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315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

So I've been studying about fertilizers and I think I like the whole dry fertilizer method. I found this package from GreenLeafAquariums that looks pretty good as far as price goes. It is $15 dollars and $25.78 after estimated shipping.

The package includes:

Micros -
Plantex CSM + B - 1 / 2 Pound

Macros -
Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) - 1 Pound
Mono Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) - 1 / 2 Pound
Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4) - 1 Pound

Is this a good deal?

If you get dry ferts from somewhere else I would like to hear about it as well.

I was trying to find who makes the Plantex CSM + B, but couldn't find a web site. I thought Plantex was the company name, now I'm unsure because I can't locate a company website. Is this something that is made by random people and then they sell it?

I'm just worried about quality really.

I was comparing the Plantex to the Flourish and it looks like Flourish has more trace elements. I'm new to this, so I'm trying to figure out which one is actually better while comparing price as well.

With this package I will have my Macro and Micros covered. Is there anything else that I should be getting as far as fertilizers for the plants?

I haven't bought anything yet except Leaf Zone from my local PetSmart because I want to see what people who have been doing this for a long time are using.

Is there anything else I would need or should have?

Thank you for any comments.

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1,087 Posts
Plantex CSM+B - CSM is (Chelated Secondary Micronutrient) with added boron; Boron deficiency affects vegetative and reproductive growth of plants resulting in inhibition of cell expansion. Plantex CSM is a micro nutrient mix for plants, without these nutrients plants will die.

Flourish is nothing more than a liquid solution made up of the same nutrients found in Plantex CSM+B, and water. By using dry fertilizers it lets you decide how much, or how little to add to the aquarium. Because of this it allows you to dial in the exact dosage amounts to your planted aquarium.

By using dry fertilizers, it saves you money by eliminating "a premixed" liquid solution that contains mainly water, and gives you more "bang for your buck". Plus if your plants shown any signs of a deficiency, dry fertilizers let you to combat the particular deficiency instead of adding premixed liquid solutions that can't give you pin point accuracy to treat the deficiency.

As for GLA's EI package, it's a great price for what you get; Because if you were to purchase each fertilizer separately you would spend quite a bit more compared to the EI package.

Leaf Zone is a waste of money, because it only contains Iron, and Potassium. Plants need more then just Iron and Potassium, they need a wide range of macro, and micro nutrients in order to healthy. Here's some of them...

Macro fertilizers also known as N-P-K
N = Nitrogen
P = Phosphate
K = Potassium

Nitrate is normally supplied using Potassium Nitrate (KNO3)
Phosphate is supplied using Mono-Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4)
Potassium is supplied using Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4)

Micro nutrients are supplied using Plantex CSM+B
Boron, etc....

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435 Posts
GLA is great to deal with and I can't image the "quality" of these chemicals is any different regardless of where you get them. I originally purchased their PPS-Pro package but then decided to go EI. The EI ferts are also the PPS-Pro package and I wound up using the cool dosing bottles from the PPS package to make solutions anyway so the price came out about the same.

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315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Leaf Zone is a waste of money, because it only contains Iron, and Potassium. Plants need more then just Iron and Potassium, they need a wide range of macro, and micro nutrients in order to healthy. Here's some of them...
I didn't realize this when I actually bought the Leaf Zone, I just got started with plants and I bought the first thing that was available to me. Thanks for the comment though. I'm starting to get a grasp on fertilizers now.

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226 Posts
I got my package. I ordered all of the chemicals separately along with gh booster. I am on my second dose. So far I was absolutely against adding nitrate to my aquarium as pre fertilizers I could maintain a 40ppm concentration with just my fish. After the first dose of monopotassium phosphate and potassium sulphate I tested before dose 2 and my nitrates were at 5ppm! So second dosing got half the EI dose of nitrate.

GLA was a pleasure to deal with. They used UPS to ship (USPS is shady here).

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1,087 Posts
GH booster is used to boost the general hardness of aquarium water, but if you already have hard water then it's pretty much useless. Generally hard water contains higher amounts magnesium, calcium, and other nutrients that plants use whereas soft water normally does not. So GH booster would be used to supply magnesium, and calcium that soft water is normally missing in amounts that the plants will use.

1) pH (also known as per Hydrion or percentage hydrogen)
2) KH (also known as Carbonate Hardness)
3) GH (also known as General Hardness)

KH – Carbonate Hardness... The reason this is called carbonate hardness is because it measures the amount of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) that exists within your water. Again, in a very complicated way, this is what prevents your pH from having the ability to “crash” or even budge. If you are aiming to lower your pH, you need to lower this value in order to do it.

GH – General Hardness ... Luckily for us, we have a measure that can tell us the amount of all the minerals dissolved in our water! While Calcium is important, without other minerals that the GH value measures, it is useless, some even claim it is more dangerous as such. Your GH test kit measures the amount of all minerals in our water, including, but not only Carbonate Hardness like KH. This is also helpful as water does not only have calcium for fish. These other minerals (at least the most important ones) are:
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Chloride (Cl) (NOTE: NOT chlorine (Cl2))
- Sodium (Na)
- Sulphur (S)
- Potassium (K)

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11,717 Posts
GH measures calcium and magnesium.

If your water already has a GH of at least 3 degrees then there is probably plenty of Ca and Mg for the plants, and for soft water fish.
If you have any doubt that the Ca and Mg are in the right ratio then you can get a separate Ca test. Then do some math to figure out the Mg. It is not straight forward. Look it up.
Plants generally need Ca and Mg in a ratio of about 4 parts Ca to 1 part Mg. The water does not have to have this exact ratio, but sorta close is good.

There are other sources of nutrients for plants than adding fertilizers.

Fish food supplies most of the things plants need, as long as the tank is low tech, and good load of livestock, so you are feeding them enough.
A rough guide is the NO3 test. If you have to do water changes to keep the NO3 down, then the fish food is adding most (but not all) the nutrients the plants need.
Before you start adding fertilizers what was the NO3? Is that all from fish food? (tap water does not have any?)
If so, then the fish food is supplying reasonable amounts of N, P and traces. It tends to be low in K and Fe.
Leaf Zone is a great fertilizer for a low tech tank with plenty of fish. The fish food is supplying the other nutrients.

Still, Leaf Zone is a liquid, so you are paying shipping on water.

If all your tank needs is K and Fe you can get these in powder form cheaper and mix your own. K2SO4 and Chelated Iron would be the products.

Mark, good to notice that when you added the other fertilizers (P and K) that the N (from fish food) started dropping. Highly suggestive that the plants were lacking for one or the other (P or K) and when that was supplied they were much better able to utilize the N.
You are doing just right to monitor it and adjust the dosing as needed.
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