In the series “You ask, we answer“ we answer your questions. We encourage you to send in your question as comments below the posts or by email to email@example.com.
We received the following question on Facebook from Chris Unden on 16 October 2015: “ What’s the best way to fertilise an aquascape? How much CO2 is needed?”
Dear Chris, dear Community,
Thank you for your question.
A luxuriant plant growth is based on the elements lighting, CO2 supply and an optimal fertilisation with nutrients.
The lighting factor needs to be determined before the aquascape is created. The lighting needs to supply at least 40 lumen per litre of aquarium water. This ratio provides good and sufficiently strong lighting to enable every design option in the aquascape and is easily attained with T5, T8, HQI, HQL und LED lighting.
The second factor is CO2. Without a CO2 system the creation of a landscape, which is typical for aquascaping, is hardly possible. The objective should be to build up a CO2 content between 20-35 mg/l. This ensures that even the most demanding plants are ideally nourished.
The last and most comprehensive point is the water value, and here there is a strong focus on fertilisation. We are also talking here about micro and macroelements. Microelements are trace elements required by the plants in small quantities, whereas macroelements are needed in higher quantities to ensure plant growth. In aquariums with a low fish stock, not only the microelements, but also the macroelements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can decline to a minimum. In tap water these substances are not available in sufficient quantities. Liebig’s Law of the Minimum states that the growth of plants is limited by the scarcest resource. You can find further information under: ProScape
This is why we always aim for a balanced fertilisation for the aquarium. Each resource is sufficiently available and in balance with the other nutrients.
- CO2: 20-35 mg/l
- nitrate nitrogen (NO3): 10-30 mg/l
- potassium (K): 10-30 mg/l
- phosphate (PO4): 0.1-1.5 mg/l
- iron (Fe): 0.1-0.5 mg/l
- magnesium (Mg): 5-10 mg/l
The optimal fertilisation is created in two steps. The first step is the one-time adjustment of the ideal water values. This step is required after each water change and once only when starting the fertilisation system. The current water values are determined and entered into the ProScape dosage calculator, which calculates the difference to the ideal water values and gives you a dosage recommendation.
The second step is the re-dosing of the daily consumption. This requires only two measurements. The difference between both measured values divided by the number of days is equal to the consumption of the plants. This consumption then enables you to calculate the best possible consumption-optimised re-dosing that your plants could have.
Subsequently your fertilisation plan comprises the single dose required to maintain the target values after each water change and the daily re-dosing of the consumption.
The JBL ProScape fertilisers are aimed at beginners (Scaper) as well as at the plant experts (Professional Scaper) and provide you with the fertilising concept most suitable to help you reach the worthy goal of a dream aquarium.
Finally we will show you an example (the aquarium of our online marketing manager Matthias Wiesensee), which has been fertilised according to the simple principle “Scaper”.
Sample aquarium facts
Aquarium: 300 l (130cm wide), running time 1.5 years (78 weeks), lighting 4 x 54W JBL SOLAR NATUR T5 ULTRA 24-39 W
Values: Fe 0.6 mg/l, K = 20 mg/l, Mg = 6 mg/l, PO4 = 0.6 mg/l, NO3 = 15 mg/l, CO2 = 32 mg/l (90 bubbles/minute) over JBL ProFlora m001 duo and 2x ProFlora Count safe
Water change: 50 % weekly with osmosis water + JBL Aquadur , pruning.
Time needed, incl. water change, 1.5 h/week.