Thanks a lot!!!
How do I go about testing the levels of water ferts? There must be a test kit for this and what do I do to raise these levels? I have bags of all these elements for house plants and such in sort of a rock salt form. I am going to go grab my pool test strips and see what it tests for!
There are readily available nitrate and phosphate test kits.. Nitrate ones have a bad habit of reading very high, and need calibration with a reference solution (which you can make yourself) to get them in the right ballpark.. Iron tests exist too. Potassium is hard/expensive to test for.
Really, most folks pick a fertilizer scheme that doesn't require testing... Pps-pro and Estimative Index (EI) low-light are the two popular ones for tanks without CO2.
PPS-Pro works on the idea of trying to dose what plants will use in a day every 24 hours.
EI works on the idea of providing a lot more than the plants could possibly use, and then do weekly 50% water changes to prevent over accumulation.
As for what to use to add them, the cheapest way are what the above routines are based on.. DIY fertilizers from dry mineral forms:
KNO3 - source of nitrate that is ammonia-free and fish safe. Also provides some potassium.
KH2PO4 - source of phosphate, and more potassium
K2SO4 - source of potassium and sulfate, not always needed but absolutely needed when fish-load demands you to cut back on nitrate/phosphate.
CSM+B or Miller microplex - providing micronutrients, including iron.
DTPA Iron - sometimes used to tweak the iron-vs-other micronutrient balance.
I will keep the biomedia in mind for my scaped tank because I will have small fish in it, but only plants in my 10G. I was not sure if I should run the charcoal for the first few days of tap water for some reason, also this may be a quarantine tank I need to monitor plants for infestations and such so will running charcoal help 'clean' or 'scrub' the plants for long term aquarium use?
Thanks again very helpful!
Charcoal would only help if the plants are contaminated with something that charcoal can adsorb... Mostly it adsorbs organic compounds that smell bad or turn the water yellow-brown (tannis) but isn't terribly harmful. It will adsorb chlorine, but we have dechlorinators for that. It may adsorb some organic chemicals that are pesticides, if you think the plants may be contaminated with them... that said, most pesticides break down after a few days/weeks so this usually isn't a problem if you are quarantining long enough.
Charcoal won't help at all with any kind of infestation with bugs, critters, algaes or diseases.
Filter floss you mean for a finer filtration??
Yes, in a planted tank, mechanical filtration is important.. In a plant-only tank it is certainly more important than biological media, which is of no value.