Iron in the Planted Aquarium

Aquarium Blog Post

Iron In the Planted Aquarium

Q: Do the AquaLife products contain iron? Why do so many manufactures push it?

A: No, we do not add iron to AquaLife plant products.

Q: Do I need to be using an iron supplement?

A: Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrient for plants. Symptoms of iron deficiency are most readily apparent in the new growth of fast-growing stem plants, such as Hygrophila, which will take on a yellowish to white appearance. Because iron is present in some water supplies and in most aquarium foods, planted tanks with fish are unlikely to experience an iron shortage.

It is not necessary to routinely add an iron supplement to your aquarium. This should only be done if you are experiencing deficiency symptoms, and if you have ruled out other possible causes.

For example, too little carbon dioxide can produce symptoms similar to iron deficiency, as can a deficiency of magnesium. Also, too much iron can have negative effects on plant growth.

Q: If iron supplements are unnecessary, why do so many manufacturers urge us to use one?

A: Short answer: it adds to their revenue stream. But iron supplements can be a lifesaver if you actually are having problems due to an iron deficiency.

Many articles in hobbyist magazines and online forums recommend maintaining iron concentration at 0.5-1.0 ppm, guided by test kit results. Again, this is simply not necessary in most situations.