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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2012, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Question New to live plants and have a question...

I am re-working my 55gallon tank. I am planning a pool filter sand as the substrate appx 1.5" deep. Looking to add low light plants, anubias and java ferns attached to wood and rocks. Some crypts in the sand. I have heard people mention root tabs.

Is this something to use to establish the plants in the substrate or an ongoing task of regular maintenance. Any guidance is appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2012, 12:12 PM
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Some sands are considered inert, some are not. Although sand has a low cation exchange (CEC)capacity it makes a great substrate bc of its small particle size. Essentially you would need to add nutrients to a tank in either the form of liquid fertilization or root tabs every so often or layer an aquarium bed with more nutrients, for example laterite clay with a higher CEC or miricle grow organic potting soil MGOPS. Then top with a layer of sand. Most people prefer to do all of the above. What works for everyone is different find what works for you and stick with it. Although for low light sand with root tabs should work just fine. Be careful your sand doesn't get to compact though bc then you could have areas of anaerobic build up.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2012, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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I do have some Flourapride liquid fertilizer from tetra. Would this suffice or should I use a combination of the liquid and root tabs?

Do you place the root tabs under the substrate near your plants?

Let's say I had 5 plants planted in the substrate and the rest were tied to wood / rock or floating. I assume the liquid would benefit the floaters and tied plantings... and root tabs to feed the rooted plants? Sounds logical to me but just want to get a plan of action together.

My train of thought also tells me to get the substrate and hardscapes set up and stock back into place and stabilize before planting anything??
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2012, 08:45 PM
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If you are going to fill your tank with plants, then it would probably be better to break up and disperse the root tabs, and keep them as close to the bottom as possible so it doesn't all leach out into the water column right away.

If you are only having a couple plants/clusters, then it would be better to use fewer near the plants.

For a low-tech, I wouldn't worry quite as much about dosing the water column, the fish will probably take care of this for you.

I've found it easier to plant things when the tank is empty (or nearly so), and then fill.
Java fern and Anubias are great. pretty tolerant plants, and I like how they eventually just cling to the wood/rocks.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2012, 10:36 PM
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See if you plants have any deficiencies then just dose the water for those. Other then that don't over dose liquid ferts or algae will be a big problem like they said fish and fish food account for a small amount of ferts already.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-04-2012, 03:16 AM
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I use flourish tabs in my tank. I place the tablets at around 10cm apart under my coral sand. And the only things I add as 'ferts' is flourish carbon everyday. The rest the fish takes care ofClick image for larger version

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