Automatic Fertilization | ScapeFu Wednesday Pro Tip

Art PennomAquarium Plant Guide, Podcast, Pro Tips2 Comments

blue green algae cyanobacteria

automatic fertilization

Automatic fertilization is today’s pro tip. It’s definitely not needed by everyone and it can be expensive. However, if you travel for business (like me) or just want to simplify your life, then an automatic fertilization system is just what you need.

Why is automatic fertilization important?

Maintaining a constant nutrient level in the aquarium is vitally important to keeping algae at bay and your plants growing healthy. As a result of this, most fertilization regimens, like the estimative index, require you to dose nutrients on a frequent basis.

Most aquarists accomplish this by simply dosing when they visit with their tank daily. It is great practice to check on your aquarium for a few minutes a day to make sure everything is fine and working as it should. This is all the time you need to throw some fertilizer into the aquarium and you’re done.

However, when you’re away from home or, let’s admit it, a bit lazy, you may find that you end up skipping days or even weeks without properly fertilizing your aquarium. This, obviously, will result in problems like algae and poor plant growth. An automatic fertilization system, in this case, would take your place and ensure that the aquarium is fertilized on a consistent basis.

What is an automatic fertilization system?

The system should be reliable and as simple as possible in order to prevent problems. All you need is a specialized dosing pump, tubing, containers to hold the fertilizer solution and a tube holder.

The dosing pump is set to drip your fertilizer solution into the aquarium at specified times and in specific amounts. It’s truly set and forget it until the fertilizer solution runs out. For me, I use a 1.5 liter container that lasts me about two weeks.

Yes, that’s two weeks of not thinking about fertilizing my aquarium. To me, that’s awesome!

What do I need to put an automatic fertilization system together?

There are many ways to do this, but the one I use is a commercial system.

You will need to determine how much of each container you want to add and on what days/times. You should have at least two containers (macro solution and micro solution). You can figure out how much fertilizer to add to the solution using this calculator.

In order to keep fungus from your automatic fertilization solutions, I would add some Seachem Flourish Excel to each (especially the micro solution).

Really, that’s all there is to it.

Do you have an automatic fertilization system? How did you do it?

Do you have a tip that is making your aquascape or life better?

Please pay it forward and share it with your fellow hobbyists! Send it to Art at and he’ll share it on a future ScapeFu Wednesday Pro Tip!

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2 Comments on “Automatic Fertilization | ScapeFu Wednesday Pro Tip”

  1. Carey Cottle

    Thank you so much for this tip. I’ve been thinking about doing this for so long! You’ve given me the info and encouragement to take it on. Thanks for educating us and promoting aquascaping! I look forward to meeting you at the Aquatic Gardener’s Association meeting in April.

    1. Art Pennom

      Hi Carey,

      Thank you for the kind words! It took me a while too because there isn’t a lot of information out there. Please let me know if you have any questions or doubts. I’m here to help. And, please say “hello” at the Convention. Looking forward to it.

      All the best,


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