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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay - I may have not worded the subject right but what I basically need to figure out is a way to provide food to my plants roots. I use the flourish liquid to dose the tank, but my substrate (which is an extremely fine gravel) is not a "plant" substrate. So my question is how do I feed the plants without breaking my bank. It seems the plant food tabs are outrageously expensive (IMO) - I'd go through almost an entire pack with one dose.

I have a 50g tank with 3-4 inches of the fine gravel throughout. Again I dose with the flourish liquid, but what else can I do to feed the plants - that is without taking everything out of the tank.

Thanks!
 

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You could make some DIY root tabs. Buy some osmocote plus and some empty gel tabs . Fill 'em up and you have root tabs.

Another way that may take some time initially but be much easier in the long run is to redo your substrate. Think of it as a chance to rescape and clean your tank. Get a cheap bag of topsoil (I've used scott's before) and then put that underneath your "fine gravel".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You could make some DIY root tabs. Buy some osmocote plus and some empty gel tabs . Fill 'em up and you have root tabs.

Another way that may take some time initially but be much easier in the long run is to redo your substrate. Think of it as a chance to rescape and clean your tank. Get a cheap bag of topsoil (I've used scott's before) and then put that underneath your "fine gravel".
I may go with the first approach. I just don't have a place to put all of the fish right now :icon_frow

There aren't any chemicals in the soil that would hurt the fish? I know I have a bag of miracle grow top soil but that's probably got something that would be bad for the fish.

Also I'd imagine you have to do something with the soil once and a while because the nutrients would get eaten up by the plants over time, is this true?
 

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There aren't any chemicals in the soil that would hurt the fish? I know I have a bag of miracle grow top soil but that's probably got something that would be bad for the fish.
In some of the more expensive bags there are. That's because they add stuff to the topsoil. The cheap bags ($1.50 a bag) only contain manure, wood chips and maybe some peat.

Also I'd imagine you have to do something with the soil once and a while because the nutrients would get eaten up by the plants over time, is this true?
Ya, the nutrients will eventually run out...but it'll take years for that to happen.
 

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There aren't any chemicals in the soil that would hurt the fish? I know I have a bag of miracle grow top soil but that's probably got something that would be bad for the fish.

Also I'd imagine you have to do something with the soil once and a while because the nutrients would get eaten up by the plants over time, is this true?
Miracle grow top soil has too much crap in it,, literally. Miracle grow organic choice potting mix works great. 3 tanks currently with it here.

The oldest has been wet for over 2 years with only trace/fe dosed when I feel like it in passing so nothing added since setting it up.
It's currently housing some melted in shipping ratty leafless sticks of anubias :angryfire Received over 3 feet of rhizome and maybe 10 leaves.

But the crypts, swords dwarf sag etc. are doing fine as always, even in the presence ratty leafless sticks.
 

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Miracle grow top soil has too much crap in it,, literally. Miracle grow organic choice potting mix works great. 3 tanks currently with it here.

The oldest has been wet for over 2 years with only trace/fe dosed when I feel like it in passing so nothing added since setting it up.
It's currently housing some melted in shipping ratty leafless sticks of anubias :angryfire Received over 3 feet of rhizome and maybe 10 leaves.

But the crypts, swords dwarf sag etc. are doing fine as always, even in the presence ratty leafless sticks.

Sucks about the melted leaves but with the heat were having not a huge surprise. Just clean them up real good and put them in a healthy tank. You'll have some nice leaves in no time!
 

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Miracle grow organic top soil is a bag of sticks. I'll sell you some sticks if you really want them. They're mostly unuseable carbon with a tiny mineral component.

If you really want to buy soil in a bag, buy Scott's topsoil.

If you really want the good stuff, go more or less anywhere and get a few shovel fulls of dirt.
 

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Sucks about the melted leaves but with the heat were having not a huge surprise. Just clean them up real good and put them in a healthy tank. You'll have some nice leaves in no time!
Yeah this was back at the end of May when the weather started to change from warm to incinerator hot. Massive anubias from a larger setup and the box got sun baked. 2 months has yielded about 2.5 leaves per 6" of rhizome LOL.
Miracle grow organic top soil is a bag of sticks. I'll sell you some sticks if you really want them. They're mostly unusable carbon with a tiny mineral component.

If you really want to buy soil in a bag, buy Scott's topsoil.

If you really want the good stuff, go more or less anywhere and get a few shovel fulls of dirt.
Miracle grow organic top soil??? is what? a misprint/mispost?
MG topsoil has a good bit of animal waste in it.
Is MG potting mix what your referring to as a bag of sticks?
If so then I'm responding to that.

"MG organic potting mix is a bag of sticks. They're mostly unusable carbon with a tiny mineral component."
The 'sticks', bark, ground leaf litter and other organic materials contained in the bag do what when placed in an aquarium submerged in water? Bacteria does something with it I can assure you.
Carbon contained in those 'sticks' is exactly what is released by the bacteria chewing up the organics causing bubbles/gas to be released from NPT substrates. Submerged decomposition/mineralization provides CO2 (carbon) for the plants.

Without writing a book or stealing another's work here the method of producing mineralized soil for aquarium use deals with exactly this event. The repeated wet/dry cycles accelerates the break down of the organics and renders it to the mineral base material. Organics and the associated carbon binding it together/ are eliminated. This makes the nutrient component immediately available to the plants. But the trapped carbon is lost prior to use.

Debate continues over which is best or lasts longer which isn't the point of this post.

Nowhere in any of the discussion of mineralized soils do you read any claims of it providing carbon for the plants. The organic materials which do contain carbon is what the end product of MTS eliminates. But the NPT method provides exactly that, and in my opinion it's more for less effort :smile:. Organic materials left in the soil and placed in the substrate are known (proven) to provide carbon via the biological breakdown preformed by Heterotrophic Bacteria. This provides not just CO2 (POC & DOC) but it makes available the N, P, S, C to the plants that was trapped in those 'sticks'.

The submerged decay of organics basically is a time release of all the energy captured in the original growth of the plant materials contained in that bag of sticks back into the aquarium for the plants to make use of it again.


On the shelf here is D. Walstad's book and it in large part is the basis of this post along with what I've seen in tank here over the years. The information it contains is scientific in nature, verified and (imo) well written. It details and explains directly the topic and error of your statement.
 

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you could try eBay maybe but it's always a bit of a gamble with what you'l actually receive!
[Ebay Link Removed]

how do root tablets work? do you just shove them under the gravel where the roots of the plants are and thats it? do they need replacing? sorry if this is hijacking a thread just made me wonder..

Edit: wasn't aware you couldnt link to ebay on here! the products called 'Root Tablet - Live Aquatic Plant Fertilizer Tropica NEW' if you want to search it, its really cheap.
 
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