So I wonder if it's worth giving some plants a root tab to get them going and by the time the tab is exhausted and the plants are big, let them transition over to column feeding. Or would that end up not working well? Or even sprinkling something like Osmocote + under the substrate in a new tank and then doing the same...just letting it exhaust and then just continue column feeding from there on out adjusting as needed to meet the needs. Just thinking that it would be a good boost in a new tank with new plants...help them establish faster and stronger. I admit I'm lost when it comes to plants and ferts...but I'm reading and trying to figure it out for when I get this new tank set up after Christmas.
At the start they are more likely to benefit from column dosing as the root system is not spread, absent or damaged from planting. Root tabs would be my first recommendation to the OP. In slow light,non-CO2 tanks with sparse plants formed mainly by plants with heavy root systems... putting a root tab that says it contains N and P would be an easy way to fertilize. My personal favorite are the clay balls available for pond lilies. Osmocote and other tabs would work as well. Even bits from a fertilizer stick if you feel brave. But it has to say it contains N and P, otherwise no buy.
Anoter DIY trick is to mix (mineralized) dirt with water, put in a cube tray and freeze. Next you take the cubes and push them deep beneath the substrate. When the plants hit that region with their roots, you will notice.
Also have a read here : https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...er-column.html
I also might try that micro mix. That is a trace product, what do you use for macros? Also, you said you're running high light with it: with or without CO2?
KNO3 is a good source for NO3 and KH2PO4 for P. There are some ready made mixes like Thrive from NiloCG. It is also way cheaper and easier on the system to dose the powders than to dose fish food and wait for it to be converted to what you need.
I'm trying a blackout but I'm worried that it will melt my crypts.
Thank you, I have always been told by unknowledgeable employees that nitrate is nitrate and it's a waste of money to buy nitrate if the fish will just make it. I will try some nitrate and see how it goes. Also, iron? I know there is some in regular Flourish but my plants (especially Javas) seem like they are deficient in something. The javas die off faster than they get new growth and the new growth comes in slow and crinkly.
Java ferns are happy when there is something in the water column for them to eat. If they strugge it means the water column is poor. Since they are needed in more quantity it makes sense to start with the macros N, P, K and if it dose not recover , then go to the micros.
I did not have any luck with BGA and black-outs, as evidenced by a sample of BGA that was able to survive 6 months in darkness and then regrow once exposed to light. I suggest removing as much as possible manually and addressing the fertilizer issue. If ti does not stop, spot dose with hydrogen peroxide. If this does not work, erythromycin will.