Beginner plants for non-soil tank?

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BlueOnyx

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There are plenty of people who successfully use DIY fertilizer (with Osmocote, for example) without getting uncontrollable algae.
I would advise looking at some forums that strictly deal in planted aquariums to get insight in how this can successfully be done.
I did read a bit about this. I figured it is something I can try but approach it the same way I do with new vitamins or supplements for myself. Do half the dosage and see what happens. I don't feel I need a lot given what I have in the tank right now. I already see new growth happening on the plants and they have only been in there for 20 hours or so. I am using natural pebbles as a substrate which some say puts natural minerals in the water to help plants.

I am new to all this but I am willing to experiment. I just have to be sure the fish stay happy and healthy in the process.
 

Jan Cavalieri

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I've used both the Flourish tabs on a couple of aquarium and the Flourish solution on the others. Frankly right now - I don't want ANY PLANT to flourish. I pretty much ignore the plants - except for lighting (and all the da*m aquarium covers put in the worst lighting so I usually try to replace that but even if I don't I am BURIED in plants. They clog up filters, the fish get tangled in the floating ones (which ARE essential BTW) so by adding plants to your aquarium you've just added a bit more work for yourself - removing excess debris, bad leaves etc I just removed about 1/2 of my floating plants because they were taking over.

One thing to remember - they can and will get into heaters so don't be surprised if you smell something nasty coming from your tank some times. Try and place your heater as far away from your floating plants as possible and any swords, grow some distance away from the heater and prune any leaves that get too close to it.

Be prepared to clean your filter about once a week - maybe every two weeks if your lucky. They love to clog them up and then decay.

You will be rewarded with a beautiful, natural looking aquarium and your fish will love you (a few will nibble on some of the leaves - if you see that try and feed some plant based flakes or algae tablets if they are bottom algae eaters.
 

Byron

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I did read a bit about this. I figured it is something I can try but approach it the same way I do with new vitamins or supplements for myself. Do half the dosage and see what happens. I don't feel I need a lot given what I have in the tank right now. I already see new growth happening on the plants and they have only been in there for 20 hours or so. I am using natural pebbles as a substrate which some say puts natural minerals in the water to help plants.

I am new to all this but I am willing to experiment. I just have to be sure the fish stay happy and healthy in the process.

Risking the fish is never a good approach. Algae is the least of one's worries using terrestrial plant fertilizer. The impact on the fish is substantive. And the advice on plant forums must be taken lightly; most of those aquarists have tanks of aquatic plants, not fish tanks with plants in them. That is a very different approach. Substances added to the water in an aquarium will get inside the fish naturally by osmosis through the cells and at the gills. There is no need to be risking fish just to maybe have a plant growing a tad faster.
 

Lilyann

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Risking the fish is never a good approach. Algae is the least of one's worries using terrestrial plant fertilizer. The impact on the fish is substantive. And the advice on plant forums must be taken lightly; most of those aquarists have tanks of aquatic plants, not fish tanks with plants in them. That is a very different approach. Substances added to the water in an aquarium will get inside the fish naturally by osmosis through the cells and at the gills. There is no need to be risking fish just to maybe have a plant growing a tad faster.
What evidence do you have for your claims?
Again, lots of wagging the finger at others for "risking their fish" by using fertilizers, but no evidence to base these factoids on.
Please, lets take it down a notch.
Sure, if you do not do proper study/research on what you put into your aquarium you can harm your fish. But, it is not a matter of in all cases terrestrial or aquatic fertilizers will detrimentally impact fish "substantially" ( as you say). This is just a generalized opinion hawked as fact.
Have you even visited a plant forum for any amount of time?
There is no "most" have plants and "no fish" on the plant forum I am a member on.
Rubbish.
 

Byron

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What evidence do you have for your claims?
Again, lots of wagging the finger at others for "risking their fish" by using fertilizers, but no evidence to base these factoids on.
Please, lets take it down a notch.
Sure, if you do not do proper study/research on what you put into your aquarium you can harm your fish. But, it is not a matter of in all cases terrestrial or aquatic fertilizers will detrimentally impact fish "substantially" ( as you say). This is just a generalized opinion hawked as fact.
Have you even visited a plant forum for any amount of time?
There is no "most" have plants and "no fish" on the plant forum I am a member on.
Rubbish.

