If you've kept live aquatic plants in your aquariums before (or want to), you've probably found out that unless your tank is extremely heavily stocked it's hard to keep plants alive for long without SOME form of fertilizer.
When you first go looking for a fertilizer to use, however, you'll probably be faced with a confusing range of choices that can seem almost endless. Do you want to use a single product? Multiple products? Follow a dosing system? Just buy whatever the fish store has in stock? Hook up pumps and CO2 monitors?
Especially if you just want to keep some simple plants, the choices can make your head spin.
I don't know about you, but life gets busy and I prefer to keep things easy when I have the chance. As a result, when my wife Erica and I decided to place an order with Cory at Aquarium Co-Op, I couldn't wait to see if Easy Green lived up to its name.
Easy Green is an all-in-one fertilizer designed to easily grow most of the plants that you and I keep in our aquariums.
Unlike fertilizer systems that require you to buy multiple bottles of product, make huge water changes each week, or turn your tank into algae farm if you don't use CO2 systems, Easy Green keeps this...well...easy!
With a pump nozzle designed to keep most plants happy with just a pump of fertilizer per 10 gallons per week, it's really simple to use.
If you keep nano-sized aquariums (less than 10 gallons), there's even a more diluted version called Easy Green Nano that lets you dose at 1 pump per gallon instead.
Cory at Aquarium Co-Op designed Easy Green to let people be as successful as possible at growing aquarium plants in their fish tanks.
Though that might seem like an obvious statement, it's actually different from how some other companies sell their plant products.
As an example of this, if you walk into most local fish stores the product line you'll most easily be able to find is generally the SeaChem line of fertilizers. When you try to choose one, however, you quickly find a bewildering list of choices.
Need a "complete" fertilizer? Choose Flourish Comprehensive....oh wait, except it barely has any nitrogen in it, so you'll probably wonder why your plants aren't actually growing very well unless you're so overstocked you barely needed fertilizer in the first place.
Need more nitrogen? Choose Fluorish Nitrogen...except how much should you dose?
Do I have to buy one? All of them? What do I use if I've never grown plants before?
See the difference?
If you're new to the hobby or just want to keep things simple, do what we did and just choose Easy Green.
Follow the directions, and you can go back to actually enjoying your aquarium rather than playing mad scientist (or going broke buying things you're not actually sure if you need).
If you buy right now, the pump heads included with each bottle of Easy Green currently deliver 1mL of fertilizer per pump. Each pump will treat 10 gallons of aquarium water for an average tank using low light plants. So:
|Size of aquarium||Pumps of fertilizer required per week||Volume of Easy Green if measured|
|5 gallons / 19L||1/2 pump of Easy Green or 5 pumps of Easy Green Nano per week||0.5 mL|
|10 gallons / 38 L||1 pump of Easy Green per week||1 mL|
|20 gallons / 76 L||2 pumps of Easy Green per week||2 mL|
|30 gallons / 114 L||3 pumps of Easy Green per week||3 mL|
|40 gallons / 151 L||4 pumps of Easy Green per week||4 mL|
|50 gallons / 189 L||5 pumps of Easy Green per week||5 mL|
Since every aquarium is different, let's take a quick look at how you might need to adjust the dosing for your particular aquarium
If you're getting too much algae in your aquarium, you need to go back to what we call the "circle of algae" around here:
First, queue the king:
Next, let's take those one at a time and see if we can sort you out.
Since plants need light in order to grow properly, the most important part of getting healthy plant growth (which is the #1 way to control algae) is to provide the proper type and amount of light.
Do you have a decent aquarium light?
If not, maybe consider something like the Fluval 3.0 which we use and love (we wrote a review on it here). The right type of light is critical to getting good plant growth.
If you have a decent light, is it on for the same amount of time each day?
If you have an adjustable light like the Fluval mentioned above, make sure it's set to a consistent schedule (start with 8 hours a day as a good starting point).
If not, consider getting a simple timer like this one.
Don't rely on turning a light on and off manually because you'll never been consistent enough to avoid an algae mess.
For most people, getting the right amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) into their aquariums doesn't mean investing in a fancy CO2 regulator and making friends with the local welding shop for a tank and refill every few months.
It just means getting enough air from the outside of the aquarium into the inside of the aquarium.
Do you have one of the following?:
If so, then you're probably fine for growing most low and medium light plants.
