Don’t let your plants starve!

A lot of aquarium owners have house plants, which they (to some extent) fertilise on a regular basis. Yet they don’t consider a fertilisation for their aquarium plants necessary. In their opinion the aquatic plants receive all the growth requiring substances they need through fish excrement and the water.

But this is only very slightly the case. Yes, the plants are supplied with water and, due to fish excrement, also with nitrogens and phosphates. But no, unfortunately this is not enough!

The main nutrient for plants is carbon dioxide (CO2), which they transform during photosynthesis with the help of light energy and water into food (sugar), releasing oxygen as a by-product.

As a consequence the use of a CO2 fertiliser system is the most important way to supply your plants with food. Certainly there is CO2 dissolved in your aquarium water, but for most plants this is not enough for a vigorous growth.

Water values

Which water tests are important? How can you achieve perfect water values?

CO2 plant fertilisation

How important is CO2 plant fertilisation? Why do your plants need additional CO2? How does a CO2 system work?

Comparing this main food CO2 with the food humans need would mean it corresponds to our proteins, fats and carbohydrates. But for us humans these main nutrients alone are not sufficient. Without additional vitamins, minerals and trace elements we could become seriously ill and have a shorter life. In the same way plants require minerals and trace elements as well as CO2, and we can supply these with substrate and liquid fertilisers.

Plant fertilisers

The following fertiliser types are available for your plant care:

Substrate fertilisers

You have two options. Firstly you can put a long-term nutrient substrate ( JBL AquaBasis plus ) as the lowest layer in your aquarium when initially setting it up. With that you provide your plants with all important minerals and trace elements from the start.

After a while the nutrients will be used up and you can replenish the nutrient reservoir in the soil with a liquid fertiliser ( JBL Ferropol ). In addition you have the opportunity to specifically inoculate the substrate during an initial setup with a mixed bacterial culture which prevents the colonisation of unwanted bacteria (Cyanobacteria = blue-green algae) and supplies the plant roots with nutrients bound to the substrate as well as with minerals. With JBL ProScape PlantStart JBL has such a product in its range.

If your aquarium is already set up you have the option to press fertiliser balls into the root area of your plants ( JBL The 7 balls ). Fertiliser balls generate a nutrient depot for approx. 180 days and then need to be replaced.

Liquid fertilisers

Ideally you supply your aquarium plants every week with the basic fertiliser JBL Ferropol . If you combine the fertilisation with the partial water change, AFTER the partial water change you can JBL Ferropol re-dose on basis of the CHANGED water quality. Many popular aquarium plant species, such as Hemianthus, Glossostigma, Elatine and the mosses (Taxiphyllum, Vesicularia, Riccardia, Fissidens, Fontinalis) absorb their nutrients mainly through their leaves. Therefore in this case a liquid fertilisation is more effective than a root fertilisation.

Root fertilisation

With a long-term nutrient substrate ( JBL AquaBasis plus ) you create a perfect basis for a long lasting and healthy plant growth. Through a specific addition of fertiliser balls ( JBL The 7 balls ) your supply for your plants a nutrient depot for about 180 days. But there are also minerals which are consumed very fast. To fertilise them on a monthly basis JBL Ferropol Root has been developed. Please specifically add one fertiliser tablet into the root area of the plants which absorb their nutrients mainly through their roots. These include Echinodorus, Cryptocoryne, Vallisneria, Hygrophila, Bacopa, Alternanthera and Ludwigia etc.

Daily fertiliser

Some trace elements react very quickly in the water with the containing oxygen and are then available to the plants in the oxidised form. We have therefore developed a daily fertiliser ( JBL Ferropol 24 ) with which you daily can ADDITIONALLY add to the basic fertiliser the oxygen sensitive minerals and trace elements.

NPK fertilising

Aquariums in which a lot of plants but only few fish live (e.g. aquascapes) often show a lack of nitrogens (N), phosphates (P) and potassium (K). Together with a NPK fertiliser ( JBL ProScape NPK Macroelements ) you can target dose these substances In such aquariums. Over the ProScape dosage calculator you can determine the actual nutrient consumption in your aquarium and add the nutrients together (NPK fertiliser) or even individually ( JBL ProScape N Macroelements / JBL ProScape P Macroelements / JBL ProScape K Macroelements ).

Aquascapers also like to work with a special highly concentrated basic fertiliser ( JBL ProScape Fe +Microelements ). Similar to the JBL Ferropol it contains the most important minerals and trace elements, but also includes the sensitive trace elements which need to be added along with JBL Ferropol and the daily fertiliser JBL Ferropol 24 . Because it is dosed on a daily basis it may contain trace elements sensitive to oxygen.