What fertilzer is good or not, how and when to use?
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What fertilzer is good or not, how and when to use?

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What fertilzer is good or not, how and when to use?
Old 12-02-2009, 04:41 PM   #1
 
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Post What fertilzer is good or not, how and when to use?

I have to say up front I never used fertilizer in the past, simply because I didn't want the plants to grow more then they already did. But I am considering it now, depending on how the new tanks take off with the different water I'm dealing with here, so I tried doing some researches and I have to admit there's about as many types of fert's out there then there is fish.

Sooo I was wondering, not only for me but maybe also for anyone else new to the fertilizer world if we could collect everybody's thought on this matter to guide people?

IMO (and pls correct me if this is totally off track) I believe if fert's 's are used, it got to be two different type a liquid one as well as these 'root tablets' as some plants (eg Swords) heavily feed via their root system).

  1. What do you say what to use (liquid only, root tab's only or both)?
  2. What product/ brand do you find works best?
  3. Side effects on fert's you use (e.g. can't use fertilizer XYZ with shrimps)?
  4. Last but not least, how would YOU define 'good' plant growth and not so good growth? Which I believe is important to know to then determine if you really need fertilizer, or just some or a lot.
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:30 PM   #2
 
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Aquatic plants require 17 nutrients in order to photosynthesize. These include carbon (which they obtain from CO2 mainly, or some species also from carbonates in harder water), nitrogen (as ammonium by preference, but less so as nitrates [for most species] and some believe nitrite as well), and various minerals. The carbon and nitrogen occur from the fish and biological processes, so that leaves the minerals that can occur in fish food, tap water, and such. Some are more essential than others; iron for example is mandatory especially for certain plants like Echinodorus. Without twice weekly liquid fertilization, my swords simply will not live; the leaves quickly yellow and die. I have over the past year carried out tests and without any question I need twice weekly fertilization to keep the swords growing. Once I added substrate fertilizer (root sticks) the growth increased three-fold within 2-3 months. I'll come to this more below. The point here is that for most of us, adding fertilizer is probably essential to obtain plant growth.

Liquid and/or root fertilizer mainly depends upon the species of plants. Aquatic plants all absorb nutrients from the water, mainly through the roots but also through the leaves in varying degrees depending upon species. "Roots" however are not always in the substrate; floating plants and plants that attach to wood and rock do not have substrate roots, so obviously liquid fertilizer is the only practical solution. Stem plants develop roots all along the stems, so liquid also works best with these. Bog plants such as the majority of Echinodorus, Cryptocoryne, etc. are heavy root feeders from the substrate. Where all this leads is that in an aquarium with a mix of these different species, both liquid and substrate fertilization will benefit. However, from my own experience, liquid fertilizer alone will allow all aquatic plants to grow fairly well; but, adding substrate root tabs/sticks definitely increases the growth of swords, and I understand crypts as well--though I have not personally tried this yet; my SE Asian tank with the several crypt species only receives liquid at present.

It is also scientifically proven that the various nutrients must be in a quite specific proportion to each other. I can't possibly get into all this here, but Karen Randall, Peter Hiscock, Diana Walstad and numerous other authorities have written at length on the scientific evidence. It is also a well documented fact that excess of some nutrients can cause a deficiency in others due to the plants themselves. For instance, excesses of copper, manganese and zinc may induce iron deficiency and chlorosis. Potassium is believed to have a similar effect. An excess of these nutrients causes the plant to shift gears, so to speak, and shut down the intake of iron. Not to mention also that some nutrients in excess are simply toxic, as is copper to both fish and plants; they are killed outright when the amount of copper is at a certain level. And there are several other similar examples. This is why I personally do not advocate ad hoc dosing of various nutrients.

And that brings me to the available fertilizers. A comprehensive or complete liquid fertilizer provides all required nutrients and in balance. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium does this, as does the Kent Freshwater Plant Supplement. And having used both of these I can state that they do the job very well. There are some other similar products that I have not personally used so I hesitate to recommend as I have no direct experience. Neither of the two products mentioned has any side effects that I have observed or read about anywhere.

