Feeding rooted plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-27-2015, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
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Feeding rooted plants

Other root tabs and dirt what are other ways that you can fertilize rooted.plants?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 03:01 PM
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Most plants will uptake nutrients through their leaves. They will also take them up through the roots if possible. Are you noticing problems with the plants? The heavy root feeders are swords, vals, and crypts.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 04:47 PM
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So, for feeding heavy root feeders, your options are:

1) dirt that has organic mater or fertilizer in it.

2) fertilizer tabs (DIY or commercial)

3) using a high CEC substrate and letting that help make water column fertilizers more available to roots

4) don't worry about it and just let them uptake via the water column.

You already identified 1 & 2... which are generally the most popular ways due to their effectiveness. 3 & 4 work, but depend on how demanding the plant is and how good your water column fertilization is.

I personally use 2 & 3 together, putting root tabs near my heaviest root feeders.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 07:14 PM
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I don't think it has yet been established that any aquatic plants are "heavy root feeders". Years ago someone interpreted the fact that some plants have huge root systems as meaning that they have them to take up nutrients. Since then those plants have been referred to as "heavy root feeders". If someone wants an interesting research project, do a controlled test to verify that some plants really are "heavy root feeders". I haven't thought about this much, so I don't know how to do that.

I have had a tank full of "heavy root feeders" with a pool filter sand substrate, no substrate fertilizing, but EI water column fertilizing, and the plants grew way too fast for me to even enjoy. That is when I began to doubt the existence of "heavy root feeders".

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
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I don't think it has yet been established that any aquatic plants are "heavy root feeders". Years ago someone interpreted the fact that some plants have huge root systems as meaning that they have them to take up nutrients. Since then those plants have been referred to as "heavy root feeders". If someone wants an interesting research project, do a controlled test to verify that some plants really are "heavy root feeders". I haven't thought about this much, so I don't know how to do that.

I have had a tank full of "heavy root feeders" with a pool filter sand substrate, no substrate fertilizing, but EI water column fertilizing, and the plants grew way too fast for me to even enjoy. That is when I began to doubt the existence of "heavy root feeders".
That's interesting. Did you happen to have any swords in that tank? I just removed two echinodorus sp. (bleheri "compacta" if I remember correctly) from my tank with CO2, EI dosing, & medium-light. They quickly became an eyesore in an otherwise thriving tank. They did great at first, but apparently zapped the substrate (floramax black w osmocote) very quickly since they started slowing way down and showing significant deficiencies. It's a shallow tank, a 20 long, and they were growing so fast that they were healthy one day, and sending out the first bad leaf the next day. Too narrow of a margin for my liking, so I took them out.

All other plants (crypts included btw) have continued to thrive. I did have similar issues with a.r. in the same tank (near the swords). They were struggling a bit until I put a root tab under them, then they bounced right back. They don't grow nearly as fast, though.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Well I plan on getting jungle val. Maybe I'll try just liquid fertilizer and see from there. What would you all suggest on liquid fertilizer
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 09:32 PM
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I'm doing the DIY dry fertilizer thing, and this generally ends up being much cheaper in the long run because you're not paying to ship water around...

Nilocg over in the for sale forum here sells supplies, including bundled packages, as does green leaf aquariums online.

From there it's just picking a dosing regime between PPS-Pro, EI (estimative index) or EI low-light.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Well what exact fertilizers would I need to use?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 12:06 AM
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Feeding rooted plants

That depends a bit on the path you choose. The usuals are k2no3, kh2po4, k2so4 and csm+b. Low tech tanks with a large fish stock may not need the first two. High tech tanks or fishless tanks may not need k2so4, as they will often get enough k from kno3.

