Saturday, January 21, 2017

Best Aquarium Plant Fertilizers 2017 (The Ultimate List)

aquarium plant fertilizer

The topic "Aquarium Plant Fertilizer" is dreaded by most of the aquarists. The prospect of adding fertilizer to an aquarium can be very confusing and scary. Is it for you too?

Well, don’t be! In this article, I am going to show you step by step why you need to add fertilizer in your precious tank, what factors make a good fertilizer into a great fertilizer and lastly, a list of the best aquarium fertilizers in 2017 that I recommend.

1. Brightwell Aquatics Plant Care
Provides 14 nutritive elements for aquatic plants
2. Seachem Flourish Excel
Provides organic carbon to your aquarium plants
3. Nilcog Aquatics Liquid Fertilizer
Cheap but effective alternative to expensive liquid fertilizers
4. Seachem Flourish
Contains micro elements, trace elements, and other nutritive elements
5. Seachem Flourish Tabs
10 tabs are enough to treat a 12 by 30 inches plant bed twice

aquarium plant fertilizer

Every aquarium plant requires a specific set of things for optimal growth. The very first thing you need to check for is light. The amount of light your plants are getting decides how much and what types of fertilizers to add. Light is one of the most important aspects for optimal growth of plants. No matter how many things you do, without sufficient light, your plants will not grow! The higher the intensity of light in your planted tank, the higher rate of photosynthesis will be. As a result, plants will absorb more nutrients. On the other hand, low light tanks may survive fine without the addition of any fertilizers at all. How much light to offer in your tank depends on the plants you have. Some plants prefer high light while others may do well in low light.

So before deciding what fertilizers to buy, check your plants requirements and the light intensity in your tank first!

After light, the next basic nutrient is Carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the most fundamental nutrient for every aquatic plants. We all have heard about the photosynthesis process, right? Well, this process won’t even start if there is no carbon dioxide. That’s why plants need it the most! The amount of carbon dioxide used by the aquarium plants depends on the light. For a low light tank, plants may do well without any additional co2 injection. But with high intense lighting, plants will absorb carbon dioxide faster. As a result, the natural way of diffusion of carbon dioxide from the air may not be enough for the plants. At this stage, you’ll need to provide additional carbon dioxide for the optimal growth of plants. Remember guys, having a successful planted tank is all about balance!

READ MORE: Finnex LED Light Review

As with supplementing carbon dioxide, additional fertilizers may also be added for the best growth of plants. As mentioned before, the amount of fertilizer you need to use depends on the intensity of light you are offering.

As there are hundreds of fertilizers out there in the market, it is difficult to differentiate the great ones from the average ones. Here are a couple of factors you need to look out for when deciding to buy fertilizer:

Is Your Aquarium Plant Fertilizer Safe For Fish?

aquarium plant fertilizer

Although most fertilizers are safe for livestock, it is safe to double check if the fertilizers contain any harmful chemicals. Whenever you are trying to try out a new product, use it in moderate doses. I recommend you to start with very little doses. Observe the behavior of your fish. Do you see any change? If you do, then chances are the fertilizer is having an effect on your fishes. Any product that has an impact on the livestock of planted tank shouldn’t be added at all. If there is no change in the behavior of your fishes, then the fertilizer is safe for them.

Look for the NPK Ratio on Your Aquarium Plant Fertilizer:

aquarium plant fertilizer

The most basic elements of every fertilizer are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Every aquarium plants need these nutritive elements to grow. So, the fertilizer should contain a decent ration of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. The ratio should be leveled on the fertilizer. It may be labeled as 0-0-1 which interprets as 0% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus and 1% potassium.

READ MORE: Flourite Black Sand Review

What type of aquarium plant fertilizer should you choose?

