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Starting a Planted Tank

Plant Nutrients 101

Phophates in the Planted Tank

Activated Carbon

Fertilizer & the Planted Aquarium

CO2 & the Planted Tank

Algae Control

Safety Around the Aquarium

Cleaning Aquarium Glass

Mysterious Fish Deaths Explained!

Aquarium Photography

New Tank Syndrome

Choosing an Aquatic Heater

Tips for Beginning Fishkeepers

Salt in the Aquarium

Outdoor Patio Tubbing

Malaysian Trumpet Snails

 

 

Aquatic Plant Nutrients
(Or, why you should be using Yamato Green!)

There are 13 mineral nutrients needed for plants to grow. The mineral nutrients are divided into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. You also sometimes see these nutrients divided as primary and secondary nutrients.

Macronutrients are so named because plants use quite a lot of them. The macronutrients are: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). Most of these nutrients must usually be added to the aquarium water because plants use so much of them for growth. Some (like magnesium, sulfur and calcium) are usually present in large amounts in hard water. If you live in a soft water area, you may need to add magnesium, sulfur and calcium to increase the hardness levels of the water and provide these essential nutrients to the plants.

Micronutrients are so named because, while necessary for growth, plants usually require only small amounts of them. The micronutrients are: boron (B), copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn).

There are also three non-mineral nutrients required by plants. These are hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and carbon (C).

While some of these nutrients may be present in tapwater, not all are present. Indeed, some municipalities reduce or remove important nutrients at the water processing plant. As an example, most municipal water supplies are very deficient in iron. Soft water areas are deficient in calcium, magnesium and sulfur.

Let's briefly discuss these nutrients and their roles in plant growth.

Nitrogen (N): An essential part of all living cells. Must be present for protein synthesis. Nitrogen is an important part of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants). Nitrogen is usually provided to plants in the form of nitrate, and is usually deficient in tapwater, where it is considered a contaminant. Aquarium plants require about 5-10 ppm nitrate for adequate growth.

Phosphorus (P): helps convert light into sugars that the plants use to feed, and is an essential component of photosynthesis. Excess phosphorus without adequate light levels can contribute to algae growth. Usually present in adequate amounts in tapwater, and by the addition of fish food to the tank.

Potassium (K): plants require huge amounts of potassium for growth. Important in protein synthesis, and helps plants to metabolize iron. Usually deficient in aquariums. Ideal level varies, but is around 5-10 ppm.

Calcium (Ca): a component of cell wall structure. Helps provide strength to the plant, and helps transport other nutrients throughout the plant. Usually present in adequate quantities in most municipal water areas, where it is responsible for "hard" water.

Magnesium (Mg): A component of chlorophyll. Essential to the transport of iron in the plant. May be present in adequate quantities in hard water areas; is probably deficient in softer water areas.

Sulfur (S): Helps in chlorophyll production. Essential for healthy root growth. Stimulates rapid plant growth. Usually deficient in all but the hardest water areas.

Boron (B): Essential for the regulation of other nutrients. Helps the plant produce sugars and starches. Very small amounts required.

Copper (Cu): Essential for the plant to reproduce. Helps stimulate the production of proteins.

Chloride (Cl): Plays a role in plant metabolization of other nutrients. Usually present in chlorinated water (dechlorinators convert Chlorine into a salt of chloride). May be deficient in well water or deionized water.

Iron (Fe): absolutely essential for plant growth, and usually deficient in all municipal water. Must be present for the manufacture of chlorophyll. Without adequate iron (about 0.1 to 0.5 ppm), plants will yellow and fail to produce dark green growth.

Manganese (Mn): important nutrient that helps the plant digest starches and nitrogen, thus helps the plant to use other minerals. A deficiency may actually show up as a deficiency in one of the other nutrients, such as iron (yellowing leaves).

Molybdenum (Mo): assists the plant to metabolize nitrogen. Very tiny amounts required to maintain plant health.

Zinc (Zn): Essential for carbohydrate metabolization. Helps regulate plant growth.

Yamato Green is an important source of all of these nutrients (except phosphorus and nitrates). Yamato Green-N provides the same nutrients as Yamato Green, plus it contains adequate nitrates to maintain a healthy 5 ppm nitrate level. Phosphorus is deliberately omitted because excess phosphates may stimulate unwanted algae growth.

The nutrients in Yamato Green and Yamato Green-N are adjusted to be present in approximately the same amounts as required by plants. Regular dosing of Yamato Green and Yamato Green-N will feed the plants their essential nutrients as they need them, and in the proper amounts. This helps prevent buildup of excess nutrients, which can contribute to algae growth.

It is important to perform regular water changes every week, just prior to adding Yamato nutrients. This helps prevent the unwanted buildup of any leftover nutrients that the plants may not have used up. This helps prevent unwanted algae growth.

It is important to note that all the nutrients in Yamato Green and Yamato Green-N are provided in forms most readily consumable by plants. Iron, for example, is provided in chelated form using the more expensive HEDTA chelation process. This helps the plants to consume iron very rapidly. In fact, it is not unusual for plants to consume all the nutrients overnight. If you add Yamato Green one day, and then measure iron levels the next day and discover unmeasurable levels of iron, that is because the plants quickly took up the iron and stored it away for a time in the future when there may not be adequate iron present. If you initially add Yamato nutrients on a daily basis, keep track of the iron levels and try to maintain them at a therapeutic level of 0.1 ppm - 0.5 ppm. Don't be surprised if the plants consume huge amounts of iron in the beginning, but then taper off to a slower rate of consumption after a few weeks. That is just the plants storing away nutrients for future use. Eventually they will saturate with nutrients, and consumption will drop off to actual daily consumption. In the beginning, you may need to add Yamato nutrients on a daily basis. After a few weeks, semi weekly or weekly dosages may be adequate.

Remember, Yamato Green and Yamato Green-N provide every essential nutrient required by your aquatic plants. This is why plants grow at a rapid, healthy rate when fed Yamato, and why they flower and reproduce so easily. If you've been dissatisfied with using a plant supplement that requires you to add other elements in addition to those provided by the plant supplement, then you are using a supplement that is incomplete. Yamato Green and Yamato Green-N require no other supplementation to provide everything required by your plants.

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