The evidence is basic fish physiology. And yes, I am a member of several plants forums, and I have discussed issues with professional botanists on them.

There is no point in adding nitrate which does harm fish and which the aquatic plants cannot use in the first place assuming it is not balanced with light and everything else.
 

Lilyann

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Oh brother.
Another "because I said so response."
Really, science is more rigorous than this...
 

Byron

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Oh brother.
Another "because I said so response."
Really, science is more rigorous than this...

Look, I am not going to be pulled into a purposeless argument over basic science. Any biologist can tell you how fish physiology works. I cannot prove the earth is not flat, but I accept the science that says it is spherical. I do not need to be "justifying" basic science.
 

Lilyann

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I have seen alot of self-proclaimed "experts" like you over the years on fish forums.
Same "MO"--- you could connect the dots with your predictability.

You claim that your "theories" are based on some basic premises of science that others who question you just dont have a handle on in the same matter as you do. The basic premise ( one that is never completely substantiated) is both your claim and your defense.
In other words, when in doubt, explain that your knowledge is basic and those who question it are just ignorant of these basics.
It works though, right? Well, most of the time ;)
 

Jan Cavalieri

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Lilyann - is there a particular terrestrial based plant fertilizer that is safe for fish? I guess knowing that a substantial number of fertilizers contain nitrate I wouldn't want to add more nitrate to an aquarium (some people have enough trouble with too many nitrates from debris and fish poop as it is, especially those that don't do frequent water changes). I should probably get out a bottle of my plant fertilizer that I keep forgetting to use, but my guess is that they contain precise amounts of magnesium, potassium etc., that may or may not be detrimental to the fish in the quantities they are in for terrestrial based plants - I guess I'd have to do a side by side comparison between something like Seachems Flourish with a terrestrial plant fertilizer before I'd be comfortable. I've never been on a plant forum and while I have about 100 plants I manage to kill about half of them every year - most of them seem to want special soils, special fertilizers etc to the point I wouldn't put any of them in an aquarium. I'll trust that Seachem probably knows what it's doing and keep using Flourish.

The "science" is pretty obvious just by looking at the amount of nitrate in plant fertilizers - that alone would keep me from adding it to an aquarium and risk increasing the load of nitrates already in the water - why not just play it safe?

Oh and while I kill about half my terrestrial plants each year (I have a lot of touchy carnivorous plants that don't seem to survive well even on a religious diet of distilled water and bugs) -they do great for about 6 months then just suddenly die - same with all my regular plants - great for 6 months then they start dying off. Maybe I should join some plant forums!!!

No more fighting folks - we are all just trying to help somebody - they can read everybody's comments and decide for themselves what would be best - or better yet - buy a basic book on freshwater fish and educate themselves.

I "violate" a lot of the folks that are very adamant about not adding chemicals (like PHup and down) to their water - but if I didn't my fish would die. My city has extremely high Ph - average about 9.9 and I need to keep mine between 6.8 and 7.2. Of course with every extreme water change the PH jumps back up and I have to adjust the PH again. I try to do it slowly so as not to shock the fish, that's the best I can do - so I've gotten some sh*t about adjusting PH especially when there are fish in the tank but nobody has come up with a solution - some say to add special leaves or whatever - but that's not a controlled way to adjust Ph or water hardness. I'd rather use a tested chemical with dosage recommendations than a natural remedy that you have no control over. I've never killed a fish by adding PH chemicals to the water so I think I'm doing OK.

So that's the kind of issues all newbies run into - they get various conflicting opinions - that's why I recommend reading a good book and getting self-educated - then when people give you their opinions you'll understand why they have those opinions and which ones are suitable for your particular situation. They can ALL be right - it just depends on their particular situation vs your particular situation.
 
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BlueOnyx

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For the amount you'd use in a tank though, the nitrates would be extremely low. I am talking a few balls in a capsule, and 2 at most. Not putting it under the entire substrate. I will be running tests as well.

As I said, I am new to this and basing what I am doing on things I have read while asking questions. I don't want people to get into an argument over it.
 

