Thanks for the input, but the question I pose is if people who use the EI (Estimative Index) method of dosing ALSO use root tabs. Or does the EI method eliminate the need for root tabs?
I too like ap.com's root ferts. I've been using them till now with great results.
Optional, but wise to use an enriched sediment like ADA AS, or mineralized soil (it need not be top soil or bought from a garden store/nursery etc) or worm castings is anothe rpopular proven method.
This is wise because folks go away for a few days or forget to dose here and there and this adds plenty if nutrients for a long time.
It's not for certain species of plants, I wish folks would get away from thinking that way, all aquatic plants can live and grow very well in water column only dosing. Some/most can take up nutrients via the roots.
Big root systems do not imply uptake via the roots, they are mostly storage organs, like potatoes, or Taro etc in aquatic plant species, and most like swords and Crypts come from flowing rivers, tidal and streams. They need roots to remain anchored and they need a root system for low dry season water when they flower.
If you have a strong response from adding nutrients, it's more likely a lack of consistent dosing to the water column.
Still, using both locations is wisest and gives the most effective management for nutrients, and once added, enriched sediments are really no work at all.
They last for years also, they mostly decline in N over time. The remainder of nutrients last for perhaps a decade.
I do EI and use ADA As on all my tanks for the most part.
Results speak for themselves: the lack of algae and the ability to easily grow any species. You CAN MODIFY EI also, and reduce the amounts, ADA pretty much does this in some set ups. They also use lower light than you might think also. So lower light, good CO2, consistent water column dosing, Sediment based ferts and good water changes, general care will make a good management method.
I use some nice white sand and EI since the soils and colors do not match the aesthetics of the sand colors. But given a choice, most likely should use a soil with nutrients.
Water column + sediment work synergistically.