To your last question; I consider good plant growth to mean the plant is alive and producing (at whatever rate) new growth. Plants will grow faster in higher light with additional nutrients including CO2 and minerals. But this has to be weighed against the increased maintenance, perhaps shorter life-span if the plant literally burns itself out, and what effect does the aquarist want, etc. As long as the plants in an aquarium and healthy and growing, they are serving a useful purpose in cleaning the water better than any filter.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:22 PM   #3
 
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Had you ever tried using well water? Since you addressed the importance of Iron, many places are rich on Iron if the water comes from the well rather then the tap.

On the liquid fertilizer: Doesn't the majority of it get sucked into the filter quicker then the plants can absorb it or not? So liquid fert alone would be sufficient then IF I understand you correctly?

When I was reading up on various algae matters recently,I found several suggestions, that a excess in nutrients (too much fertilizer) will also enhance algae growth, however I couldn't find an real DETAIL, if this was just an idea/ assumption of aquarist's or rather tested/ documented facts?

I was aware slight elevated copper levels are highly toxic to shrimp (another reason I never used it)...based of that wouldn't it then be safer to only use let's say half the recommended dose of fertilizers?

Seachem's and Kent Freshwater are pretty much both the same then, or both as beneficial, same product different manufacturer? Or would you say one "works" better then the other?

See now and that's honestly where I get confused. My new set up, they're growing and given the different types of plants (Stem vs Swords for example) some grow faster or slower then others. The Ludwiga has litterly taken off after about 1 week just 'sitting' there and now its really growing WELL. There's no brown spots or leaves turning yellow and the initial hair algae I had at the very beginning is subsiding since the stem plants started taking off. Even the Vallis & Sagittaia started having mini-runners.
So just by looking at it, i'd say they're doing fine and leave them alone, on the other hand thou it's been documented in numerous places that plants HAVE TO HAVE ferts!?

Sorry so many more questions, but I really want to know as much as possible about fertilization before attempting to put anything 'chemical' in my tank.

Edit: How often do you use it? Or do you have different schedule/ dose for each tank?
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:32 AM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
Had you ever tried using well water? Since you addressed the importance of Iron, many places are rich on Iron if the water comes from the well rather then the tap.

On the liquid fertilizer: Doesn't the majority of it get sucked into the filter quicker then the plants can absorb it or not? So liquid fert alone would be sufficient then IF I understand you correctly?

When I was reading up on various algae matters recently,I found several suggestions, that a excess in nutrients (too much fertilizer) will also enhance algae growth, however I couldn't find an real DETAIL, if this was just an idea/ assumption of aquarist's or rather tested/ documented facts?

I was aware slight elevated copper levels are highly toxic to shrimp (another reason I never used it)...based of that wouldn't it then be safer to only use let's say half the recommended dose of fertilizers?

Seachem's and Kent Freshwater are pretty much both the same then, or both as beneficial, same product different manufacturer? Or would you say one "works" better then the other?

See now and that's honestly where I get confused. My new set up, they're growing and given the different types of plants (Stem vs Swords for example) some grow faster or slower then others. The Ludwiga has litterly taken off after about 1 week just 'sitting' there and now its really growing WELL. There's no brown spots or leaves turning yellow and the initial hair algae I had at the very beginning is subsiding since the stem plants started taking off. Even the Vallis & Sagittaia started having mini-runners.
So just by looking at it, i'd say they're doing fine and leave them alone, on the other hand thou it's been documented in numerous places that plants HAVE TO HAVE ferts!?

Sorry so many more questions, but I really want to know as much as possible about fertilization before attempting to put anything 'chemical' in my tank.

Edit: How often do you use it? Or do you have different schedule/ dose for each tank?
On the liquid fertilizer: Doesn't the majority of it get sucked into the filter quicker then the plants can absorb it or not? So liquid fert alone would be sufficient then IF I understand you correctly?

No. Nutrients include carbon (CO2), nitrogen and minerals; the latter is what we add via fertilizer and this remains in the water until either plants/algae use them or we remove them with a partial water change. Filters do not remove minerals. Good water conditioners will detoxify heavy metals in tap water.

When I was reading up on various algae matters recently,I found several suggestions, that a excess in nutrients (too much fertilizer) will also enhance algae growth, however I couldn't find an real DETAIL, if this was just an idea/ assumption of aquarist's or rather tested/ documented facts?

