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Planting Roottabs in substrate?


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This has been discussed a few times, so I believe some people have reported it. In one case that I remember, the hobbyist was adding root tabs in a grid pattern all across a relatively new aquarium that did not have a lot of established plants in it yet. In other words, there may not have been enough plants of large enough sizes to use up all that fertilizer. 

I use root tabs all the time and have no problem with spiking anything, but I have a lot of plants and I only put root tabs where the roots of my root-feeding plants are. So I put one near the Amazon sword, my aponogeton and lilies, but I don't put them where my java ferns or anubias are. For me, corkscrew valisneria grows like wildfire without any feeding, so it gets zero tabs.

End result, in my 20g long planted tank, which has a lot of 1.5 year old plants in it with well-established roots, I might put in 4-5 root tabs per month, in addition to adding Easy Green 2x week. If I only had a few plants, between root tabs and Easy Green I'd be wayyy overfertilizing and I'm sure my parameters would be wonky and I'd probably have a ton of algae, too. 

You are smart to check your parameters after adding anything, and to pay attention. If anything creeps into the danger zone, you can do a water change to dial it back and try half as much next time, etc. until you get what you're after: plant growth without spikes.

Here are two of my 20gs so you can see the volume of plants using my root tabs. Someone who used less Easy Green may want to use more root tabs, depending on what kind of plants they are growing. Also good to keep in mind my tanks have had 20-40 livebearers in it for 1.5 years so there is natural fish-poop fertilizer in my substrate as well. 

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Cory talked about how the Co-Op root tabs are enriched and mineralized top soil. They do contain nitrogen-containing compounds, but if they are planted deep enough, they shouldn’t cause any noticeable spikes, especially if you add plants at the same time. However, if you want to be safe, you can always just set up the aquarium first with only plants and the root tabs in the substrate. Test the water over the course of a week or so before planning on getting some inhabitants.

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On 9/22/2022 at 3:30 PM, PineSong said:

Here are two of my 20gs so you can see the volume of plants using my root tabs. Someone who used less Easy Green may want to use more root tabs, depending on what kind of plants they are growing. Also good to keep in mind my tanks have had 20-40 livebearers in it for 1.5 years so there is natural fish-poop fertilizer in my substrate as well. 

tankshot.jpg.1d1d2a610429bc5762541453604bb832.jpg2110929135_KitchenTankatNight.JPG.45b34ac38b67bb0b684d60bfa4d69a11.JPG

 

 

 

 

Do you just have inert substrate or do you have any kind of aquasoil under the gravel?

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With root tabs and a heavily planted tank, just don't make my mistake and jam your gravel vac into the substrate - those nutrients will get churned into the water column, and then hello algae bloom. Now I just lightly vac the top layer. 

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On 9/23/2022 at 9:41 AM, Schuyler said:

Do you just have inert substrate or do you have any kind of aquasoil under the gravel?

I have only inert gravel, but this tank has been up and running for 1.5 years with a ton of livebearers, so it has accumulated some mulm and I've been using Co-op root tabs, which in a video Cory said contain clay in addition to the ferts. So, there is however much clay there would be from 4-5 root tabs per month x 18 months in there under the gravel.

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