Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
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).