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One way to keep your aquarium plants healthy is by using root tabs. These are meant to provide fertilizers and nutrients for the plants. However, picking the correct tabs for your plants can be challenging since several options are on the market.
The top 5 best root tabs for aquarium plants based on data are:
- Flourish Tabs by Seachem
- Easy Root Tabs by Aquarium Co-op
- Thrive Caps by NA
- Root Tabs by API
- Root Sticks by Easy Life
The rest of this article describes the three crucial features of the best root tabs: effectiveness, affordability, and durability. Read on for insights into these and a rundown of 5 of the best tabs for aquarium plants on the market.
The Best Root Tabs Are Effective, Affordable, and Last Long
When choosing the correct tab for your aquatic plants, there are usually three essential factors: effectiveness, affordability, and durability. And the best root tabs are those that tick off all of these boxes.
Best Root Tabs are Effective
Effective root tabs can deliver all the nutrients aquatic plants need for optimum growth, such as phosphorus. Phosphorus is a macronutrient necessary for photosynthesis as well as cellular respiration in an organism. That’s why you’ll find it in everything from root tabs to fish food.
Another crucial aspect of a root tab’s effectiveness is its ability to maintain optimum PH level — proper balance in both PH and nutrition is important for healthy plants.
Fortunately, there are several brands and types of root tabs that are designed for this purpose. The only thing is to figure out which brand and type will fit your needs the best.
Best Root Tabs Are Affordable
The other important factor is affordability. This comes into play, especially for newbie plant lovers. You don’t want to break the bank when starting. And it’s understandable; all you need is a little guidance and some tips so that your plants will have nutrients to grow healthy.
Best Root Tabs Last Long
Suppose you take care of your plants regularly. In that case, chances are you always try to save some money when it comes to buying the right product for your plants.
Because of that, the last thing you would want is to buy a new batch of root tabs all the time because they break apart or fall off.
That said, which are the best root tabs for aquarium plants? I have selected five root tabs based on performance, price, and long-term effectiveness.
Flourish Tabs by Seachem are the best root tabs overall. They contain all the trace elements and essential vitamins that plants need yet are affordable.
I’ve found that the most effective root tabs contain micronutrients like iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc.
Iron, magnesium, and manganese are crucial for energy production in plants. Further, potassium helps regulate the water balance of a plant so it can grow bigger with these nutrients.
Zinc helps in chlorophyll formation and helps aquatic plants to survive cold temperatures.
These tabs also contain inositol, a crucial component that aids in transporting hormones, including those needed to stimulate growth, in plants.
Biotin is another crucial ingredient of Flourish Tabs by Seachem. Biotin is essential in carboxylation, which is the first stage of photosynthesis in plants.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg on what Flourish Tabs do. They’re one of the only tabs to contain chelated trace elements – which means they’re easy to absorb by plants without affecting pH or water hardness.
- Promotes healthy plant growth.
- Improves root development.
- Grow a beautiful aquatic garden in your living room.
- You’ll feel like a pro gardener with these root tabs.
Caveat: Although these root tabs generally won’t affect water PH, they may alter the acidity of very soft water. Therefore, I recommend using them on buffered water.
2. Easy Root Tabs by Aquarium Co-Op
Easy Root Tabs by Aquarium Co-Op are the best root tabs for snails and shrimp.
I have reviewed dozens of root tabs, and I haven’t found any that work as well as these.
These tabs contain extra iron and calcium that plants need for growth. They also contain red clay, which helps keep nutrients from leaching out of the environment too quickly.
It also provides stability so plants have a robust root system that can withstand fluctuating water levels or other environmental changes; it also acts as an anchor when planting roots deep into soft substrates like sand and shale rock where they may not be able to get purchase otherwise due to lack of oxygen further down in sedimentary layers (or if you’re trying with limited success).
The roots will be able to grow more quickly because of the nitrates in this product. They also provide essential minerals like magnesium which is one component needed for photosynthesis to keep your aquatic life thriving.
Another selling point worth noting is that Easy Root Tabs won’t harm fish. Because of that, you can use them alongside the usual plant root tabs.
However, if you also have a stem closer to the surface of your aquarium, like java fern (which is usually meant as a safe plant), don’t use these because snails may take them away – causing spikes in nitrate and phosphate levels.
