you have heard that your plants need food right? but what is the best food to give your plants, what would they like?
I’m here to tell you whats so good about Neutro’s and why you need to give it to your plants.
Firstly you need to know that there are three different Neutro fertilisers, you need to make sure you know what they are about and which ones are right for you.
To start with there is Neutro CO2. This is a liquid carbon fertiliser that is about a third of the strength of Pressurised CO2. Almost all tanks need liquid carbon, the only exception are and tanks that have plants that don’t like liquid carbon, such as Valliseria. Liquid carbon is a very important source of growth for plants. if you have plants in your tank that are living but aren’t growing and flourishing then you need to add liquid carbon.
Secondly there is Neutro T. Neutro T provides your plants with the Trace elements that need to really flourish. Trace elements included are Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum and Zinc. These micro nutrients are key for plant growth.
Lastly there is Neutro + now it is key that you use Neutro + if you have pressurised CO2 set up in your aquarium. It is important that you use Neutro + because this fertiliser not only has the Trace elements that plants need it also has the macro nutrients that pressurised CO2 removes from your tank. The macro nutrients are Potassium, Phosphorus and Nitrogen.
When using Neutro fertilisers it is important that you dose correctly. over or under dosing can cause algae issues in your tank.
CO2 = 5ml per 100L daily
T and + = 10ml per 100L daily
What are your thoughts about Neutro fertilisers? have you found them to be beneficial?
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.
I stumbled across a commercial website today which sells aquarium plants and other planted tank accessories. Some of the information they were providing was total garbage and they were giving their customers incorrect information:
certain nutrients especially iron and potassium can only be absorbed by the root of the plant
It’s SO disappointing to read information like that, particularly as it’s not true!! Plants can of course absorb nutrients like iron and potassium through their leaves and their roots – why else can these nutrients be dosed in liquid format if this wasn’t the case?
There’s so much incorrect information on the internet, I urge you to take caution with what you read and who from. Some websites are good, some are pants. I regularly talk to customers about information they have read that is totally incorrect and have to set them on the straight and narrow. So when you are looking for advice, make sure you get it from the horses mouth, i.e. Aqua Essentials or other genuine specialists and not just those who think they are, and live in the dark ages.
and please don’t tell me that excess nutrients causes algae.
p.s. if you want to share any ridiculous old wives tales about dos and do nots in planted aquariums, why not share them now.
If we never tested our water, how would we know exactly what is happening? Understanding water parameters is essential for planted aquariums and with hobbyists who are relatively inexperienced, they really help. It’s too early to be guessing at what is happening within your tank just by looking at your plants and fish. So what should we test for and when should we test?
The main test kits that are important to planted aquariums are pH, KH, GH, PO4 (phosphate), NO3 (nitrate) and Fe (Iron). There are other test kits that are useful such as NO2 (nitrite) and NH4 (ammonia) but they are more useful at the beginning of setting up an aquarium or when adding new fish.
Which brand? There are a vast amount of brands available in today’s market and there is no question of doubt that test kits vary enormously in not only accuracy but also price. It’s fair to say that the cheaper the test kit, the less accurate it will be. For that reason we recommend test kits by Precision Labs – they supply dip test which means you literally dip the testing stick into your water for about 2 seconds and then remove it. They provide a very accurate result in a short period of time. If you prefer liquid tests where different solutions are used then click here to see our range.
So now we know which test kits are needed and which brands are best, what levels should we be aiming for? The first thing to remember about planted aquariums are that your water parameters will change all the time. Do not focus too much on pH and how much that will swing from day to day. There is no problem with pH swings – it’s perfectly normal. The target reading is 6.8 but if you struggle to achieve this, don’t worry too much. KH is a test to determine the carbonate hardness of your water; aim for about 3-4 kH. This level will also help stabilise your pH. GH will vary enormously and is also linked with pH. The target level for GH is 60ppm (parts per million) but plants are OK with higher levels. PO4 in a non CO2 aquarium is considered undesirable so aim for 1 ppm or less. NO3 levels should remain between 10-50ppm (preferably closer towards 10ppm in a non CO2 aquarium). Higher levels than this are undesirable and there are a number of filter resins that can be added to soak up excesses. Fe levels should stay low – iron is a trace element so the plants only require low levels. 0.1ppm is sufficient and it’s worth noting that higher levels than this can cause undesirable algae growth.
Before you begin testing your aquarium water, it’s best to know what levels you are working with before hand and the most simple way of this is to test your tap water. This way you understand the ‘base levels’ and know what to expect. It also gives you a good idea of what your plants are consuming and what levels are increasing as you feed your fish and nitrates and phosphates are produced. But don’t forget although fish produce waste, plants absorb some of these excesses too.