Fertilizing plants

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Having done bonsai for many years, I am keenly aware of the importance of supplying container plants with nutrients. I am wondering how you all fertilize your enclosure plants.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I scratch in some osmocote slow release pellets (I have like... 3 varieties. I'd have to try and track them down) every 1-2 months into the "floor" of the vivs due to the large amount of water washing away nutrients, and every 3 or so in the wall planters. Everyone also gets some looseleaf tea dregs a few times a week (I go through a lot of tea, and my worms eat it right up!).

I haven't committed to it yet, but I'm also considering using diluted orchid fertilizer as a foliage spray for my epiphytes (with the cham out of the enclosure), followed by a thorough rinse. Epsom salt foliage sprays are also beneficial, I've heard! Haven't looked into it enough yet. :)

@dshuld @jamest0o0 - what kind of extras are you giving your plants?
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
I scratch in some osmocote slow release pellets (I have like... 3 varieties. I'd have to try and track them down) every 1-2 months into the "floor" of the vivs due to the large amount of water washing away nutrients, and every 3 or so in the wall planters. Everyone also gets some looseleaf tea dregs a few times a week (I go through a lot of tea, and my worms eat it right up!).

I haven't committed to it yet, but I'm also considering using diluted orchid fertilizer as a foliage spray for my epiphytes (with the cham out of the enclosure), followed by a thorough rinse. Epsom salt foliage sprays are also beneficial, I've heard! Haven't looked into it enough yet. :)

@dshuld @jamest0o0 - what kind of extras are you giving your plants?
Iron, both powder and liquid on top of the little bit they get from the safe t sorb. Plant tone, osmocote indoor/ outdoor, csm+b/ powder npk (left over planted tank fertilizer) are also in my mixes. Easy way to do it is either in ice cubes or put into a clay ball (there is a specific clay to use for this fyi) then push that into the dirt by each plants roots or between two root balls if they are close.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
One thing that can be done that's easy is replant any plants purchased with earthworm castings. They are organic and heavy with nutrients. While repotting place some osmocote in layers of the soil without leaving any on the surface.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
My cage is bioactive, and I don't add anything OTC. I do throw in silkworm, hornworm, and superworm frass on occasion. The plants are really doing well with their natural cham fertilizer :p

I am considering trying out CO bombing. I wouldn't do it in the enclosure, of course, but bombing individual plants in a separate sealed enclosure for a day or two. I started looking into it due to annoying mealybugs, but after doing so, I've found that many practice this for explosive plant growth. I have a ton of cuttings and potted plants to experiment on, before doing so on my cham plants.
 

The Wild One

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ve never done this but could you crush fertilizer and dust it around then water the enclosure so it filters through?
 

Tihshho

Established Member
My cage is bioactive, and I don't add anything OTC. I do throw in silkworm, hornworm, and superworm frass on occasion. The plants are really doing well with their natural cham fertilizer :p
One thing about bioactive setups are that they are not self sufficient. No matter what anyone says, a Cham bioactive enclosure will never get enough nutrients from Cham poop. The fact you're adding frass makes a biiiiiiig difference.

I am considering trying out CO bombing. I wouldn't do it in the enclosure, of course, but bombing individual plants in a separate sealed enclosure for a day or two. I started looking into it due to annoying mealybugs, but after doing so, I've found that many practice this for explosive plant growth. I have a ton of cuttings and potted plants to experiment on, before doing so on my cham plants.
You mean CO2 not CO right? I used to do a quarterly CO2 on my Crested Gecko vivs. I had to for two reasons, one to keep the plants happy in a low CO2 environment and gnat management. I'd seal up the Viv after taking out the geckos and then start filling the enclosure up slowly for 10 minutes and leave it sealed for 24 hours with lights off. The following day I'd run the CO2 for another 10 minutes and then let the lights run their cycle.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
One thing about bioactive setups are that they are not self sufficient. No matter what anyone says, a Cham bioactive enclosure will never get enough nutrients from Cham poop. The fact you're adding frass makes a biiiiiiig difference.



You mean CO2 not CO right? I used to do a quarterly CO2 on my Crested Gecko vivs. I had to for two reasons, one to keep the plants happy in a low CO2 environment and gnat management. I'd seal up the Viv after taking out the geckos and then start filling the enclosure up slowly for 10 minutes and leave it sealed for 24 hours with lights off. The following day I'd run the CO2 for another 10 minutes and then let the lights run their cycle.
I dont add frass often, but here and there. Im sure it helps, but Ive heard adding too much can stunt growth, too. Idk, seems to be working for me, but I have no flowering plants.