Algae is a plant and all plants require nutrients and light. In a planted tank we try to balance the light and nutrients (and remember, carbon from CO2 and nitrogen are nutrients supplied by the fish and not the aquarist) so the plants make full use and algae doesn't. Plants will grow up to the factor that limits them; if this is CO2, then the additional light and other nutrients will encourage algae because algae is better able to obtain carbon from carbonates. Any similar unbalance will have similar results. The nutrients is a catch-22. Reducing nutrients to combat algae is probably counter-productive, because it prevents plants from getting the necessary nutrients, so algae only increases further. There must be a balance, and light should be the limiting factor.

I was aware slight elevated copper levels are highly toxic to shrimp (another reason I never used it)...based of that wouldn't it then be safer to only use let's say half the recommended dose of fertilizers?

You missed my point that a fertilizer must be a balanced one; if it is, then everything is in balance. It is only those aquarists who start dosing ad hoc nutrients that may run into this problem. In the balanced fertilizers I suggested there is not enough copper to hurt anything, provided you don't overdose. Once or twice a week. In Amano's setups, these are added every day, but the light is many times more intense and there is added CO2 to balance. Increased plant growth will use the nutrients. It all has to balance.

Seachem's and Kent Freshwater are pretty much both the same then, or both as beneficial, same product different manufacturer? Or would you say one "works" better then the other?

I know they both worked for me. They both have a balance of nutrients. The nutrients or the proportion to each other may be different between the two. This is not an exact science. Plants need X, Y, Z and in approximate proportions; these two provide that. And there are undoubtedly others that do, there is one available in the UK that I have looked into for another member and from the specs on the website it seemed fine (similar, although the proportions were slightly different, but close, e.g., copper was .03% in one and .02% in another).

See now and that's honestly where I get confused. My new set up, they're growing and given the different types of plants (Stem vs Swords for example) some grow faster or slower then others. The Ludwiga has litterly taken off after about 1 week just 'sitting' there and now its really growing WELL. There's no brown spots or leaves turning yellow and the initial hair algae I had at the very beginning is subsiding since the stem plants started taking off. Even the Vallis & Sagittaia started having mini-runners.
So just by looking at it, i'd say they're doing fine and leave them alone, on the other hand thou it's been documented in numerous places that plants HAVE TO HAVE ferts!?

Plants have to have nutrients...they don't care where they come from. Your tap/well water, fish food, fish and bacteria/biological actions...all this provides or may provide nutrients. My tap water is zero hardness which means there is absolutely nothing in it; and I know if I don't add fertilizer the swords die, period.

Edit: How often do you use it? Or do you have different schedule/ dose for each tank?

I have experimented three times during the past 14 months. I was dosing Flourish twice a week. I cut back to once a week; within 1-2 weeks, the swords began developing yellow leaves. I increased back to twice a week; within 1-2 weeks the new growth was again green. The yellowing leaves died, they do not recover, but new growth which is always the key was green and lush. After 3-4 months, I tried this again, and exactly the same result; this second experiment at reducing liquid fert was because I inserted root tabs next to the larger swords, and I was checking to see if this would provide adequate nutrients. While the swords began (and have continued) to grow remarkably more [2-3 times larger than those without root sticks in the same tank], the liquid was still providing something they need. In October I noticed algae increasing a bit plus the plants in the 90g were showing some nutrient deficiency which I concluded was an excess of magnesium [won't go into the reason this occurred, but it did], so I again cut back to once a week to get things back in balance. Again some yellowing leaves, but the magnesium issue cleared up and I went back to twice weekly and now the swords are green again.

The other point that must be understood is that there is variation in this as in the light. When plants exhibit yellowing leaves, something is missing--it may be inadequate light (intensity or duration), or lack of one or more minerals, or not enough CO2, or ...whatever. Member after member posts something like "my plants are dying, I can't grow plants..." and there is a simple answer, something is missing. Providing everything in balance from the start should result in good plant growth. So, the best advice to a beginner is to explain what's needed and how to achieve it easily. This is more likely to guarantee success.

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Old 12-03-2009, 11:06 PM   #5
 
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Byron, have I told you lately how much I like and enjoy your posts?
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:51 AM   #6
 
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So def which ever liquid fertilizer is used should be added to the tank AFTER w/c then to allow the plants to feed till the next weeks w/c.

YES thank you! I think I must have posted about this a bazillion times here throughout numerous threats that its not ONLY the light or ONLY the fish or ONLY the fetrs that its is the combo of ALL and its proper balance. IMO your plants will only then thrive properly if the tank is balanced on all its needs (light, nutrients, stocking list/ overstocked) and / or same for algae, what I learned so far indicates to me that algae is only then become a problem when one thing or another is out of balance in tanks (i mean the severe algae outbreaks). I felt stupid by now repeating myself about the balancing matter, so I'm real glad I'm not the only one with this view!

