Just as we human beings would need food supplements, aquatic plants also need certain nutrients to thrive and stay healthy. Hobbyists supplement the plant growth with the best aquarium fertilizer.
The plants may wither, stunt, or grow a different form if any of these compounds is lacking. Therefore, a considerable amount of fertilizer will supply the minerals and trace elements needs of your plants.
Although it’s rarely the case, it’s more often that dedicated hobbyists settle for using fertilizers, even opted to choose the best aquarium plant fertilizer.
Why aquatic plants need fertilizers?
Plants need these three substances - potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
These fundamental building blocks include macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients or NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potassium) are essential components of aquarium plant fertilizers. The plants need more substantial quantities of macronutrients to grow and thrive.
Macronutrients also include Magnesium, Sulfur, and Calcium, but they already treat our tap water with Sulfur and Calcium, so we still need to supply our aquatic plants with the right dose of Magnesium.
Micronutrients include trace elements like Copper, Iron, Zinc, Molybdenum, Chloride, Manganese, Boron, Nickel, Cobalt which the plants only need a small amount of.
Our freshwater already has these substances, but these will deplete as per the needs of our plants. Therefore, replenishment should be at hand by administering the right dose.
There’s no guarantee that every aquarium has enough of these substances. If your tank is small and you only have one or two plants in it, you may no longer need a fertilizer.
For a planted aquarium like Nature-type, Dutch or Biotope, bio loads they generate seem large and heavy. The nutrients in the water may not be enough; therefore, an injection of fertilizer is an essential factor to consider.
Rooted plants absorb the nutrients from the soil you planted them into. Therefore a nutrient-rich soil is the right choice of substrate. An enriched substrate is enough fertilizer for several months.
Over time you will also need fertilizer as the nutrients in the substrate loses its potency as the months pass by.
If you used gravel as substrate other than sand, the more you need fertilizer because gravel doesn’t contain any nutrients for the rooted plants.
For the floating plants, an injection of liquid fertilizer in the water is an effective way to make sure that they absorb nutrients through the water column. This assures that your floating plants are receiving the right dose of fertilizer for better growth and sustenance.
To avoid problems arising from nutrient deficiencies, hobbyists search for the best aquarium fertilizer which you can buy in your local fish store if you are lucky to find the top rating all in one aquarium plant fertilizer, so much the better.
Are plant fertilizers safe for fish?
Read the labels. Although there are lots of plant fertilizers that won’t affect your fish, there are also some chemical fertilizers that are exclusive only for plants.
Choose an organic fertilizer or a bio-liquid fertilizer that won’t harm your fish. Settle for an all in one aquarium plant fertilizer.
Just follow the instructions and avoid an overdose. This ensures healthy growth and longer lifespan of all the living organisms in your tank.
How to make a natural fertilizer?
Although you can find the access to these chemicals in your LFS, you can also improvise your natural plant fertilizer right there in your tank.
Fertilizers come in two forms - chemical and biological. Therefore, you know now that you have another option, which is the natural means.
You need an efficient biological filtration system, or you might need to use a bio-media reactor.
This process gets rid of toxins and harmful elements (nitrites and ammonia) by developing the growth of beneficial bacteria.
This biological filtration will break down these harmful elements through creating nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
The excellent news is creating your version of fertilizer is doable, a do-it-yourself fertilizer for hobbyists on a tight budget.
You need not be savvy to come up with one; you only need a few ingredients to be handy, a little effort, and a green thumb.
What you can come up to is natural and organic (no chemical added), safe on your fish, beneficial for your plants, and a lot of savings for you.
This alternative is not at all a time-efficient option, unlike buying from an LFS where everything comes in handy.
You need some effort though, but the product outcome has almost the same properties with that of the commercial ones or can be the best aquarium plant fertilizer you’ve been looking for.
Do-It-Yourself Root Tabs
- Slow-release fertilizer grains
- gelatin pill caps
- Small bowl
- Silica gel packet (for storing DIY root tabs)
Fill the gelatin caps with slow-release fertilizer grains, close it tight with the other cap. Do as many as you can because you can store it anyway in a small resealable plastic bag together with the silica gel packet so they won’t stick together.