Aquarium plant fertilizers can be found in different forms. The most common one is liquid fertilizer. Most of the renowned companies like Seachem, API, ADA have liquid fertilizers of their own. Liquid fertilizers come pre-made in a bottle. You need to dose according to the instructions. There are also dry fertilizers. Dry fertilizers are a bit cheaper and you can be very selective with what nutrient to provide in the tank. However, you need to be experienced and have a clear idea on the nutrient deficiencies of plants if you choose to use dry fertilizers. Dry fertilizers are powder of salts such as Potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, etc. You need to buy these powders and mix water to prepare the fertilizer. Another form of aquarium plant fertilizer is root tabs.

Now, with all these, you may wonder which type is perfect for you? It really depends on your planted tank. If you have a small fish tank, then you may use root tabs. If you are new to the planted tank, then using dry fertilizers may prove to be a bit difficult for you. Again, there is no definite YES/No type answer to this question. You just need to find out which one works for your planted tank best.

With all that being said, now let’s jump to the good stuff! Here is a list of the best aquarium plant fertilizers 2017! You should definitely check these out!

READ MORE: A guide to Aquatic Plants Nutrient Deficiency

1.Brightwell Aquatics Plant Care:

aquarium plant fertilizer

Brightwell Aquatics has 14 nutritive elements in it, all of which are essential for optimal growth of aquatic plants. These nutritions ensure a long-term growth of aquarium plants. Not only at providing nutrition, it is also excellent for establishing water parameters which are beneficial for the livestock of the aquarium. It is great for replenishing nutritive elements which have been depleted from the water column. After a big water change, to re-establish the nutrition parameters, Brigtwell aquatics works like a charm!


  • Provides 14 nutritive elements for aquatic plants which ensure long time growth, proper colorization, and optimum growth.
  • Helps on a long-term to establish beneficial water parameters.
  • Very easy to use. Simple Product, Maximum Result!
  • It helps shrimp to molt and grow by providing .001% iodine.


  • Some hobbyists found that algae love it too!

Another great feature of Brightwell Aquatics is it has iodine, which helps shrimps to molt and grow. So, it is a double profit for you if you are keeping shrimp in your tank.

Using Brightwell Aquatics is easy and simple. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the bottle! 

If you want to know more about the product, click on the link below!

READ MORE: Which one causes algae? Nitrate, Phosphate or Ammonia??

2.Seachem Flourish Excel:

aquarium plant fertilizer
When it comes to aquarium plant fertilizer, Seachem is one of the most leading brands. Seachem flourish excel is a wonderful source of organic carbon for aquarium plants. Along with providing organic carbon, it also stimulates ferrous oxide. As mentioned earlier, all plants require carbon and this carbon is typically obtained from carbon dioxide. But there are other ways to supply organic carbon to plants such as photosynthetic intermediates.

There is a lot of scientific zibber zabber about what flourish excel really contains in it. Let me get this one straight  and easy for you. Plants use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis process and produce longer chain carbon compounds which are also known as intermediate products of photosynthesis. Seachem Flourish Excel contains compounds that are similar to these intermediate products. Thus, by using Seachem flourish excel, you can bypass the need to use CO2.


  • Provides organic carbon to your aquarium plants
  • Promotes the synthesis of ferrous oxide
  • Can be used along with an injection of Carbon dioxide
  • Providing the perfect environment, Seachem Flourish Excel will boost your plants' growth
  • It creates a balance in the water parameter, thus reduces the growth rate of algae


  • Some users have found that the bottle leaks.

Well, the good stuff isn’t finished yet! Flourish Excel also has iron reducing capability which stimulates ferrous iron (Fe2+). It is a good news for aquarium plants as they can utilize ferrous iron more than ferric iron (Fe3+).

If you are using it for the first time or after a major water change in your aquarium, then dose 1 capful for every 10 gallons (40 liters). For everyday uses, one capful is enough for 50 gallons. You may also use it with CO2 too.

If you want to know more about the product, Click on the link below!


3.Nilcog Aquatics Liquid Fertilizer:

aquarium plant fertilizer

Recently, Nilcog’s liquid fertilizer has gained much popularity among the planted tank hobbyists. If the cost of branded liquid fertilizers is too much for you, then your best bet will be Nilcog’s Liquid Fertilizers. Again, it is also ideal for those hobbyists who prefer dry fertilizers than liquid fertilizers.

