root tabs


Prolific Poster
Aug 2, 2005
I`ve been doing EI for a while and I`m very happy with it. A few weeks ago I added a few root tabs to my substrate and have seen my crypts take off. I have some that are a year old and since the root tabs, have grown 3 inches taller and runners are coming out from everywhere. Correct me if I`m wrong but this means that if I were to depend solely on my water colomn, something is missing otherwise there would have been no increase in growth with root ferts.

Here`s what I dose:

33 gallon, with 3.5 wpg

1/4 tsp kno3 3 times a week
1/4 tsp potassium 3 times a week
1/32 tsp po4 3 times a week.
1/4 tsp magnesium 2 times a week
5ml flourish 3 times a week
2ml iron 2 times a week.
co2 is in good shape.

Is there something I can alter?


Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: root tabs

You could add a tad more KNO3, CO2, how old is the tank?

If you clean up the substrate once a year also, that can help a great deal, that act of disturbing the substrate around the roots can allow new nutrients in that where locked out since the substrate was full of mulm.

Substrates get clogged over time and can get a little sour, best to clean them and vac once a year, I uproot plants often and prune agressively. So I seldom have issues relateable to this.

There is nothing wrong with adding ferts beneath a plant or infused in the substrate certainly, I'm just suggesting you don't need it. I've grown too many Crypts too fast, if they grew slower, I'd be happy.

I used RFUG's, they never clog the substrate(water from below, prefiltered etc).

By breaking up the substrate everyu few weeks/month, at least once a year, this allows the water column nutrients to the roots and keeps the roots healthier.

Ideally, nutrients will be in good shape in BOTH locations.

That means the plant does not have to transport nutrients from the leabves to the root and vice versa.

ADA Soils have NH4, same with the power sand, but the powersand is loaded with NO3's. These diffuse out of the substrate fairly fast, but the NH4 tends to stay stuck. This allows you to have good nutrients in both locations.

Flourite is decent, but has no macro's.
But the large grain size allows for diffusion of the nutrients from the water column into the substrate.

This might give you some ideas and insight.

Tom Barr


Jan 24, 2005
Melbourne, Australia
Re: root tabs

Hey Tom, isn't that the theory behind substrate cable heating. to encourage a slow movement of nutrient filled water thru the substrate ???