root tabs with BDBS? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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root tabs with BDBS?

Good morning TPT,

I am in the early stages of collecting supplies for an upcoming build. I am still getting my feet wet with planted aquariums, so my goal is for this one to grow in complexity with me. I am having success in a 10g low tech, so its time to upgrade to a 90g.

To start this will be low tech, all-in-one liquid ferts, medium light (like a Fluval 3.0 or equivalent), BDBS substrate (black label from Tractor Supply). CO2 is in the long term plan, along with more complex fertilization, which is where my question comes in. Do I need something like root tabs, or can I be successful, long term, only dosing the water column, assuming I can find the right balance. I have seen many stunning tanks on this forum that use BDBS, that don't seem to add anything in/under the substrate level, but I am hoping to confirm that. Thanks in advance, and I plan to create my first journal once I get started.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 05:55 PM
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Root tabs can help, but you can fertilize all you need with water column dosing as well. Have you considered going dirted tank? BDBS is a perfect topper for soil. In my tank with BDBS, I have MTS and love them as well. Think of them like earth worms for your planted tank.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 06:37 PM
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You can definitely succeed with Fertilizing in the water column only I have the same substrate and love it the only thing I can say about route tabs is if you use the ones that are DIY that have Osmocote in them then after a while you will have a bunch of little white baby sized balls all over the bottom of the tank are you still use them but sparingly like only when I get a new plant from a start. Good luck with your tank look forward to some pictures



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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the input everyone. I should be getting the tank and stand this weekend.

As far as dirt, I've read such mixed reviews about it. Also, since I am still learning layouts I want to be able to move the plants around with out the fear of making a mess of the substrate. Think I am going to focus on inert substrate and water column dosing, only adding root tabs for specific things I want big, like swords.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 05:08 PM
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A word of warning on swords. I started out with one and it ran roots to both ends of the tank.....and then the runners started popping up. I had an undergravel filter at the time and had to remove it fun times!!!

At least it made for a good story


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 05:21 PM
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If you want to keep things simple, but complete don't use root tabs. They are unnecessary and there really isn't anything to this "root feeder" talk. As long as your dosing the water column the plants will have all they need.

If you want to move things around and do any kind of layout or change things up, the root tabs will come up too and can make a mess and certainly don't use dirt.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 07:21 PM
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Jealous you have a 90g. OMG the possibilities.
But to your question: Root tabs can be unpredictable....
- I dose the water column... the plants will flourish unless you have very specific plants that ONLY get from the roots in a very established tank with compacted substrate (almost never).
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 07:21 PM
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I started a journal a while back with a tank with BDBS only and I have no problems with it. Plantibg is easy, moving plants is easy, I do diy dry ferts only, no root tabs. I have had good growth in my tank and have since started a second tank with same method, already have good growth on most plants in that one as well. I also have corydoras and I did a lot of research prior to use of BDBS and I have had No issues with corydoras barbs and the sand.

Make sure you rinse very very well. Make sure it is about 2 inches minimum to hold stems. I aim for about 2.5 to 3 inches.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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thank you everyone for the input. Once the 90 is setup I am going to be redoing my 10g Betta, getting the 18 month old Stratum out and replacing with BDBS.

@diverjoe, This is kind of what I am hoping for (be careful what I wish for). I want the 90 to be a long term home for 6-10 angels, with lots of tall, dense plants for them. I have my first sword growing nicely in the 10 and it will be one of the first plants in the big tank. Hopefully you'll see me in the For Sale and ROAK forums with little swords in 6 months.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 11:51 PM
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Diverjoe nice looking tank and the Bow is a bonus!

You should start a journal, would like to hear more about what you have going on there.

And to the OP @MSaxen, as others have said, no root tabs needed. In fact, better off without them in my opinion.

Many use straight BDBS here. Great stuff to plant in, and you'll be happy with.

And do start a journal. Will look forward to seeing where this goes.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 11:53 PM
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root tabs with BDBS?

Thank you documentation is not my strong suite or should I say consistency :-(

Is there a place to do that?

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 12:41 AM
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Thank you documentation is not my strong suite or should I say consistency :-(

Is there a place to do that?
Depends on how far down the Rabbit hole you want to go.

Many use the Tank Parameters spreadsheet V3.0 I have in my shared drive (link below). You can download it, fill it out, then screen shot it and post it.

If you need help, PM me and I will be glad to assist.

But you don't need to have that much detail to start a journal. It looks like you have enough good going on there to get started, and folks will be interested.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 02:39 AM
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Curious about root tabs, I got some thriveS because I have shrimps and also picked up some thrive tabs. I did an initial couple of tabs in each tank. From the many responses here it seems the tabs were not a good idea or atleast not needed.

When I was doing my searching it seemed many recommended tabs for substrate like sand and BDBS. Kind of confused now.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 01:43 PM
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Curious about root tabs, I got some thriveS because I have shrimps and also picked up some thrive tabs. I did an initial couple of tabs in each tank. From the many responses here it seems the tabs were not a good idea or atleast not needed.

When I was doing my searching it seemed many recommended tabs for substrate like sand and BDBS. Kind of confused now.

I too am confused when it comes to plant tabs. I looked at Colins ( aka NILOCG ) pictorial about the comparison between his " Thrive Caps " and the " Seachem Plant Tabs " and it appeared to me at least that the Crypts did grow better with his tabs. Now the question...would the Crypt grow just as well if NO plant tabs were used in the substrate ? Inquiring minds want to know.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 01:50 PM
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I too am confused when it comes to plant tabs. I looked at Colins ( aka NILOCG ) pictorial about the comparison between his " Thrive Caps " and the " Seachem Plant Tabs " and it appeared to me at least that the Crypts did grow better with his tabs. Now the question...would the Crypt grow just as well if NO plant tabs were used in the substrate ? Inquiring minds want to know.
If you have low tech and aren't dosing fully into the water column root tabs can provide nutrients otherwise it's simply redundant and not necessary even for plants like crypts and swords. Seachem which sells both water column and root tab ferts will tell you the same thing and they have a vested interest in selling you both.
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