WOW!!! This Stuff is as Advertised
I was going to wait four weeks and give this product a review, whether it was good, bad or indifferent, I was going to give an honest critique to the membership. But, the results have been more than I could have hoped for.
I did a yearly clean up of a 29g planted tank. The plants in this tank are "nutrient hogs". Three good sized Amazon swords, including the mother plant, and many of her prodigy and a big Anubius barterii. The plants were struggling after I set the tank back up. Leaves were "hazing" (becoming transparent), browning out, and just dying back. I had done as I always have done, used root tabs and dosed dry ferts. The situation was not improving. It was to the point that I thought I might lose control of the tank. "Root shock" is always a problem when I do a massive yearly cleaning but this time it was in the critical stages. I wasn't about to give up and was looking to either find another plan or move the plants to another established tank.(Those are not hard to find in this house.) I have had the "Mama" sword for over 5 years and, just like some of us with our longer lived fish, I was not going to give up on keeping her healthy. I decided to give Pfertz a try. I had a control tank, the 29g, all ready to go. I new that this would be a nasty test, probably even unfair, but if the stuff worked......
I spoke to Alex, the pfertz guy, and informed him of my intentions. I ordered the product and received it on the 7th of February. In the interim of ordering and receiving the order, I got ambitious and did a yearly cleaning of my 180g blackwater tank. I don't know what got into me, I am the last of the great procrastinators when it comes to these yearly deals. This tank also has a large Amazon sword mother plant and an Anubius, but does not have quite the concentration of "hogs" that the 29g has. The plants settled back in much better than the 29g. So my plan was to have a second control tank. And that tank is much higher tech and a blackwater tank. So the conditions would be extremely different.
The 29g is a no frills, low tech tank. No CO2 injection, no light cycling, nothing other than Fluorite mixed with gravel, a ugf with power head, power filters, a single tube T5 aquarium light fixture with a PlantLife bulb, and a heater. Pretty much a standard deal.
The 180g on the other hand, is about as high tech as one can get. CO2 injection, lights are cycled via a timer(as is the CO2) and include a 28 day program for moon lighting, substrate is Eco-Complete for Planted Tanks About 3" deep, a reverse flow ugf filtering system, overall the filtering system is "multi-layered" with (2) Fluval 3+ internal power filters, (4) Marineland 1140 powerheads with reverse flow adaptors, (2) Emperor 400 power filters and (2) Magnum 350 canisters below. Lighting is provided using T5 high out put fixtures and bulbs. I can't tell you all of the details on the bulbs. They are on right now and I'm feeling lazy.
Anyway, the product arrives. Like a kid at Christmas, I ripped open the box. It was well packed. The packaging of the individual bottles is nice. Each is labeled, has easy to follow directions, and comes in a 500ml squirt bottle with a locking pump. Pretty neat because when you are finished dosing, you can lock the pumps to prevent any accidental discharge. Especially great if you store your chems and ferts in a cabinet drawer like I do. Time for the experiments to begin.
I started with the 29g. Looking at the tank, I decided to remove all distressed leaves. Unbelievably, I filled a 2g bucket with prunings and distressed leaves. The swords looked almost naked. I also did a 50% water change to remove any residual ferts from previous "dry" dosings and removed the carbon filter I had put in the power filter to help remove the same. I dosed per directions, 6 pumps per each 5g for the initial dose. I also retraced similar steps on the 180g except pruning was not needed. Here we go!!!!
Within 5 days, the plants perked up, color was becoming darker and the plants overall posture was noticeably better. The Mama sword even has four new plants coming. The 29g was, wholly, making a comeback. Let me also say here, that I do use root tabs too. But those were in the tank during the whole time, including immediately after the cleanup and the dosing of the dry ferts. I use AP tabs. They are a good, well priced sort of generic tab.
However, in the 13 days since the first dosing, I can say without any doubt that Pfertz made a difference. Not only do I think my plants are responding to the use of Pfertz, I do not have to mix dry fertilizers any more. With the number of tanks that I have to maintain, convenience and time saving are important.
Again, I will update this sometime around the 6th of March, at the end of four weeks. But I am impressed. So impressed that I just had to get the word out early. Folks, this product works. I've got to keep my civility here and be nice, or I'd tell you in "herefishy terms" just how much I like this product. Will I buy more? Now, that's a silly question.
Thanks for writing such a detailed review Bob and I'll look forward to hearing your update. It certainly has me sold and as soon as the product is available to UK customers I'll be ordering some!
So in terms of value for money, how does it compare? Sounds like a liquid fert to me, which usually means megabucks compared to dry...(incidentally, I'm just about to switch from liquid to dry for that very reason).
Is there a timeline when this stuff will be available in the UK?
When getting something(convenience and excellent results), you must give up something(money, but not that much as I think it is very affordable to most). As with any liquid fert versus dry fert it is more expensive. However, as I said in the review, my plants were not responding to my dry fert regimen. I was losing the battle. Do I claim for it to be a miracle fert? No. As with any product in this hobby, results may vary. But it did the job in my tanks and is continuing to enhance the health and looks of those two plant tanks.
