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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have found that root tabs can cause issues with algae in tanks unless they are put very deep into the substrate where they can't be disturbed at all. Even then, they still leach out into the water column in time, and feed algae. I also believe it is possible that root tabs can do more harm than good unless plant roots are well established. I've heard complaints about them over the years in general. For heavy root feeders like swords and crypts, would you use tabs, or do liquid ferts? Maybe someone else could share their thoughts and experience with root tabs? Thanks.
 

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I've been wondering about this myself because I've noticed that when I put in root tabs, I get thread algae the next day. But my aponogeton and crypts don't seem to do well without them. I put them in as deep as I can, with tweezers. I'm starting to think on the week I add root tabs (about once a month) I should reduce or skip entirely the regular fert dose, to avoid triggering algae, but I don't know if this is the best approach.
 

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Here's a thread on root tab/substrate + water column fert feeding vs only water column feeding.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/33-plants/876457-so-called-heavy-root-feeders-fact-fiction.html
In short, I think water column feeding is largely effective by itself. Though heavy root feeders can benefit with additional root feeding.

Substrate feeding only vs water column feeding only, I think I've heard/seen water column feeding produce better results for most plants.

For the algae side of things, well that's whole other debate and depends on many variables.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was just reminded of another reason I don't care for root tabs. You can never know how much is in the water column, or for how long. So if you do have fertilizing issues like yellow leaves, etc., you can't just add iron or other nutrients and know you won't be over fertilizing the tank and wiping out the whole thing. Liquid fertilizers or dosing seems to make more sense in that regard. If you have an abundance of healthy plants, and very deep substrate, I suppose root tabs could be less problematic. But for young plants without much root structure, new tanks, and the like, root tabs can be a real pain.
 
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