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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve been on this forum for a while, and just lately, I’ve noticed more and more new people that are coming in with the exact same question. I think it’s awesome that there are new people in the hobby, and when you’re new, you may not know what to search for to get the info you need. Just as a general rule to all of the new people on this forum:


Seachem Fourish Comprehensive is not a complete tank fertilizer. It only provides your Micronutrients, and a very small amount of Nitrogen.


There are dozens of posts with this exact same problem:

“I have algae that isn’t going away”

“What are you dosing for fertilizer?”

“Seachem Flourish”

“That’s not a complete fertilizer. You need Macros too”

“But it says ‘comprehensive’”

Here’s the bottom line, folks. Your plants need both Macronutrients and Micronutrients to survive. Your Macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK). Your micronutrients are a huge long list that almost always come as a mixture. I’m not going to use this post as a megathread to explain all of the different methods and intricacies of fertilizer dosing regiments, but they’re a simple google search away. To get you started, start researching EI Dosing and PPS-Pro dosing. This should send you down the rabbit hole that you need to be in to fully appreciate what it takes to run a big beautiful tank like you see from a lot of folks here.

*exits soapbox*
 

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Great opportunity to revive my chart again.
We can see what Flourish Comprehensive really is. It is a source of iron Fe with insufficient other elements. It is screaming : “Buy Flourish Trace buy Flourish Trace …”. Even the Seachem overview says “Flourish® (Comprehensive) is designed to be used in conjunction with other macro and micro-nutrient supplements”.


 

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I don't blame people for being confused. Just in what way is it comprehensive? I don't understand Seachem's approach to fertilizer in general - it seems deliberately confusing. Is that the marketing strategy?
@Edward can you point me to a citation for your ratio analyses columns on the right? I'm doing some background reading.
 

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Ferts are one of those things that seem so difficult that new folks almost always want to find the "easy" way without noting that the easy way may just be hype from ads and not a true solution. Funny how it works out that the things which are found in ads are more often the more expensive solution, isn't it?

So we get a choice! We can choose a fert from ads and then spend hours to figure out why the plants don't do well with the "easy" all in one choice OR we can spent an hour to figure out how to give the plants the different nutrients they need and do it with dry ferts which save us tons of time and money!

My method to figure out how much of each to start with:
https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php

My source for the dry fert package needed:
https://www.nilocg.com/product-cate...oducts/dry-fertilizers-for-planted-aquariums/
You might note that the most expensive item on the page is the spoons to measure? I do small kitchen spoons for the larger amounts and just go with a pinch or two for the small amounts!

Then since nature is rarely a flat, simple, answer, I go to this to figure out what to change when it goes wrong:
https://www.google.com/search?q=aqu...hUE04MKHWesDrsQ9QEIZzAH#imgrc=Vn4aQwqnj0DI2M:

Since life does take some thought, I find it better to think before buying a product, rather than after!
 

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I've started with seachem fertilizers and not entirely thrilled with the lack of ease of use.
Day 1 - Water change day - Add Equilibrium to RO water to reach desired GH.
Day 1 and 4 (macros) - Pull out three bottles, one for each N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (Potasssium). Each have different dose amounts so you must read the label every time. I'd prefer if they diluted the solution so that it was always one capful for 20G or something like that.
Day 2 and 5 (micros) - Seachem Flourish
Day 3 and 6 (other micros) - Seachem Flourish Trace

I get the advantage of the macros being in separate containers so that you can adjust as needed. Some of my tanks have floating plants which crush nitrates (always at zero) so I give full dose to those tanks. Other tanks don't have as many nitrate eating plants and I only use half doses of nitrogen there. But, without testing my water for all the other nutrients, I don't know that the Seachem way of having all the different fertilizers in different bottles truly helps. I feel like I'm just guessing on my adjustments.
I'll probably try an all in one from Dustin's or UNS here soon and see how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't blame people for being confused. Just in what way is it comprehensive? I don't understand Seachem's approach to fertilizer in general - it seems deliberately confusing. Is that the marketing strategy?
They separate everything out, in hopes that you will buy each bottle individually. They neglect to mention that each of those bottles is 99% water, and the actual cost of the fertilizer in that water is maybe $0.05. When you decide that is too much money, they provide a bottle with the word "comprehensive" on the label, so people go "therrrrre it is, thats the one I was looking for. The all-in-one easy solution!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For anyone that doesn't know Spectracide Stump Remover is pure KNO3. So that would take care of your K and N in most cases.
Or, you could just buy KNO3, and not some alternative that's marketed and mixed with water. The fertilizers we use are readily available in almost all countries with a quick Google search.
 

