Substrate, nutients used up?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate, nutients used up??

Is it possible?

I posted a topic before about my hairgrass turning brown (the tips). After that, I keep my macro levels in check and never let them bottom out. It didn't help much though. Then I placed some root tabs under the hairgrass and I see more and more green every week. The tanks is 10gl 7.2wpg. Because of this lighting, the hairgrass grow so dense (but short) and so close together. I also use Onyx sand. Do they use up all the nutrients in the substrate because of the density and high lighting? If so, what should I do? Just adding root tabs every few months?

The grass actually grow so dense until I can peel the whole layer of the carpet without leaving a single strand out. It looks like those grass you buy at the nursery for your lawn (the ones in square shape).
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 01:15 AM
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I doubt it. What kind of root tabs did you use?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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I use Flourish tabs. I also doubt nutrients in the substrate can be totally depleted in less than 2 years. Do you use any root tabs in your older tank/substrate?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 04:12 AM
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Do you use any root tabs in your older tank/substrate?
Yup

There aint a substrate made that dont need to have additional nutrients added, even everyday gardensoil needs to be rejuvinated. If there are plants drawing on a supply of nutrients , the nutrients will go bye-bye, and if the lighting is strong and the plants are hungry they will go bye-bye- even faster.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks . Then I'll put more tabs in that tank. That kind of sucks. I was hoping I could just supplement more via water column ferts. I guess that doesn't work for some plants.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 12:25 PM
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I don't use root tabs. And I have no problems with plant growth. And I really do wonder what is in the Flourish tabs that makes everyone feel they are magic. I look at the contents list and see high levels of calcium and sulfur and 2.8% iron and the rest is trace levels. There are no macros in there at all.

Besides which Tom Barr has proved that plants will take in nutrients though the water column before they take in nutrients from their roots.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 12:37 PM
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And I really do wonder what is in the Flourish tabs that makes everyone feel they are magic.
Nitrogen,Phosphate,Potassium,Calcium,Magnesium,Sul fur,Boron,Chlorine,Cobalt,Copper,Iron,Manganese,So dium and Zinc
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-22-2004, 05:45 AM
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Guarenteed Analysis
Calcium 20.0%
Magnesium 0.08%
Sulfur 35.0%
Boron 0.016%
Chlorine 0.00023%
Cobalt 0.00015%
Copper 0.00011%
Iron 2.8%
Manganese 0.11%
Molybdenum, 0.0003%
Sodium 0.0005%
Zinc 0.00017%
Aluminum 0.00006%
Vanadium 0.00023%
Rubidium 0.0005%
Iodine 0.0006%
Potassium <0.0000018%
Phosphorus <0.03%
amino acids and chelates 9.7%
Nitrogen equivalent 0.64%
other organic factors 0.002%

0.64% nitrogen equivalent is not a lot. And <0.03% phosphorus is not either. The Potassium level is basically a joke. Geez... Just take a look at the numbers. There is really not a lot of most of those elements in there. So again I ask why do people seem to think these are magic?
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-22-2004, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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I was not saying that fl tab works wonder. I don't even know what nutrients there are in the substrate in the first place. I don't mind using other stuff to replenish the nutrients in the substrate if they are in fact depleted.

Rex, why did you mention macro? I thought I only need to dose macro in the water column no? Are those needed under the substrate?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-22-2004, 12:37 PM
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Generally it's lack of macros that cause plants to not thrive. Trace minerals are just that, traces.

And the nutrients in a commercial substrate are not going to become depleted in the normal lifetime of a tank.

Concentration of nutrients in Onyx Sandô
Aluminum 822
Barium 5
Calcium 197500
Cobalt 4
Chromium 10
copper 4
Iron 2846
Potassium 417
Magnseium 115400
Manganese 43
Sodium 135
Nickel 7
Vanadium 8
Zinc 23

Units=mg/kg, source: Plasma Emission Spectrometer, EPA Method 3050, Univ. of Georgia Chemical Analysis Lab
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-22-2004, 11:51 PM
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I thought I only need to dose macro in the water column no? Are those needed under the substrate?
for the most part ... YES
Be serious Rex... you are not trying to say that by adding those nutrients , even in "small quantities as you call them" , to the substrate, it is not beneficial to the plants ?
Macro's AND micro's are needed, simple as that. All plants get their 'needed' nutrients from the water AND the substrate... thats why they all have roots!!! However, some plants depend on and get more of their nutrients through the water then the substrate and vice versa. Thats where the confusion lies on macro's. Everyone seems to think that the water is the only thing that needs nutrients... thats hogwash.

You can say what you want about the percentages Rex but the plants respond nicely to the wee amounts you are complaining about. I dont call it magic... I call it effective...
The small amounts are concentrated near the plant bases and are to be refurbished "by direction" every 8-12 weeks...all I have ever seen happen is beautiful growth... so where is the harm Rex ?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-23-2004, 12:13 AM
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Buck, I can see where Rex is coming from. In Onyx sand which has a much larger concentration of a specific macro, say potassium, when compared to flourish tab, a millionth of a percent, what would the root tab do that the onyx sand isnt doing, with respect to supplying potassium. IMO, when planted in specialized substrate, root tabs benefits may get masked, as opposed to in inert substrate where the benefits of root tabs cannot be disputed. But that being said, the guarenteed analysis of the specilized substrate is a bulk measure, rather an average, whereas in the root tabs, you are right in saying that it is more of a "point" measure.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-23-2004, 12:19 AM
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Tom Barr has shown that aquatic plants prefer to get their nutrients from the water column. And with a modern enriched substrate the nutrient levels are much higher than what the tabs provide. So if the plants really do want to take up their nutrients from the substrate why are they not doing so?

I'm not saying that tabs don't work. I'm just saying that perhaps the Seachem tabs are not the best choice. IMHO they are the solid equivalent to Flourish. And I think we will all agree that in a tank with a decent amount of lighting that Flourish alone is not enough.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-23-2004, 01:14 AM
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Tom Barr has shown that aquatic plants prefer to get their nutrients from the water column.
Tell that to a sword , crypt , lotus or any other heavy root feeders. Rex I dont know where you got your Flourish Tab numbers but right off the box in front of me it reads this on the side... a bit of a difference.


Guaranteed Analysis
nitrogen- 0.28 %
Phosphate-0.17 %
Potassium-0.16 %
Sulfur-12.2 %
Iron- 2.2 %
Manganese- 0.23%
Sodium- 0.14 %
The ones in bold I think are the important ones.
------------------------------------------------------------
Then this one got me... where and how was this ever proved Rex ?
Quote:
And the nutrients in a commercial substrate are not going to become depleted in the normal lifetime of a tank.
Iron is the only constant in the commercial sub's as they claim. The rest are soluable.
---------------------------------------------------------------
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IMHO they are the solid equivalent to Flourish. And I think we will all agree that in a tank with a decent amount of lighting that Flourish alone is not enough.
Whoever said that Flourish Tabs alone are enough ? This all started as a "supplement" discussion I thought and thats what these tabs are... a nice supplement.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-23-2004, 02:09 AM
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Those numbers are from seachems website, I dont understand the variance, multiplying by 10 (assuming trh numbers of the website are for each 3g tab, and the box for the total - 30g, still doesnt add up
).
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