Amano's tank are a whole nother level of planted tanks IMO that many of us may not ever get close to housing in our own homes. Also a lot his serious high-tech set up show tanks often don't have any fish in them or only a handful, not the type of stocking most of us would like to see.
Don't get me wrong, I do adore Amano tanks, I mean really who wouldn't they're simply THE most beautiful set ups. But on the other hand I don't personally would like to see the high tech set up for my tanks, I like matters more natural (no chemicals, no machinery others then slow filters etc).
Thou I also have to say, its been tickling my fingers for a LONG time to set up a planted tank only, a single tank used for aqua- scaping souly and no fish keeping.

What I meant with the Copper matter was not foolish behavior and OD'ing your tank, that's just silly and asking for troubles obviously. But the amount of Copper that is within liquid fert's to be harmful to shrimp at low levels already (in the scale of 0.0XX mg/l).

I was just also reading up on "Nutrafin Plant Gro" have you had any experience with that? The product is promoted because of itsessential micro-nutrients.

True I recall when I first posted here with facing the soft water, which is entirely different to what I had before, that when you posted a reply you pretty much had levels that equal R/O water from the tap. So in that case really having NOTHING in the water for the plants I really can see the must-have fertilizer there. That's why I really am coming to the conclusion here the reason I never seen a need for fert's with the old tank plants growing so well was the combo of tap & well water mixture I used, which was high in Fe and I'd assume more other minerals and nutrition as well (the well water that is).

Which does bring me to my next question, apart from the Fe test (which mine unfortunately did not survive the move heat/ cold and I have not been able to find a new one yet here) is there other tests to actually measure how rich or not each of my tanks are as far as needed nutrition? Cause to only test and know the Fe level is helpful but not really if it comes to ALL plants needs. I know to calculate the CO2 off the pH & KH readings, so there's at least 2 factors for my tank I could test - but is there more?

As for lights, I think that's an extremely crucial factor because in my larger tanks I always run 2x4ft fluorescent bulbs, so this set up allows me for 2 different types light and that works wonderful for me. Now in any smaller tanks (20g or less) the set up is generally limited to 1 bulb only and there I found unless you have THE best bulb set up in there its not working well as you can't provide the mixture like in the large tanks, so that, when I had initial set up all the lil tanks back in the day was a lil unsatisfying until I found the proper lighting solution for them.
Also I find (and this is just really an experience and not something I scientifically have proof of) is that red leaf plants appear to be much more "light-hungry" then the other ones that only have green (e.g. the Ludweiga or Red Tiger Lotus).

I am going to look to find the liquid fertilizers you mentioned. What brand/ product are you using for the root tablets for the Sword, I def want to get something for the Swords! They're not discoloring or have any dark spots or anything that would hint at me that they're dieing off however they're also not thriving as well as I'm used to from my old ones. Which can either have to do with the non-established root system and/ or lack of nutrition for them or both They do develop new shoots, but VERY VERY slow, specially compared to the growth in the rest of the tank.
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
 
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On another lil maybe even silly side note: Has anyone else noticed a different plant growth and more vivid colors in tanks with sponge filters vs tanks with Canisters HOB etc?
It seems to me that the 10g with the sponge any and all plants are doing even better then in the other tanks with the Canisters, specially the Java has simply taken OFF in this tank vs the 45g.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:18 AM   #8
 
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April, I had to do a new post rather than "Quote" due to length, so this is in response to your second last post. Your original is in italics for reference.

Amano's tank are a whole nother level of planted tanks...

Personally I do not like the style depicted in Mr. Amano's planted tanks, simply because they are artistic creations and not habitat oriented, if you follow me. They are beautiful, no doubt, and the plants and fish are thriving and healthy, no doubt again. I just don't go for that "look" in aquaria. Similar to my back garden, I think it is called the English cottage garden look, shrubs and perennials all over the place with paths among them, not a formal layout. But this is just my preference, and our tanks should reflect what we want. I also make use of nature rather than gadgetry and paraphernalia.

I was just also reading up on "Nutrafin Plant Gro" have you had any experience with that? The product is promoted because of itsessential micro-nutrients.

