Automated fertilisation

The maintenance of a planted tank often requires daily addition of liquid fertilisers or water conditioners to ensure the general and overall health of the aquatic plants and livestock. It is without doubt with our busy schedules and time constraints we may find it challenging to dose several nutrients on a daily basis by hand. With an automated dosing pump, it offers another possibility with convenience and consistency.

Automated dosing pumps are usually equipped with two or more channels built in with a control unit. For each channel, the amount in milliliters added as well as time and rate of addition can be set individually via the controller. This is particular beneficial when adding components such as iron fertilisers and phosphate containing components that can cause precipitation when added at the same time.

With automated dosing pumps, setting additional intervals for a fixed dosage divided into several smaller portions distributed over 24 hours rather than the entire amount once a day will provide nutrients more consistently throughout the day rather than the entire amount once a day. This is particularly beneficial in instances where problems of algae such as Black Beard Algae (BBA) or staghorn algae occurs when a one-time daily dose is too much and causing trouble with such algae.

Each channel has two hose connections where the suction side is connected to the container with the fertiliser solution and the pressure side leads the liquid fertiliser into the aquarium. With multiple channels, you can individually control your own fertiliser or water conditioner component for eg. channel 1 is for Neo Solution 1 (NPK), channel 2 for Neo Solution 2 (Trace elements and Iron), channel 3 for Neo Essence and channel 4 for Neo Booster Plants.

Connecting to Source Container

A suitable container or bottles should be used to store the liquid fertiliser or water conditioner and in the market there are dosing containers available intended for the use with dosing pumps.

The Modian dosing bottle are intended for use with dosing pumps

A simple modified bottle can become suitable for use with dosing pumps. First of all, the hose has to be connected to a fertiliser bottle.

When using any of the Neo Solution or Neo Water Conditioner bottles of 1000mL, just drill a hole into the cap and insert the hose there. You need to ensure that the hole diameter corresponds to the hose diameter and has a good tight fit. There should be as little gap as possible between the hose and cap hole to make the connection as good as possible and at best airtight. This is important to make sure that little oxidation as possible takes place inside the bottle to prolong the shelf life of the contents used. It is advisable to do a full refill as soon as the contents in the bottle has been consumed by half to prevent further oxidation process. The hose should be long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle. In order to prevent negative pressure in the bottle, a small air compensation hole may be necessary by making a small home with a needle at the top of the bottle, high enough to keep the contents from oozing out even when the bottle is full.

Introduction into the aquarium

Some manufacturers offer suitable hose guides to make the introduction of liquid fertilisers easier. However glassware from the CO2 department can also be used for a more aesthetic and elegant solution.

It is important that the introduction of fertiliser into the tank, the hose ends have no contact with the water surface for the following reasons

  1. It prevents the fertiliser from being mixed with water, thus affecting the shelf life and concentration of the fertiliser
  2. To prevent unfavourable cases where the aquarium water gets drained via the hose line of the dosing unit


This is a requirement for smaller planted nano-aquariums requiring only very small amount of fertilisers. This is because even the smallest doses (1mL) are already too much and certain elements can accumulate, which under certain circumstances can eventually result in nutrient imbalances and algae problems. For example, with complete iron fertilisers, an overdose may lead to an outbreak of red algae.

You can dilute your fertiliser solution with demineralised or RO water, for example in a ratio of 50:50, making the use of a dosing pump possible. However please do take note that this will also dilute the preservatives of the fertiliser affecting the duration of the shelf life. Therefore, it is recommended to prepare only small batches.

In conclusion, the use of the dosing pump is a constant and reliable solution, able to provide the aquascape with nutrients in a consistent and comfortable way. Your long holiday is rest assured with your aquascape well fertilised.