Finding the Right Balance: Lean Dosing vs. Normal Dosing a Planted Aquarium

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Finding the Right Balance: Lean Dosing vs. Normal Dosing a Planted Aquarium

Aquarium enthusiasts know the importance of fertilizers in keeping their planted tanks healthy and thriving. However, dosing the right amount and type of fertilizer is crucial in maintaining the balance of nutrients in the aquarium. In this article, we will discuss the difference between lean dosing and normal dosing a planted aquarium, the benefits of using a low nitrate fertilizer like Tropica’s Premium All in One Fertilizer for low tech tanks, and how to spot and fix common problems when it comes to over-fertilizing.

Lean Dosing vs. Normal Dosing

Lean dosing refers to the practice of providing plants with only the nutrients they need to grow, without adding any extra fertilizers. Generally, Nitrates are held back from the plants, and are replaced with Potassium. The idea behind lean dosing is to reduce the risk of imbalances that can lead to algae growth or other problems in the aquarium, slower growth resulting in less trimming, and an extra POP to your red plants.

Lean dosing involves dosing small amounts of fertilizers frequently, usually daily. Plants use Potassium far quicker than Nitrate, which makes missing a lean dose, potentially punishing. The amount of fertilizer added is determined by observing the plants and adjusting the dosage accordingly, but it is generally recommended to use an online calculator or consult your local experts, Aquarium Roots, before beginning.  

On the other hand, normal dosing involves adding a set amount of, usually an All in One fertilizer at regular intervals, usually weekly or bi-weekly or daily, depending on bottle’s instructions.

The dosage is calculated based on the aquarium's size and the plants' nutrient requirements. Normal dosing provides plants with a surplus of nutrients, ensuring that they have all the necessary elements for growth. However, it can also lead to imbalances if not done correctly, which can result in pest algae growth or other problems.

With normal dosing, it is important to choose the fertilizer based on whether or not you are running a low tech or high tech tank. High Tech tanks, tanks running co2 and high light, are generally going to need a nitrate rich fertilizer, such as Tropica’s Specialized All in One, to thrive. Give the same rich dose to a low tech tank and you will most certainly create a farm of green hair algae in no time! This leads us to our next topic.

Low Nitrate Fertilizers for Low Tech Tanks

Low tech tanks, which are tanks with low to moderate light and no CO2 injection, require a different approach to fertilizing than high tech tanks. In these tanks, algae growth is often a problem, and adding too much fertilizer can exacerbate the issue. That's why using a low nitrate fertilizer like Tropica Premium All in One Fertilizer is recommended. This fertilizer contains a balanced mix of macronutrients and micronutrients that plants need for growth, without adding excess nitrogen that can lead to algae growth.

Common Problems with Over-Fertilizing

Over-fertilizing can cause several problems in a planted aquarium, such as pest algae growth, yellowing leaves, and stunted plant growth. To spot these problems, observe your plants regularly and look for signs of algae growth, yellow or brown leaves, or slow growth. If you notice any of these symptoms, you may need to adjust your fertilization regimen. To fix over-fertilization problems, start by doing a water change to reduce the nutrient levels in the water. Then, reduce the amount of fertilizer you're adding and monitor the plants for improvement. It's also essential to maintain good aquarium hygiene, such as removing debris and dead plant matter, to prevent nutrient buildup.

Also, feel free to reach out to us at Aquarium Roots with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are always willing and happy to help our customers and fellow addicts gain success in this everchanging but always exciting, hobby.

In conclusion, dosing the right amount of fertilizer is crucial in maintaining a healthy planted aquarium. Lean dosing provides plants with only the nutrients they need, while normal dosing provides a surplus of nutrients. For low tech tanks, using a low nitrate fertilizer like Tropica Premium All in One Fertilizer can help prevent algae growth. Over-fertilizing can lead to problems like pest algae growth, yellowing leaves, and stunted plant growth, which can be fixed by doing a water change, reducing fertilizer, and maintaining good aquarium hygiene.

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