root tabs vs column dosing
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:56 PM   #1
Dave-H
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root tabs vs column dosing


An interesting discussion happened about the best way to dose ferts for a low light, low tech tank and I wonder if anyone wants to chime in.

My low-light, low-tech tank is doing well, but I'm noticing some minor issues with some of the plants (i.e. some holes, etc.) and I think that I will try some light fertilization.

My assumption is that because I'm not doing EI, constant water changes, have CO2 or high light, I really don't need much in the way of ferts. I just want to make sure there are no major deficiencies so something simple should suffice.

It was recommended to me that I simply do a 50% water change every now and then, and then drop in a 50% dose of the high-light EI dosage for my tank size. That seems sensible enough - I WC about every 2 weeks.

For my root feeders, it was recommended to me that I do nothing, because the safe-t-sorb substrate was capable of absorbing/holding nutrients from the water column, and over time the substrate would become nicely fertilized because of the regular dosing.

It was then mentioned that it can go the other way, too. Root tabs can be used, and those ferts will slowly leach out into the water.

The premise was that ferts in the substrate get into the water, and the reverse. So, if you are in low light/low tech you don't need much ferts and one or the other is fine.

Any opinions on this? I like the convenience of root tabs (just apply them now and again) but I really dont' like it when the little granules resurface and scatter around the tank! It drives me crazy

Any ideas for a low-tech, low-light, low-fert approach much appreciated!
thanks, dave
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:12 PM   #2
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Seachem root tabs don't give off granules. It's a bit more pricier than the homemade/capsule root tabs though

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Old 11-14-2012, 07:45 PM   #3
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Seachem root tabs don't give off granules. It's a bit more pricier than the homemade/capsule root tabs though

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Ahh - root tabs that don't put out granules sounds good!!
I wonder if it's true that the root tabs will also add some ferts to the water..
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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For 2.5" deep substrate of 2-3 millimeter gravels + some Osmocote Plus capsules,
yes, IME. Soil based should be less I think, since the CEC is much better.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:35 PM   #5
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I was hoping for more information regarding the differences in Root Tabs, and Liquid Fertz/Column Dosing. It sounds like Dave-H is suggesting that one way or another the fertilizers are going to make their way into the water column, and if this is the case, why would one be better than the other?

Also (and I admit I have never used, or read up on, root tabs; but do they have to be buried, or are they like Algae Wafers where you just drop them into the tank and let them settle to the bottom on top of the gravel?

I finally managed to find an answer or two in some other threads; here are the threads that I thought were closely related (I don’t know if consolidation is possible, but it might make sense to put all this info in one thread….)

Do root tabs have to be buried in the substrate?
Root tabs, liquid ferts or both?
Root Tabs
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-08-2013 at 10:48 PM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:03 PM   #6
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I have always used strictly column dosing and have grown pretty much everything successfully.


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Old 08-08-2013, 05:32 PM   #7
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If you can identify the particular deficiences, it can save quite a bit of trouble and money.

When I moved my main tank from low to a low-medium light level and a few of my newer plants started having problems (poor color, holed leaves, etc) I figured I'd moved into needing heavier fertilization. So I bought macro and micro nutrients and added a series of daily ferts. Plant growth zoomed--but my lowest light plants started showing some problems and I was still seeing holes in the leaves.

After digging around for awhile I added potassium to the mix. Problem solved--except for the overwhelming growth and constant pruning. Then I got lazy, forgot to reorder the micro solution, the macro solution pump broke and I pretty much stopped dosing anything.

Overtime, my lower light plants perked up and the medium light plants' growth slowed down. When holes started showing up in my hygro again, I tried *just* the potassium. A week of daily dosing and the problem was fixed. Routine now is root tabs every quarter, 2-3x week half dose of potassium and a half dose of Flourish every week or so with wc's.

Which is soo much nicer than remembering a 2x a day fert routine!
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-H View Post
Ahh - root tabs that don't put out granules sounds good!!
I wonder if it's true that the root tabs will also add some ferts to the water..

this is True, root tabs can leach into water, this can fertilize both water and root, this method can be used as slow release water column if you dont like to dose liquid fert, but it is quite unstable, so you might dose too much in the water if you add too many root tabs.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fishmommy View Post
I have always used strictly column dosing and have grown pretty much everything successfully.
What do you use for your dosing, also I am curious about how much and how often. What size tank(s) do you use?
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:33 PM   #10
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I roll my own PMDD with CSM+B with added K and Mg. I use an auto doser to distribute the liquid throughout the day.
I currently run a 75g and a 180g
Abut 14 years ago I did the math for dosing amounts, but now I just watch my plants and adjust on the fly.


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