10-19-2011, 07:37 PM
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On the question of liquid and substrate fertilizer, it depends upon the plant species.
I have tanks with plain fine gravel or playsand substrates. These get one dose of Flourish Comprehensive weekly.
I have my 115g with playsand substrate, previously fine gravel. It gets one or sometimes two doses of Flourish Comp weekly; adding substrate ferts definitely helped the larger swords (Echinodorus major, Echinodorus cordifolius, Echinodorus bleherae), without question. These swords grew quite well before, but after the substrate there was a noticeable improvement.
I have one tank (70g) with Flourite enriched substrate. This has been a disappointment, especially considering the expense. Flourish Comprehensive once or twice weekly is needed. Apparently this is normal, the enriched substrate somehow uses the nutrients from the water column which have to be added. The growth of the swords is not that much better than it is in my other tanks with plain gravel or sand in which I also dose Flourish Comprehensive. It has now been over 6 months with Flourite, and I have yet to see any marked improvement. The pygmy chain sword is growing very fast, but it grows fast in the gravel and sand tanks too.
So, in answer to your question efeene, for large swords which are heavy feeders, yes, substrate tabs plus liquid. Substrate-rooted plants like crypts, Aponogeton and Vallisneria should be better with both too. Although I have grown Valls well without. But my Aponogeton do not last, which may be the substrate.