If a member has a smaller tank(say 90g or smaller), wants the convenience of liquid ferts, this product is a must consider, if not a must buy. I have used other brands, Excel, Excel plus, AquaGreen, GreenLeaf, Jungle Products, among others and have never seen results like this. And I have been in this hobby a long time. Dosing is a snap. Push down once for every 5g of water in the tank. Squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt my 29g is done. No more trying to see that little thin line in the measuring cap of the other products. That's tough for me even with bifocals. No more measuring 1/16 of a teaspoon or weighing out 2.5 grams.
I stand here, now, telling you that I was going to lose that 29g tank. My usual routine was not affecting these plants. I do believe that this tank was going to be written off and never go through a yearly cleanup ever again. All of the years of experience, all of the info on the web was not going to help. The dry ferts I use, along with the plant tabs just weren't cutting it.
I will still use plant tabs, especially on the heavy root feeders but they will still get their daily dose of Pfertz.
All I can say is that you will really have to try it. It is worth the time and money to "lookie-see". Like I said before, I am quite taken aback by the results in my tanks. The plants just look stronger, more erect, and greener. Just flat out healthier. Besides, Alex has been gracious enough to offer a discount to our members.
Pfertz is just a product that you will have to try to believe. But, I am now a believer.
By the way, guys and gals, I paid for these products myself and took advantage of the discount. The turn time from ordering to receipt was very short. Alex's crew got the product out and to me as quickly as I have seen. If you have a planted tank, spend the money on this instead of buying that polypterus palmas or that $50 melon plecostomus at the lfs. You will not be disappointed.
anyone know if the Pfertz stuff is safe to use with inverts ? I have a couple planted tanks with cherry shrimp.
I just put a group of rcs in my 29g tank yesterday(Friday) morning. They are still moving around today. Many who keep both plants and inverts in their tanks, still fertilize their tanks. Many hardliners and economists, like myself, use and mix dry ferts. I see no difference using dry or liquid ferts. You may wish to follow the directions and not over fertilize, however. As with any product, I would imagine that too much of a good thing could still reach a toxicity level.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, my final chapter is late. I am hoping to get it written and pictures posted by the end of the week.
Well, I'm finally getting around to finishing my review's final chapter.
Let me first apologize to all of you and to Alex and the Pfertz gang for the tardiness of this final episode. Circumstances around the old "herefishy Castle" have been , at times, frantic. These past few months are the busy times for most lfs's. With their customers having to stay inside due to inclement weather, the lfs's busy time is during the cold months. And for those of you that don't know I raise and breed quite a few fish to ship to a few select lfs's.
It is also the time for me to bring in new species. Quite a chore. I am also adding plants to my montage of fish. Facilities had to be built for those. But, things will slow down here soon, I hope. I can then dedicate more time to some projects I want to finish and post on the forum.
I also apologize for not having "before" photos. The idea of critiquing Pfertz was an afterthought. I can say that before starting the use of Alex's product, I redressed my plants, stripping all dead, damaged, and otherwise compromised foliage from the plants. I thought of the critique only after seeing results. I can say that I filled a 2 1/2g bucket to overflowing with leaves. The tank look barren and not its usual green self.
Anyway, to get back to the task at hand. First, let me give you some data on the tank. It is a 29g low tech tank. It has a substrate consisting of a 50/50 mix of red/black aquarium gravel and Fluorite as do some other of my older planted tanks. It is filtered by a single 1/2 ugf plate with a single Marineland 550 power head. Additional filtration is provided by (2) Marineland 30 power filters. pH is a flat 7.0 straight from the tap. Temperature is maintained at 78 degrees. Fish include small angels, a small green severum, keyhole cichlids, and a dwarf sun cat. Plants in the tank are basically Amazon swords, an Anubius bartieri, an Apodogen ulvaceous, a few assorted crypts, and an Indian fern floated on the top.
When I first purchased Pfertz, I was not expecting the great results that I got. When I came up with the idea of giving a review for Pfertz, I had just given my 29g tank it's yearly maintenance a couple of weeks prior. I was maintaining my normal regimen of fertilizing with plant tabs and dry ferts. My plants were struggling to re-establish themselves.
I will be posting some pics as soon as the grandson returns my camera. The plants are, and have been for some time now, back to their full glory. Momma sword is casting off babies on her usual schedule. (I have over 30 young swords going to my lfs's this week). The Indian fern now covers the entire top of the 29g and had to be moved to a larger tank. It's replacement will need to be moved soon, also. It, too, is multiplying.
Alex and Pfertz offered an initial discount in February to members of the forum. Awesome, I thought. I took advantage of the discount when I purchased my initial ferts from them. They are now offering a new and improved formula which is twice a potent. They are also, now, offering another discount to FF members. So, I can say that I received no impetus to write anything other than my own experiences with this product. I am writing about what I spent MY money on. I am going to order more. For anyone to say that about anything is witness enough for any product.
Remember, this is a four item fertilzing system. Just one of the products by itself will not do the job. Using the entire lineup is the only way to go. I wish I'd been the one to figure out this group of products. Liquid ferts, especially pfertz, takes all of the measuring, work and worry out of fertilizng you planted tank. I still use tabs for my root hogs, but used in unison with Pfertz liquids, I have the complete and total package.
I am going to take advantage of a good, no, great, opportunity. Those of you that have planted tanks and use liquid fertilizers really need to take advantage of these products. They are idiot proof. Easy to use is an understatement here. An now with the increased potency, they are more economical for the larger tanks.
I'm sold. As soon as pFertz start to ship internationally, I'll be first in line!
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