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Easy Iron in a low tech?

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Hi @Rube_Goldfish

Insufficient available iron is not dependent upon the use of CO2 or not.  Granted in tanks with CO2 plants grow more quickly and the need for all nutrients (including iron) goes up but even 'low tech' non-CO2 tanks can have insufficient available iron.  In fact, low tech tanks are more likely to need supplemental iron than 'high tech' tanks with CO2.  Why?  Because the iron used in most aquatic plant fertilizers is EDTA chelated iron which is unavailable to plants as the pH of the tank increases dropping off to about 10% availability at a pH of 7.0 and less than 5% availability at pH 7.5 (see chart). 


Iron insufficiency is relative easy to spot.  It shows up on the newest leaves of a plant.  The leaves will look relatively normal in shape but exhibit normal green leaf veins with much lighter green to yellowish coloration between the leaf veins.  In extreme cases new leaves will be almost white in color (due to a lack of chlorophyll).

Ideally an all-in-one fertilizer would use either a DTPA chlated iron or EDDHA chelated iron however most do not with the exception of Nilocg.com Thrive-C which uses DTPA chelated iron and has a carbon supplement built in to the formula.  Another iron type that works well with a high pH tank is ferrous gluconate such as is found in Seachem (Flourish) Iron.  Remember it is not how much iron is in a fertilizer it is how much iron in the fertilizer that is available to the plants based upon the pH of the tank.  Hope this helps! -Roy

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Thanks!  I keep my tanks at a pH of 6.4 to 6.6 (ish; I know it fluctuates over the course of the day) and dose Easy Green in accordance with the printed instructions, so maybe they're getting the iron they need anyway.  In my established tank I haven't seen the deficiency you describe, and the new tank is too new and many of the plants still adjusting/establishing to really show how they're doing.

Really, I was putting together a Co-op order for other things and thought to add Easy Iron to save on shipping, but I might just hold off for now and only try it if I see that the plants are asking for it in their new growth.

Thanks again!

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