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How to Fertilize Aquarium Plants Naturally



Adding plants into the aquarium’s ecosystem brings so many substantial benefits to the fish and the aquarium in general. However, commercial fertilizers can be expensive at times, so fertilizing your aquarium plants naturally is the best way to go.

But how to fertilize aquarium plants naturally? There are different methods and ways to do it where a fish tank owner can make a fertilizer using materials accessible in our home. Please check the list below:

Method No. 1 Maximizing Biological Fertilizers Found in the Aquarium

There is no better way to fertilize your aquarium plants naturally than using the aquarium’s ability to create a natural fertilizer. What does it mean? A fish tank owner can make natural fertilizers using the aquarium’s natural ecology.

One way to do it is to use a biologically active filter in your fish tank. This filter will serve as the heart of your planted aquarium. An excellent and well-designed filter containing an activated charcoal can help produce good bacteria.

This bacteria will then work in the process of symbioses to purify the water, which in turn benefits not only the plants but the fish as well. Always remember that in an aquarium with well-equipped biologically active filtration, plant fertilizers will just develop naturally.

Method No. 2: Give a High-Quality Fish Food to the Fish

A lot of fish tank owners do not know that giving high-quality fish food to the fish can also help in fertilizing the aquarium plants naturally. These fish tank owners usually ask themselves do aquariums plants need fertilizer at all without knowing that fish foods can produce natural fertilizer.

Using only this natural way of fertilizing, the plants can either not do well or not grow at all in the aquarium. You need the support of bright lights and other high-quality fertilizers to make the plants thrive in the aquarium.

But, if you focus on this natural way of creating an organic tank, there are some things that you need to apply in the aquarium apart from giving high-quality organic food. First, you will need to have enough bio-load, a good amount of uneaten food, and enough fish and plant waste to sustain and fertilize the plants.

In addition, you must use sand, fine gravel, or capped soil as your substrate in the aquarium while eliminating the need to clean or vacuum it regularly. This step will allow the plant and fish waste to be processed naturally and converted into fertilizer.

Making the aquarium organic will also limit aquarium owners from doing water changes. The partial water changes are kept at a minimum level or none at all. This step prevents the organic nutrients from being washed out during the water change.

Method No. 3: Making DIY Fertilizing Powders


Another way to fertilize aquarium plants naturally is to make a homemade fertilizing powder on your own. Instead of relying upon commercial fertilizers, why not create your own using simple and natural ingredients?

Making homemade fertilizer is also economical, simple, and inexpensive to create. Creating a powder-based homemade fertilizer will only need simple ingredients like Epsom salt, potassium, sulfate, and saltpeter. Using the ratio of 3:3:2:1, you will just mix all the ingredients to create your own powder natural fertilizer.

Application of this natural plant fertilizer should only be in small amounts. You can use a teaspoon for every ten gallons of water for your initial dosage. You can use this fertilizer every water change to replenish the minerals and vitamins levels in the aquarium water.

Method No. 4: Making a Homemade Fertilizer Tabs

Another way to fertilize the plants in your aquarium is to make homemade fertilizer tabs. Making this natural fertilizer is easy as long as you get the needed ingredients. The primary ingredients of this homemade fertilizer are calcium montmorillonite clay powder and human-grade mixed powdered seaweed.

What you will do is mix 5 tablespoons of the calcium clay powder and 1 tablespoon of seaweed with water until you will get the needed consistency, similar to wet modeling clay. Then, you can shape the mixture into tabs or balls and allow it to dry.

Apply this homemade fertilizer by digging a hole in the substrate near the roots of the plants. Put the tabs in the hole and cover them with the substrate. The roots will consume the nutrients and minerals of the tabs for up to six months.

Method No. 5: Maximizing the Benefits of the Trace Minerals

The trace minerals such as iron and zinc can serve as natural fertilizers in your aquarium. The presence of these trace minerals can help the plants thrive and grow inside the fish tank. But, how can you get these minerals?

Some aquarium owners use specialized aquarium gravel in their fish tanks because they are an excellent source of trace minerals. Another option is to use iron-rich red clay. But this clay must be boiled to kill any unrelated organisms before using it in the aquarium.

In applying these materials to the aquarium, you will only need to place them under the aquarium gravel. Doing this step will allow these materials in improving water chemistry, benefiting the plants in the fish tank.


How to fertilize aquarium plants naturally? Several methods have been presented above to fertilize the aquarium plants naturally. Using biologically-active filters and high-quality foods can help. You can also make homemade fertilizer using natural ingredients, which can be used for the plants in your aquarium.

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