Aquarium Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

1,148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe this info will be useful to anyone just getting started in planted aquariums;

There are 13 nutrients needed for plants to thrive. These nutrients are divided into two groups: macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. You will also see these nutrients divided as primary and secondary nutrients.

Macro-nutrients are called that, because plants use a lot of them. The macro-nutrients are: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). All of these nutrients must be added to the aquarium water because plants use them for growth. Some (like magnesium, sulfur and calcium) are 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 raise the hardness of the water and provide these essential nutrients to the plants.

Micro-nutrients are so called that, because, while needed for growth, plants usually need only small amounts of them. The micro-nutrients are: boron (B), copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn).

There are also 3 non-mineral nutrients needed by plants. These are hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and carbon (C).

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

What are these nutrients and their roles in plant growth?

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

Phosphorus (P): helps change light into sugars that the plants need to feed, and is an important part of photosynthesis. Too much phosphorus without enough light can cause algae growth. Normally present in adequate amounts in tapwater, and by the adding of fish food to the tank.

Potassium (K): plants need huge amounts of potassium for growth. necessary in protein synthesis, and helps plants metabolize iron. Normally deficient in aquariums. The ideal level varies, but is around 5-10 ppm.

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

Magnesium (Mg): is a component of chlorophyll. Essential to the transport of iron in the plant. May be found in adequate quantities in hard water areas; is most likely deficient in soft water areas.

Sulfur (S): Aids in chlorophyll production. Needed for healthy root growth. Stimulates quick plant growth, But is usually lacking in all but the hardest water areas.

Boron (B): Is essential for the regulation of other nutrients. Helps the plant produce sugars and starches. small amounts are needed.

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

Chloride (Cl): Plays a part in the plants metabolization of other nutrients. Normally present in chlorinated water (dechlorinators convert Chlorine into a salt of chloride), But may be deficient in well water or deionized water.

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

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

Molybdenum (Mo): Helps the plant metabolize nitrogen. Very tiny amounts are needed to maintain plant health.

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

Goodwill Ambassador
614 Posts
thank you for all the info jim

someone will need it
  • Like
Reactions: JIM
1 - 2 of 2 Posts