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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm planning my first 10 gallon planted tank, and I have a question about how best to fertilize it. After looking at many threads about fertilizers using different methods and materials, I'm quite overwhelmed at all the variety, and I don't understand which method would work best for me. I plan to have the following plants:

Bacopa
Dwarf Hair Grass
Dwarf Sagittaria
Java Moss
Moneywort
Pennywort

The tank will also be stocked with some tetras, shrimp, etc, maybe a honey gourami or other showpiece fish. Lighting is 2 10W CFL bulbs in the tank's stock hood. For substrate, I plan on either doing an inert sand/gravel with root tabs, or MTS substrate with an inert cap. I might also end up doing DIY CO2.

My question is, given these plants, and this setup, what is a simple and cheap way (this is my first tank) to fertilize this setup effectively? Flourish/Excel/root tabs/etc? Are the root tabs even necessary if I do water column dosing? This is my first time, so any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

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You will get many opinions on this as everybody has their own way of dealing with this. The trick to find what works for you.

Since you are using a inert substrate, root tabs are not a bad idea. If you were going to use something like Eco-Complete that stores nutrients from the water column, I'd say you could dose water column only.

If over time you find root tabs are not enough, you can certainly add water water column dosing later.

I never had luck with gravel and root tabs, so I don't use that method anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You will get many opinions on this as everybody has their own way of dealing with this. The trick to find what works for you.

Since you are using a inert substrate, root tabs are not a bad idea. If you were going to use something like Eco-Complete that stores nutrients from the water column, I'd say you could dose water column only.

If over time you find root tabs are not enough, you can certainly add water water column dosing later.

I never had luck with gravel and root tabs, so I don't use that method anymore.
If I decide to go the mineralized topsoil + sand cap method, should I still dose water column ferts? Also, if I end up dosing water column along either choice, which should I use?
 

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If I decide to go the mineralized topsoil + sand cap method, should I still dose water column ferts? Also, if I end up dosing water column along either choice, which should I use?
No, simply because you shouldn't need to. I use PPS-Pro, but if you didn't want to use that, you could read up about other kinds of dry ferts. There are lots of liquid versions as well. I've also used the Seachem line, but I don't think they were worth the cash.
 

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Without knowing what lighting you have on that tank it isn't possible to say how you should fertilize it. Light drives the growth of plants. The more light, the faster the plants can grow. The faster they grow, the more nutrients they use. With more light, the plants can quickly run short on carbon, since the carbon comes from CO2 in the water, and CO2 mostly comes from the CO2 in the atmosphere. So, the more light you have, the more you need to diffuse CO2 into the water. What lighting do you have?
 
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