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  • 3 min read

    Choosing the Right Fertiliser
    Some people will try to tell you their planted aquarium gets on just fine with no fertilisation. They’ll tell you that their livestock and the uneaten food provide all the nutrients their plants need.
    While this can be true for certain setups, usually where plant mass is low and the selected species are very slow growing and not nutrient-demanding, relying on fish and food waste to provide nutrients will simply not be enough in most planted tanks.
    That’s because these only provide nitrogen (nitrates) and phosphorus (phosphates), and not in consistent amounts. The macronutrient potassium, which is required by plants in large amounts, will not be present. ​A host of micronutrients will also be missing.
    Even if you have a nutritious substrate, eventually it will be depleted, and plants are able to uptake and transport nutrients in the water column through their leaves much faster than those in the root zone.
    Anything other than the most basic planted aquarium needs regular, comprehensive fertilisation of macro and micro nutrients to allow plants to grow without deficiency and to their best form. Healthy plants also play a vital part in balancing your system and keeping algae at bay.

    So which fertiliser is right for my planted tank?
    The fertiliser that will work best for your setup depends on what you want to achieve! There are many fertilisers on the market with various levels of macro and micro nutrients.
    If you have a heavily planted tank with pressurised CO2 and strong lighting, you’ll want something with plenty of nutrients to meet the high demands of your plants.
    Conversely, if you have a low-tech setup with medium lighting and a smaller selection of plants, you don’t want to be pumping in super-concentrated doses of fertiliser that your plants won’t be able to use!
    The extensive range of LCA fertilisers caters to the needs of any planted aquarium, from the most demanding to the simplest of setups. By combining carefully measured levels of both macro and micro nutrients in every bottle of comprehensive LCA fertiliser, we take the hassle out of dosing the correct amounts needed by your particular planted aquarium.
    A selection of LCA fertilisers utilise the Estimative Index (EI) method of providing an excess of nutrients which is reset by a large water change at the end of each week. With this method, you can be sure your plants are not deficient in any nutrient and focus on achieving balance with lighting, CO2, maintenance and water circulation.
    EI fertilisation is a fantastic choice for aquariums with a large amount of plants, and works especially well in demanding high-tech setups. It can also be used effectively in low-tech setups that have a lot of plant mass. LCA All in One Premium, Premium +, and shrimp Safe all use the EI method.
    For low tech or less demanding aquariums, a leaner approach should be taken. LCA Low Tech Complete is specially formulated for low tech setups, providing a less concentrated dose as well as an algae inhibiting additive. Tanks with a heavy bio-load or enriched substrate can utilise products such as LCA NP Free, which provides everything except nitrates and phosphates, which will be provided by your livestock and waste.
    If your objective is to have more vibrant colouration of red plants in your aquarium, a leaner dose in conjunction with nutrient-rich substrate can be helpful, as some species of plants (such as Rotala Rotundifolia and other Rotala species, among others) respond to nitrate limitation by increasing red pigmentation. LCA Advanced Red was specially created for this purpose, providing a leaner amount of macro and micro nutrients along with increased Iron to aid in photosynthesis and pigment production. When combined with your enriched substrate, intense lighting and pressurised CO2, red plants are much easier to achieve with LCA Advanced Red.

    If you want a planted tank with very little weekly maintenance and already have a nutrient-rich substrate, daily dosing of  LCA PPS Pro allows for lush plant growth without the need for a weekly water change. It supplies all the nutrients your plants need in amounts that will generally be absorbed on a daily basis, ensuring there is no build-up of nutrients.
    Of course, if you are a more advanced hobbyist and prefer to fine tune your levels, LCA provide separate macro nutrient fertilisers in LCA Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, as well as micro nutrients in LCA Micro Mix Premum and Shrimp Safe.
    There’s an LCA fertiliser for whatever your planted aquarium needs!