Updated: May 31
We've all pondered what kind of fertilizer to use, right? If not, you must be either overly knowledgeable or uneducated. Hopefully, this post will change your perspective or at least give you food for thought.
Aquarium fertilizers are classified into three categories. Powder, liquid, or tablet form
Powder fertilizers are either diluted and used as a liquid, or they are placed in a gelatine capsule and used as root tabs. So we're left with Root Tabs and liquid fertilizers.
Root tabs, Most frequently utilized in neutral substrate and planted tanks. Magnesium, Nitrate, Phosphate, Potassium, Manganese, Zinc, Molybdenum, and Iron are all included in root tablets. Root tabs, on the other hand, are typically positioned beneath the substrate and are made for a delayed release procedure. This takes a few weeks or months to gradually break down the nutrients. For plants with roots and those that adhere to the substrate, such as Cryptocoryne, sword plants, bulb plants, and carpeting plants, they are excellent fertilizers.
Is it safe to use root tabs? Well, if it’s designed for aquariums, it means someone took the liberty and designed it to be safe. So you’ll have to trust the brand you are buying. DIY root tabs, made of house plant fertilizers can be safe as well, as long as you know what you are including there and as long as you test it and see if it may cause ammonia spikes or release other unwanted elements in the water.
Fertilizers in liquid form, used to correctly add nutrients to water in planted tanks. They rapidly disperse in the water column and are absorbed by plants. Liquid fertilizer can boost all types of plants; however, rooted plants may require an extra boost from root tabs or planting substrate.
When we say "accurately add nutrients" or "accurately dosage," we're referring to liquid fertilizer, which is more precise than root tabs. You can purchase each element separately, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or you can get a pre-mixed all-in-one liquid fertilizer.
Is it safe to use liquid fertilizers? Yes, it is safe. However, some contain trace elements and macronutrients such as boron, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, molybdenum, manganese, selenium, zinc, silicon, nickel, and chlorine. Some of these substances can be harmful to crustaceans such as neocaridina and caridina shrimps...
Which brings us to the trace elements. It has long been recognized, tested, and agreed upon that excessive usage or abuse can result in an overdose. As a result, aquarists may disagree over the use of copper, boron, cobalt, or any trace element in shrimp aquariums.
Trace elements in larger concentrations disturbs the crustaceans breathing, it might impair reproduction, and damage the immunological system. Some trace elements might also impact aquatic organisms' metabolism; larger concentrations impair osmoregulation, frequent molting, and, ultimately, survival.
Since shrimps are delicate creatures they might get affected and stressed and die.
Let me tell you something. Nature does not function this way; trace elements, nutrients, and shrimps can all coexist in any body of water on the earth. However, the water quality and water conditions should be ideal for any species to live in its comfort zone. The same is true for shrimp in our home aquariums.
Most liquid and root tabs, with or without trace elements, were tested in shrimp tanks by me.
Actually, only trace elements sometimes.
None of them was directly related to the shrimps' deaths.
Neglect, on the other hand, includes overdosing and failing to do water changes, as well as not having enough plants to utilize the nutrients. This was the cause of deteriorating water conditions, algae buildup, and shrimp losses.
So long as you use a branded, pre-packaged fertilizer. That has been tried and tested in shrimp aquariums. You are ready to go, and your tank's inhabitants are completely safe.
If you're new to the aquarium hobby and don't want to do your own analysis, go with an all-in-one fertilizer with a low trace element concentration to be on the safe side and avoid any water condition deterioration. If you're familiar with planting tanks and are a savvy person who wants to start cultivating shrimps, you're set. Simply keep doing what you're doing as long as you have the proper water parameters for your shrimps.
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