06-13-2012, 12:42 PM
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On the pots question, I agree with using stem plants, crypts, aponogeton and lily (like Tiger Lotus) as these will be more likely to last in pots.
I would not myself think swords (Echinodorus species) would do well long-term unless the pots are huge. A single E. bleherae for instance in my tanks will within a year have a root system that extends up to a foot in diameter and down to the bottom of the tank. Echinodorus have immense root systems, and are heavy feeders. I would think that the plant would become highly rootbound in a pot in fairly short order.
On your second question, there is a difference between soil and root tabs. Soil is a substrate medium, like sand or gravel. Initially it may have some nutrient value, depending upon the soil, but this will become exhausted at some point. If nutrient fertilization is required, whatever the substrate, it should first be liquid since this supplies all nutrients that plants need, and some nutrients are taken up via the roots and some via leaves. Water passes through the substrate in a healthy tank, and nutrients are thus brought to the roots. Adding substrate fertilization (in addition to the liquid) to plants like swords will result in faster/thicker growth if everything else is balanced.