- It helps plants grow faster.
- Promotes healthy growth of the roots.
- Enjoy the beauty of your aquarium plants again!
If you’re having problems growing plants in your freshwater aquarium, try Thrive Caps from NilocG Aquatics (NA).
Thrive Caps root tabs contain all of the necessary nutrients for aquatic plants, including potassium nitrate, potash phosphates, and sulfate, as well as magnesium sulfate to ensure healthy plant growth by preventing nutrient deficiencies that can cause stunted development or even death.
Boric acid and iron DTPA enable greater absorption into roots; ferrous gluconate provides more efficient use of available minerals while manganese sulfate aids with chlorophyll production, which is vital to photosynthesis (used during leaf greening).
The formula also contains zinc sulfate, cobalt sulfate, and nickel chloride iron-rich clay – a fantastic combination not found elsewhere!
I recommend using Thrive Caps in freshwater since they work better than most primary tabs on buffered water.
Thrive Caps are also a great algae control in marine tanks since they contain both iron and copper.
- Get your aquatic plants to thrive.
- A complete root tab that will help your plant grow and look healthier.
- Your aquarium will look more beautiful than ever before.
- You can show off to friends that you have a fantastic fish tank.
Caveat: Since this product contains boric acid, which can be toxic for plants if used excessively, it would be best to apply the recommended amounts.
Freshwater aquariums often use root tabs to grow plants, but you can use them in marine tanks as well.
If you want to grow fast-growing stem plants without the hassle of a DIY CO2 system, you should get root tabs with organic carbon. These provide the extra nutrients needed by woody plants to produce more cellulose and lignin – which are the compounds that make stems solid and rigid.
Most commercial root tabs contain no organic carbon. Instead, they rely on slow-release fertilizers or macro-nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus to do all the work for them. However, plants grown with CO2 have more opportunities to grow their stem faster, and they’re less likely to turn into floaters.
Root Tabs by API are an excellent choice for slow-growing plants like Java Ferns. Root tabs with organic carbon also give your aquarium plant life another advantage – they can absorb more iron, which is essential for healthy growth.
Additionally, nitrogen, phosphate, and soluble potash are all critical nutrients for plant growth. They can be found in API Root Tabs that help give plants the essential minerals they need to grow big strong roots!
Nitrogen is a nutrient needed by every living organism as it’s necessary for the formation of amino acids, the building blocks for proteins. Without proteins, your plants would wither and die.
Phosphates have many essential functions, including energy production and the movement of nutrients within the plant.
Further, soluble potash helps regulate the absorption of CO2 and is crucial in the maintenance of plant cell structural integrity.
In a nutshell, all these substances together provide primary nutrition your garden needs to thrive, so make sure you take advantage of them with these easy-to-use tabs from API Solutions Group Inc.
- Root Tabs by API are environmentally friendly and won’t pollute as long as you don’t use too much of them.
- They’re easy to use, so you can have the plants you want in your home.
- You’ll feel more connected to nature.
- Your plants will be healthier than ever.
5. Root Sticks by Easy Life
Easy Life Root Sticks are a type of stick that is used as a root feed for plants. It’s pretty popular in Europe, and this is due to its composition and durability.
It’s made out of clay and has a high iron content. The root sticks gradually release the nutrients over time, so you don’t have to worry about them decaying too quickly upon contact with water.
The sticks don‘t cloud the water and are nontoxic.
Root Sticks add all the essential nutrients your aquatic plants need – including iron, necessary for healthy growth.
In a nutshell, Roots Sticks provide everything you need for a simple and effective aquascape setup without having to worry about harmful chemicals from artificial fertilizers that have to be rinsed out later on.
- Root sticks will help your plants grow healthier and faster.
- Your plants will thrive like never before!
Tip: You should always use these sticks as directed on the package to avoid any problems with the plants you feed them to.
How Many Root Tabs Should You Use?
Generally, you should use one root tab for every 4-6-inches (10.2-15.2 cm) of substrates in your aquarium or vivarium. The number of root tabs you use will also depend on your aquarium’s particular capacity and maintenance level. Replace as needed as recommended by the manufacturer’s guidelines.
For example, suppose you have a 5-gallon (18.9 L) tank with heavy plant growth. In that case, you may need to replace them more often than someone who has a 10-gallon (37.9 L) tank with almost no plants.
