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Talk to me about ferts


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Ok, so my tank project is getting close to done, which means I'll likely be ordering plants in the next few weeks. I've always used flourish (tabs and liquid) as my fertilizer, but I'm really getting tired of how expensive it is, and a bottle doesn't last long on a 125 gal tank, even dosing once a week. I've been thinking about switching to dry ferts, but I NEED something that's crazy convenient as I have a chronic illness that frequently makes it difficult to do a lot of my routine maintenance.

I'd like to hear from people who have used dry ferts... How do you like them? Do they work any better than flourish? Are they INSANELY EASY? Any particular sources you recommend?

About my system: 125gal tank, soon-to-have an old 55gal as a sump, bottom of the tank is at the low end of medium lighting as best I can tell, NO CO2. Will be moderately planted at first with anubias, bolbitis, 1-3 swords, crinum calimistratum, crinum thaianum (onion plant), vals, and possibly some tiger lotus bulbs.

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  • Regular Member

Ok, so my tank project is getting close to done, which means I'll likely be ordering plants in the next few weeks. I've always used flourish (tabs and liquid) as my fertilizer, but I'm really getting tired of how expensive it is, and a bottle doesn't last long on a 125 gal tank, even dosing once a week. I've been thinking about switching to dry ferts, but I NEED something that's crazy convenient as I have a chronic illness that frequently makes it difficult to do a lot of my routine maintenance.

I'd like to hear from people who have used dry ferts... How do you like them? Do they work any better than flourish? Are they INSANELY EASY? Any particular sources you recommend?

About my system: 125gal tank, soon-to-have an old 55gal as a sump, bottom of the tank is at the low end of medium lighting as best I can tell, NO CO2. Will be moderately planted at first with anubias, bolbitis, 1-3 swords, crinum calimistratum, crinum thaianum (onion plant), vals, and possibly some tiger lotus bulbs.

Jess orders from Green Leaf Aquariums, and I believe she really likes it.

I have had interaction with Orlando from there, and he is an awesome (and honest) person. I would recommend this place. You can even write to Orlando to ask for product recommendation. He will not try to sell you things, but will help.

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I use dry ferts and I really like them. Growth is far superior to Flourish and you have more control over what goes into your tank. Have you looked into EI dosing yet? It stands for estimative index and is just that: dosing via estimation. The following is a guide, but you can tweak as necessary.

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2819-EI-light-for-those-less-techy-folks

Without co2 you won't have any need to dose three times a week. Once or twice weekly would probably be sufficient. Basically all I do is 'measure' each fert with a teaspoon. You can weigh them for more accuracy, but if you are used to baking you can just eyeball measurements. You can either dose them dry into the tank, dissolve them in a little bit of water first, or create a stock solution. The latter is probably the least labour intensive over time. Yes, it involves more initial set up, but after that you are just dosing, for example, 5ml of solution out of a litre bottle. I have a chronic illness as well and it only takes me about 5 minutes to measure and dose the ferts dry. It is very simple. :)

Common dry fertilisers dosed are potassium nitrate (KNO3), monopotassium phosphate (KH2PO4), GH booster, and chelated iron if necessary. If you follow the EI program micronutrients can either be dosed in dry form or you can dose the required amount of Flourish. You may still want to keep the root tabs if your substrate is not a nutrient dense aquatic substrate or garden soil. Since you are outside of Australia you should have no problem buying dry ferts. Here there is a lot of hoopla about bomb manufacturing. As for price, dry ferts are significantly cheaper. I'm dosing all of the above and I spent about $40 on them. Minus the iron and micronutrients, everything else is in 1kg portions. That amount should last me at least a year, if not more. It's great value for money, even in Australia.

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Jess orders from Green Leaf Aquariums, and I believe she really likes it.

I have had interaction with Orlando from there, and he is an awesome (and honest) person. I would recommend this place. You can even write to Orlando to ask for product recommendation. He will not try to sell you things, but will help.

I have used dry ferts for quite a while, and I really like the control I have over my setup. When I run out of my current items, I'll be giving GLA a try, as I've heard many great things about them.

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Yep I have been using dry ferts from GLA for awhile. I follow the estimative index (EI) dosing method. Dry ferts require a little more work since you do need to measure them out (I use water bottles to make a liquid stock solution that usually lasts me about a month), but they are cheaper and you have more control of how much of a certain fert you add to the tank

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thanks guys, you're awesome! My substrate is currently plain sand, but in about a year I'll be moving, and since I have to tear the tank apart for that anyway, I was thinking about adding a soil base then (highly likely). Dan, when you suggested to keep using root tabs, that was IN ADDITION to dry ferts in the water, yes?

