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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to figure out why nothing but Vals will grown in my tanks. I don't use CO2, but I do use Flourish Excel. I can't even get Azolla, Duck Weed or water hyacinths to grow. My tanks get plenty of light and I add iron, so something's missing from the water, I figure. I was thinking of adding trace elements, but don't feel like doing the PMDD thing, unless someone's got a cheap source of it.

I'm willing to try a major brand I can get from That Fish Place or somewhere similar, but wanted opinions on what is considered the best trace element mix for the price.

Ideas? Opinions?
 

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2 part answer for you.

First: You need the rest of the nutrients plants need to grow, not just micro nutrients. These are Carbon,(which you have in the form of Excel) Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Your plants also need Magnesium and Calcium, but this is probably provided by your substrate. There are many sources for cheap aquarium fertilizers, a few to start with: Green Leaf Aquariums, www.aquariumfertilizer.com. My advice, call Orlando from Green Leaf, he is a great resource, and a friendly guy. Tell him what you want to do, and he'll get you what you need. This route is far cheaper than buying prepared fertilizer mixes.(Seachem, ADA) There are many great plans for dosing that are very easy to follow - take a look at the fertilizing forum for ideas.

Second - Trace mixes are pretty subjective, as far as I can tell. I've used CSM+B ( a cheap, commercial dry mix), Seachem Flourish, and Tropica Plant Nutrition. I really like the Tropica micros, and have seen great results using them. But I've also seen tanks that make me weep with envy that just use CSM+B. My advice, start with CSM+B, then if you're not satisfied, try something else. But without the other macro nutrients, it won't matter which micro you use, you will still have problems.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey, thanks for replying!

I looked up Aquariumfertilizer.com and saw CSM+B Plantex. It sounds like a great price for 1 lb of dry fertilizer.

Good place for me to start, until I narrow down my water problems.
 

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what do you mean by water problems? I saw in your first post you mentioned something missing. Tap water doesn't have what plants need to live. And by providing only traces (which iron is also), they will continue to do poorly. An example that might help:
Imagine getting a puppy, and only giving it water and vitamins (trace elements). With no food, it will not grow, and will die.
Plants are the same. Without food, no matter how much vitamins or water you give them, they will eventually starve. Here is a link to a good starter package, with enough fertilizer to keep you going for a long time. Here is a great plan for dosing them. Since no CO2, cut your dosage in half, and only dose 1 or 2x/week. Keep the water changes the same. Also, watch your light. If you have too much, without the carbon plants need to photosynthesize, you will have a prime recipe for an algae outbreak. And excel, while able to provide some carbon, cannot keep up with the demands high light will produce.
If you have questions, let me know.
 

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Hey, thanks for replying!

I looked up Aquariumfertilizer.com and saw CSM+B Plantex. It sounds like a great price for 1 lb of dry fertilizer.

Good place for me to start, until I narrow down my water problems.
Traces will not solve your issues if you do not have nitrates, potassium and phosphorus. I think going PMDD would be your better bet if you do not want to give EI dosing a try.
 

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Traces will not solve your issues if you do not have nitrates, potassium and phosphorus. I think going PMDD would be your better bet if you do not want to give EI dosing a try.
Just remember, PMDD don't (and can't - phosphate reacts with iron in solution) contain phosphate, which is why they have fallen out of favor. The hypothesis put forth by Sears-Collins that limiting phosphate would limit algae growth has been disproved.
 
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