Push the filler cap into the sand or gravel near the plants you want to nourish with. With the commercial root tabs, they are better off under the substrate.
Do-It-Yourself Liquid Fertilizer
You will need to mix three parts of Epsom salt, two pieces of salt and 1 part of potassium sulfate to come up with a DIY fertilizer powder.
Gradually put a teaspoon of this powder mix in every 10 gallons of water. If you want to add trace elements like zinc and iron, you may do so.
Dirt as Organic Fertilizer
It’s hard to believe, but there are benefits out of the dirt. Just like how compost can fertilize the soil to grow thick and healthy plants, aquarium plants has its organic counterpart too - the dirt.
You don’t have to mix any formula for there is ready-made dirt available for aquarium use. They plan this nutrient-rich dirt with the presence of helpful bacteria.
You may consider a pond plant compost or just a regular soil from a pot. Its dirt can give a perfect boost to your aquatic plant.
However, many aquarists regard this fertilizer as obsolete and effortful. It can be messy when the substrate is disturbed.
If you want to use dirt, cap it with a mesh and add a layer of sand so it won’t end up all over the aquarium.
The 7 Best Aquarium Plant Fertilizers
If your plants are a deficit of iron and potassium and you’ve been using so many growth products before, now is the time to stop. Know your plants' prime needs first, what nutrients are missing, and what are sufficient.
We want to avoid overdosage. It’s a waste of money and can pose dangers to your fish and plants. API Leaf Zone Aquarium Plant Food is the best aquarium plant fertilizer* because it targets only a specific area - the leaf zone.
Although this product promotes the stability and well-being of the whole plants, there are specific properties that we know it for. It’s the leaves that caught the onlookers in awe, so take care of its lush green attributes.
We know nourishment starts from the roots as you see them sturdy and tight in the substrate. The leaves will soon multiply and exhibit a lush green color. Some will transform into other brilliant colors as their characteristics call for.
Expect these changes because the fertilizer has potassium and iron vital to these aspects. Other brands might give you false promises, but they test API Aquarium Plant Food to deliver an excellent performance focusing on the leaf zone.
When the leaves multiply in volume, they absorb the light, but with the aid of API fertilizer, the leaves can withstand the effects of intense lighting.
The right dosing is every week and not daily, and just 5ml is enough for 10 gallons of fresh water. It is cost-efficient because in just a few drops of the solution; the leaves absorb the nutrients.
For my final say about API Leaf Zone Fertilizer, it’s one of the best options if you only need more of potassium and iron for your plants but not if you need a good all in one aquarium plant fertilizer* with the micronutrients and micronutrients. Know your plant’s needs first.
- Easy to dose
- Tons of iron and potassium for plants.
- Safe to use with fish.
- No nitrogen or phosphorus.
With the vast array of aquatic plants fertilizers today, I’ve grown fickle-minded of what is the best aquarium plant fertilizer that is perfect for my substantial Leiden-inspired tank.
Since I discovered this product, nothing seems to matter now. I will look at this brand and ignore the others, freeing me with the hassles of trial and errors.
NilocG Aquatics Thrive All in One Liquid Fertilizer is the name! And it won’t fail you. It comes in two separate bottles of 500ml each, one contains the macronutrients, and the other one has the micronutrients.
Each bottle includes the nutrients your plants need to thrive and exude their vibrant coloration. The two bottles are enough to provide the nutrients up to 2,500 gallons of water.
NilocG Aquarium Liquid Fertilizer is concentrated and is equivalent to 5x the potency of its varieties. It’s like buying five products! Look how much you save.
NilocG Aquarium Liquid Fertilizer is an all in one aquarium plant fertilizer. It’s easy to administer, just read, and follow the instructions.
The Macronutrients are the big players here that we also called NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium).
The Micronutrients which we regard as less crucial players comprised 12 beneficial substances like Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Molybdenum, Chloride, Boron, Nickel, Cobalt, Carbon, and Biotin. Your aquatic plants only need a small amount of these, anyway.
