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The art of making aquariums look their best through caring for plant species is called aquascaping, and it adheres to four vital elements of an ideal ecosystem: lighting, substrate, carbon dioxide management, and the proper use of fertilizers. At the very least, aquatic plants should be provided with lighting to stimulate photosynthesis. Only rooted plants need specific substrate, and the management of CO2 can best be enabled by the addition of “carbon source” like SeaChem Excel or gas CO2 or even fractionally through fish waste, invertebrates, and microorganisms. With regard to fertilizers, not all fish keepers use them, but those who do enjoy the advantage of healthy plants that live longer and look majestic.
Why You Should Apply Fertilizer to Planted Tanks
Aquatic plants are living organisms that require various nutrients in addition to those generated by photosynthesis and the generation of carbon dioxide. Your aquarium can be stocked with a nice diversity of fish and invertebrates that provide micro amounts of CO2 along with other nutrients, but not all the ones necessary for maximum growth, pigmentation, and overall health. If you wish to provide optimal nutrition for your aquarium plants to thrive, you’ll need to use fertilizer and CO2 supplied by a regulator and solenoid.
Fertilizers Provide Additional Carbon Dioxide
As we previously touched on, CO2 is a compound that will occur naturally in small amounts within freshwater planted aquariums even if they’re not stocked with fish. Species such as Java moss won’t require too much carbon dioxide as long as they don’t get too much lighting. Rooted species that are more exuberant will need plenty of light along with CO2 nutrients. Should there be a deficiency in this regard, you may end up with an algae bloom situation that throws the ecosystem off balance. Although additional CO2 can be provided by specialized tanks and cartridges that attach to aeration systems, plant fertilizer that includes CO2 is always the best option.
Using Liquid Fertilizers
Bottled fertilizer for aquarium plants usually comes in two formulations: supplemental and all-in-one. Aquascaping enthusiasts are known to use various supplemental fertilizers in liquid form. The advantage of supplements is that they’re heavily concentrated in one or two nutrients such as iron and manganese, but you would have to know the specific nutritional deficiencies. All-in-one liquid fertilizers are like multivitamins for plants. They’re formulated to improve essential nutrition. The quantity and frequency of liquid fertilizer applications is determined by water volume, and it should be printed on the product label.
Fertilizing Root Tabs
Some of the most delicate and exotic rooted plants for freshwater and saltwater tanks require a nourishing substrate layer to thrive, and they’ll also benefit from root tabs. Assuming the plant has already taken hold in the substrate, a root tab can be inserted nearby to provide up to six months of nutrients that are slowly released into the tank. This fertilizing method is recommended for aquascape tanks that lack fish or invertebrates.
When caring for a planted aquarium, you’ll need several key fish tank supplies. At Aquatic Warehouse, you can find everything necessary to ensure your aquarium looks beautiful and its inhabitants remain healthy and happy. Stop by our store located in Kearny Mesa, order your supplies from our website and have them shipped to you, or give us a call today at 858-467-9297 if you have any questions.