How to Add Chelated Iron to an Aquarium

Written by robert boumis
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How to Add Chelated Iron to an Aquarium
Adding fertilisers, like chelated iron, can improve the health of your plants. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Next to poor lighting, poor feeding probably is the biggest killer of aquarium plants. Without the proper nutrients, aquarium plants die, rot and pollute aquariums. One of the more important nutrients plants need is iron. Chelated iron is a form of iron that is easy for plants to absorb and use. For iron-hungry plants, chelated iron is a useful fertiliser.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Aquarium iron (sometimes written "Fe") test kit
  • Plastic cup for mixing

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  1. 1

    Mix powdered iron with water in a separate container. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. This step is not necessary for liquid iron supplements.

  2. 2

    Add one to two drops of liquid chelated iron per gallon to the aquarium. Again, follow the manufacturer's directions; if their particular brand requires a higher or lower dose, comply with that.

  3. 3

    Test the iron level of the aquarium after five minutes. You are looking for an iron level of 0.1 mg/l. If necessary, add more iron to the aquarium.

  4. 4

    Monitor your aquarium. If the plants are becoming yellowish, with yellowing from the tips of the leaves, they do not have enough iron. If algae starts to become a nuisance, there is too much iron.

Tips and warnings

  • Some plants, like red swordplants and red Cabomba, consume more iron than other plants. In these cases, you can increase the iron dose. Reddish plants often require more iron than greener plants.
  • Do not consume chelated iron; it is toxic to humans.

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