Question about plant ferts
Do all live planted tanks need plant ferts to do well enough? I don't want to add something that I don't need to and it scares me a bit. I worry about the fish. Do I need ferts, and if I do which kind? I have been searching and I know many use the Flourish Excel but not sure what that is compared to other ferts...like types of fert tabs, etc. I am still reading on it. I have also read a thread on here where one had posted to this particular member's post not to use the Flourish Excel for his situation. When do you know you should use the Flourish Excel?
There are many more qualified to answer better than I am. I will say though, I bought Seachems Flourish root tabs as the swords and crypts will benefit highly from them. I also bought Floursish and Excel. I'm fairly sure I and you will need to dose occasionally with low tech tanks. I bought what most people recommend really. I bought the Excel to have. I'm not sure I'll need it or how often. Nat and B should be around soon to answer better than this old man can.
Well there's a few way's I can answer this for ya....
If you look at my aquarium log here I'd wanna say the plants int he pictures speak for themselves; all these tanks are set up w/out special substrate, no liquid ferts no sticks, no CO2.
That is simply due to the source water being mineral right and not soft (like RO water).
The 1 tank you see there that does get ferts is the "New 55g" with the Kissing Gourami's. I started using fert's for the 1st time after all these yrs now, last Dec.
What can I tell you between my 4 new tank of which only 1 receives ferts; while all 4 are growing great; I can not confirm you that there's a noticeable difference between the 3 "not fertilized tank" and the 1 that is. Matter of fact I'd wanna have to say my 45 grows quicker/ more then the 55g that's getting ferts.
That all said.... For plants it will dep on what plants, like Sword will need rot tablets as they're heavy root feeders; other plants like any stem plant (Your Vallis, Pennywort etc) they require liquid ferts.
Excel is a liquid carbon; this I'd use either A) if I have a plant tank only and no fish in there for CO2 or B) If I had a issue with black brush algae that's out of control then Excel is known to help there as well.
That all said; you'll find very differing opinions on this matter ranging from Not using them like me (cause I believe if all is fine and thriving why add something else to the water) to the opinion that ferts is a MUST HAVE and supposedly you won't be able to keep plants w/out them to the last 'category' that believe in a overdose theory.
What will work best for you I don't want to make that decision, I can only assist in offering all options out there and then you decide what makes most sense to you ;-)
Thanks for the quick response.
I think what I will do is see how it all goes without ferts and/or the Flourish Excel. I would rather not put anything in the tanks if I can get away with it....still have happy and healthy plants.
Two questions for you:
Why did you decide to use ferts in your new tank?
Was that a contribuing factor to the algae or did you start using the ferts because of the algae issue? I think you had the outbreak in Nov. so maybe you started using it in Dec. to help with the problem. ??
How do your swords do without the tabs? I do have Flourite at the bottom of my gravel so maybe that will help me a bit without the use of ferts.
With Flourite substrate you should not need additional substrate fertilizers. Whether or not you will need liquid ferts will depend upon how the plants respond to your conditions.
I do not recommend Excel in a new setup. It is a carbon supplement, not a fertilizer. The fish and biological processes provide CO2 which is the plants' preferred source of carbon, and there is more than you might think. I mentioned yesterday of my 33g spare plant tank that has been running with just plants, no fish, since July and the plants are doing very well; I dose liquid Flourish once a week, nothing else. Partial water changes also introduce a significant amount of CO2 into a tank. When you are attempting to establish a good balance with a new tank, the last thing you should be doing is fiddling with it by adding unnecessary stuff; as you say, unless something is necessary, leave it out.
Nitrogen comes from the fish and biological actions as well (as ammonia/ammonium primarily for the plants) so this is not needed as an additive. And that leaves minerals. Tap water may contain some, fish food contains some, and fish waste provides some. I always use liquid from the start because I have soft water with basically no mineral and I know from experience my plants will not thrive without it. Depending upon the plants, fish load and your tap water, something will likely be missing, but the question is, will it be missing enough to cause a deficiency. Observation of the plants during the first few weeks will probably answer this. If it is needed, a comprehensive liquid like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive, Kent Freshwater Plant, or Nutrafin's Plant-Gro are recommended by me. Be careful of the names, each of these manufacturers make several different products in their respective product lines, and these I've named are the basic comprehensive trace elements.
The less light over the tank (intensity), the less chance fertilizers will be needed; the more light, the greater the need for nutrients and you will not likely get away from liquid. Swords are heavy feeders, and the enriched substrate may or may not be sufficient for them; observation will tell you.
They're doing fine; And I thought at first the narrowleaf chain sword building so much runners was because of the sticks used in the 55g...until I took the acess one's out and put them in the shrimp tank....and what can I say they built runner's just as often/ quick there with no fert stick :-?
The Flourite def helps root feeding plants (like the Swords) but doesn't do nothing (to my knowledge) for stem plants or floating plants.
I figured that was the case....regarding using the ferts in the one tank. I would have done the same thing. Good to hear on the swords and chains.
I definitely understand now how different type of plants get the nutrients. I am finding all of this very interesting. I am finding that by having live plants it gives me something else to watch...see it grow, etc. Whereas, fake plant just stay the same.
Yes it is indeed neat - Not only does it make your tank look more natural; but contrary to fake plants its a tank set up that's always changing its not "stiff" know what I mean?
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