Lazy planted tank. Fertlizer or not? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Lazy planted tank. Fertlizer or not?

I just started with a small nano tank (1.5 months old now). The goal was for fishes but I ended up switch to mainly shrimp tank with some small fishes.

Also found that plants are interesting. Never had a planted tank before but now there are a lot of options so I bought plants to fill out my tank and ended up with anubias, java fern, some unknown stem plant, and pellia. Also probably going to get bucephalandra since I love my anubias and that seem to be more interesting than anubias with a lot of variation. Since I live in Indonesia, bucephalandra are not too expensive.

I have been looking into fertilization but since I have a 17 l nano tank (about 4.5 gallons), it is too much trouble to use DIY fertilizer or to dose using most liquid fertilizer in the market.

I found two brand that can be suitable for a lazy person with a 17l tank. Dennerle's V30 and S7 has 25 ml bottles that use 6 drops per 10 l or for my tank maybe around 10-11 drops. ADA Green Brighty series + Brighty K which use 1 pump for 20 litres so I assume I can safely use 1 pump for 17 l too.

So which one do you recommend? Dennerle is much cheaper to start but V30 and S7 doesn't seem to contain NPK and no iron? With ADA, I can get NPK using Green Brighty Special Shades plus using Brighty K for additional K and Green Brighty Step 1 - 3 for other stuffs including iron.

Another option is not to bother with fertilization at all and just hope my tap water and the waste from the shrimps and fishes are enough for my plants to grow very slowly.

Additional info, I'm using a non inert substrate (fulvic/humic?), a local produced substrate that lower ph.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 07:37 PM
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Well, I'm going to tell you something an orchid grower told me at the last orchid convention I attended. If you don't mind the cost, get them all and throw it at your plants! You don't eat one kind of food, so why expect your plants to? Well, that advice may be a little extreme for planted tanks, but I'm starting to think there's some sort of merit to it. I've seen a parallel comment in a recent post about fish food. I suppose you could at least follow your due diligence and get something that has macros in addition to just micros. But I guess I didn't answer your question really did I?

So, as you seemingly are a casual planted tanker, I don't want to drag you into all the specifics of what's a great fertilizer, but I'd rather point out that the fertilizers required of you will probably be a result of how much light you put into your tank. If you stick with your low tech list of plants of java fern, anubias, and even buces, and you don't mind the slow growth, you could get away with being pretty lax about your fertilizing regimen AS LONG AS you don't put in too much light! Once you decide to make that tank brighter for whatever reason -- maybe you like the look, the light, better plant growth, etc -- you'll trigger algae and you'll be sliding down that slippery slope into CO2 supplementation and requiring a decent fertilizing regimen. DIY dry ferts may be hard to figure out in the beginning, but at the end of the day, once you figure it out, pre bought ferts are close to the same thing -- unless you find some cool chemical in it that you can't buy for your mix. You make the solution of dry ferts to how you want it and dose daily just like the pre bought ones. But yea, I can understand not wanting to figure them out early on. Took me a while before I made that step.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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My grandma was an orchid grower, but I don't think she was using a lot of different fertilizer, just regular macro and micro dry ferts. I guess I understand the view about just get them all, even in only 1.5 months I'm doing that with the feed. Started with a cheap pellets for my fishes, then I got flakes because I got the wrong type of pellets. Then because of shrimps, I got several kind of feed to rotate. Because of chili rasbora having trouble eating, I got micro pellets. Since I have all those, I just rotate them when feeding my shrimps and fishes.

DIY dry fert is not that hard to figure out but I just don't think they're practical for me since I only have a small tank and there is no plan in the future (at least in 1 year time) to add more tanks. So if I buy dry fert like KNO3 or KH2PO4, they come in 1 kg package.

To dose according to Tom Barr's non co2 suggestion which is a scaled down EI dosage, I need to dose 1/32 teaspoon of KNO3 and 1/128 teaspoon of KH2PO4 plus 1/16 teaspoon of seachem equilibrium to a 5 gallons tank (mine is actually 4.5 gallons) weekly or every two weeks. So have to dilute them with water to make it easier to measure the dosage. The KNO3 and KH2PO4 will probably outlast the tank since I only need a small amount weekly.

Alternative to that, I can get maybe 3 types of ADA liquid fertilizer and just do 1 pump each daily which is much easier.

It'll be a lot more expensive using ADA but for a single 4.5 gallons tank, it is not a big deal.

Not sure if this is correct or not and if I understand it correctly.

I got this info from older thread:

Looking at that I use the EI daily as guideline, I want to dose about 10% of the EI daily since I have non co2 low light tank:

0.32 NO3
0.1 PO4
0.32 K
0.02 Fe

If I does Green Brighty Step 3 + Green Brighty Special Shades, I got the following:

0.2 NO3
0.1 PO4
0.25 K
0.02 Fe

Since ADA's pump dosage is based on 20 L and mine is 17 L (actual water is less than that), the actual dosage is around:

0.24 NO3
0.12 PO4
0.29 K
0.02 Fe

Close enough to 10% of EI daily?
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Last edited by VRaverna; 02-13-2018 at 05:29 AM. Reason: adding more info
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 03:35 PM
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Sure. The math seems reasonable to start with. Grow stuff slow enough and you can even dose weekly -- that's truly the lazy way What's your planned water change regimen? It will be a factor in whether you're dosing enough or not. Conversely, I'd watch out for over-accumulation if you're of the "I don't need to change my water for months" crowd.

Here's another calculator site that might help: It even lets you calculate the fertilizer accumulation if you plug in some ballpark guesses about plant consumption.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 06:37 PM
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Or you could just buy one bottle of Thrive ( and dose a pump ever two or three days

N 3%
P 0.8%
K 9.4%
Fe 0.47%
Mg 0.062%
Cu 0.009%
B 0.023%
Mn 0.06%
Mo 0.0018%
Zn 0.016%

It's a low light/tec lazy tank there's no point in going overboard with fert calculations the tank is going to dump most of it as the plants won't use that much without more light/Co2.
Thrive has a bit more copper than I'd like with shrimp but I haven't had any problems so far with mine.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thrive is not available locally. I bought ADA Green Brighty Step 3 and ADA Green Brighty Special Shades and have been using them for a few days.
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