Extra CO2 can be great for getting outstanding growth RATES from plants, but you might not want to trim plants for hours each weekend.
What CO2 generally doesn't do is markedly change the QUALITY of the plant growth.
As a result, if you just want to grow plants, make sure you have a way of getting air into the aquarium but don't stress about getting bottled CO2 unless you actually want it.
This one isn't generally a problem for most people with good filters, but make sure there aren't any dead spots in the tank where the water isn't circulating.
If the water isn't moving, then nutrients in the water can't get to the plants that need them.
If all your plants are thriving except for ones in a corner or behind an object, think about changing things up so you don't have any areas of low flow.
If all the above seem good, make sure that your plants aren't running out of fertilizer. If they are, algae is sure to become an issue.
Though most tanks will be fine with the baseline dosing of 1 pump per 10 gallon per week, if you run a nitrate test on your tank water and it comes back with no nitrates, the plants in your tank might be extra hungry and using up all the fertilizer.
In the zero nitrate case, feel free to up the dosing to 2 pumps a week or even higher if they're still devouring everything.
On the other hand, in the case that your nitrates are climbing steadily each week despite doing regular water changes, you might have easy going plants that don't need as much fertilizer.
As a general rule, if your plants grow slowly, they don't need much "food". Too much fertilizer can also cause an algae issue, so the goal is ideally to "run out" of fertilizer right when you go to dose it again.
So if you can keep your nitrates at 10ppm per week with your regular water changes and as soon as your start using 1 pump per week of Easy Green you're getting 15ppm on week 1, 20ppm on week 2, and 25 ppm on week 3 with the same water changes, you might only need one pump of Easy Green per 2 weeks instead of 1 per week.
Don't stress out and change things too quickly, but if you're not getting the results you want, think about trying one of these options.
If you're the thrifty kind you can just dose your nano aquarium using regular Easy Green and a fine 1 mL syringe or a swanky Aquarium Co-Op Shot Glass at 0.1mL per gallon (same as 1 mL per 10 gallons), but that does take away from the "easy" part of Easy Green a little.
To bring back the easy, Cory also sells a version of Easy Green that's called Easy Green Nano, and on that one you dispense 1 pump of Nano per gallon (rather than 1 pump per 10 gallons with the regular formulation).
As you might suspect, and as Cory readily admits, Nano is just regular Easy Green diluted with 10 gallons of distilled water per 1 gallon of Easy Green.
If you want to save some money, you can do this yourself too.
That said, if you don't want the hassle of locating distilled water, by all means buy Easy Green Nano and keep your life simple.
If you were getting good growth for a while and then your plants stop growing like they used to, odds are you're just running out of fertilizer.
After all, you wouldn't expect a baby goldfish to eat the same amount of food as an adult when it grows up, right?
If you do a nitrate test and you're running 0 on nitrates, consider upping your fertilizer dosing as your plants fill in and get more demanding.
Although most plants can absorb fertilizers from both their leaves and roots, some prefer one method over the other.
With Amazon swords in particular, they really prefer absorbing nutrients through their roots.
As a result, if some plants are growing better than others you might get better results with something like a root tab placed into the soil in addition to your regular Easy Green dosing.
Medium lights generally grow quicker and need more "food" than low light plants do, so consider starting at 2 pumps per 10 gallons per week rather than 1.
Cool, sounds great!
The only adjustment you'll need to make is to add extra fertilizer so your plants don't run out of nutrients (since they'll be growing quicker).
As with some of the cases above, if you do a nitrate test and you're running 0 on nitrates, consider upping your fertilizer dosing as your plants fill in.
Erica and I are goldfish breeders, so we're used to having a ton of extra waste in our tanks.
If you're anything like us, even in your planted tanks you've never run a nitrate test and and seen a 0 come up. Oh that it was possible lol!
In our case, adding too much Easy Green could cause nitrate levels to get into the danger zone (>40ppm) if we weren't careful.
As a result, we only add fertilizer when we see our plants struggling to grow or showing deficiencies.
There have to be SOME benefits of having too much waste in the tank, right?
If you're reading this and have ordered Easy Green in the past, you should be aware that in the spring of 2018 Cory increased the concentration of Easy Green in order to reduce the impact of larger bottles on the environment and to reduce the shipping cost to you (smaller bottle, same amount of active fertilizer, smaller box).
