Dirted Tank vs Water Column Dosing? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Dirted Tank vs Water Column Dosing?

Which is more effective if only one way of feeding plants was used, either root fed through soil/dirt/nutrient-packed grow substrate or just water column dosing (EI, PPS-PRO, etc)?

I've heard it mentioned that plants feed 4-400x more through their roots (I assume just buried roots? and I believe this was mentioned for AQUATIC plants), which should mean grow substrate would have better results than water column feeding. Just want to hear your thoughts.
Not trying to start any arguments, just would like to heard honest facts.

If you only could use one method of feeding plants, which would produce the best results?
Obviously heavy root feeders/massive root systems would appreciate root feeding more, but what about all the other plants.

Just curious, as I am dosing the water column and using osmocote+ for root feeding to get the best results.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 03:14 PM
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I would not limit myself to one or the other.
Plant's don't care where nutrient's come from so long as they are there.
Why should I?
I use enriched substrate, and I dose water column as well which produces the result's I desire.
EI is as close to non limiting as one could hope for I believe, and requires no testing to determine what amount's of this or that are being used by plant's I keep.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 03:18 PM
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That depends on what plants you have. For plants like crypts and vals I'd choose roots. For stem plants I'd choose the water column.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Plant's don't care where nutrient's come from so long as they are there.
This is not entirely true but correct for the most part so is good advice. Depends on the plant.

You should always dose the water column to some degree IMO. More important than substrate ferts for most plants from what I have seen. I do not know how factually correct that statement is but it is my $0.02


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 03:32 PM
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Soil alone, often takes a few week's for nutrient's therein(organic matter) to become readily available to plant's and thin layer of soil that many become fixated on due to fear's of anaerobic area's often peter's out within a year from nutrient standpoint.
You can add clay/peat/root tab's to the soil and get some more mileage from it this way and combine this with water column dosing, and plant's are in win/win situation in my view.
Inert substrates such as sand/fine gravel can benefit from root tab's but adding the fertz to the water would be added benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by klibs View Post
This is not entirely true but correct for the most part so is good advice. Depends on the plant.

You should always dose the water column to some degree IMO. More important than substrate ferts for most plants from what I have seen. I do not know how factually correct that statement is but it is my $0.02

I will submit further that plant's don't care whether nutrient's come from organic matter which has been made available through biological processes in planting medium, or whether it comes from a bottle or bag.
They are just as capable of taking up the dry mineral salt's we mix with water and or dry dose across their leaves, as they are through their root system's with few exception's. (IE)Large sword plant's can soak up a lot of nutrient's through their root's.
Large lilly type plant's can do this also, as well as taking up nutrient's across their large leaves.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 09-02-2015 at 02:40 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 03:55 PM
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for tanks I want to set up and leave, such as my nano tanks. I will dirt the substrate as I don't plan on uprooting any plants, just top and replant. I have an 8.7g bowfront that's dirt with pool filter sand. I do 1 monthly water change (if that based on nitrate levels) sometimes I will give it a squirt of k2so4 and kh2po4 after the water change. Beyond that the plants just grow, slow but grow.

my other tanks I went with EI, as I do a lot of uprooting and rescapes on them.

I look at it from a "how big of a mess is this going to make" based on what I want to accomplish with the tank.


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Guys, I am just asking hypothetically, if only one method of feeding for aquatic plants was done, through substrate or water column, which would produce better growth results?

I know you can have the best by doing both methods, but again, just hypothetical.
Reason I ask is because I read, Greg Morin at Seachem (I tried to not mention as to not put pressure on anyone) said that plants uptake 4-400x more nutrients through their roots.

Here is a article that mentions this as well
http://www.allreadable.com/undefined
But I have heard other people mention this (I guess it was other people regurgitating this info from a seminar to others). I am not sure if his info is scientifically factual or outdated or just a con to sell products (although Seachem sells both grow substrate, root tabs and water colum ferts, so that seems unlikely).

And again I know heavy root feeders would appreciate substrate feeding more than other plants, but I mean other aquatic plants in general.

Maybe I am asking if the plants uptake 4-400x more nutrients through their roots is true or not? If it is true, then I would assume substrate feeding would produce better results. But from a couple experiments I have seen, I am not so sure that is true. There are tons of solely EI dosed tanks out there, so....

Just curious, by no means am I trying to just use one method.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 04:19 PM
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It doesn't really matter but it will affect the way plants look.
If there's no nutrients in the soil but in the water, a plant like crypt will grow roots out of the substrate and into the water column.
There's nothing wrong with using both fertz method.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 04:53 PM
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I was very leary of adding anything(chemical's/mineral's) to my tanks for a long time, and my poor success with the plant's seemed to reflect this.
Once told a member on another forum that only an idiot would purposely add more nitrates to their tank and it took a fair amount of convincing by other folk's that this reluctance could indeed by contributer to my lack of success.
Fast forward a few year's, and better understanding of what plant's need and willingness to provide for them,and I finally achieved some measure of success.
Still learning,and am never as surprised by that which I did not know, as I am by that which I thought I DID know.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 06:52 PM
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If the substrate has good CEC it will make a lot of nutrient available at root level even with water column ferts.

Enriched substrates, top soil, may deplete over time, some fertilizing maybe needed at one point.

Michel.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 01:59 PM
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stem plants grow poorly for me without water dosing in high tech. in dirt and also in aquasoil.
in dirted low tech i dont see a big difference
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Soil alone, often takes a few week's for nutrient's therein(organic matter) to become readily available to plant's and thin layer of soil that many become fixated on due to fear's of anaerobic area's often peter's out within a year from nutrient standpoint.
You can add clay/peat/root tab's to the soil and get some more mileage from it this way and combine this with water column dosing, and plant's are in win/win situation in my view.
Inert substrates such as sand/fine gravel can benefit from root tab's but adding the fertz to the water would be added benefit.




I will submit further that plant's don't care whether nutrient's come from organic matter which has been made available through biological processes in planting medium, or whether it comes from a bottle or bag.
They are just as capable of taking up the dry mineral salt's we mix with water and or dry dose across their leaves, as they are through their root system's with few exception's. (IE)Large sword plant's can soak up a lot of nutrient's through their root's.
Large lilly type plant's can do this also, as well as taking up nutrient's across their large leaves.
Why is there a fear of anaerobic pockets with thick substrate in a planted tank? Won't the plants roots release oxygen?
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 08:57 PM
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I have only Fluorite for substrate and dose EI. All plants, including 'heavy root feeders' do well. The roots get fed via diffusion. I suspect I would get the the same result with inert gravel.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 03:15 PM
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+1 with Bayard, i have a mix of Flourite and another hard clay called Aquashop. I dose in water column and my Echinodorus red flame does well.

Michel.

Plants and algae grower.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 04:37 AM
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I have no experience with dirted tanks but below is a picture of my tank almost 1 month after planting. I'm using Safe-T-Sorb substrate which is not really giving me nutrients at this point since the tank has only been flooded 2 weeks prior to planting. You can see the amount of growth of the AR mini, L. repens, Limnophilia Wavy (center). This was also done still trying to set the right water parameters and I did overdose on K, Mg and Ca (had my water tested by a lab) which might have slowed down growth.

The point is I am dosing the water column and no root tabs whatsoever. The key here is providing non-limiting C02 and nutrients. The source of the nutrients does not matter if we are simply looking for growth. It can come from root tabs, substrate or the water column. The important part is having non-limiting amounts to prevent or hinder plant growth.



I'll take a picture of the tank again and show you a comparison of 1 week growth after I think I solved the Mg,Ca and K levels.


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