If you fertilized your lawn in 1998, would you ever have to fertilize it again?
This isn't a lawn that's going to be around for twenty years. This is an aquarium I'll be lucky to have for two. I just happen to be low on cash at the moment, and all I have to work with are dirt and dry ferts. I don't want to do dirt with this tank (I've already done it at least five times, finally decided it's too messy), so I'm trying to figure out how to work with what I have.
So if you add ferts to the substrate, you won't have to add more ferts to the substrate for awhile (time depending on number of plants, how hungrily they use the ferts, etc). But at some point, those ferts are going to be used up and you'll have to add more.
Since how long the ferts will last depends on the tank conditions, I guess the best way to do this would be to add as much as possible to the tank. So, the question is: how much fertilizer can I put in the substrate without burning the plants or causing algae blooms? And if that's less than I would need for my plants, I'll have to either dry dose or save up for root tabs.
Also if you are concerned about cost for root tab why not try osmocote plus and make your own
I considered doing that, but everyone here talks about how great it is to have a high-CEC substrate because it absorbs ferts. Assuming that it absorbs the ferts from root tabs, too, I wondered if putting dry ferts into the substrate would be any different from using actual root tabs.
If you soak the high CEC substrate in concentrated fertilzed water, and don't rinse it, but just remove water down to the substrate level, then fill the tank, I think you would have a somewhat fertile substrate. But, rinsing and draining the rinse water would probably reduce the amount held by the granules of substrate. Drying the substrate would probably eliminate most of the nutrients.
If I didn't rinse the substrate, wouldn't the ferts in the soaking solution just end up in the water column once I filled the tank? I thought having a high CEC meant that the substrate would absorb ferts like a sponge. Why would rinsing reduce the amount of ferts held by the substrate? And why would drying the substrate eliminate the nutrients? I would think that it would stick the ferts to the substrate like calcium deposits on glass.
Why do you want to avoid dosing the water? It is an extremely easy and extremely flexible and cheap method for fertilizing the plants.
I want my tanks to be as low-maintenance as possible- not just for convenience, but for their own health. I have a sleeping disorder and get some random bouts of depression (I'm not bipolar, though) and sometimes I go for several days without even feeding my tanks. I don't want to end up with an uncontrollable algae bloom or a crashed tank after going through a rough spot.