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Fertilizer Help

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  • Fertilizer Help

    Hi, thanks for reading. I have a 20 gallon planted tank with 2 tall Java Fern, 4 light green Ludwigia, and a rather small Anubis. I use aqueon led lights, not great but I didn't know what I needed when I got them. For fish I have 7 Peppered Corydoras, 6 Dalmation Molly, and a Pearl Gourami. When I was setting the tank up and cycling I used Stability to help the cycling and Prime to lower the stress on the couple fish I had in order to help create the bio load. I use RO water, and I didn't know this was possibly detrimental for fish until one of my Corydoras died even though my water tested great for everything. My LFS helped me figure out the problem and now I use Alkaline Buffer to get my pH to 7.4. To remineralize I got some Kents RO Right because that was the only option, but I'm definitely going to get Equilibrium when I need more. Currently I use Flourish Tabs(I have inert pebble substrate) and Flourish Excel because of the benefits it has for plants as well as the suppression of some types of algae. Based on the plants I have, would it be good for me to use Flourish? NPK? Trace? All this stuff seems beneficial but I don't know what I should get and what I don't really need. My Ludwigia is doing great and my Java Ferns are looking good as well, but my Anubius has a bit of browning and just looks a bit rough. Any advice on my fish stuff is also welcome. Thanks
    Last edited by Merlin647; 02-05-2020, 22:33.

  • #2
    Thanks for the post, Merlin647!

    Generally, I recommend to start with the Flourish, Flourish Advance and Flourish Excel. Those are three of your baseline ferts that will really get your plants growing and off to a good start. Now of course, you will need to monitor your plants to see how they are doing and what they may need further by signs of deficiency. Flourish Potassium is an extremely important nutrient for plant health and is typically supplemented on a regular basis. If you decide to use the Flourish, you may not need to immediately start with the Trace, as some of the elements in those products overlap. However, if and when you begin using the Flourish Trace, you can dose Flourish and Flourish Trace on different days once or twice a week. Before you start dosing nitrogen and phosphorous, it will be important to test your levels first. You don't want to overdose those nutrients, however, you also don't want to have zero either. Ideally, you want to shoot for about a 10:1 ratio of nitrate:phosphate. The link below will take you to a dosing guide for your reference when beginning to use the Flourish supplements. This is simply a guide and is not intended to be the only way to dose your planted aquarium. Every tank is different and will require different dosing schedules.

    I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any further questions!


    • #3
      Thanks for the response! Just a couple follow up questions. When I use Equilibrium and Alkaline buffer to make my RO water optimal, I only need to add some to the water I am putting into the tank during water changes right? It was my understanding that I should top off with just RO and when changing and cleaning remineralize. Second, since I have a fairly high bioload for my tank, do I really need to consider dosing nitrate or phosphate? Thanks for the help


      • #4
        That is correct. Once you have stabilized the tank water to optimal levels, you will only add the Equilibrium and Alkaline Buffer to the RO water at water changes. This will ensure that the new water matches the parameters of the tank water so there will not be any drastic shifts when you change the water. Equilibrium should only be added to new water during water changes for the amount of the new water. Do not add Equilibrium to your top-off water, but you can add the buffer if needed to your top off water, depending on how much you are topping off. The best way to determine if you need to dose nitrogen and/or phosphorus is testing your current levels in the tank. If you have a high organic load, it is likely you might not need to dose those supplements, but again, the best way to know is by testing.

        I hope this helps!