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Re: The Seachem Flourishes

Eric wrote:

I have a bunch of questions regarding the use of Flourish. Back in the day,
it was quite easy...there was just Flourish. Now there is a Flourish focusing
on almost every single nutrient. I'm not complaining mind you, just
remarking at the number of choices we are presented with as consumers.

Kent seems to be following this lead, too. Freedom of choice is good if sometimes bewildering. That reminds me of an old DEVO song....

Now there is Flourish Trace, focusing on trace elements. My question is - If
Flourish Trace focuses on trace elements, then what does the original
Flourish do for you??? Does Flourish Trace focus on a different subset of trace
elements, or is it just a more concentrated version of the original Flourish.
Personally, I always thought I was adding the original Flourish for the trace
elements it contained. Imagine my surprise when Flourish Trace popped up...

Flourish Trace is not intended to be a complete trace additive. It's designed to replenish certain elements which may be lost due to precipitation and utilization. Flourish is a more complete fertilizer which includes essential trace elements and several organic substances (amino acids, vitamins, etc.) important to plant growth. In short, Flourish Trace is intended to compliment Flourish not replace it.

I am actually a big fan of Flourish. I currently use Flourish and Flourish
Iron, although sparingly since I am unclear as to how much is actually needed.
That leads me to rest of my questions. All other things being nominal:

How often should you dose?

Depends on the the amount of light as well as the number and type of plants. It also depends on how you want to approach things. Some folks prefer to dose a little everyday, others twice a week, ...etc. I tend to dose once or twice a week depending on the type of tank. I dose a little iron everyday, since the ferrous gluconate in Flourish and Flourish Iron seems to be consumed or precipitate out fairly quick.

When is it better to dose, the light or dark cycle of the tank?

Generally, I try to dose a little while before the lights come on so the nutrient(s) have a chance to circulate around before the plants kick into gear. I'm not sure how much it really matters, though. Probably not a whole lot.

How much to dose (on the high or low side)?

Again, it depends on the tank in question. There are several factors to consider in regard to "how much" such as lighting, contents of tap water, CO2 enrichment, plant load, fish load, substrate composition,...etc. Based on label recommendations, I dose fairly heavily in my well lit tanks (~5ml Flourish per 20gal nominal tank volume two times a week), and somewhat more conservatively and, perhaps, less often in my moderately lit tanks.

Now I know there are no simple answers to my questions. I'm just looking for
opinions (from experience) on what has worked best for other hobbyists. I
know I could run out and buy test kits to further quantify my aquarium's needs,
but I'm saving up for more trace elements which my plants may or may not be
getting currently.

Everyone should have a decent alkalinity (KH) and pH kit (or meter) on hand so that the CO2 level can be determined, but the rest aren't absolutely necessary, especially if you adopt the 50% weekly water change. The water change helps prevent the buildup of potentially harmful elements and keeps things on an even keel. When dosing stuff like KNO3, you just analytically estimate the amount that needs to be added to achieve a certain level.

However, some kits can be useful in "seeing" and learning what's going on. I have good nitrate and phosphate kits, and I've been known to use a Seachem Fe kit as an indicator (i.e., just to see if iron is there rather than to detect a specific level), but if money's tight, spend it on essentials first.
Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee