How to use Root Tabs To Fertilize Aquarium Plants

How to Use Root Tabs to Fertilize Aquarium Plants

Is your live aquatic plant not growing or losing leaves, even though you’re giving it plenty of light and liquid fertilizer? Many aquarium plants are able to absorb nutrients from both the water or the substrate. However, some species prefer to use one. We need to provide a rich substrate or ground-based fertilizers for plants that are “root feeders”.


What are Root Tabs and How Do They Work?

Root tabs can be either dissolvable capsules or tablets that contain fertilizer. Aquarium Co-Op recommends Easy Root Tabs. They contain mineralized topsoil and red clay that provide essential plant nutrients.

– Magnesium – Nitrate – Phosphate – Potassium – Manganese – Zinc – Molybdenum – Iron

Easy Root Tabs come in green fertilizer capsules that are safe for fish even if they dissolve in the water.

Are root tabs safe for fish, shrimp, and snails? Yes, our brand of root tabs is safe for all animals. Because we use real soil in our root tabs, it is safe for animals if nutrients are released into the water column. Some people try to save money by making their own DIY root tabs or using fertilizers meant for houseplants and vegetables, but those terrestrial products can cause dangerous ammonia spikes in the water that may kill your fish and invertebrates.

What Aquarium Plants Require Root Tabs?

Root tabs are a great way to get root tabs for cryptocoryne (or crypt) plants. They feed off the substrate like sword plants, bulb plants and carpeting plants. Stem plants like bacopa and moneywort can absorb fertilizer from the water or ground, but they seem to prefer the former. Root tabs aren’t necessary for plants that don’t need substrate, like anubias floating plants, mosses, and Java fern.

How to Use Root Tabs

Root tabs are water-soluble so it is important to insert them as quickly as possible into the substrate. It’s okay if Easy Root Tabs accidentally pop out or get unearthed by your fish because they won’t harm the water quality, but ultimately, we want the root feeders to have access to more nutrients in the ground. You can push the entire root tab towards the bottom of your substrate using a gardening tweezer or your fingers. The fertilizer must not be removed from the capsule as it can dissolve in water.

Plunge the root tab as deeply as possible into the substrate, preferably underneath the roots of plants.

How much root tabs do you need? Use one tab for every 5-6 inches (12-15cm), and arrange them in a grid to cover the substrate. If your fish tank is very densely planted, you may need to add root tabs every 4 inches (10 cm) or closer. The root tabs should always be placed under or near the roots. For larger plants, such as Amazon swords, multiple root tabs might be needed to place in a circle around the base of their plant.

How do I get the root tabs to stop floating? There is air inside the root tab capsule that causes it to float. Make a hole at one end of the capsule with a pushpin to make it sink. Once it is underwater, squeeze the root tab. Your root tab will remain grounded and air bubbles will escape through this hole.

How often should you add more root tabs?

Nutrients get used up over time (even if you’re using a nutrient-rich substrate) and therefore must be regularly replenished. For healthy growth, we suggest adding root tabs every other month. This is especially true if the substrate you use is inert like aquarium gravel, sand or sand. Keep in mind, however, that as plants grow, they will require more roottabs. A baby Amazon sword, when first planted, may only require 1 root tab every 6 weeks. However, it may require six tabs for its survival three months later.

You can determine if your plants have eaten all of the fertilizer in the substrate by looking for signs of nutrient deficiency. You may notice a decrease in growth, yellowing, browning, or melting of leaves, even though the plant had been growing well. You can read the entire article linked below for more information about providing adequate plant nutrients. Enjoy your aquarium, and good luck!