I use the Nutrafin Plant-Gro sticks, and they are incredible. I have never used the liquid, nor even seen it locally. Another member asked me about this product recently, and I suggested he let us know how it worked.

Which does bring me to my next question, apart from the Fe test (which mine unfortunately did not survive the move heat/ cold and I have not been able to find a new one yet here) is there other tests to actually measure how rich or not each of my tanks are as far as needed nutrition? Cause to only test and know the Fe level is helpful but not really if it comes to ALL plants needs. I know to calculate the CO2 off the pH & KH readings, so there's at least 2 factors for my tank I could test - but is there more?

I never test for these things. From research I know what plants require, and from my 20 years with planted aquaria I know it works. Back in the 1990's I bought a CO2 test and an iron test, never understood the things anyway, and the plants were obviously thriving, so I chucked them. Waste of time. If your plants are growing, they're fine; if not, find out what's missing/wrong. As I often mention, it takes some experimenting to get that balance down, but once you do, you're home free.

As for lights, I think that's an extremely crucial factor because in my larger tanks I always run 2x4ft fluorescent bulbs, so this set up allows me for 2 different types light and that works wonderful for me. Now in any smaller tanks (20g or less) the set up is generally limited to 1 bulb only and there I found unless you have THE best bulb set up in there its not working well as you can't provide the mixture like in the large tanks, so that, when I had initial set up all the lil tanks back in the day was a lil unsatisfying until I found the proper lighting solution for them.
Also I find (and this is just really an experience and not something I scientifically have proof of) is that red leaf plants appear to be much more "light-hungry" then the other ones that only have green (e.g. the Ludweiga or Red Tiger Lotus).

Light is not complicated, but some make it so or fail to understand the basics. In another thread someone recently took a jab at me over this again, and that's fine, he obviously does not understand what is being said. It is basically true that plants will "live" under almost any type of light (with some limitations) but there are several critical aspects to this.

First, plants absolutely require blue and red; as long as the light has blue and red, plants will grow under it. And blue light penetrates water better than red and green; this is well know to marine hobbyists who can't grow corals without blue light, and marine light is very high in blue (actinic, etc).

But I aim for the least amount of light over my tanks, primarily for the fish. Forest fish come from dimly-lit waters, and they do not like bright light; such fish pale or are not as brilliant under brighter light, and that means they are stressed and I've written much about the effects long-term of stress. To provide the dimmest amount of light possible, you have to ensure it accents what the plants require. A "ordinary" tube will do this if it is bright enough; my goal is for less brightness, so I select tubes that provide the needed light. If the tube is weak in blue, it has to be much stronger to provide the intensity through the water.

Blue, red and green to balance for a natural appearance of fish and plant colours. And the scientific studies have proven that plants respond best to full spectrum and cool white combined. This is not rocket science; the blue and red is in the full spectrum, the cool white accents blue slightly (the colour best able to penetrate water) and the green is in the full spectrum to balance. Under full spectrum alone plants grew slower, under warm white (higher in red but much less blue) they grew the slowest.

So, to achieve my goal of having as little light intensity as possible yet providing for good plant growth, I use full spectrum plus cool white on dual-tube tanks and full spectrum alone on single tube tanks [the latter because I want the balanced appearance which cool white alone wouldn't give].

On your red plants, they need more intense red light to grow, which is why they do better with higher warm light in the mix. Like all things we see, plants appear the colour they are because they reflect that colour of light. Green plants reflect green light to appear "green" to us. Which is why they will not grow under green light unless it is very intense (the blue and red are minimal). Similarly, red plants appear red because they reflect red light, so the light has to be more intense to provide enough for the plants to use after they reflect some of it.

I am going to look to find the liquid fertilizers you mentioned. What brand/ product are you using for the root tablets for the Sword, I def want to get something for the Swords! They're not discoloring or have any dark spots or anything that would hint at me that they're dieing off however they're also not thriving as well as I'm used to from my old ones. Which can either have to do with the non-established root system and/ or lack of nutrition for them or both They do develop new shoots, but VERY VERY slow, specially compared to the growth in the rest of the tank.

