Root Tabs and Liquid Fert - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Question Root Tabs and Liquid Fert

I've been reading more and more about using root tabs in conjunction with liquid fert. I currently use Seachem Flourish every 4 days. I do not run co2 or anything special. It's all very low tech.


With that being said, should I use root tabs along with the Flourish? If so, what root tabs would you all recommend? Keep in mind that I have shrimp so I'm trying to limit the amount of cooper that is put into the tank. I know Flourish has it but it has very little in it.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 04:01 PM
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Personally, I have mostly low tech tanks (only one high tech). My growth is attributed to a few things:
Water column, ferts, light. Considering most of my tanks are Nano, low-medium light with low bioloads- I need to be very diligent with controlling my ferts. I find root tabs unpredictable.... If for some reason I realize I need to cut down on ferts- then your stuck digging things up trying to find the root tabs! (did it once.... with a fluval edge- so I ended up hurting my fish trying to dig through a 4 in hole in the lid!).
So I prefer to dose the water column.

However, with your situation of just using flourish is obsolete these days as its missing some important nutrients. Therefore I would ask you to check out Thrive C... its more complete and its 1 squirt per 5 gallons. It does contain carbon as well, but you can also dose Excel and your plants will rocket to the sky!
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
Personally, I have mostly low tech tanks (only one high tech). My growth is attributed to a few things:
Water column, ferts, light. Considering most of my tanks are Nano, low-medium light with low bioloads- I need to be very diligent with controlling my ferts. I find root tabs unpredictable.... If for some reason I realize I need to cut down on ferts- then your stuck digging things up trying to find the root tabs! (did it once.... with a fluval edge- so I ended up hurting my fish trying to dig through a 4 in hole in the lid!).
So I prefer to dose the water column.

However, with your situation of just using flourish is obsolete these days as its missing some important nutrients. Therefore I would ask you to check out Thrive C... its more complete and its 1 squirt per 5 gallons. It does contain carbon as well, but you can also dose Excel and your plants will rocket to the sky!
Thrive C and Flourish Excel. Got it. Will any of this be harmful to the shrimp? Or even tetras, bettas or kuhli loaches? Depending on how it would on the small tank, I'd want to try this on my 30g. Thanks!
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillR1496 View Post
I've been reading more and more about using root tabs in conjunction with liquid fert. I currently use Seachem Flourish every 4 days. I do not run co2 or anything special. It's all very low tech.


With that being said, should I use root tabs along with the Flourish? If so, what root tabs would you all recommend? Keep in mind that I have shrimp so I'm trying to limit the amount of cooper that is put into the tank. I know Flourish has it but it has very little in it.
Do both if you can

liquid prioritized over root tabs
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 07:45 PM
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Be very careful with root tabs (or any fert, really) in shrimp tanks. Many people have lost shrimp by dosing Excel. Do understand that Excel isn't liquid carbon. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9028033-post8.html
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by WillR1496 View Post
Thrive C and Flourish Excel. Got it. Will any of this be harmful to the shrimp? Or even tetras, bettas or kuhli loaches? Depending on how it would on the small tank, I'd want to try this on my 30g. Thanks!
I have oodles of shrimp, ottos, very rare endlers, nertite snails, etc. Start small doses, then SLOWLY increase. I know people dose mad amounts.... I personally do minimal and adjust accordingly.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by WillR1496 View Post
Thrive C and Flourish Excel. Got it. Will any of this be harmful to the shrimp? Or even tetras, bettas or kuhli loaches? Depending on how it would on the small tank, I'd want to try this on my 30g. Thanks!

Using thrive C currently. Started with half recommended dose for a few weeks. Just recently tried the full dose. No ill effects.



I have tried using excel in conjunction about half recommended dosage however no noticeable effects either on the shrimp or algae.



