The Planted aquarium hobby is one of the costliest hobbies you could have and not only the initial setup that would cost you a lot of money but there are regular running costs too. In terms of Carbon Dioxide, Aquatic Fertilizers, etc. One of the things this industry pushes us to believe is to buy the costly fertilizers to give you the green lush growth of the plants in your aquariums. I used to shell out money on a monthly basis to buy these specialized fertilizers from ADA, Seachem, etc until learned what is the essence which makes these fertilizers.
Then I started buying dry fertilizers from some folks, who are rare to find and they mentioned that they have the dry fertilizers, which are lab-grade.
A little more background. In the year 2018, I developed a liking towards and started adoring more on the indoor plants that I could have around my computer desk and the bedrooms. In search of fertilizers for them, I realized one thing. The plants essentially need Nitrogen, Phosphor, and Potassium as their Macro fertilizers. They need Micro fertilizers as well like Magnesium, Iron, Boron, Sulfur, the list goes on. Though the Micro fertilizers are needed very very little.
Surprisingly, the aquatic plants are no different and they need the same thing too! So I started thinking, if I were to get lab-grade fertilizers myself, I could be making my own fertilizer regime and don't need to shell out thousands of rupees a year on fertilizing these plants. Now that was difficult to get lab-grade fertilizers that are pure. In Bangalore, I would have to travel more and go a long distance towards some of the dealers who would get me there. Again, I wasn't going to buy in bulk. If I buy one kilogram of each, that is going to last for many years to come.
There is a theory to it, named Estimative Index by Tom Barr. Many folks go by this method and have had success with their planted tanks, including me. Oh, he has some of the beautiful aquariums that I have seen on the internet.
That is when I happened to see that Amazon had a seller, a fertilizer manufacturer who was selling these fertilizers for regular plants. I bought all that I needed from him and since then I have been using these dry ferts on my aquariums. Tell you what, the growth in my aquariums is lush and is a treat for the eyes. All of this without making a dent in my pocket.
So here is the list of items you would need to buy if you want to try out this route.
- Nitrogen - KNO3
- Phosphor - MKP
- Potassium - K2SO4
- EDTA Mix - This is the mix of all that is required
- Chelated Iron - Fe
If you search Amazon India, you'd get all of these required. I bought most of it from Utkarsh Fertilizers and they are very good.
Now the second part of the puzzle is to know how much to dose. For every liter of water, there is an amount that you could safely dose the dry fertilizers.
This gives a fair amount of the dosing that you need. Get some spoons off Amazon ranging from 1/16, 1/8, 1/4th, etc. It would be much easier that way to just dump it in the tank and your plants would thank you.
One of the key points to remember when dry dosing is that, you need to keep up with the water changes. The Estimative Index depends on us giving more than required nutrients to the plants and at the end of the week balance it out by doing a large water change.
There, hopefully, this would help you save some money and still enjoy this beautiful hobby.