This video explains how many root tabs to use and how close you should place them to your aquatic plants:
Are Root Tabs Safe for Shrimp and Snails?
Root tabs are safe for shrimp and snails if used in the right quantities. Most tabs contain traces of nitrogen and phosphates, which stimulate plant growth without harming organisms in the water. However, an overdose of root tabs increases nitrogen and phosphate levels in the water, harming them.
As I mentioned, Easy Root Tabs by Aquarium is the safest root product for shrimp and snails.
Easy Root Tabs by Aquarium makes planting live aquarium plants as easy as 1-2-3, and it’s 100% natural! This plant expander contains no fertilizer or additives – making it completely safe to use for your precious fish and snails!
Simply take the tray out of the package and insert an end into a 3-inch (7.6 cm) pot or clay pot filled with aquarium water (or freshwater!).
Place any baby plants you want to transplant in each opening with roots hanging down into the opening near the outer edge. Then give your plants plenty of time to establish roots before slowly transferring them straight from their grower container(s) to your aquarium or vivarium!
You can also use Easy Root Tabs by Aquarium to help give your new plants a strong start in their permanent home. Simply place the tabs near the root zone of each plant that you want to transplant. As they mature, these will be easy for your aquatic life form to consume.
Can Root Tabs Kill Fish?
Root tabs will not kill fish, though an overdose could be harmful. The effects depend on the type of root tabs used, exposure time, and temperature. Generally, root tabs containing excess nitrate, phosphate, and potassium chloride compounds are toxic to aquatic life when ingested.
My Favorite Fishtank Products to Make Life Easier
Over the years I’ve found a variety of products that make the fish keeping life so much easier. Whenever someone asks me what products I recommend buying, these are the first 5 items that come to mind. I’ll briefly list them below and state why I love them so much. I’m 100% sure you’ll love them!
1. A good gravel vacuum; Without a gravel vacuum, cleaning the substrate of your tanks is near impossible. Whenever I want to remove some of the sunken detritus from the bottom of my tank I’m happy I’ve got one of these. They’re available here on Amazon and I highly recommend them!
2. Liquid plant fertilizer; It’s no secret that I do not like nutritious aqua-soil. It makes a mess and only works a given amount of time. Instead, I always use a liquid aquarium plant fertilizer. Everyone who keeps live plants needs it, it’s not that expensive and makes your plants grow better. This is the one I use and recommend.
If your plants are rooted in gravel or sand, it’s best to add root tabs. These tablets create all nutrients your plants need and need to be replaced once per 3 months. I use the Flourish Tabs from Seachem, which are available here.
3. A set of aquascape tools; I love keeping plants, but planting and reorganizing my aquarium was difficult until I got a set of these tools. It’s much easier to plant any kind of plant compared to using my thick fingers. They’re also available here on Amazon.
4. A liquid-based water test kit; ever since I’m able to accurately test my water parameters, keeping fish became less stressful. Before I was always stressed that my water parameters were wrong, but using a kit such as the API Master kit, which is available here, I can measure this. It really is essential to successful fishkeeping.
5. A digital thermometer; the more you know about your aquarium, the better! Temperature is crucial for the health of your fish. A thermometer will also show you whether your heaters are still working correctly. It will give you more insight and more peace of mind. It’s available here on Amazon, you will not be disappointed!
- The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa: Soil Management
- NCBI: The Critical Role of Potassium in Plant Stress Response
- Plos One: Effects of Phosphorus Deficiency on the Absorption of Mineral Nutrients, Photosynthetic System Performance and Antioxidant Metabolism in Citrus grandis
- NCBI: Biotin Synthesis in Plants. The First Committed Step of the Pathway Is Catalyzed by a Cytosolic 7-Keto-8-Aminopelargonic Acid Synthase
- Journal of Experimental Botany: From the Soil to the Seeds: The Long Journey of Nitrate in Plants
- Science Direct: Boric Acids – an overview
- PubChem: DTPA Ferrous Chelate
- NCBI: Plant Ferritin—A Source of Iron to Prevent Its Deficiency
- Frontiers in Plant Science: Effects of Potassium Levels on Plant Growth, Accumulation and Distribution of Carbon, and Nitrate Metabolism in Apple Dwarf Rootstock Seedlings