I'm thinking I'll skip the stock solution, and just add the dry ferts straight to the sump unless you guys recommend otherwise. My hands and wrists are severely affected by my illness and my grip strength BITES... it'll likely be easier for me and I'll be less likely to accidentally dump the entire stock bottle in the tank if I don't have a stock bottle! lol

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Thanks guys, you're awesome! My substrate is currently plain sand, but in about a year I'll be moving, and since I have to tear the tank apart for that anyway, I was thinking about adding a soil base then (highly likely). Dan, when you suggested to keep using root tabs, that was IN ADDITION to dry ferts in the water, yes?

I'm thinking I'll skip the stock solution, and just add the dry ferts straight to the sump unless you guys recommend otherwise. My hands and wrists are severely affected by my illness and my grip strength BITES... it'll likely be easier for me and I'll be less likely to accidentally dump the entire stock bottle in the tank if I don't have a stock bottle! lol

That IS one of the advantages of the sump - you can add things to it without worrying the fish will gobble it up. :)

The only thing that might be the impediment here is that the stock may be necessary because it's a really concentrated amount, and you don't need to add that much at one time. If that's the case, I would see if you can recruit help with making the stock. :)

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The only thing that might be the impediment here is that the stock may be necessary because it's a really concentrated amount, and you don't need to add that much at one time. If that's the case, I would see if you can recruit help with making the stock. :)

Say wha??? I'm not sure exactly what you mean here... When I say I'll add the dry ferts to the sump, I mean a week's worth when I do my WC, NOT the entire package (which is what I think you read, based on above). Also, the reason making a stock solution concerns me is not so much the mixing of it (that I can do!) but the adding it to the sump. I tend to drop things... a LOT... especially when I'm only using one hand on them, like I would be for pouring stock solution out of a bottle and into a measuring device. I don't want to take any chances of accidentally dropping the bottle and wasting a lot of ferts, or worse, dropping the OPEN bottle into the sump and severely overdosing my system. If I'm measuring dry ferts, I can just leave the containers on the shelf, scoop out my portion, and dose, no accidents to worry about.

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The only thing that might be the impediment here is that the stock may be necessary because it's a really concentrated amount, and you don't need to add that much at one time. If that's the case, I would see if you can recruit help with making the stock. :)

Say wha??? I'm not sure exactly what you mean here... When I say I'll add the dry ferts to the sump, I mean a week's worth when I do my WC, NOT the entire package (which is what I think you read, based on above). Also, the reason making a stock solution concerns me is not so much the mixing of it (that I can do!) but the adding it to the sump. I tend to drop things... a LOT... especially when I'm only using one hand on them, like I would be for pouring stock solution out of a bottle and into a measuring device. I don't want to take any chances of accidentally dropping the bottle and wasting a lot of ferts, or worse, dropping the OPEN bottle into the sump and severely overdosing my system. If I'm measuring dry ferts, I can just leave the containers on the shelf, scoop out my portion, and dose, no accidents to worry about.

Gotcha

What I mean is that I think if you don't make stock, you may only be adding less than a gram at a time. So, unless you have a scale that goes down that low, it might now work out.

Anyway, let's see what the dosage is when Jess comes back to the thread. Then we can discuss it more, but I am sure it will work out. :)

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Yes, I meant the tabs in conjunction with the ferts. If you're going to transition to soil they aren't really needed; it is mainly so the root feeding plants could take nutrients in that way too.

If you did make a stock solution, you could put it in a pump bottle. You don't run the risk of accidentally dosing everything at once that way. A lot of people seem to like the pump bottle, especially since you can measure what one pump equates to in millilitres and then never worry about measuring again. It's then just a matter of using the right amount of pumps.

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Dan, I have no idea why I didn't think of using a pump bottle! I'll be getting one for free soon anyway as I'm almost out of shampoo! lol

The soil transition is about a year off, and I'm ok with using root tabs until then, they're expensive, but not as bad as the liquid flourish. You guys have been amazing help, thank you so much!

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Be careful using something that had shampoo in it. I would nuke it to kingdom come before using it.

You might be better off getting a new bottle if finances allow for it. You can get a pack of several 500ml bottles on eBay for about $6 (maybe even less since you are in the US).

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