For the right dosing, use these two bottles in alternates. For instance, you’ve treated your tank today with Macronutrients, and tomorrow it is Micronutrients turn, and so on.
Make a habit of changing 50% of aquarium water every week. Others may find this effortful and regard as a downside of using NilocG. But, as an experienced aquarist, you ought to know that weekly water change is always the rule of a thumb.
With a simple application, one pump is enough for 10gallons, and you can see how your plants can exhibit a fascinating look.
- Concentrated - every drop counts
- Pump top bottle design
- No complex procedure in administering
- A bunch of nutrients - a bottle of Macro and another bottle of Micro
- Not harmful to fish
- Efficient Carbon supplement
- An all in one aquarium plant fertilizer*
- Needs constant water change
Seachem Plant Pack Enhancers contains the NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) which comprised the three macronutrients vital to the plant’s growth. This aquarium plant fertilizer includes three (3) bottles in 100ml each - “Flourish Nitrogen™, Flourish Phosphorus™, and Flourish Potassium™” all in a pack.
Flourish Nitrogen™ (15,000 mg/L) is a concentrated blend that can provide sources of nitrogen in nitrate form and ammonium form that aquatic plants prefer. When the plants deplete the ammonia and nitrate compounds in the water, this is the only time Flourish Nitrogen™ will be in full swing.
Flourish Phosphorus™ is a potassium phosphate solution that estimates the current needs of your plant in the right dosing (without the overdose). It is different from other plant fertilizer products in the market. Others observe a fixed ratio of phosphate and nitrate but Flourish Phosphorus™ is nitrate-free, and will allow dosing of phosphorus as per the needs of the plants.
Flourish Potassium™ in 40,000 mg/L sources of potassium brings back life and color to your pale plants. If you want them to thrive, this solution is perfect to avoid the growth limiting factors when the substance depletes in the water. Replenishment of the exact dosage of Potassium should be at hand every time your plants hunger for it, and you know how to detect it.
You can use these plant fertilizers all together or one at a time depending on the needs of your plants. Read the instructions very well for the proper dosage to avoid wastage and overdose. This is suitable only for freshwater aquariums.
These products are useful but not complete because of the lack of other trace elements that also contribute to the plant’s well-being. This is the only downside I can think of about this product.
The name trusted for years, and the fast-acting nature of this product will draw hobbyists to patronize Seachem Flourish Excel even more. They do not cease to impress us.
Seachem Flourish Aquarium Plant has a rich assortment of nutrients and traces elements to nourish flourish and protect your plants while undergoing its growth phases.
It comes in 500ml and 1000ml bottle; a capful is enough for a 10-gallon tank every water change. But if you want to supply it daily withSeachem Flourish Excel, a capful is sufficient for a 50gallon-tank.
It is economical to use, but it still depends on the tank size and water capacity. Let me tell more about the beautiful things people like about it.
First, it doesn’t have Nitrates components, unlike the leading brands. Nitrates have beneficial properties for your aquatic plants but are not suitable for fish.
Another good point is it combats the spread of algae. These attributes alone ease the burden of controlling unwelcomed algae in your ecosystem, making it cleaner with a lush green look.
With Seachem Flourish Excel, CO2 sustenance is always at hand plus a ton of beneficial nutrients that will supplement the growth phases of your plants.
Its notable feature is to supplement organic carbon in large amounts. Changes in your aquatic plants are visible in a shorter period.
It also has components to reduce iron, which is harder to absorb in the water and increases the absorption of ferrous oxide important to your aquatic plants.
This product does not contain NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) but has other beneficial ingredients, which is organic carbon.
Amazingly, one capful is enough for 10 gallons. That is if you have to use it only during the significant water changes. For those who need to use it daily, then one capful is enough for 50 gallons.
- Promotes Ferrous Iron.
- Contains organic carbon
- CO2 booster
- Controls algae
- Easy dosing
- Quite concentrated
- Safe with any fish
- Positive product reviews/rating
- Does not contain Micronutrients NPK
Seachem Flourish Tabs are fertilizers in tablet form for stimulating the growth of plant roots. It comprised all-important trace elements, vitamins, and amino acids to keep your aquatic plants undergo healthy growth phases.
