Fertilizer Questions (Substrate solved)
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:18 PM   #1
Rush3737
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Fertilizer Questions (Substrate solved)


First let me say I've read the Substrate sticky with the pros/cons, and my head is still spinning so please stick with me as I try and figure things out.

Basically I'm looking to setup a 55g tank which will be low-tech but heavily planted before any fish are added in. I was originally planning to get eco-complete substrate but was then reading a thread that was saying you still need root tabs with that and so it might not be worth the price.

I had originally planned on getting the (highly reviewed on Amazon) Seachem liquid fertilizers and wanted to know if they could be used with eco-complete or if I'd still need root tabs.

If I ditch the eco-complete completely what substrate/fertilizer combos would everyone suggest? I know there is no right answer, but I'm trying to see what people's experiences have been and what a good place to start is. Of course whatever fertilizer course is taken, it can be dialed back a little bit once fish start getting added to the tank.

Oh, and I have seen guides suggested that the PPM of macros should be within a certain range. While I test for the N, with properly measured dosing of the other stuff will I be fine or is it highly suggested I buy test kits for the K and P?

Last edited by Rush3737; 01-24-2013 at 04:28 AM.. Reason: Updated
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:08 PM   #2
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The pro/con list in the substrate section doesn't provide much in the realm of real life experience. The author of the list merely pulled information from various substrate packages, choosing to ignore many aspects of some substrates, unfortunately.

You will need root tabs with Eco-Complete, as it is inert.

Whether or not you need to use additional fertilizer beyond root tabs will depend upon your specific plants, how many you have, lighting you use and whether or not you provide CO2 to the tank.

The substrate you choose really just depends upon the amount you want to spend and the look you're going for. Cheap and easy with a high CEC? Safe T Sorb is $10 or less shipped for 40lbs. ADA Aquasoil is nutrient-filled and will require a month of cycling before adding livestock to the tank but you won't need root tabs for a year or two, depending upon your setup. Pool Filter Sand is always really cheap and comes in a variety of textures, grain sizes and colors.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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Okay, thanks, I think something like Safe T Sorb might be my best bet. My question is this, if I use Flourish (liquid), will I still need root tabs in there or are they interchangeable?
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:35 PM   #4
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enriched substrate be it soil based or adding tablets AND water column dosing is the best approach in my opinion, better than either alone.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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Heh, I figured someone would say that.

Okay, so I will add tablets to the endless list of things to get. If I go back to an enriched substrate, can you give me a perhaps slightly more detailed account of the pro/con differences between something like Eco-complete and Flourite?
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:25 PM   #6
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Eco-Complete: Expensive but black in color

Flourite: Just as expensive, comes in a few colors

Safe T Sorb: Comes in one (mixed) color option, crazy cheap, does the same thing both of the above do

None of them contain nutrients for your plants.

Root tabs are cheap and you can make your own. Just search around the forum for the various options.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:19 PM   #7
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Okay, I'll go ahead and find a site to get some cheap Safe T Sorb and get some tabs with my next amazon order, thanks!

And I may indeed save some money on tabs by making my own at some point, but with it being my first attempt at my first planted tank I think it's probably good to start with the Seachem stuff to be sure it's right.
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Last edited by Rush3737; 01-23-2013 at 07:20 PM.. Reason: More info
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:28 AM   #8
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Okay, on further consideration I decided to spend $5 more than 40 tabs would have cost me and got 1,000 00 tabs and a jug of Osmocote+.

My question is this, I've been searching here but haven't been able to find a definite answer: How much O+ do ya'll put in each tab?
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Last edited by Rush3737; 01-24-2013 at 05:00 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
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I just bought some O+ tabs in ebay in 00 capsules. They are full.
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