When Should I Dose Iron in My Planted Aquarium?
Just as people need certain nutrients to function correctly, aquatic plants require a unique mix of fundamental building blocks to live and grow. 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. Easy Green and many other all-in-one fertilizers already contain iron (Fe), so why would you need to add iron to your tank?
Are my aquarium plants in need of more iron?
Iron is utilized by plants to produce chlorophyll, a green pigment that helps plants to absorb light and make energy. In general, plants that are fast-growing or need bright lighting use lots of energy. They often require extra iron to increase their ability to produce more chlorophyll. Therefore, adding extra iron in your aquarium can result in healthier plant growth and more vivid colors.
Are my aquarium plants iron deficient? Iron cannot move freely from one part of the plant to the other. Therefore, when your aquarium has low iron levels, the new leaves will appear pale or yellow due to insufficient chlorophyll. However, the bright colors of the older leaves will not fade.
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. However, red plants like scarlet temple or Ammannia gracilis can benefit from extra iron because many of them are also high light plants that consume more nutrients in general. 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. The red pigment can protect the leaves from excessive light energy. Also, less chlorophyll is required to capture 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.
Bottom line: If your plant aquarium doesn’t show nutrient deficiencies and if you aren’t trying to grow high-light plants, you won’t need additional iron. Supplemental iron is not required if you have iron-enriched substrate or well water. If your tank is requiring more iron than the current supply, you can read on.
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. It contains a highly concentrated blend of iron derived from ferrous gluconate, iron DTPA, and iron EDTA. Iron is very efficient in aquariums. Therefore, we recommend that you use 1 ml (1 ml), of Easy Iron per 10 gallon of water approximately every 1-3 days as needed. Each pump adds 0.26 ppm of iron, and an entire bottle treats up to 5,000 gallons of water.
If in doubt, begin with a low dosage for two weeks and gradually increase the dose over time. There have been reports of an increase in filamentous and hair algae due to excessive iron. 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. High concentrations of iron do not mix well with other plant nutrients and minerals, so we created Easy Iron as a separate product that can be added when necessary.
If you are having problems with your live aquatic plants and they do not appear to be caused by a lack of iron, check out our full article that describes other plant nutrient deficiencies to see if any of the symptoms match. Have fun with your tank and be sure to enjoy the outdoors every day.