Root tabs?
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:26 PM   #1
newb
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Root tabs?


Well, I've ordered my first bunch of aquarium plants; java fern (2), anubias nana, and vallisneria spiralis. May be a gamble with the val, been reading conflicting info regarding their care, but worth it b/c they were cheap enough. Also want to add a couple wendtii crypts and a sword, if I stick with my current setup which just includes pea gravel, would I get by with root tabs only? If so, how often do they need to be replaced? If not, what else is recommended?
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:05 AM   #2
jfynyson
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I had a similar question so I'll just in on this thread. I'll be setting up a full controlled CO2 next week (yeah finally !) and current only have struggling crytps & nana's. I just received aquariumplants.com aquafertz pellets (both iron & trace) and am wondering if that will suffice for decent growth in high light. I was told that should be just fine as most plants get their nutrients from their roots rather than leaves...just like land plants.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:42 AM   #3
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I, too, am pretty new to the planted tank - I posted this poll, which I found both surprising and helpful. Lots of experience around on this board... I had to remind myself that it's probably best to trust what you can find on a board like this instead of what you read on a page trying to sell a product.

At first I was doing just root tabs, but I've definitely noticed a benefit of using liquid Aqueon Plant Food.... and it has not contributed to algae growth (prob because I waited until I had high light and co2 fully up and running).

As I understand it, though, the AquaFertz tabs are meant for approx monthly placement (forget where I read that). I vacuum gravel about twice a month, so I was sucking up most of my tabs. I'm starting to get away from the tabs altogether now. I might place one at the base of a crypt now & again, or something that has lots of roots and is obviously a big root feeder.

One thing about co2, though - if you're anything like me, you won't be set up with it as quickly as you think. Hopefully you have a drop checker to see where your co2 concentration is - and that takes several hours to register. Even after you get your regulator assembled, solenoid on a timer, bubble counter installed, and reactor/diffuser set up, it's still going to take days to get the co2 bubbles per minute dialed in to that happy medium that makes both plants and fish happy... don't try to rush it!
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:14 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input on the CO2. I will be taking it slow. I do not have a drop check at this point and will reply on my pH controller and multiple KH checks. The KH has been very consistent later so that's one variable easily kept up with.

As for the root tabs, it was the aquariumplants.com team that mentioned the use of root fertilizing over water column ferts. Makes sense and they probably grow more plants than we'll ever see. So, at least at first, like you did, I'll stick with the root feeding and go from there. One variable at a time for us newbies. If the root feeding works well I'll stick with it if not then I'll be adding NPK to the water column.

Ever have any issues with an API NO3- test kit ? Just got mine today and got 0ppm (yellow vial) and been gettting consistent 3-5ppm PO3-4. My substrate is flourite & Eco-Complete but 5 yrs old & likely spent. Just added some laterite the other day to see if that helps at all until I get my CO2 & root pellets going.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:41 PM   #5
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Wow, it's so funny you mention the API NO3 kit!! I have been having the same issue - nitrate readings coming out at 0, or damn close, on my tank where [I think] I know better. This tank has been established for years. After I leave it sit for like 10-15min, it starts to show a little orangish color and not so absolutely yellow.
I just bought these off Amazon about a month ago.
Bottle 1: lot 17A0113 exp: 01/2018
Bottle 2: lot 18E0213 exp: 02/2018

Without beating the point to a bloody death, I'm gonna take a stab at trying to sell you on a drop checker:
When you do your ph/KH testing on your tank water, the reading can be affected by other buffers that are inevitably going to be there, from your tap water and from the addition of fish food and plant fertz.
With a drop checker, you will use a solution that's calibrated to 4dKH using only carbonate. You can trust that pH reading a lot more. The caveat is a drop checker is less precise. But it is more accurate. When you see yellow, you know to back off and/or start watching the fish closely. Blue = crank it up!
They can be had for pretty darn cheap -
this is the one I have and think it's swell this is the one I have and think it's swell
. Also consider the convenience they give you of a reading-at-a-glance. You can have peace of mind as you just walk by, on your way out the door, instead of having to sit down for 5 minutes and break out the kit.
/lecture

good luck!! keep us posted!
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