Substrate And Plant Food - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-24-2014, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate And Plant Food

This area of a planted shrimp only tank has raised a few unanswered questions for me.

What is the optimal substrate? I am well aware of the multiple threads asking this question, but I have some specific questions. Can Eco-Complete suffice, is it the recommended substrate? What kind of fertilizer should be used?

Now with the fertilizer, if I buy something like:
API Leaf Zone Aquarium Plant Food, 16-Ounce
How does this go into the tank? Is it simply poured in? Do I lay it down at the bottom before adding substrate? How often should it be used?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just getting into the Shrimp hobby, and I kinda like to do my research, and ask a lot of questions .
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-24-2014, 02:14 PM
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I do not think you can go wrong with Eco complete capped with sand. I have had good results with it in my low tech 5g shrimp tank.

I used API leaf zone for a bit before I got into dry ferts, simply add the recommended dose to the tank once or a few times a week depending on your setup. It is dosed right into the water column. I would not add it to the substrate while setting up, if you feel the Eco complete is not enough, perhaps consider adding some kind of root tabs.

55G High Tech, 3G High Tech, 3G Low Tech, 2.5G Low Tech, 5G Low Tech
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-24-2014, 04:50 PM
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Fertilizer is a 2 part question:
Part one is:
What is available from other sources?
Fish (or shrimp) food supplies many of the elements that plants need, in amounts that are right for a low tech tank.
Will you be feeding this tank enough to supply the needs of the plants?
Get it going and monitor the NO3. Use this as a guide to most of the other ferts.

Part 2 is what to add:
A) NO3 is too low for the plants:
Add all the ferts, not just leaf zone.
B) NO3 is just right:
Add leaf zone (it is dosed in small amounts every few days. You might find a child's medicine dropper to help dose it out) This supplies potassium and iron. The tap water ought to supply calcium, as long as the GH is at least 3 degrees.
C) NO3 is climbing too high for the livestock.
You could try adding carbon (if the shrimp are OK with it) in the form of Excel, as well as the Leaf Zone. See if this helps the plants use up a bit more of the NO3. Otherwise, do water changes then follow B).
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-24-2014, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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I'm in the planning stage of my 5 maybe 10 gallon setup, but from what you guys have told me I think I'll buy a dose of API Lead Zone Fertilizer. I'll monitor the NO3 the best I can and adjust to what you have recommended, Thanks for all the info! Really helped me out!
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