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gmate 10-13-2011 12:51 PM

API root tabs - let me know what you think
I have had API root tabs in both my tanks for about 10 days now, I haven't had any 'immediate' difference that's noticeable. I assume it'll take a few weeks/months to see increased growth. What ferts do you guys recommend for 'instant' or 'quick' results that won't foul my water up too much?

Byron 10-13-2011 06:38 PM

Remember that the light plus 17 nutrients have to be roughly balanced in order for plants to photosynthesize. More of one over another nutrient, or more light/more nutrients, will not result in more growth unless that was insufficient to begin with.

Having said that, I noticed remarkable growth in swords when I first used Nutrafin's Plant-Gro substrate "stick" fertilizer. I can't find these any longer. I now use Seachem's Flourish tabs. I did not notice any "sudden" change, but over weeks the swords seemed to be growing larger.

I obviously can't compare API tabs since I've not personally used them, but from the ingredients [limited to nitrogen, phosphate, potash and iron], there are a lot of essential micro-nutrients missing. From my recollection, Flourish tabs have all of them.

A comment on the nitrogen. Most aquatic plants prefer to assimilate primarily ammonium as their source of nitrogen, and they do this via the leaves, not the roots. So putting nitrogen down in the substrate seems somewhat pointless.

Theoretically, none of the substrate fertilizers get into the water column directly so they should not impact water quality. The idea is that as they release the nutrients into the water in the substrate, the plant roots take up the nutrients.

efeene 10-19-2011 06:14 PM

This topic sort of hits on one I was curious about for my own planted tank - kind of - haha. Is it best to combine BOTH Seachem Flourish tabs under the substrate for Swords and such PLUS a liquid fertilizer like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive? Overkill or beneficial? I have a lot of plants (Water Sprite, Anachris, 2 large swords, 2 Anubias Barteri, a Red Wendts Crypt, Java Fern, Wisteria, a Chain Sword narrow leaf, and a Water Lily on crack haha ) in my 29 gallon tank with only 7 Harlequin Rasbora, 7 Cherry Barbs, and 3 Oto Cats. Want to make sure the plants have enough to do well but wasnt sure if the Liquid Fert is enough or if I should be adding tabs as well. Thanks for any help.

gmate 10-19-2011 06:22 PM

I'd never use root tabs again by API. They were the cause of a VERY large bacterial bloom in my 10g since starting the thread, and I underdosed according to the instructions. No issues in my 20gallon. And as Bryon has mentioned in other topics, I'd prefer flourish.
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Byron 10-19-2011 07:37 PM

On the question of liquid and substrate fertilizer, it depends upon the plant species.

I have tanks with plain fine gravel or playsand substrates. These get one dose of Flourish Comprehensive weekly.

I have my 115g with playsand substrate, previously fine gravel. It gets one or sometimes two doses of Flourish Comp weekly; adding substrate ferts definitely helped the larger swords (Echinodorus major, Echinodorus cordifolius, Echinodorus bleherae), without question. These swords grew quite well before, but after the substrate there was a noticeable improvement.

I have one tank (70g) with Flourite enriched substrate. This has been a disappointment, especially considering the expense. Flourish Comprehensive once or twice weekly is needed. Apparently this is normal, the enriched substrate somehow uses the nutrients from the water column which have to be added. The growth of the swords is not that much better than it is in my other tanks with plain gravel or sand in which I also dose Flourish Comprehensive. It has now been over 6 months with Flourite, and I have yet to see any marked improvement. The pygmy chain sword is growing very fast, but it grows fast in the gravel and sand tanks too.

So, in answer to your question efeene, for large swords which are heavy feeders, yes, substrate tabs plus liquid. Substrate-rooted plants like crypts, Aponogeton and Vallisneria should be better with both too. Although I have grown Valls well without. But my Aponogeton do not last, which may be the substrate.


efeene 10-19-2011 07:52 PM

Excellent Byron thanks for your help.

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