With Nilcog’s Liquid Fertilizer, you’ll get two 500 ml bottles (One for macro fertilizer and the other for micro fertilizer) and three sets of fertilizer packs! The products will be shipped without water. So, all you need to do is mix RO water with it. Pour in 500 ml of RO water in each of the bottle and use 1 set of fertilizers. Then you are good to go! Simply repeat the process when the first batch runs out!


  • A cheap but effective alternative to expensive liquid fertilizers
  • You don't have to go through the hassle of mixing dry ingredients
  • All you need to do to prepare the fertilizer is add 500 ml RO (Reverse Osmosis) Water in each bottle
  • Comes with a refill packet. So, you are good to go for a long time!
  • On a 20 gallon tank, it will last for up to a couple of years


  • Some aquarists found it hard to dissolve the fertilizer in water.

5 ml of fertilizer is enough for 20 gallons of water. Dose three times a week on alternating days. It is recommended to use the EI dosing method.

If you have a 20-gallon tank, then this fertilizer will last you for about 2 years! Pretty amazing, right?

If you are interested in the product, Click on the link below to know more!

READ MORE: Estimative Index Fertilizing Method: Why it is Necessary?

4.Seachem Flourish:

aquarium plant fertilizerSeachem flourish is a nitrogen rich fertilizer, which works amazing as a macro supplement for planted tank. It contains all the nutritive elements necessary for optimal plant growth, such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, trace elements, and micronutrients. Only a 250 ml bottle can be used on 12,500 gallons of water.

The ingredients listed are Calcium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Copper Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Gluconate, Manganese Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Molybdate, Boric Acid, Protein Hydrolysates and Zinc Sulfate! Whoa! Just writing down all the chemical names made me tired!


  • Very much rich in Nitrogen
  • Used as a macro supplement for planted tank
  • Very easy to use
  • The product contains micro elements, trace elements, and other nutritive elements.
  • Affect the cycle of a tank in a positive manner
  • Safe for all types of invertebrates too.


  • A little overdose may result in hair algae

5 ml (one capful) fertilizer is enough for 60 gallons of water. Don’t dose more than twice a week.

If you want to know more about the product, Click on the link below!

5.Seachem Flourish Tabs:

aquarium plant fertilizerRoot tabs have gained more popularity among the hobbyists in the recent days for their cost effectiveness. With that being said, most root tabs sold in the local fish stores don’t provide sufficient nutrition as said on the package. That’s why it is safe to use root tabs from a trustworthy brand such as Seachem Flourish Tabs.

Seachem flourish tabs stimulate the growth rate of the roots of plants. It contains amino acids, vitamins along with other trace nutritive elements. Being rich in Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Inositol, Potassium, Biotin, and Choline B12, flourish tabs are extremely beneficial for optimal plant growth. It contains no algae provoking chemicals like nitrate and phosphate. Each pack contains 10 root tabs, which are sufficient for 12*30 inch substrate bed twice.


  • Provides nutrition directly to the roots of the aquarium plants
  • Doesn't contain any phosphate or nitrate
  • Stimulates the root growth of plants
  • Contains vitamins, essential trace elements as well as amino acids.
  • 10 tabs are enough to treat a 12 by 30 inches plant bed twice.
  • Contains a tiny amount of copper. So, it is not harmful to fish
  • Doesn't in any way discolor the water
  • Lasts for about a half a year.


  • Some aquarists complained that they saw a growth rate of brown algae after using it.

Each Flourish tabs can treat 10 to 15 cm radius substrate. So, 1 standard 10-gallon tank will only require no more than 6 tabs. You can replace the old tabs with new ones after three months. Seachem Flourish Tabs won’t change the water parameters like pH, but in a very soft water, they may show little acidic properties.

So, if you want to know more about the product, Click on the link below!

So, you got the list! Now it’s up to you to choose the one that fits best for your planted tank. Note that every tank is different. So, you may need to try a couple of products before, you know which one works best for your plants.

Which aquarium fertilizer are you using currently? Let me know in the comment section below!