Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Seattle, Washington
You are off to a good start.
So you may have heard of 'macro' and 'micro' nutrients. 'Macro' means large and 'micro' means small. In this case it means that plants need a large amount of the macros and a small amount of the micros.
The three macros are Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), and Phosphorous (P). Plants need these nutrients to build healthy new growth.
The main source for Nitrogen is KNO3 and fish waste. If you notice, there is also a 'K' in that chemical formula, which means it is also a source of Potassium. (The chemical formula means that there is one potassium, one nitrogen, and three oxygen atoms in the molecule.)
The main source for Phosphorous is KH2PO4. Once again, there is also a K in that chemical formula, which means that there is Potassium in this molecule as well.
If you're finding that your plants need more Potassium you can also dose K2SO4, which is just an extra source.
'Trace' elements are micro nutrients; things that plants only need a small amount of. For instance, iron is a trace element for us humans, since we don't need a large amount of it, but it is vital that we have a small amount so that our blood can function properly.
The main source of trace or micro nutrients is a 'micronutrient' or 'trace mix', or 'GH booster'. These mixes both contain a bit of several elements that plants need in small amounts to stay healthy.
I dose KNO3, KH2PO4, and GH Booster in my low-tech tank, and it's going well. The GH Booster also has a bit of Potassium (K) in it, so from those three sources I get enough K and don't have to dose K2SO4 to get any more. In a high tech tank like yours you may end up needing to get it.
Last edited by Jadelin; 05-17-2011 at 11:29 PM.