Have you ever seen an aquarium full of lush, healthy plants and thought you could never pull it off? Well, you’re in luck! Creating a full, planted tank is not as difficult and intimidating as it seems. All you need is light, time, and a solid aquarium plant fertilizer. These reviews of the 6 best aquarium plant fertilizers will help you find one that will work perfectly in your tank, helping you create the lush planted tank of your dreams.
If you have goldfish, cichlids, or even dojo loaches, then you may have to get creative to keep plants safe long enough to grow but providing a fertilizer that is appropriate for your plants will help you achieve this. The first step is identifying whether your plants can pull nutrients from the water column or from the substrate so you know if you need liquid fertilizer or root tabs.
There are aquarium plant fertilizer options available for indoor and outdoor use and for water column and root feeder plants, so you have lots of great options when it comes to aquarium plant fertilizers, no matter the setup of your tank or pond.
A Comparison of Our Favorites of 2022
The 6 Best Aquarium Plant Fertilizers Are:
1. Flourish Freshwater Plant Supplement – Best Overall
The Flourish Freshwater Plant Supplement is the best overall aquarium plant fertilizer because of the quality of this product. This supplement is made by Seachem, which is a trusted name in the aquatics community. This product is available in 5 sizes from 50-1000 milliliters.
This plant fertilizer includes necessary minerals, nutrients, and phytohormones to bring out the best growth in your aquarium plants. Phytohormones are important for regulating plant growth, activation of shoots, stress response, and root growth. This fertilizer may help improve disease resistance and mineral absorption in your plants. Some people have even found this fertilizer to work well for terrestrial plants as well. This product does contain copper, which is usually not safe for invertebrates like snails and dwarf shrimp, but if this product is not overdosed, it can be safe for invertebrates because of its low percentage of copper.
This fertilizer does have iron in it, which means it may oxidize with exposure to air. This fertilizer is clear, but with oxidization it will turn grey or black and may stain fabric or wood, so make sure to keep it somewhere safe where it won’t get spilled.
2. API Leaf Zone Freshwater Aquarium Plant Fertilizer – Best Value
The best aquarium plant fertilizer for the money is the API Leaf Zone Freshwater Aquarium Plant Fertilizer. This product is cost-effective and available in 8-ounce and 16-ounce bottles. It has a measuring cup built into the cap that is easy to read and use.
This plant fertilizer uses iron and potassium to boost the growth of your plants. Iron will help prevent yellowed leaves in your plants and potassium will boost photosynthesis, improving color and growth. This product does not include copper and is safe for shrimp, snails, and over invertebrates. The measuring cup built into the lid makes measurements for almost any tank size easy and helps prevent overdosing the product.
The iron in this product means it is subject to oxidization and may stain items if allowed to oxidize on them. This plant fertilizer does not include phytohormones or active nutrients or minerals other than chelated iron and potassium.
3. NilocG Aquatics Aquarium Fertilizer Shrimp Specific ThriveS – Premium Choice
The premium choice for aquarium plant fertilizers is the NilocG Aquatics Aquarium Fertilizer Shrimp Specific ThriveS. NilocG has multiple products in their Thrive line but ThriveS is specifically formulated for use in shrimp tanks. This product is available in 500-milliliter, 200-milliliter, and 4000-milliliter sizes. One 500-milliliter bottle can treat 2,500 gallons of water.
This fertilizer features a convenient pump top, allowing you to dose based on the number of pumps instead of using messy measuring cups. This product contains necessary nutrients like nitrogen, phosphate, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It does not contain copper and is made to be safe for shrimp and other invertebrates. It can be used up to three times per week and will help boost the growth of the plants in your shrimp tank, improving shrimp health and reproduction.
This plant fertilizer does contain iron, so it may stain items with oxidization. If you’re using this for a tank smaller than 5 gallons, then you may need to use a syringe for dosing since one pump of this fertilizer is enough for a 5-gallon tank.
4. Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement
Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement is a great product pick for plants that require root fertilization. It can be purchased in 10- and 40-tab count packs. The ingredients in these root tabs are very similar to the Flourish liquid supplement but are more easily absorbed by root feeder plants.
These root tabs contain essential trace elements, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to boost growth and health of aquatic plants. These are intended to slowly release nutrients into the substrate and only need to be replaced every 3-4 months. These root tabs should not alter water parameters, but if you have very soft water, they may lower your pH slightly.
These tabs should be placed approximately every 4-6 inches for maximum efficacy, and it’s recommended to use 6 tabs for every 10 gallons, so these may be costly every few months. These tabs do include copper, so they may not be safe for aquariums with shrimp or other invertebrates.
5. API ROOT TABS Freshwater Aquarium Plant Fertilizer
The API ROOT TABS Freshwater Aquarium Plant Fertilizer are a good option for plants that absorb nutrients via the roots. These are only available in one pack size with 10 tabs.
These root tabs contain essential nutrients for plants to flourish, including carbon, potassium, and iron. These tabs do not contain copper, so they are safe for most invertebrates. These are less messy than liquid fertilizers and even though they contain iron, there is little risk of oxidization stains. These can be placed directly into the substrate and covered with newly planted plants to help them start off strong in your tank.
It is recommended to replace these root tabs monthly for maximum efficacy. These should be placed approximately every 30 square inches, or six tabs per 10 gallons. These tabs may be difficult to place without causing water cloudiness.
6. Winchester Gardens Highland Rim Aquatic Fertilizer
The Winchester Gardens Highland Rim Aquatic Fertilizer are a great root tab option for ponds. These are specially formulated for water lilies and lotuses but can be used for other large aquatic plants as well. There are 12 root tabs in a package.
These root tabs are formulated with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They will help boost growth in your pond plants and may help improve disease resistance. These tabs are not formulated with copper, so they are intended to be safe for all aquatic life. These are made to not break apart when wet and should not cloud your water.
These tabs should be replaced every 2 months throughout the spring and summer. One of the main ingredients in these root tabs is phosphorus, which can enter local waterways via runoff, causing problems with water quality. Phosphorus-containing fertilizers are illegal to purchase in some states, so it’s important to check this prior to purchase. These are not a great option for aquarium plants but will help improve growth in pond plants.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Aquarium Plant Fertilizer
Aquarium plant fertilizers are an easy way to boost the health, growth, and color of your aquarium plants. These reviews of the 6 best aquarium plant fertilizers will help you narrow your search for the perfect plant fertilizer for your aquarium’s needs. You may need to use root tabs and liquid fertilizers in your tank, depending on your plants.
The best overall pick for aquarium plant fertilizers is the Flourish Freshwater Plant Supplement because of its high level of efficacy and safety. For a more premium product, the NilocG Aquatics Aquarium Fertilizer Shrimp Specific ThriveS is a highly effective option that is safe for invertebrates like shrimp and snails. The best value product is the API Leaf Zone Freshwater Aquarium Plant Fertilizer because it’s effective but also cost-effective.
Adding an aquarium plant fertilizer to your tank will boost the growth of your plants, causing people to wonder what you’re doing to achieve such fantastic results in your tank. Fertilizers are so easy to use that anyone can do it. You can leave people wondering what you’re doing to produce such beautiful plants, or you can share your secrets with your friends, helping them achieve beautiful aquarium plants as well.
Featured image credit: BLUR LIFE 1975, Shutterstock