Published on Friday, 04 May 2012 03:59

Everything you need to know about fertilizing your plants.

Fertilizer calculator
Perpetual Preservation System
Walstad method
Non CO2 methods, another method for different goals

Bobs Tropical Plants Root tab instructions

Place root tabs around heavy root feeders such as crypts and swords. Push down though the substrate and make sure its fully covered. Each root tab will last 4-6 months.

Estimative Index Fertilization Method
by John N

Let’s cut to the chase. People want to have a lush planted aquarium with as little work and money as possible. When it comes to fertilizing the aquarium finding an easy, cost-efficient way can be quite a predicament – but it doesn’t have to be.

The Estimative Index (EI) popularized by Tom Barr is a straightforward fertilization method for dosing nutrients in a planted aquarium without the need for monitoring water parameters. This method works on the basic principle of supplying more nutrients to plants then what they actually consume during a week’s timeframe. At the end of each week, the hobbyist “resets” the aquarium and nutrient levels by performing a large waterchange that flushes out the system. This whole process creates an “estimative” amount of nutrient levels that are more than adequate for plants to grow healthily.

The Estimative Index method works best with high light and heavily planted aquariums, but can work with lower light levels and less plant mass by reducing the frequency or amount doses in the suggested regimes. It assumes the aquarium will have adequate CO2 of 30 ppm or above. In both high light and low light situations, the hobbyist will dose fertilizers daily according the instructions below, and do a weekly 50% water change.

The primary fertilizers used in any planted aquarium are the macro nutrients – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), and the micro/trace elements (Plantex CSM+B, Seachem Flourish, Tropica Plant Nutrition). Iron (Fe) can also be supplemented if desired, but in most cases not necessary.

How do I use these fertilizers and the Estimative Index?

Fertilizing via EI is simple. Every other day dose the prescribed macros elements, and on the off days add in the trace/micro elements. Perform a 50% waterchange at the end of the week. By following one of the commonly used dosing programs below for your specific tank size you can ensure your plants are getting what the need throughout the week.

10-20 Gallons
1/8 tsp KNO3 3x a week
1/32 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
1/32 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
1/32 tsp (2ml) traces 3x a week

20-40 Gallons
1/4 tsp KNO3 3x a week
1/16 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
1/16 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
1/16 tsp (5ml) traces 3x a week

40-60 Gallons
1/2 tsp KNO3 3x a week
1/8 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
1/8 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
1/8 tsp (10 ml) traces 3x a week

60-80 Gallons
3/4 tsp KNO3 3x a week
3/16 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
1/4 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
1/4 tsp (15ml) traces 3x a week

100-125 Gallons
1 1/2 tsp KNO3 3x a week
1/2 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
1/2 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
1/2 tsp (30ml) traces 3x a week

Newbie Guide to PPS-Pro
by snickle
What is PPS-Pro?

PPS-Pro is the latest generation of the Perpetual Preservation System developed by Edward. The history and scientific basis for PPS can be found here:…on-system.html

The goal of PPS-Pro is growing healthy plants with minimal effort.

Isn’t this just fertilizer?

No PPS-Pro is more than just fertilizer. The PPS-Pro solutions are highly advanced fertilizers with years of practical research behind them. But PPS-Pro is also about the approach to growing plants for aquascaping.

What do plants need to grow?

Light, carbon, nutrients (macro and micro), and proper water.

What kind lighting of lighting do I need with PPS-Pro?

PPS-Pro works with lots of different lighting setups. The general guidelines are:

Low Light ( Under 2 wpg) 10-12 hours a day
Medium Light (2.0 – 3.0 wpg) 8-10 hours a day
High Light ( 3.0 – 4.0 wpg) 7-8 hours a day
Very High Light (4+ wpg) 6 (Expert level)

2.0 Wpg 12 hours
2.2 Wpg 11 hours
2.4 Wpg 10 hours
2.7 Wpg 9 hours
3.0 Wpg 8 hours
3.4 Wpg 7 hours
4.0 Wpg 6 hours

What do you mean by wpg?

“wpg” stands for Watts Per Gallon. Basically take the number of total watts of the fluorescent bulbs over your tank and divide by the number of gallons the tank is.

Why do plants need carbon and how do they get it?

48% of a plant’s mass is carbon, it is the basic building block of plant life (actually most life).

Plants in nature and in most aquariums get if from CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the water. Plants take the CO2 and release O2 (Oxygen) back into the water via a process called photosynthesis during hours of sufficient light

How does the CO2 get in the water?

CO2 gets in the water several different ways.

From the air: There is CO2 in the air we breathe and lots in the air we breathe out, many other sources as well.

From the fish: Fish taken in O2 and release CO2, just like a human. Since the fish are breathing in water the CO2 is released into the water.

From us: In most medium to heavy planted tanks, we add supplemental CO2 to the water.

How much CO2 do I need in the water?

A good target is about 1 bps (bubble per second) which is simple to do and safe to fish and sufficient to plants.

Even a tank planted with low light plants can benefit from added CO2

What happened to the “30 ppm Ideal”?

Maintaining 30ppm can be challenging and risky for the fish. Moderate levels about 15ppm are natural and provide plenty of carbon for the plants and allows a much greater safety margin.

What nutrients do plants need to grow?

Plant nutrients breakdown into two categories: Macro (Larger quantities) and Micro (small quantities)

Macro: Nitrates, Phosphates Potassium, Calcium, Carbon, Sulfur, and Magnesium

Micro: Manganese, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Boron, Nickel and Molybdenum

Is there where you give us the formula?


Macro Solution

In 1 liter bottle:
59 grams K2SO4 (Potassium Sulfate)
65 grams KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate)
6 grams KH2PO4 (Mono Potassium Phosphate)
41 grams MgSO4 (Magnesium Sulfate)
Fill with distilled water and shake well. Let sit overnight.

Micro Solution

In 1 liter bottle:
80 grams of CSM+B or equivalent trace element mix
Fill with distilled water and shake well. Let sit overnight.

How do I dose PPS-Pro solutions?

Dose 1 ml of each solution per ten gallons of tank size. Dose prior to lights turning on.