Aquatic plants grow healthily by providing good environments in terms of substrate, lighting and CO2 supply. On top of it, the application of liquid fertilizers is the last deciding factor for healthy plant growth. Once the plants start to grow new shoots, it is time to begin adding liquid fertilizers to your aquarium.
■ Conditions for healthy growth of aquatic plants
In Nature Aquarium, beautiful aquascape is made by growing healthy aquatic plants. Even with outstanding composition or Iwagumi, we cannot find true beauty in an aquarium unless aquatic plants are in a healthy condition. The first step of making attractive aquascape is to satisfy the conditions for healthy plant growth. And, the healthy growth of plants is determined by the aquarium environment. The conditions of healthy growth of aquatic plants include the light optimum for photosynthesis, the CO2 level suitable for the light intensity, the nutrients from the substrate and appropriate water temperature. Once these conditions are satisfied, the remaining deciding factor for the plant health is liquid fertilizer. The nutrients essential for good plant growth include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and trace elements. They are supplied by Power Sand and Aqua Soil-Amazonia in the substrate, but they can be insufficient depending on the aquarium condition and the plants used. Liquid fertilizer plays a role of supplementing the insufficient supply of nutrients.
■ Liquid fertilizers in Nature Aquarium
ADA’s liquid fertilizers are designed based on how aquatic plants uptake nutrients. Since they absorb nutrients through their leaves, the nutrients required for aquatic plants are directly added to the tank to promote healthy plant growth. Practically, not all the nutrients essential for aquatic plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace elements, are insufficient in aquarium. Nature Aquarium usually uses Power Sand and Aqua Soil-Amazonia as substrate materials and these soil products supply abundant nitrogen. If fish are kept in the aquarium, nitrogen and phosphorus are supplied from fish droppings and uneaten food. Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients for aquatic plants but they can also promote algae growth if excessively supplied. Therefore, there is no need to supply nitrogen to ordinary Nature Aquarium tanks. On the other hand, potassium and trace elements are consumed a lot by aquatic plants, yet they are hardly supplied in the tank. Nature Aquarium’s basic concept of fertilization using liquid fertilizer is to supply the nutrients which tend to be in short supply in planted aquariums, i.e., potassium and trace elements, to promote aquatic plants’ absorption of nitrogen and phosphorus which tend to be excessive. The algal growth will be suppressed if aquatic plants actively absorb nutrients.
■ Effective application of liquid fertilizers
Green Brighty STEP 1-3 and Brighty K have been developed based on Nature Aquarium’s basic concept of liquid fertilizer. Green Brightly STEP 1, specifically formulated for the initial stage up to the 3rd month after the setup, contains trace elements (i.e., minerals including iron, magnesium and calcium) to promote the growth of new plants. Green Brighty STEP 2, specifically formulated for the aquariums that are 3-12 months old, contains more iron (Fe) to achieve good leaf colors of growing aquatic plants. Green Brighty STEP 3, specifically formulated for aquariums that are over 12 months old, contains trace elements with iron and potassium to keep the grown plants strong and healthy. Fertilization of Nature Aquarium basically uses the combination of Green Brighty STEP 1, 2 or 3 (to be selected according to the time period after the aquarium setup) and Brighty K containing potassium as the main ingredient. Brighty K promotes the good growth of aquatic plants with its effect of promoting photosynthesis. Actively growing aquatic plants take up more nutrients in water and this contributes to better water condition and prevents algal growth. The aquariums with healthy aquatic plants are the aquariums with less problem of algal bloom.
Green Brighty STEP2
Once the basic environments including substrate and lighting have been established in the aquarium, apply appropriate liquid fertilizers daily. This promotes the healthy growth of aquatic plants and more vivid leaf colors. ADA’s liquid fertilizers use push nozzle for easy application of an appropriate amount of liquid fertilizer.
Q1. Which type of aquariums is Green Brighty Special LIGHTS used for?
Green Brighty Special LIGHTS is a liquid fertilizer specifically formulated for special environments and contains nitrogen and phosphorus in addition to potassium and trace elements. It is effective for:
- Aquariums with plenty of sun plants such as Riccia and stem plants
- Aquariums with no or very few fish
- Aquariums using cosmetic sand containing no nutrient on the substrate
Nitrogen and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients for healthy growth of aquatic plants, can cause algal growth if excessively supplied. Nevertheless, if nitrogen and phosphorus are supplied to the aquarium in short of these nutrients, the growth and conditions of the aquatic plants in such an aquarium improves drastically. If you observe faded leaf color or slow growth of sun plants, Green Brighty Special LIGHTS is an effective solution.
Be careful not to apply an excessive amount of Green Brighty Special LIGHTS.
Q2. Which liquid fertilizer is suitable to improve the symptoms of chlorosis?
Chlorotic leaves/new shoots of stem plants and Glossostigma occurs when the total hardness of water is high. Total hardness of water rises by the calcium leached from stones used for the layout. Excessive calcium in aquarium water inhibits the absorption of iron by aquatic plants, resulting in poor pigment synthesis which is a cause of a paling of shoots. An effective solution to improve this problem is to reduce total hardness of water using Softenizer and at the same time, apply iron-rich Green Brighty STEP 2 at the dosage that is two to three times the recommended dosage. Another effective way is to use ECA, an additive specifically designed for iron supplementation, in conjunction with Green Brighty STEP 1.
Iron contents of liquid fertilizers can be enhanced easily by using iron-rich ECA together. It is effective for improvement or prevention of chlorosis in aquatic plants.
Q3. How should I fertilize emersed Wabi-kusa?
If you are growing emersed Wabi-kusa in Plant Glass, it is recommended to use be Bright for fertilization. There are two application methods of be Bright. The simpler way is to add be Bright directly to the water in the Plant Glass. With this method, however, the nutrient contents in the water increase and the water becomes dirty very fast, requiring frequent water change. Another method is to add be Bright to the water in a hand spray bottle and spray on the leaf surface. This approach is efficient as it prevents contamination of water and supplies water to emersed leaves of Wabi-kusa during fertilization. Nature Aquarium Gallery also adopts this method for fertilization of emersed Wabi-kusa plants.
Add a small amount of be Bright to the water in a hand spray bottle and spray onto the Wabi-kusa. This method also supplies water to the leaves. Spraying onto leaf surface is very effective as the nutrients can be absorbed quickly.
(From Aqua Journal #247)