by John Tullock
After over a year of experimentation and observation, AquaLife has developed three new products for planted aquarium enthusiasts. They are LUSH, Phyto-Tone, and Evoke. Each has been designed to make life easier for anyone with a planted aquarium.
Plants need light, carbon dioxide, and food (fertilizer) in order to grow and thrive. Different species of plants may vary in their ability to grow in low light, or where carbon dioxide levels are not optimal, or in nutrient starved environments. Nevertheless, these basic needs must be met for any plant if it is to grow and thrive.
Variations among individual aquarium set-ups make it impossible to provide strict guidelines for success with plants, but most experienced hobbyists would agree that fertilization will not achieve the desired results if either light or carbon dioxide is insufficient for the plant community under cultivation. Therefore, our product labels all recommend taking our dosage suggestions as a starting point, and then revising the feeding regime, depending upon the response of the plants in your aquarium.
It should be obvious that recently transplanted plants need time to adjust to their new circumstances and begin growing. Once “settled in,” however, plants will grow at a slow, steady pace so long as appropriate conditions are maintained. When fish or invertebrates are added to the aquarium, their feeding behavior and production of waste products changes the chemistry of the water. This necessitates a change in the way plants are fertilized, in order to avoid an excess of dissolved nutrients that typically leads to an algae bloom.
For this reason, we created LUSH to provide a proper start to the new aquarium. LUSH supplies aquatic plants with all the major, minor and trace elements they need for proper growth. Formulated to minimize the chance of stimulating algae growth, LUSH is intended for use from the day plants are first added to the aquarium. It can be used—with an adjusted dosage—after fish are added, but should not be used in tanks with shrimps.
Phyto-Tone was designed for maintaining a planted aquarium with either fish or shrimps. Because the presence of animals alters the nutrient profile of the water, the formulation of Phyto-Tone has been adjusted appropriately. Further, it contains no copper or other components that might harm shrimps.
The third component of the AquaLife line, EVOKE, contains a compound that helps to eliminate the biofilms that can form on plant leaves. It is especially useful in low-tech aquarium systems without pressurized carbon dioxide injection, as its biocidal action allows plants better access to the small amount of carbon dioxide naturally dissolved in the water. As with our other products, we urge hobbyists to adjust the dosage based upon the appearance of their plants. We do not recommend exceeding the dosage that appears on the label, however.
For the planted tank enthusiast looking for a simple system to keep everything growing and looking great, the AquaLife planted tank product line should be the first, and only, choice.