These root tabs are Vitamin-enriched with calcium, magnesium, manganese, choline B12, inositol, biotin, potassium and other trace elements contributory to the growth of aquarium plants.
Fertilizers are natural to administer to plants. Insert a tab in the substrate (sand or gravel) near the plant roots. The enzymes will work at once directed to the root zones.
The absorption is quick and can deliver an aquarium-safe and complete time-released fertilization. You'll see the improvements in just a matter of days.
Although you can buy a nutrient-rich substrate for the rooted plants, it doesn’t guarantee you that the nutrients are intact forever. Its nutritional value perishes in a few months.
Plants are like people needing supplements now and then. Therefore, putting a root tab fertilizer once in a while is helpful to any aquatic plants.
- Effortful, manual administration.
- Tabs can get lost in the water when you lose grip of it.
- Its usefulness is still under debate because the nutrients are incomplete.
Greenpro Fertilizer tablets have the essential macronutrients and micronutrients for your aquatic plants. I can regard this as an effective all in one aquarium plant fertilizer.
This supplemental food source is ideal to use for aquarium plants, pond plants (like a water lily, iris or lotus) or ornamental garden plants.
Greenpro Fertilizer Tablets is safe for any species of fish. As I mentioned, hobbyists can use this indoor or outdoor provided it’s freshwater.
Notice your plants before and after treating with Greenpro Fertilizer Tablets. It targets the growth of roots to be healthy and sturdy. It will make the leaves exude its brilliant colors, and flowers to bloom earlier than you expect it.
Depending on how big your planted tank is and its bio load, 2-4 tabs a month is enough to cause functional changes in the growing season. Observe constant water change to get rid of dirt and toxins.
A pack of Greenpro Fertilizer has 12 tablets. You need to press the tablet to the substrate and layer it with sand or gravel so it won’t escape floating in the water.
- Off the chart readings for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. Even ammonia neutralizer can’t do the job to lower the level of ammonia. If you result in constant water change, it will deplete the healthy bacteria.
- The instruction is hard to understand. The gallon capacity for 2-4 tablets is not an explicit instruction. It just said, “depending on the size of the tank.” That could be from a gallon to 100 or more.
- Now, they edited it and says, “Use only one tablet for small to medium size tank, 1/2 or 1/4 tab for Nano tanks. They should be more specific.
- The water turns milky, and it stresses the fish. The fish life is at stake.
Avoid using too many growths and care products for your aquatic plants. You can rely on this all in one aquarium plant fertilizer from Brightwell Aquatics for cost-efficient cultivation of aquatic plants.
Brightwell Aquatics ABAFNM250 Florinmulti Plant Care Products can provide 14 important substances essential to plant well-being, growth, and coloration.
The Brightwell Aquatics 810086011483 is a trusted product that will flourish the ambiance of your aquarium not only in replicating the plant’s natural biotope but turning the water crystal bright and tidy clean.
Although our freshwater has some minerals within, plants can deplete its potency when a water change is not regular. Therefore, a proper replenishment will come from the choices of the best aquarium plant fertilizer in the market today.
Maintain proper water parameters with Brightwell Aquatics 810086011483. It’s simple to use and a good value for the money.
Finding good sources of supplements for your aquatic plants is no big deal. Surf the net, do some research, read reviews, and look for high-rating products.
Whatever product you can come up with is valid towards the well-being of your plants. It will just depend on their present needs and preferences for plants vary in these aspects.
CO2 plays a vital role in photosynthesis, so consider this first. Micronutrients come in second and do not disregard the trace elements or micronutrients. These are all essential but still depends on water capacity, size of the tank, and bio-load.
You should know the needs of your plants and do some estimates. Your options are endless but don’t overdo it. Instructions always come in every package. You can ask your LFS for additional help.
Consider the price if you can afford it or you settle for home-made fertilizers if the budget doesn't allow. Opt for a concentrated formula to save you from storage spaces. You only buy the quantity you need.
Your aquarium reflects your personality. Make it an ideal living ecosystem for your fish and plants and know that your environment can change. The best aquarium plant fertilizer will always be there to supplement their needs