There’s more to fertilization than you’d think Part 2

The aquarium owner usually measures nitrogen as nitrate and phosphorus as phosphate. Potassium and magnesium are nutrients which are not available in sufficient quantities in tap water or which are quickly consumed during good plant growth, so that they decline to a minimum. And that is the most important word of all in plant aquatics: minimum, or Liebig’s Law of the Minimum.

Simply put, Liebig’s Law of the Minimum states that the growth of plants is limited by the scarcest resource. Adding a nutrient which already exists in abundance does not influence the growth. The last sentence is the most important one, because even if one or more nutrients are added in surplus, this will not lead to a further increase in plant growth. Indeed algae can ruin the fun of the hobby. Further explanations about this issue to follow later. If we transfer Liebig’s Law of the Minimum to aquatics we quickly see how important balanced fertilization is for plant aquariums and how important the coordination between the fertilisation and the intensity of lighting, the initial values of the used waters, the biomass of the plants and with this the daily consumption of nutrients is. We have thus come full circle: What every farmer, every gardener and every plant-lover knows also applies, albeit in a different form, to the cultivation of plants in the aquarium.

Let’s have a look at some examples to show us the functions of nutrients in plant cells. The explanations come directly after each nutrient.

Iron (Fe)

  • Necessary for the synthesis of chlorophyll, component of cytochromes and ferredoxin

Nitrogen (N)

  • Component of amino acids, proteins, nucleotides, chlorophyll and others

Phosphorus (P)

  • Component of energy-rich bonds (e.g. in ATP)
  • Component of nucleic acids
  • Involved in phosphorylations, e.g. of sugars and proteins

Potassium (K)

  • Co-factor of many enzymes, necessary for the regulatory processes (such as the opening and closing of the stomata) and for syntheses, e.g. protein synthesis.
  • Explanation: a co-factor is necessary for the function of enzymes. An enzyme is a substance, which enhances a reaction or makes it possible in the first place.

Magnesium (Mg)

  • Component of the chlorophyll
  • Counterion to the ATP, essential for the protein synthesis

Calcium (Ca)

  • Regulatory function
  • Involved in the structure of the cell wall
  • Has a stabilising effect on membranes
  • Controls motion sequences.

Copper (Cu)

  • Co-factor of some enzymes

Manganese (Mn)

  • Co-factor of some enzymes
  • Involved in the protein synthesis

Zinc (Zn)

  • Co-factor of some enzymes

Molybdenum (Mo)

  • Regulates nitrogen balance

Boron (B)

Influences use of Ca2+

Sulphur (S)

Component of some amino acids and proteins, co-enzyme

Chlorine (Cl)

  • As chloride involved in osmotic processes

Which fertiliser concept suits you?

The fertilisers of the ProScape range are aimed at everyone who wants to have luxuriant plant growth in the aquarium. Both the ProScape beginner (scaper) and the plant specialist (professional scaper) will find a suitable fertilising concept to achieve this goal. Every product packaging features a scheme which guides the user to the relevant products.

1. Scaper

The scaper is guided, together with the JBL ProScape Fe+Microelements , to JBL ProScape NPK Macroelements . This combination represents the basic fertilisation for every ProScape. In addition it can be referred to the individual fertiliser components, to adjust precisely the N, P and K levels.

2. Professional Scaper

The professional scaper is guided, together with the JBL ProScape Fe+Microelements , to the individual fertiliser components JBL ProScape N Macroelements , JBL ProScape P Macroelements and JBL ProScape K Macroelements . Here, after measuring the consumption with JBL Testlab ProScape the individual fertiliser components can be precisely re-dosed. Thus the fertilisation is individually determined by the plant growth and based on actual requirements. In addition JBL provides JBL ProScape Mg Macroelements for the professional scapers, which can be beneficial as a fertiliser for them as well. After all the importance of magnesium in the field of plant growth cannot be underestimated.

© 01.04.2016
Matthias Wiesensee
Matthias Wiesensee
M.Sc. Wirtschaftsinformatik
JBL GmbH & Co. KG

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