Go 'under the hood' to understand the thinking behind the APT range of fertilisers here.
APT Complete should be the default choice, as it was specially designed to provide the optimal balance of nutrition and algae control across a wide range of tank styles. It contains a complete set of nutrients necessary for plant growth and does not require additional supplementation.
APT Zero contains no nitrates and phosphates, and should be used if you have a sparsely planted tank, a newly planted tank, or a slow growing ‘low tech’ tank without injected CO2 or have fish load that produces adequate nitrates in the tank. If your tank measures >10ppm NO3 by end of the week with no fertilizer dosing, you can safely skip dosing nitrates in the tank. This is also works for heavily planted tank with a high fish load (you measure >10 ppm of nitrates in the water at the end of a week before water change and without adding any fertilisers).
APT Zero can also be used to induce steep nitrate limitation in tanks, which gives the deepest reds in species such as Rotala rotundifolia and Ludwigia arcuata. This approach is usually paired with a rich substrate to prevent long term stunting due to low nitrogen levels. To this end, APT Zero can be used as a replacement for the ADA range of liquid fertilizers (Bright K neutral, Green brightly mineral and Green brightly iron) to similar effect.
Estimative Index would be your choice if you understand and seek to practice the EI approach to grow plants at a fast speed. EI has the highest risk of runaway algae issues if you have sub-par tank maintenance, sub-optimal CO2 levels or low plant mass.
The default dosing rate for APT Complete/APT Zero is 5ml per 100L, 4 times a week. Alternatively you can dose 3ml per 100L every day. Both routines should be combined with a 30% water change every week. This dosing rate has been tested to work well for most tanks, however, if you have a very sparsely planted tank or a very densely planted one, you should adjust the dosage based on observations on plant growth.
Yes. APT Complete, APT Zero and Estimate Index have been tested to be safe even for delicate strains like Crystal red/Caridina shrimps.
This depends on heavily on whether you have significant fish load in your tank.
Use APT Zero if you have persistently high NO3 levels (>10ppm) and use APT complete if your tank is densely planted with few fish.
If your plants were previously grown under the EI regime with its elevated nitrogen levels, a sudden drop to lean levels can cause stunting in some species. While most will recover in time (about 2-3 weeks); you can avoid this by gradually dropping nitrogen levels over a month rather than switch regimes immediately. Having a rich substrate (soils) as a backup also helps.
While many brands of aquasoils like ADA aquasoil contain a high amount of nitrogen due to being enriched with ammonia, they may not contain optimal amount of other nutrients such as potassium or magnesium. Water soluble nutrients are quickly leeched off with water changes as well. Therefore, dosing should be done once there are plants in the tank. Having good access to the full spectrum of necessary nutrients allow plants to adapt faster in new tanks.
No, we do not use Glutaraldehyde in any of our fertilisers. Read more about the substance here.
This largely depends on your light/CO2 levels as these are the main determinants of growth speed in the tank. Go hereto revisit the 3 growth pillars of a planted tank.
If your plants have been facing nutrient deficiencies, dosing APT produces dramatically quick effects within days - deeper reds, greener greens and new shoots should be well formed.
In slow growing low tech tanks, the impact will take a couple of weeks. The other benefit of a comprehensive dosing regime for slower growing non-CO2 tanks is that old growth lasts longer, and stays healthier. Healthier plants are more algae resistant.
Visit the gallery to view tanks of fellow aquarists using the APT / Capstone range of fertilisers.
The salts in all our fertilisers are stable compounds and can be exposed to air and room temperature without degradation. As a general rule, it is best to use the fertilisers within 36 months of opening.
Due to the concentration of the products, sedimentation / crystallisation is normal and may cause the contents to appear cloudy. In some (rare) cases, larger flakes / solids may be present. They do not affect the efficacy of the product and can be discarded.
While APT Complete and APT Zero are specially designed to reduce algae risk, many other factors affect the presence / absence of algae in a planted tank. This section identifies the different types of algae and the best ways to tackle them. Read this post for the best practices to having an algae-free tank. For a broader understanding of the science behind algae triggers, please go here.
If your plants were previously grown under the EI regime with its elevated nitrogen levels, a sudden drop to leaner levels can cause stunting in some species. It is natural and expected. Most plants will happily adjust to the leaner dosing envioronment in about 2-3 weeks.
You can avoid this by gradually dropping nitrogen levels over a month rather than switch regimes immediately. Having a rich substrate (soils) as a backup also helps.
While nutrition plays an important role, pigmentation is dependent on other factors as well. Light intensity and spectrum are both extremely important. Check out this post for more details. For picky species, CO2 levels have a big impact. Check out this section on how to improve your CO2 injection.
Yes; doing 30-40% once every 2 weeks will work as well. However, remember that the main aim of water changes is to reduce organic waste levels in the tank and to allow one to do siphoning of detritus, the aim is not the dilution of fertilizer levels - if you are facing algae issues, skipping this cleaning regime is probably not helpful. Checking nutrient levels and dissolved salt levels (TDS) using these test kits is recommended for those who intend to do very infrequent water changes across long horizons.
If you regularly change more than 30% (say 40%, 50%....), you can still follow the recommended dosing regime. Consistency in dosing and the amount of water change is far more important. For example, if you regularly change 50%...keep to that. Don't change 10% one week and 60% the next. Many aquarists do larger water changes because of higher fish load- that is a good approach. For tanks with significant fish load, go for APT Zero.
For planted tanks with plants that favour slightly higher GH ranges (Rotala sunset, florida & Downoi), add 1 Teaspoon of Seachem equilibrium per 100L of water change.
The iron content in the formula is more than sufficient. If you are thinking about iron from the point of trying to get plants more red - invest in a better light instead. Iron only helps to maintain pigmentation, dosing more beyond a certain level does nothing. Our 2Hr Tanks do not receive additional iron other than what is in APT complete. It would have been easy to make a fertilizer with much higher iron levels, but we have found that it creates more problems with no visible benefit.
Unlike our skin, plant leaves do not heal. So the older leaves will not recover even if the nutrition is now optimal. The new leaves however should be in general larger and more vibrant. For most stem plants, wait for the new, stronger leaves to develop then consider topping and replanting that portion.
If you are growing 'blood vomit' and other picky Eriocaulons, the primary cause of 'melting' is insufficient CO2. These are the some of the most CO2 hungry plants in the hobby and require CO2 levels in excess of 35ppm.
With more optimal nutrition, the newer leaves tend to be larger and more vibrant. The older leaves last longer as well. In carpets, this can create a sense of unevenness- big fat new leaves mixed with sad-looking older ones. This is natural, as plant leaves, unlike our skin, do not heal. So the older leaves will never become similar to the new ones.
The best way is to remove the old growth completely, and replant the new leaves, taking care to spread them out rather than planting them all together in a bunch. Most beginners plant in big clumps. Experienced aquarists plant in tiny, well-spaced out bunches to give room for the carpet to grow evenly.