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RE: Tropica Mastergrow

Bob/Georgia (great name B.T.W.) is asking for annecdotal experience with
Tropica Mastergrow, as he has had poor results with other products (Seachem,
Tetra and Kent were mentioned). Bob stated that new growth on his plants are
chronically "thin/yellow/light" and the plants deterioriate rapidly without
maturing, even though he has pleanty of light, a laterite substrate and DIY
CO2. Bob also reported problems with hair algae, which he attributed to
overdosing with Flourish Iron. He is attempting to "flush" the excess
nutrients out of the system with a series of water changes.

Well, Bob, it does sound like you have a problem. How long has this tank
been set up? How much light is "lots" and how much laterite is in the
substrate? (what kind of gravel are you using as well?) While you are at it,
how big a tank are we talking about? Where do you get your plants from and
in what kind of condition are they when you introduce them into your tank?
what else do you add to your tank (conditioners, medications, tonics, etc.)?
Finally, what is your water source and the hardness, alkalinity and other
water quality parameters of your water? Do you have any problems keeping
fish healthy?

I have never used Tropica Mastergrow but quite a number of others on the
list have and I'm sure that they will share their experience. I can attest
to the fact that overdosing with Flourish Iron (or any other iron
supplement) can, under certain circumstances, promote problem algae.
Flushing out a tank with a series of water changes is good husbandry but is
not really necessary with Flourish Iron, if all you are trying to do is rid
the tank of excess Iron. The ferric iron in Flourish Iron will oxidize
naturally within the tank within days of introduction and will no longer be
bio-available. Although some algae may be able to use even the metal in this
state - I'm not really sure.

But one thing I do know, is that it sometimes takes a while to learn how to
dose particular products, and each tank is individual and unique in how much
fertilizer/supplementation that is needed. Quite often, the directions on
the label are overly generous (they do want to sell the stuff after all, and
the more you use, the sooner you will need more). It is always safer to
start out at 1/2 the recommended dosage and then ramp up slowly, over a
period of several weeks, depending upon the results you observe in your

Keep in mind as well that plants need a balance of all of the essential
nutrients. If even one of them is in short supply, growth won't be optimal.
Tropical Matergrow, indeed no commercial fertilizer aimed at aquarium use,
contains ALL of the essential elements needed by plants. Some are designed
to come from other sources - Carbon for instance from CO2 injection (but you
have that covered in your case), Nitrogen and Phosphorous are usually
introduced thru fish food. Calcium and Magnesium is usually in water of
sufficient Hardness and hopefully your water supply has sufficient Potassium
(not always the case). Some nutrients are better in the water column and
others in the substrate. With a properly set up laterite substrate combined
with the appropriate use of complimentary liquid fertilizers, you _should_
see good plant growth. But it might take some time for your plants to turn
around. How long did you give each of the other brands of fertilizers to

As you can see, I have more questions for you than you had originally for
the list. Life is sometimes like that. Let us know the tank parameters and
perhaps we can help you more completely.

James Purchase