Nutrients Necessary for Healthy Plant Growth
There are only 13 mineral nutrients needed for plants to grow. The nutrients are divided into two groups: macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients.
As the name suggests, macro-nutrients are absorbed by the plants in higher quantities and these are: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and Iron (Fe).
Nitrogen (N) : An essential part of all living cells. Aquatic plants get their nitrogen supply in the form of nitrate. And nitrate is obtained from the conversion of ammonia waste of fishes. This conversion is achieved by the biological colonies of denitrying bacterial found in the filters. Nitrate is usually abundant in planted aquariums with fishes (heavy loads) and possibly no addition is thus required.
Potassium (K) : plants require large amounts of potassium for growth. It is required in protein synthesis, and helps plants to metabolize iron. Need to be added in sufficient quantities to replenish the high absorption rates.
Phosphorus (P) : helps convert light into sugars that the plants use to feed. However, excess phosphorus will inevitably contribute to algae growth.
Iron (Fe) : absolutely essential for plant growth. Must be present for the manufacture of chlorophyll. Without adequate iron (about 0.1 to 0.5 ppm), plants will yellow and fail to produce the lush green or bright red color.
Magnesium (Mg) : An integral component of chlorophyll. Essential to the transport of iron in the plant.
Calcium (Ca) : a component of cell wall structure. Helps provide strength to the plant, and helps transport other nutrients throughout the plant.
Micro-nutrients are required by the plants in smaller amounts. The micro-nutrients are: sulphur (S), boron (B), copper (Cu), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn).
Sulfur (S) : Helps in chlorophyll production, and essential for healthy root growth. Stimulates rapid plant growth.
Boron (B): Essential for the regulation of other nutrients. Helps the plant produce sugars and starches. Very small amounts required.
Copper (Cu) : Essential for the plant to reproduce. Helps stimulate the production of proteins.
Chloride (Cl) : Plays a role in plant metabolization of other nutrients. Present in chlorinated water.
Manganese (Mn) : important nutrient that helps the plant digest starches and nitrogen, thus helps the plant to use other minerals.
Molybdenum (Mo) : assists the plant to metabolize nitrogen. Very tiny amounts required to maintain plant health.
Zinc (Zn) : Essential for carbohydrate metabolization. Helps regulate plant growth.