Plant Nutrients

Macro Nutrients

Macro nutrients are the main nutrients needed for healthy growth, these are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). They are required in much larger amounts compared with other nutrients and it is important to choose a plant food that contains these elements. It is very important to supplement these elements if:

  • You have a densely planted aquarium.

  • You inject CO2 & have medium to high light.

  • You are growing medium and hard category plants.

If you have a densely planted aquarium, then you will need to supplement NPK to avoid starving your plants.ย Nutrient deficiencies can be identified as described below. It will also be very beneficial at this point to supply CO2 for your plants.ย More information on CO2 can be found here under plant care section of the websiteย 


Nitrogen Deficiency

๐—ก๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—บ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€ (๐—ก๐—ข๐Ÿฏ) ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐˜† - typical symptom is an overall yellowing of plant especially in the older leaves. Increasingly smaller new leaves or crippled growth can be an indication of nitrogen deficit too. An increased occurrence of green filamentous algae, fuzz algae or hair algae is quite common when nitrogen is lacking. Optimal concentrations are at around 10 to 25mg/L NO3.



Potassium Deficiency

๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜‚๐—บ (K) ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐˜† - symptoms of perforated leaves or dying leaf tissue. Usually seen as black dots but then grow into visible holes which are partially outlined in yellow or black. Similar to nitrogen deficiency, the leaves may turn yellow and show reduces growth. Optimal Potassium(K) concentrations are around 5 to 10mg/L.


Phosphorus Deficiency

๐—ฃ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐˜€ (PO4) ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐˜† - symptoms can be easily seen on fast-growing stem plants, very slow growth and shoot tips decreasing in size. Some plants mah turn darker or even violet colour. Increase in spot algae is common. Phosphate(PO4) concentration of about 0.1 to 1mg/L of PO4 are recommended



Magnesium Deficiency


๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜‚๐—บ (Mg) ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐˜† - Magnesium plays an important role in photosynthesis because it forms the chlorophyll. Deficiency is often shown by a pale or yellow discolouration of older leaves whereas the leaf veins usually remains green.



To prevent nutrient deficiencies, we recommend using NEO Solution Series

Micro Nutrients

Micro nutrientsย are required in smaller amounts and should be supplemented in any planted aquarium. The most important micronutrients are: iron (Fe), magnese (Mn), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni). Without providing these your plants will start toย show signs of nutrient deficiencyย such as holey leaves, yellowing leaves etc.

We recommend using Neo Solution 2 or Neo Solution Fe.

The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle illustrates the driving force behind plant growth. Light is at the top of the triangle and determines the demand for nutrients and CO2 by your plants. The more light there is, the more Macro and Micro nutrients are required for your plants to grow. Your plants will also grow much quicker under high light.

When there's lots of light but not enough nutrients and CO2ย in the water then
eventually your plants nutrient buffers will run empty and plant growth falters. When this happens your plants start to pollute the aquarium water which activate algae spores and algae begins to flourish. Therefore, we need to supply all elements of the golden triangle in sufficient amounts to achieve healthy plant growth, whilst also hindering algae growth.

Water Changes

It is important to change some of your water each week in your planted aquarium. This will remove excess amounts of waste and unwanted nutrients, mainly ammonia (algae love this). Thus, suppressing algae growth and helps keeps your plants & fish happy. By carrying out a water change you are diluting your tank water with fresh cleaner water, and therefore reducing the concentration of waste products.

Should you encounter an algae outbreak, we recommend carrying out regular 50% water changes to remove pollutants from the water, whilst cleaning out any unsightly algae on your glass, wood and plants. Don't forget to dose your macro and micro nutrients again after any water change. Review your lighting intensity and CO2 diffusion and see if there is something that can be done to improve plant growth. For example, low CO2 levels are often a cause of poor plant growth resulting in algae.