Byron

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For the amount you'd use in a tank though, the nitrates would be extremely low. I am talking a few balls in a capsule, and 2 at most. Not putting it under the entire substrate. I will be running tests as well.

As I said, I am new to this and basing what I am doing on things I have read while asking questions. I don't want people to get into an argument over it.

Never mind arguments...most of us here care about fish including your fish, and when I see something that is without question going to cause some issues I will mention it in order to spare you and your fish. If that were not my goal, I would not be here.

No one should ever assume something is accurate or reliable just because it is said on the web. Anyone can set up a site and pass themselves off as some sort of expert. Most are nothing of the sort. The professional scientific folks know what they are doing.
 

Lilyann

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Lilyann - is there a particular terrestrial based plant fertilizer that is safe for fish?

Matter of fact, Jan, yes, Osmocote is safe when properly added to aquarium in levels adequate to plant mass and monitored through water testing to ensure nitrate levels. Many hobbyists in other parts of the world use DIY fertiliuzers -- its ridiculous to believe that in all cases a terrestrial fertilizer will be detrimental to the health of fish. All fertilizers containing nitrogen have the capacity to harm fish if not properly administered in context to the aquarium ( plant mass, aquarium size, lighting, fish load, etc...). Its the responsibility of the aquarist to do due diligence in whatever method they choose.

Happy the "science" is obvious to you why terrestrial fertilizers like Osmocote shouldnt be used for aquarium plants in presence of fish- go explain your basic premises to those who successfully use them in the presence of fish all over the world. Its only in the US and wealthy European countries that "designer" bottles of aquarium ferts sound like the only idea around that makes up "good science". Typical "first world" belief system that is motivated by consumerism- not "good science". I would recommend you spend some time on an international plant forum and explain to them that they need to buy your designer bottle of plant food and give up their terrestrial fertilizers because its "good science" and harmful to fish.

Is this an adult forum? Can we all handle some debate or would we rather have a safe space to confirm our long-held belief systems without question. Buck up-- explaining your thought processes and challenging others to explain theirs is not "fighting". When did we become so fragile and unable to handle the exchange ( and yes, the confrontation) of ideas? The best way to help someone is to allow them to place ideas next to each other. If you think your ideas are the only ones out there that deserve to be heard ( and not questioned) then maybe you need to stick to blogs.

I agree wholeheartedly-- self-education ( interacting on forums, in books, academic journals, at aquatic societies with other members) that continues throughout life is the best way to learn anything. The problem is, many believe that thoughts that are "in conflict" are bad.This is a phenomenon of online forums- and one of the biggest reasons they are dying on the vine. The philosophy is: A new person to the hobby should never see ideas in "conflict" because they will confuse and upset them. Rubbish! Intellectual stimulation and learning starts at the moment when ideas appear in conflict, not when they are continuous. Its not the job of a forum to indoctrinate new comers to a "forum view" like a spoon-feeding. Thats not learning or helping.
So, I guess what you need to ask yourself is this: are you promoting a learning experience for hobbyists by allowing them to make up there own minds with information given or are you attempting to provide an intellectual consensus among your members and calling all outside of this consensus "fighting?"
 

Lilyann

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Never mind arguments...most of us here care about fish including your fish, and when I see something that is without question going to cause some issues I will mention it in order to spare you and your fish. If that were not my goal, I would not be here.

No one should ever assume something is accurate or reliable just because it is said on the web. Anyone can set up a site and pass themselves off as some sort of expert. Most are nothing of the sort. The professional scientific folks know what they are doing.
Could you invite those scientific folks you know and rub elbows with to the forum so we can have a discussion?
 

Byron

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Could you invite those scientific folks you know and rub elbows with to the forum so we can have a discussion?

Some of them are actually members here, but are no longer active because they get tired of continually having to justify their credentials. And they are not going to want to debate accepted biological fact (such as how fish "live" in water), that just wastes their time for no purpose. Dr. Neale Monks is one, we are personal friends online and frequently have discussions of this and that. I doubt any authority in the hobby is as highly respected as Neale.

I became online friends with a microbiologist several years ago who was a member of another forum on which I was active, and she left for this very reason. Twice I had some disease problem and I went to her privately and she saved my tank of fish. I never guess when it comes to this hobby, it is not fair to the fish
 

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