I am at the point of just adding more plants and dosing to see what happens. I dont want to kill off everything but would like to get it under control. My 10g is fine but it has a large amount of Daphne where as the 40b has CDBs and ember tetras which eat the Daphne which prevents a large outbreak.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 06:33 PM
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I've had a lot of success using Flourish Tabs and recommend them without reservation. Whenever I use them in a new tank I always cut them up into eights (approximately) and put a chunk every three inches. Once the tank settles in and I've got a better idea of how the plants respond then I may increase the amount if it's needed.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 07:05 PM
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If your only dosing micros like Flourish Comp then you don't need Flourish root tabs, which are essentially the same thing in a different form. If your dosing macro/micro into the water then you don't really need any root tabs to grow healthy plants.
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 08:15 PM
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I have no idea if you need root tabs or not. What are you feeding? What kind of substrate do you use? If it is soil-based or something like Aqua Soil, how long has it been in the tank?

If you are feeding a tank of things like Java fern and anubias, there is no point of using root tabs. They are perfectly happy being fed from the water column. On the other hand, if you have heavy root feeders, they would be happy to get some food if they are not being fed via your substrate already.

Details would be helpful here, just sayin'.
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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I have no idea if you need root tabs or not. What are you feeding? What kind of substrate do you use? If it is soil-based or something like Aqua Soil, how long has it been in the tank?

If you are feeding a tank of things like Java fern and anubias, there is no point of using root tabs. They are perfectly happy being fed from the water column. On the other hand, if you have heavy root feeders, they would be happy to get some food if they are not being fed via your substrate already.

Details would be helpful here, just sayin'.
Since this is not a dedicated plant tank, I have just regular gravel. I do have a few anubias plants. some are clinging to the gravel (rhizome above gravel) and others are on driftwood.


Here are some other plants I have:
Rotala colorata

Hygrophila odora

Hygrophila Araguaia

Limnophila indica

Hygrophila angustifolia

Helanthium bolivianum angustifolia

Hygrophila corymbosa 'Compact'
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 09:32 AM
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Stems could benefit from root tabs. Don't go crazy with them though. The suggested use for root tabs is one every 6 inches in a grid pattern.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:03 PM
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I never heard of a stem plant that needed a root tab to grow healthy.

There are no plants in our tanks that require or need root tabs. If you dosing the water column completely they are not needed to grow healthy plants. All you need to do is look at some of the tanks here on TPT that grow healthy plants in inert sand without root tabs.

If you not dosing the water column then yes they are helpful, otherwise most likely redundant and not necessary.
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:31 PM
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I never heard of a stem plant that needed a root tab to grow healthy.

There are no plants in our tanks that require or need root tabs. If you dosing the water column completely they are not needed to grow healthy plants. All you need to do is look at some of the tanks here on TPT that grow healthy plants in inert sand without root tabs.

If you not dosing the water column then yes they are helpful, otherwise most likely redundant and not necessary.
I don't have stems in my tank, I find them annoying nor do I use sand. That said, I have a crypt in my tank that has been there for almost a year. While it is green and healthy, it hasn't grown despite the fact that almost everything else has been while dosing the water column. If I give it some extra food at substrate level, one of two things is going to happen. I'm going to kill it which isn't likely or it will grow. I can say the same for my Amazon swords. Not a difficult plant that usually grows like a weed, mine have not.

I have tried to grow Vals 3 times and counting. While melting while in transition is normal, when I've tried them in the past with water column feeding alone, they die. Vals are heavy root feeders and just using ferts in the water column obviously didn't work. It is time to try something else.

I can look at pictures of tanks on here all day, that doesn't mean water parameters of all those tanks are the same. If you're willing to show me otherwise, I'll be more than happy to read and look.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:35 PM
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Stems could benefit from root tabs. Don't go crazy with them though. The suggested use for root tabs is one every 6 inches in a grid pattern.
You specifically said stem plants not crypts/swords. Personally I have found the whole root feeder thing completely overblown. I have and most have grown completely healthy crypts/swords without anything in the substrate.

That being said some crypts/swords might grow faster, not healthier just faster. Who even wants that?


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