Yes sorry, co2 is what I meant. You mentioned running it with lights off - I’m still learning a lot about the practice, but I’ve read that some people damaged their plants by leaving the lights off, as the o2 levels and production drop w/o lighting, and so the co2 isnt being used. I figured I’d need to leave a grow light on - do I have this totally wrong?

I thought about bombing the whole tank, planted, but dont want to damage the beneficial bug population. I can prob remove some cork and the rest would burrow... hopefully deep enough to not be affected?
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
I add Arcadia Bio Revitaliser to all my bio active setups every few months. I'm not in the slightest green fingered but my plants grow like crazy.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Yes sorry, co2 is what I meant. You mentioned running it with lights off - I’m still learning a lot about the practice, but I’ve read that some people damaged their plants by leaving the lights off, as the o2 levels and production drop w/o lighting, and so the co2 isnt being used. I figured I’d need to leave a grow light on - do I have this totally wrong?

I thought about bombing the whole tank, planted, but dont want to damage the beneficial bug population. I can prob remove some cork and the rest would burrow... hopefully deep enough to not be affected?
I left my lights off for the first day for two reasons:

1 - I needed to kill pests, so I wanted as little CO2 => O2 conversion as possible
2 - Plants still create some (very minimal) O2 in the presence of an over abundance of CO2, just not efficiently without light (key the 'photo' in photosynthesis) as they are working on creating equilibrium in their environment.

Leaving plants in high CO2 environments can have backlash issues, so your mileage may vary. Keep in mind the CO2 not only provides a carbon source for the plants to grow, but it also causes them to absorb Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) at a might higher rate than in a lower CO2 environment. The other issue with this is that other areas within an environment can saturate with CO2 which can cause issues; specifically in this case water. In a closed environment CO2 will sink and if there is an abundance of water, the CO2 can then mix with the water and produce some carbonic acid which in turn will drop the pH of the water. In the case of this water being in soil and long durations of exposure to above atmospheric CO2 levels, you will basically turn the soil acidic. At this point this is where sensitive species of plants get hit because a majority of people who keep Viv's/Bioactive enclosures are unaware of the soil requirements for certain species.

The method I described above works for me, but that is because I slowly ramped up the dose time/exposure time till I hit my expected result and then replicated it. That said though, now that I live somewhere else and if I were to setup the same environment in my old Viv's and do this again, I would have to start with a low dose/exposure time and then ramp it up until I hit my expected result.

Tangent to all of this, your home/apartment/condo will generally have higher CO2 levels inside than the outside of where you live. CO2 is partially retained in homes which in general isn't noticed by most, but if you keep an aquarium and you live on a single story home or keep it in your basement you will notice that pH overtime can fluctuate without even having anything in the aquarium besides water. This is extremely noticeable in high pH required aquariums such as Salt/Reef aquariums and African Cichlids. Just food for thought.
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
One thing that can be do
I left my lights off for the first day for two reasons:

1 - I needed to kill pests, so I wanted as little CO2 => O2 conversion as possible
2 - Plants still create some (very minimal) O2 in the presence of an over abundance of CO2, just not efficiently without light (key the 'photo' in photosynthesis) as they are working on creating equilibrium in their environment.

Leaving plants in high CO2 environments can have backlash issues, so your mileage may vary. Keep in mind the CO2 not only provides a carbon source for the plants to grow, but it also causes them to absorb Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) at a might higher rate than in a lower CO2 environment. The other issue with this is that other areas within an environment can saturate with CO2 which can cause issues; specifically in this case water. In a closed environment CO2 will sink and if there is an abundance of water, the CO2 can then mix with the water and produce some carbonic acid which in turn will drop the pH of the water. In the case of this water being in soil and long durations of exposure to above atmospheric CO2 levels, you will basically turn the soil acidic. At this point this is where sensitive species of plants get hit because a majority of people who keep Viv's/Bioactive enclosures are unaware of the soil requirements for certain species.

The method I described above works for me, but that is because I slowly ramped up the dose time/exposure time till I hit my expected result and then replicated it. That said though, now that I live somewhere else and if I were to setup the same environment in my old Viv's and do this again, I would have to start with a low dose/exposure time and then ramp it up until I hit my expected result.

Tangent to all of this, your home/apartment/condo will generally have higher CO2 levels inside than the outside of where you live. CO2 is partially retained in homes which in general isn't noticed by most, but if you keep an aquarium and you live on a single story home or keep it in your basement you will notice that pH overtime can fluctuate without even having anything in the aquarium besides water. This is extremely noticeable in high pH required aquariums such as Salt/Reef aquariums and African Cichlids. Just food for thought.
Very well said. Only thing I can think of to add, that is why aragonite usage is advised for alkaline needing species in aquariums. Never had any fluctuations on this tank at all but definitely had more then my fair share of labs and acei born in here when it was up and running.

2014-07-03 19.15.44.jpg
 
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