Liquid fertilizers have secret benefits? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2018, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Liquid fertilizers have secret benefits?

Hey all,


I've been on the forums for a while and I consistently see people turn to dry salt fertilizers, and that's what I did when I started this hobby. I've never had problems with them, they are way cheaper, and can give you greater control over what you're feeding your plants.


Today at the LFS, an employee (well intentioned I'm sure) tried to convince me that he's seen more lush, vibrant growth (note the very subjective/relative terms) when using liquid ferts as product "X" contains poly-somethings and saturated-or-others. The terms were terms I've heard for human nutrition, never plant growth. He then claimed these are sometimes supplied in small amounts through good quality fish foods, but I've never heard of that before.


I seriously doubt he was just trying to push a sale on me, but can anyone else verify that a liquid fertilizer can, in fact, carry some types of chemicals that a dry fertilizer can't, that is particularly beneficial to the health of aquatic plants?

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2018, 11:12 PM
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Hey all,


I've been on the forums for a while and I consistently see people turn to dry salt fertilizers, and that's what I did when I started this hobby. I've never had problems with them, they are way cheaper, and can give you greater control over what you're feeding your plants.


Today at the LFS, an employee (well intentioned I'm sure) tried to convince me that he's seen more lush, vibrant growth (note the very subjective/relative terms) when using liquid ferts as product "X" contains poly-somethings and saturated-or-others. The terms were terms I've heard for human nutrition, never plant growth. He then claimed these are sometimes supplied in small amounts through good quality fish foods, but I've never heard of that before.


I seriously doubt he was just trying to push a sale on me, but can anyone else verify that a liquid fertilizer can, in fact, carry some types of chemicals that a dry fertilizer can't, that is particularly beneficial to the health of aquatic plants?
Plants, like other living things, will produce hormones that can drastically alter their growth / appearance. I currently am dosing a small amount of amino acids / organic acids / plant stress hormones. My theory (along with the manufactures of the product I use) is that if we can allow plants to uptake these compounds, they will not need to produce them, and in turn they will remain growing and displaying their best colors even when they are "stressed" ex: trimmings / topping / moving / replanted etc. etc.

So yes, liquid fertilizers can have things in them that are not "fertilizer" but other compounds that can benefit plants.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2018, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Plants, like other living things, will produce hormones that can drastically alter their growth / appearance. I currently am dosing a small amount of amino acids / organic acids / plant stress hormones. My theory (along with the manufactures of the product I use) is that if we can allow plants to uptake these compounds, they will not need to produce them, and in turn they will remain growing and displaying their best colors even when they are "stressed" ex: trimmings / topping / moving / replanted etc. etc.

So yes, liquid fertilizers can have things in them that are not "fertilizer" but other compounds that can benefit plants.

Thank you, that's informative.
How long have you been using your product, why did you continue it's use to present, and do you think it's worth the price in a non-show-tank situation? (I might try something like this in my show tank, but consider skipping it in my grow out tank for example)

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-01-2018, 12:02 AM
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Plants, like other living things, will produce hormones that can drastically alter their growth / appearance. I currently am dosing a small amount of amino acids / organic acids / plant stress hormones. My theory (along with the manufactures of the product I use) is that if we can allow plants to uptake these compounds, they will not need to produce them, and in turn they will remain growing and displaying their best colors even when they are "stressed" ex: trimmings / topping / moving / replanted etc. etc.
That is a common theory. Another possibility is that Amino acids contain nitrogen. Organic and Amino acids also contain a lot of carbon. If a tank is low on nitrogen or CO2 the extra organic carbon and nitrogen would help. However if the tank has enough CO2 and Nitrogen I suspect they would have minimal effect.

Also there is a lot of variability in nutrient amounts and which nutrients are included. When people use dry fertilizers they are using there own mixes or using recommendations from others. Then you add in differences in ingredients PH, and water hardness it is basically it is nearly impossible to determine why one fertilizer appear to work better than another. And someone else may get very different results with the same fertilizers.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-01-2018, 02:42 AM
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Sounds like Seachem's Aquavitro Envy???

