When Should I Dose Iron in My Planted Aquarium?
Aquatic plants need a special mix of building blocks in order to grow and live. Macronutrients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous are nutrients that plants consume large amounts of, while micronutrients such as iron and manganese are nutrients that plants only consume in trace quantities. Many all-in-one liquid fertilizers like Easy Green already contain iron (Fe), so when is it necessary to dose additional iron in your planted tank?
Do My Aquarium Plants Need More Iron?
Iron is utilized by plants to produce chlorophyll, a green pigment that helps plants to absorb light and make energy. Plants that grow quickly or require bright lighting consume a lot of energy. In order to get more energy, they often require supplemental iron to produce an abundance of chlorophyll. Adding more iron to your aquarium will result in a healthier plant growth and vibrant colors.
Do my aquarium plants have an iron deficiency? An interesting fact about iron is that it cannot freely move from one area of the plant to another area that lacks it. Consequently, if your aquarium is low in iron, the newest leaves on the plant look pale or yellow from insufficient chlorophyll, whereas the old leaves still retain their bright colors.
Plants without iron may show yellowing and paleness in their newest leaves. However, leaf veins that remain darker than usual can be seen.
Do red plants need iron? Iron primarily helps to create green chlorophyll pigment and not red pigment. Scarlet temple and Ammanniagracilis are red plants. They also consume more nutrients, so extra iron is possible. Red-leafed plants contain large amounts of red pigment and smaller amounts of green chlorophyll, and scientists are looking into the purpose of these red pigments and why red plants become more vibrant in bright sunlight. Under intense lighting, the red pigment may serve to protect leaves from excess light energy, and the amounts of green pigment may be decreased since not as much chlorophyll is needed to collect light photons. We recommend that aquarium hobbyists use a combination of high-light, carbon dioxide (CO2) injection and good nutrient doses (including iron) in order to increase the redness of their plants.
Certain red plants may cause the topmost leaves to turn pink, red, or purple. The lower leaves, however, remain green.
The bottom line is that if your aquarium doesn’t have nutrient deficiencies, and you’re not trying to grow plants with high light levels, then you don’t need any additional iron. You also don’t require supplemental iron If you are using well water or iron-enriched substrate that already contains excess iron. However, if your tank has greater iron demands than what is currently being provided, keep reading.
How Often Do I Add Iron To My Aquarium?
Easy Iron is our iron supplement for enhanced plant growth that is completely safe for aquarium fish, shrimp, and snails. This iron supplement contains a concentrated mix of iron derived from iron DTPA and ferrous gluconate. Iron is utilized quite rapidly in aquariums, so we recommend dosing 1 pump (1 ml) of Easy Iron per 10 gallons of water approximately 1-3 times a week as desired. Each pump adds 0.26 ppm of iron, and an entire bottle treats up to 5,000 gallons of water.
When in doubt, start with a low dosage and slowly increase after two weeks. Excessive iron has been linked to an increase in hair and filamentous algae. A few articles on planted tanks recommend that you aim for an iron level of between 0.1 and 0.5 ppm in your aquarium water.
Does Easy Green have more iron? Easy Green fertilizer already contains iron in small amounts, which is sufficient for most aquariums. We created Easy Iron to be an additional product that can be used when needed.
If you have issues with your live aquatic plants but they don’t seem to be due to a deficiency in iron, please read our article on other plant nutrients to find out if you have any similar symptoms. Have fun with your tank and be sure to enjoy the outdoors every day.