton. If these are present, substrate fertilizer tabs will normally provide the additional nutrients required in addition to the liquid fertilizer added to the water column.
You mentioned higher light, but not CO2. Carbon, as CO2, is the nutrient that can often be the first to give out unless CO2 diffusion is used. Be careful on the light, as higher light without added CO2 will not benefit plants all that much, and algae can easily take advantage as another member has found out [there are a couple of threads on this issue you might like to check out]. I would need to know the specific light and the tank dimensions before I can comment further on this balance, but I can assure you that achieving the balance is essential.