The subjects of plant care and fertilisation can sometimes take on a philosophical element. There are a lot of approaches and a lot of them can lead to success. It is important that your chosen approach suits your aquarium.
It is important that you adapt the fertiliser amount you add to the real consumption in your aquarium. This requires a daily measurement of the most important plant nutrients (Fe, NO3, PO4, CO2, K and Mg) over a temporary period (ideally between 2 water changes).
Once you have discovered the current consumption you can adapt your fertilisation. The fewer fluctuations there are, the more stable the system is. We therefore advise fertilisation with frequent doses of small amounts. This can be carried out in a daily or a two-day rhythm. Even though the fertilisers are stable and dissolve in a controlled way, experience shows that weekly dosing can result in a parameter declining to a minimum at the end of the week, without you noticing it. It may sound complicated, but it isn’t. The JBL Dosage Calculator will help you make an exact calculation: ProScape Mestcalculator
Enter the data required and you will receive a calculation of the individual fertiliser components for your aquarium, adapted to its real consumption.
Fertilisation in two steps
When dosing a fertiliser you are pursuing two aims. You want to cover the daily consumption of your aquatic plants and, along with that, to ensure the ideal nutrient balance. Thus you will not only achieve ideal plant growth but you will also ensure that no value drops below 0 mg/l, which would bring with it the risk of algae growth. This dosing means you are building up a balanced depot to make the algae’s life hard. After all it is better to drop from 10 mg to 5 mg, than from 5 to 0.
No monitoring, no success
We are sure the information above has served to confirm what you already knew. Without water testing the ideal care of your plants is hardly possible. You can purchase every water test individually or you can get a special case for plant aquariums, the JBL Testlab ProScape .
You will only need to measure daily at first. When the aquarium has been run in and stable weekly measurements, or measurements when a problem occurs, are sufficient.
Why the values shouldn’t drop to 0
The supply with nutrients is described in Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. According to this the substance which is declined to a minimum limits the growth of the plants, regardless of whether it is a micro or a macroelement. Microelements are trace elements which the plants require in small amounts, whereas macroelements are needed in larger quantities for growth.
A well-planted aquarium consumes micro and macroelements in larger amounts. Along with the microelements the macroelements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium quickly decline to a minimum especially when there is a small fish stock.