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When should you start fertilizing your aquarium plants?
April 04, 2022
Traditional aquarium plants
Due to their larger size and advanced development, these plants store a lot of nutrients when they move from the nursery or shops, and the early fertilizers would only help algae growth in a freshly planted aquarium.
Laboratory - in-vitro aquarium plants
But just like the hobby, producing plants is constantly evolving too. In recent years, most aquarium plants have become available in in-vitro. Unlike their greenhouse versions, these plants are made in a laboratory in a sterile environment and offer many advantageous properties over traditionally grown aquatic plants. These plants are free of diseases, snails, parasites, and algae. We will be the first who remove it from the sterile box in our home. Plants are easier to transport in this format, and we don’t have to worry that the plants are stored incorrectly in the aquarium shop. Due to their compact size, the transformation is less stressful to the plant, involves less decomposition, and lab plants can be used in smaller aquarium sizes too.
But there are also drawbacks to this method of cultivation. One of these is that the plants in the box are limited in development. Because of this, we get young plants, unlike traditionally grown aquarium plants in greenhouses. But why is this interesting? Lab plants continuously receive nutrients from jelly (agar) or liquid medium in the box. These plants are not developed enough to store sufficient nutrients.
Start fertilizing on day one
For this reason, when starting a new aquarium, we need to change the old-established habits and add plant nutrients from the very first day. If this does not happen and no nutrients are available to the plants in the substrate, our fresh plant may start to melt. Plant starvation will result in algae growth in a short time, while in the worst case, the plant will be dead within 1-2 weeks.
It is worth mentioning that damage due to lack of nutrients is not the same as a melt of improperly prepared and stored laboratory plants. The agar (the gel) must be washed off before planting. Otherwise, the plant could melt after the first 1-2 weeks. Plants would try to absorb the oxygen in the water with their roots, blocked by the gelly/agar.
Lab plant production was probably the best development of our hobby in recent years. These sterile aquatic plants represent half of the plant sales now.
Consider what type of plants will use the most in the new aquarium and start the plant fertilizers accordingly, avoiding the hassle and wasting money on the dead/damaged plants.