As a result, if you order one of the lower cost refill bottles, be sure to ask for a new pump head for your existing dispenser bottle (which they'll include at no cost).
The older pump heads put out 2mL per pump to treat 10 gallons, whereas the new concentrated formulation only needs 1 mL per 10 gallons. To keep the easy 1 pump per 10 gallons, the new pump heads adjust the volume each pump puts out.
In my opinion, it definitely is!
We've seen great growth from our plants, and the dosing scheme really couldn't be any easier.
I did a big purge of our fishroom last week and finally got rid of all the other dry fertilizer and liquid products that have built up over the years.
I just don't use anything other than Easy Green anymore, so it was time to reclaim the shelf space!
Don't just take my opinion on whether it works, and go over to the Aquarium Co-Op site to read some of the HUNDREDS of positive reviews:
There are competitors out there that claim to sell similar products, but most of them have a dozen or so positive reviews at best.
At the time of this writing, Easy Green had 550 5 star reviews and counting!
Some of my favorites:
"ok normally I dont write reviews, but this stuff works."
"It isn't called easy green for nothing: a pump per gallon once weekly = happy plants."
"I particularly like that it is colorless. The other brand I used in the past stained anywhere it dropped if not immediately cleaned up. So based on that alone I would give five stars here, but it also works great. Plants are growing like crazy. Thanks!"
" In the past I have used the whole line of Seachem Ferts. Decided to try Easy Green to see how it compared. I am glad I did as I am seeing similar growth on my plants from using both fertilizers. The difference being the ease of using Easy Green."
"My plants are doing great. The bba is gone"
Since most of us keep more than plants in our tanks, you might be wondering if Easy Green is safe for use in tanks with fish and other critters in them.
In a nutshell, Easy Green has been successfully tested as safe to use with snails, fish (including fry), and shrimp.
If you really went to town and overdosed it severely you could end up with a nitrate problem, but unlike other fertilizers which are concentrated to the point of being dangerous to dose, Easy Green is very straightforward and safe to use.
If you're a fish or shrimp person who happens to like plants too, then you have nothing to worry about.
From a practical perspective, if you want to try Easy Green, you HAVE to order from Cory since he doesn't let other stores carry it yet.
That said, he and his team are some of the best folks in the industry to support, since they're always positive and helpful and genuinely care about the rest of us in the hobby.
Their shipping is inexpensive and professional, and often rivals or beats even Amazon's legendary shipping times.
Particularly if you believe in supporting independent stores that carry fish and care about more than just bottom line profits, you can buy from Aquarium Co-Op with no reservations.
Heck, if you're REALLY lucky their shipping team might even send you a free doodle or hand-written note with your shipping receipt!
What company handwrites a thank you later for shopping with them. Now that is class and shows how much they appreciate your business. As long as I have fish in my life I will continue to shop at @aquariumcoop 🤓 Continue to keep up the great work Cory, Ali and the rest of the team. #fishfam #fishfamily #freshwaterfish #aquariumcoop #aquariumhobby
Unfortunately, Cory doesn't ship directly to Canada (please bug him on my behalf to let us carry Aquarium Co-Op gear in Canada, since we've offered in the past).
Your best option is to ship to a border pickup place like At The Border Storage (who we use) and drive down to pick it up.
You shouldn't have any issues other than paying GST to bring it back if it's for your personal use.
My favorite, can do!
|Bottle Size||Volume of Aquarium Water Treated|
|8.45oz/250ml bottle||treats 2,500 gallons|
|1 liter/1000ml bottle||treats 10,000 gallons|
|2 liter/2000ml bottle||treats 20,000 gallons|
Breakdown of Easy Green ingredients:
|Boron (Cu - bad for shrimp when high)||0.00%|
In a nutshell, Aquarium Co-Op Easy Green is a solid and easy to use choice for growing aquarium plants.
It's reasonably priced ($19.99 for a 250mL bottle that treats 2,500 gallons), super straightforward to use, and safe for use with fish, snails and shrimp.
It lets you get back to enjoying your fish and crafting your aquascapes, and doesn't require you to worry about which of 7 different weird bottles of stuff might be running low if you'd chosen a competitor's system instead.
Lastly, it's supported by a company that cares as much about its customers (#fishfam) and the hobby as it does on selling products.
What do you have to lose?
Don't let it happen again!