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Do I still need root tabs if using plant substrate?

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Hi, I'm setting up a planted tank. The volcanic soil based plant substrates are new since last time I did this (maybe 15 years ago).

I have my hardscape done and an using shrimp king substrate. I'm starting to add plants now. I'm wondering, do I still need root tabs with this substrate? Or is it the point of these new substrates that they have enough nutrients for the plants to grow without the tabs?



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The volcanic soil based plant substrates are inert so it help quite bit to add additional fertilizer. I did a side by side test last year of between a volcanic soil based plant substrate and sand with root tabs sand over dirt and the both did much better than the  volcanic soil based plant substrate.

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I think it has some nutrients depending on brand but not much. It does however serve as the perfect medium in which the roots of aquatic plant can grow. This is my personal opinion but I've had much better luck with it than gravel or sand and it just looks good to me. I always use liquid ferts anyways but I'm sure for heavy root feeders tabs would be appreciated.

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Root tabs are never needed. But they can be a nice fall back to those of us who are not as strict with nutrient dosing. If you forget to dose at times, I would use them. If you are dosing properly and never forget, I would not use them.


If you do use them, use them sparingly. 

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