This is solely due to the nutrients. Swords are heavy feeders, and primarily from the roots because in nature they are mostly bog plants. I use Nutrafin's "Plant-Gro" sticks. They claim to last a year, they are less expensive, and they certainly work. Previously the growth was consistent, lush green, fine to me; I added the stick and within three months the plant tripled in size. I only realized this when I moved the plants from the former 90g into the 115g in July; three Echinodorus major in the 90g were moved, one was three times the size of the other two, and tangled in the roots of the largest I found the Plant-Gro stick. The other two had no stick near them. Identical plant, in the same tank. Conclusion is obvious. And the same happened when I moved the two E. bleheri, I added a stick next to each in the 115g in July and now they are twice the size they were, and they had been in the 90g for a year.

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Old 12-05-2009, 10:22 AM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
On another lil maybe even silly side note: Has anyone else noticed a different plant growth and more vivid colors in tanks with sponge filters vs tanks with Canisters HOB etc?
It seems to me that the 10g with the sponge any and all plants are doing even better then in the other tanks with the Canisters, specially the Java has simply taken OFF in this tank vs the 45g.
I haven't experimented (same conditions in two tanks to observe...). But my surmise would be it is the water flow. In another thread (or two) I commented about plants not growing as well under faster water flow/current. It has to do with depleted CO2, increased oxygen (plants have more difficulty assimilating nutrients with more water movement) and nutrient take-up in general. Just a guess, but it seems likely this is the reason. Your sponge filter is not going to be moving the water around as much as the canister.

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Old 12-05-2009, 10:53 AM   #10
 
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ApriL!? Are you givin me new names

I like Amano style for a "show tank", but as you have seen from pictures, nothing I'm going for in my FISH tanks, cause IMO fish and their needs (or shrimp for that matter) should come first.
You know like large DW, leaf's that kinda set up is what I like for my fish.

Reason I asked about the Nutrafin is mainly because I had seen it in the store here before, while I hadn't seen Seachem's what you recommended...You know I have a lil hard time getting my hands on some prodcts here, so I'm trying to find alternatives that are good too. Hadn't seen plant sticks, but I wasn't really looking hard enough I guess, so I will keep my eyes open for those (I want some for the swords).

Well for the most part all new plants are thriving well, thou some are 'slower' then others and may possibly do better with a little addition of fert's.
The only reason I asked about tests: Judging from the plants in the tanks after few weeks now, obviously between water & fish I already have a certain level of nutrition for them in the tanks, if I was to give them full dose liquid fert's now I'd be worried to overdose.
I think I'll get sticks for the Swords and some liquid and dose a little and see how they react (start slow and work my way to 'ideal' know what I mean).
So how much sticks do you use? One per plant, or just push them down the substrate in-between plants? And then add new one's, once per year if I understand you correctly?

Well I donno about plants living in 'any' light, I'd not back that up, but I think I know what post you're referring to. I do believe however (just like about anything else in the tank world) there's more then one options that's properly working for plants. I know the new set up I chosen with the new bulbs for ALL tanks and ditching the old 'standard' one's works great for me.
Its like the old myth about the 2w/g matter - Thinking back I wanna say NON of any & all of my tanks EVER had that and surprisingly they had a excellent plant growth, why is that with the lower wattage...because I had the proper spectrum plants needed!

Absolutely Byron! And its not only the light that makes a difference in certain fish's behavior, but also the substrate that's why you see most my tanks set up with dark substrates (fine gravel or sand).
Yea that's the combo I have over the big tanks. Now on the 10g due tot he way the hood is built with these screw in's all I found that was better then these darn yellow lights that were in there at first are "Daylights" from Bright effects. Judging by eye sight looks a gazillion times better in there now and when I had to get in and cut the stem plants yesterday - The plants are liking it a lot more too (The java moss has TAKEN OFF since I exchanged the lights). And on top they're the energy bulbs so while giving off 40W they only use 7watts to do it, so that's a win win on all sides so far.

So far, I will leave the current set up with the add of fert's soon. If over time I notice the Red Tiger Lotus isn't doing as well as it should I'll exchange bulbs, but I think (from the past tanks) this will work just fine.

I have been making a list actually over several items that I want/ need from the store incl new plants for nano set up, I was planning on a cross-state LFS hunt this weekend, but being hammered with snow now, maybe I'll wait till next week. I just HOPE I'll be able to find fet's we've discussed here, I'd rather not get something unknown.

I meant to ask you...I don't recall the name/ brand but I often noticed people discuss usage of a product called "Excel" what are its pro's / con's? Should I consider getting this too or just start with the sticks & liquid and see where this takes me first?
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