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Last edited by mattinmd; 05-29-2015 at 12:10 AM. Reason: Typo fix
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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One is a 5g with a betta. The other is a divided 10g betta tank. I only plan on using anubias java fern and jungle val
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
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I don't think it has yet been established that any aquatic plants are "heavy root feeders". Years ago someone interpreted the fact that some plants have huge root systems as meaning that they have them to take up nutrients. Since then those plants have been referred to as "heavy root feeders". If someone wants an interesting research project, do a controlled test to verify that some plants really are "heavy root feeders". I haven't thought about this much, so I don't know how to do that.

I have had a tank full of "heavy root feeders" with a pool filter sand substrate, no substrate fertilizing, but EI water column fertilizing, and the plants grew way too fast for me to even enjoy. That is when I began to doubt the existence of "heavy root feeders".
That is interesting. One thing I can say from experience, after keeping compact hygros for a while now in various all sand tanks, even with full EI they always get pinholes and tend to drop lower leaves if I dont give them some root ferts.

Could be just me though, others may have a different experience with the plant.


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 04:26 PM
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Someone with a pair of 10 gallon tanks, and wanting something to do with them, could do some experimenting on "heavy root feeders". You could perhaps put ADA Aquasoil in one tank, and pool filter sand in the other. Fertilize both tank using the EI dosing tables, and use Excel or pressurized CO2. Use identical lights on the two tanks. Plant a couple of sword plants in both. And perhaps a couple of crypts.

My experience was with swords and crypts, as I recall. And, it was a 29 gallon tank, with high light and pressurized CO2. When I would remove a plant it would have an enormous, full tank root system. The swords would grow to full tank size in a few months. The crypts would fill the whole tank, getting higher and higher, in a few months. Blyxa japonica would fill the tank piling up on top of each other.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 07:03 PM
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Someone with a pair of 10 gallon tanks, and wanting something to do with them, could do some experimenting on "heavy root feeders". You could perhaps put ADA Aquasoil in one tank, and pool filter sand in the other. Fertilize both tank using the EI dosing tables, and use Excel or pressurized CO2. Use identical lights on the two tanks. Plant a couple of sword plants in both. And perhaps a couple of crypts.

My experience was with swords and crypts, as I recall. And, it was a 29 gallon tank, with high light and pressurized CO2. When I would remove a plant it would have an enormous, full tank root system. The swords would grow to full tank size in a few months. The crypts would fill the whole tank, getting higher and higher, in a few months. Blyxa japonica would fill the tank piling up on top of each other.
Or possibly even better than using two tanks, is take something like a 20L, and divide it in half with a siliconed in piece of plastic or plexiglass, say 4" high. Use inert sand on both sides, supplement one half with Osmocote+, and add nothing on the other half. That way it would be the exact same light/ferts/CO2 etc. The divider would need to be siliconed to prevent roots from one side creeping into the other via cracks.

I actually have the tank, light, sand....and the plants to do this.


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 09:21 PM
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Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (macro nutrients). They also need a certain amount of micro nutrients (iron, calcium, magnesium etc.) Carbon in the form of co2 injection or an additive such as Excel is desirable. Lighting of a usable spectrum for the proper length of time.

The amounts of all of these will depend on what kind of plants you want to grow. The anubias and and java fern will require a lot less light and nutrients than the Jungle Val.

Having said that, I grow a all three of these together in a low tech tank. I let the Jungle Val grow to the surface to shade the lower level plants somewhat and try to find a happy medium for the nutrients.

I find that I can usually keep enough nitrogen and phosphorus available by managing the frequency and amount of water changed. Why not take advantage of the nutrients provided by the fish and food you put in the tank? The third macro, potassium I add in dry form a couple times a week. I also dose Excel daily for carbon and Flourish twice a week for micro nutrients. About once a month I add root tabs to the substrate.

I didn't do any of these things except for use root tabs occasionally until I got a bit of an education from this excellent website and the very knowledgeable members here. It has made a big difference.

Bottom line is try to find what works for you to get to the level you want. You can drive a Porsche or a mini-van. I happen to drive a mini-van.

Good Luck!
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