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They separate everything out, in hopes that you will buy each bottle individually. They neglect to mention that each of those bottles is 99% water, and the actual cost of the fertilizer in that water is maybe $0.05. When you decide that is too much money, they provide a bottle with the word "comprehensive" on the label, so people go "therrrrre it is, thats the one I was looking for. The all-in-one easy solution!"
I get the idea of getting more money by getting people to buy things separately, but they don't do a good job of communicating that you need them all, or how they really work together. It's not good for Seachem if someone buys Flourish once, has an unsuccessful go at it, and then either changes product lines or gives up on plants all together. It seems like they could really stand to put some effort in consumer education.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I get the idea of getting more money by getting people to buy things separately, but they don't do a good job of communicating that you need them all, or how they really work together. It's not good for Seachem if someone buys Flourish once, has an unsuccessful go at it, and then either changes product lines or gives up on plants all together. It seems like they could really stand to put some effort in consumer education.
I haven't bought one in a very long time, but I think the back of the Comprehensive bottle says "use with Trace, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium"
 

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It seems like they could really stand to put some effort in consumer education.
They don't want you to be educated. As mentioned above then you would figure out that you are paying mostly for water and the bottle.

If people understood how little fertilizer is in that bottle, they would be embarrassed that they ever bought the stuff.

Dosing is pretty simple.

Macros are KNO3, KH2PO4, and K2SO4, providing NO3 (Nitrogen), PO4 (Phosphate), K (Potassium).

If you need more GH then add CaSO4 (Calcium) and/or MgSO4 (Magnesium).

Then add a micro mix. The best ones use both EDTA and DTPA Fe (Iron).

They are all readily available from many sites.

Let's put this in perspective. If you would dose a 55 gallon tank pretty heavily with Nitrogen, you would use about 7 grams a week. There are 453 grams in a pound. So that's about 64 weeks of dosing with 1 lb of KNO3.

Does anyone know how much a pound of KNO3 costs? About three dollars.
 

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Well they are right about how little fertilizer is in a liquid fert.

But I can't say I trust a website much that cites Dustin and says that PO4 causes algae.
Another thing that doesn't make sense to me is that it states PO4 and FE should only be provided through the roots or your going to get algae. So how do mosses and epiphytes (ferns, anubias, buces,etc.) get their P and FE without risking an algae takeover.
 

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They don't want you to be educated. As mentioned above then you would figure out that you are paying mostly for water and the bottle.

If people understood how little fertilizer is in that bottle, they would be embarrassed that they ever bought the stuff.
I think this is very true for when the nutrients are all individual bottles, but for all-in-one formulations people are primarily paying for convenience. I don't dispute that dry fertilizer is way, way cheaper, but there's value to me in not having a million containers of chemicals that I have to deal with (it's a pain to move them in and out of toddler-proof storage) and I have small, low tech tanks, so I am not paying that much for fertilizer even with the markup. I may change my ways later, but for me the time and hassle saved has been worth it.

Well they are right about how little fertilizer is in a liquid fert.

But I can't say I trust a website much that cites Dustin and says that PO4 causes algae.
There are so many weird statements on that page. Rooted plants are most desirable. No one ever needs to dose micronutrients (except maybe Fe). Magnesium is "the forgotten nutrient"?? The suggested "complete" fertilizer program at the bottom is bonkers! Phosphorus availability is complicated, but let's just say I take issue the way it is characterized here at a number of points. I can't with this site.
 
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