I’m really surprised how iron focussed some people are. It’s rather worrying too. Problem is that so many manufacturers have banged on about it for some long, they’ve given the impression that it’s really important. So here’s some news for you:
iron is a trace element
That’s right – trace. That means it’s required in small quantities – not large quantities. Iron does not cause hair algae, it won’t make your plants grow better (on its own) and you really need to stop focusing on it so much.You’re also very unlikely to have only an iron deficiency, because nutrients are all generally linked.
Those of you who are wise will know that there are far more important things to be concerned about such as good water circulation, lighting on for no more than 8 hours per day, minimum 30% water change per week (and more if you are having algae issues) and adding quality fertilisers on a daily basis.
So does iron ever need to be dosed separately? You probably know the answer to this by now but for those of you who haven’t worked it out then no. You just need to add more of your main fertilisers, that’s all. Neutro T and Neutro+ cover this.
We deal with a lot of problems on planted aquariums – after all that is what we specialise in so naturally we expect to deal with a lot of the same issues. One issue that crops up over and over again is the way people deal with problems. Now it was Einstein who defined insanity:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
and it’s so true…
Many hobbyists keep doing the same things and expect to get different results – which after reading the above makes you insane. Now of course this is an exageration, we don’t really think you’re mad but it’s making people aware that they need to try something different if their planted aquarium is not going the way they expect. Lets look at an example of yellowing leaves. Customer notices some of the leaves on their crypts going yellow and thinks that’s strange but ignores it hoping it might go away.
Now yellowing of leaves normally indicates a nutrient deficiency so the remedy – add more nutrients.
Next couple of days the situation is no better, in fact it’s worse. More leaves are yellowing and no more fertilisers are being added. This fictional story happens all the time and I encourage you to do something different if you’re not getting the results you expect. In this situation if you added more fertilisers you would notice a positive difference. Leaves would begin to look better.
So next time things aren’t going your way in your planted tank, think about what Einstein said and then, do something different :), oh and add some ferts too
Fertilisers. The vast number of fertilisers on the market can be quite bewildering, so what is the best option? The main factor to consider is if you are using CO2 or not. If you are, you’ll need to choose a variety of fertilisers but we’ll come onto that shortly.
What you need to look for in a fertiliser for a non CO2 tank is one that will not add any macro nutrients (nitrate and phosphate). These macros which although are essential for plants will be produced by fish waste. So buying a fertiliser with macros will just cause you problems in the form of algae. Some excellent fertilisers are Seachem Flourish, Tropica Plant Nutrition, Easy Life Profito and AE Design Aqua Nourish. All of these are particularly suitable for non CO2 tanks as they provide trace elements only. Those of you already using or are considering using CO2 it’s important to choose your fertilisers carefully because you will probably need more than one bottle. When buying fertilisers it is important to stick with one brand – by mixing them it can cause more trouble than it is worth so decide on one you like and stick with it.
With a brand such as Seachem which is very popular with hobbyists, you are given the option of using a variety of fertilisers to give complete control over the important nutrients which are essential for solid plant growth. The individual nutrients they provide are trace, phosphorus, nitrogen, iron and potassium. By using their range you can add as much or as little as you need according to what your plants require.
For some hobbyists, they are looking to reduce the number of bottles to dose to make life a little simpler. This is the primary reason why some manufacturers have designed ‘all in one bottles’. The latest product on the market is Tropica Plant Nutrition – although strictly speaking it’s not a new product but more of a rebranded one. Tropica Plant Nutrition supplies the nutrients plants easily run out of. These remaining nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are excreted via fish. We therefore recommend Tropica Plant Nutrition for aquariums with few plants and a relatively large number of fish. It’s no surprise that this product has become very popular and for those of you who are using CO2 we recommended their + version. Tropica Plant Nutrition+ contains all the essential nutrients needed including nitrogen and phosphorus (macro nutrients) so it makes it suitable for tanks with high levels of plants relative to the number of fish.
It’s important not to be frightened by fertilisers and a common misconception is adding fertilisers cause algae – this is not the case. In the past when algae develops (and I regularly hear this), people stop fertilising. They decide nutrients are causing the problem. Starving your plants of nutrients, having a low flow filter rate and lighting on for excess periods causes algae, not the fertilisers. By making sure you do not limit the nutrients in your aquarium, you provide your plants with what they need, and as a result they repay you by looking great and growing fast. For those of you who are forgetful when dosing fertilisers I recommend AE Design Aqua Nourish and Nourish+ – these are designed to be dosed daily (perhaps when you feed your fish).