07-09-2008, 09:12 AM
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I recently started my planted tank so I'm not exactly the voice of authority, but my planted 125 is doing good, the new plants are growing rapidly and have even started to reproduce after only 2 weeks. So here's what I'll say:
The hornwort, java moss, java fern, and if you can get them, anubias will grow just fine without the roots in the substrate, floating or anchored to a rock or something; so I guess they get their nutrients more from the water than from the dirt. That being the case you might have better luck with a liquid fertilizer for them rather than the root tabs. I have a bunch of corkscrew vals and they have lots of roots so the root tabs would probably be a good idea for them. Flourish Excel I read, after having already made the mistike, is harmful to vals. Lots of my vals' leaves died but there are new leaves sprouting up all the time and i dont think I lost any plants.
I think the carbon does take fertilzer out of the water, but if you dont use liquid fertilizer you'll probably be fine. It will take ammonia out that the plants use, but I'm sure they can get plenty before the filter gets it. Really though, if your tank is fully cycled, carbon is not needed unless you have a lot of heavy metals in your tap water. Carbon is more of a safety buffer for new tanks in my opinion.