A fancier line of products from Seachem.
Do plants require/need these ingredients?
Even comes with an upscaled price I'll bet!
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-01-2018, 12:11 PM
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Sounds like Seachem's Aquavitro Envy???

A fancier line of products from Seachem.
Do plants require/need these ingredients?
Even comes with an upscaled price I'll bet!
I had a LFS employee (the owner / manager I believe) try and sell me on the Aquavitro Envy because it was better than the Flourish Trace I was looking at. I tried to explain to him I was using Flourish for micro's only and using dry ferts for macros blah blah blah, but he insisted on using the Aquavitro Envy. I finally asked him why it was better, his answer was "because its a premium product" .... So I turned the bottle around and tried to explain to him it contains 0 nutrients, and what I need are the micro's.... Bought my bottle of Flourish and left it at that.

Yes, 2 x the price of any "comparable" Flourish bottle
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-01-2018, 01:24 PM
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Hey plants dig designer ferts. LOL

Besides the packaging looks better if you decide to display your ferts next to your tank.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-01-2018, 08:08 PM
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So live nearby The Wet Spot....by nearby I mean within 30 miles lol.

Anyway, they're all about liquid ferts there and I can see eyes glaze when I mention tom barr, EI dosing with dry ferts, weekly 50% water changes, etc. Guy there swears that the fert levels I keep in my tank should just "melt and burn" any plant I put in there despite photos I show him.

I proceeded to bring in a gallon Ziploc bag of all my AR Mini trimmings. Guy was FLOORED at how my plants looked. Statements like "I've never seen....ar can't get this red....how is there no algae?" Explained how i keep my co2 at nosebleedingly high levels. Dump dry ferts in every morning, etc etc.

Then I showed him Dennis wongs "farm" tank and some of tom barrs tanks and greggz tank and burrs tank. I'm going to see if I can spread some knowledge to at least one aquarium shop.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-01-2018, 08:25 PM
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So live nearby The Wet Spot....by nearby I mean within 30 miles lol.

Anyway, they're all about liquid ferts there and I can see eyes glaze when I mention tom barr, EI dosing with dry ferts, weekly 50% water changes, etc. Guy there swears that the fert levels I keep in my tank should just "melt and burn" any plant I put in there despite photos I show him.

I proceeded to bring in a gallon Ziploc bag of all my AR Mini trimmings. Guy was FLOORED at how my plants looked. Statements like "I've never seen....ar can't get this red....how is there no algae?" Explained how i keep my co2 at nosebleedingly high levels. Dump dry ferts in every morning, etc etc.

Then I showed him Dennis wongs "farm" tank and some of tom barrs tanks and greggz tank and burrs tank. I'm going to see if I can spread some knowledge to at least one aquarium shop.
I was at a local auction, I tossed in some scrap trimming I had laying around. 3 x small stems of AR mini went for $17 lol.

The auctioneer was floored. "I've seen this plant everywhere, but my oh my this is the most red I've ever seen out of any aquarium plant!"

I sat there and laughed because my AR is only 1/2 as red as a bunch of other member's on here, I'll continue to bring my trimmings to these sorts of meets to try and get some more knowledge and excitement out about "planted tanks" instead of "fish tank" with plants in them.

I mean.... Ludwigia super red mini sold for $3 while a bag of gross hornwart sold for $10, a bag of java moss for $8 .. etc etc. lol
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-01-2018, 08:40 PM
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So live nearby The Wet Spot....by nearby I mean within 30 miles lol.

Anyway, they're all about liquid ferts there and I can see eyes glaze when I mention tom barr, EI dosing with dry ferts, weekly 50% water changes, etc. Guy there swears that the fert levels I keep in my tank should just "melt and burn" any plant I put in there despite photos I show him.

I proceeded to bring in a gallon Ziploc bag of all my AR Mini trimmings. Guy was FLOORED at how my plants looked. Statements like "I've never seen....ar can't get this red....how is there no algae?" Explained how i keep my co2 at nosebleedingly high levels. Dump dry ferts in every morning, etc etc.

Then I showed him Dennis wongs "farm" tank and some of tom barrs tanks and greggz tank and burrs tank. I'm going to see if I can spread some knowledge to at least one aquarium shop.
I was at a local auction, I tossed in some scrap trimming I had laying around. 3 x small stems of AR mini went for $17 lol.

The auctioneer was floored. "I've seen this plant everywhere, but my oh my this is the most red I've ever seen out of any aquarium plant!"

I sat there and laughed because my AR is only 1/2 as red as a bunch of other member's on here, I'll continue to bring my trimmings to these sorts of meets to try and get some more knowledge and excitement out about "planted tanks" instead of "fish tank" with plants in them.

I mean.... Ludwigia super red mini sold for $3 while a bag of gross hornwart sold for $10, a bag of java moss for $8 .. etc etc. lol<a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilies/confused.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Confused" >:-)</a>

Gah that's awesome! I know i dont have the best tank on TPT, but hearing praise about my plants was kind of stunning to me. I, personally, am never happy with how my tank looks most of the time. There's always some plant that I think didn't grow right or fast enough to keep up with something else that was trimmed or something along those lines. Although I do have moments where I look at my tank and I feel like I nailed it for the moment.

I'm really hoping my next round of trimming I can put plants in the hands of a member or something. Anything other than the trash can or a donation to a store.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 12:13 AM
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Gah that's awesome! I know i dont have the best tank on TPT, but hearing praise about my plants was kind of stunning to me. I, personally, am never happy with how my tank looks most of the time. There's always some plant that I think didn't grow right or fast enough to keep up with something else that was trimmed or something along those lines. Although I do have moments where I look at my tank and I feel like I nailed it for the moment.

I'm really hoping my next round of trimming I can put plants in the hands of a member or something. Anything other than the trash can or a donation to a store.
I need to start buying bags to ship plants in and get some USPS priority boxes so I can do the same. This is the 2nd time I post in my local FB group about my trimmings and I get no responses lol.
Trimmings were Rotala sp., Ludwigia Super Red mini, Hydrocotyle Tripartita, Ludwigia Cuba.


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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Sounds like Seachem's Aquavitro Envy???

A fancier line of products from Seachem.
Do plants require/need these ingredients?
Even comes with an upscaled price I'll bet!
Pretty sure you nailed it. I think that was the product.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 01:47 AM
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Can one's self trust the LFS?
Are they true growers of submerged plants, not even on a good day!
They want in your pocket $$$.

They promote Seachem line of products.
For the most part they are good products but very weak in concentration.
When the line is crossed dry compounds become more cost effective.

The realization hits and what do they offer next?
Hormones & vitamins for plants???

I'm just Sayin!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 12:39 PM
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99% of hobbyists would be better off focusing on improving their tank fundamentals than looking for amino acids/hormonal additives. Not saying that such substances have no impact - but that for most hobbyists tanks - there is so much room to improve on more basic fundamentals that they will see the most impact from that angle. Fundamentals include - having well rounded fertilization regime (easy), good CO2 control (many under estimate this), good horticulture methods (meaning how to trim, when to trim, planting combinations etc), flow optimisation, good substrate management (again many folks do not know about this)... etc

If folks like Barr and myself can grow the most difficult species to good form with just good, basic fundamentals - I think that there is where most folks should focus their efforts




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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 12:43 PM
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Well, can't really blame the LFS. They live in a different world than we do here. They need to move product that is purchased through their distribution network and they certainly want you coming back for more in a reasonable time (as opposed to selling dry ferts.)

As mentioned they are into fish tanks and/or fish tanks with some plants. They also rely on install and maintenance to move a lot of product. Without that most will not survive. Even an LFS like Aqua Forest that is not obviously ignorant to the planted tank world I don't believe sell dry ferts as they can't disturb the ADA relationship they have nor would they want to sell a product that lasts years.
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