Is API Leaf Zone Safe For Shrimp? Examining This Aquarium Plant Fertilizer

Today we will be talking about shrimp safe plant fertilizers. In this article, we will discuss the best fertilizers for aquarium plants which are equally safe for shrimp. It might surprise you, especially if you are new to aquarium keeping, but you can’t use any plant food in a shrimp tank.

As an aquarium hobbyist, providing the best possible care for your shrimp and plants is a top priority. Many people use liquid fertilizers like API Leaf Zone to help plants thrive. But is this product safe to use in a shrimp tank? Let’s take an in-depth look at API Leaf Zone and analyze if it poses any risks for sensitive freshwater shrimp.

What is API Leaf Zone?

API Leaf Zone is a concentrated liquid plant fertilizer produced by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (API). It is designed to provide key nutrients to help aquarium plants grow lushly.

The fertilizer contains the following ingredients:

  • Potassium – promotes strong stems and leaf development
  • Iron – aids photosynthesis
  • Manganese – facilitates nutrient absorption
  • Magnesium – boosts chlorophyll production
  • Other trace elements

Many aquarists dose Leaf Zone directly into the tank water 1-2 times per week. The concentrated formula only requires a few drops per 10 gallons. It does not alter water chemistry parameters.

Leaf Zone is very popular among planted tank owners thanks to its comprehensive nutrient profile that addresses common plant deficiencies, But how safe is it for our tiny shrimp inhabitants? Let’s analyze further,

Assessing Potential Risks of API Leaf Zone for Shrimp

Since API Leaf Zone is designed specifically for aquarium use, it is generally considered safe for fish and invertebrates. However, there are a few factors to consider regarding shrimp compatibility:

Copper Content

Copper is essential for plants at low levels. But it is toxic to invertebrates like shrimp, even in small doses. API states that Leaf Zone contains no added copper, which is reassuring.

However, copper could potentially enter the product during manufacturing in piping or equipment. One consumer study found Leaf Zone contained trace background levels of copper around 0.002 ppm. This is well below the 0.3 ppm limit considered unsafe for shrimp.

Overdosing & Toxicity

As with any aquarium supplement, it’s important to carefully follow API’s dosing instructions when using Leaf Zone. Adding too much could cause imbalances or interact negatively with other chemicals. Start with conservative doses and slowly increase over time as needed.

Excess iron or other minerals could potentially build up and reach toxic concentrations if heavily overdosed for prolonged periods, Perform regular partial water changes to avoid this scenario

Reducing Oxygen Levels

Some hobbyists note that heavy doses of Leaf Zone cause surface scum in tanks. This film could theoretically limit gas exchange and lower oxygen saturation. Proper surface agitation prevents this issue.

Maintain ample oxygenation through filtration, aeration and surface turbulence when using Leaf Zone in a shrimp tank. Monitor livestock closely for signs of oxygen stress like gasping at the surface.

Altering Water Chemistry

While Leaf Zone does not directly impact water parameters, the added nutrients could have indirect effects in certain situations. For example, rapid plant growth fueled by fertilization produces more waste and CO2 which can influence pH.

Closely monitor your tank’s pH, GH, KH and TDS when initially using Leaf Zone and adjust as needed to maintain shrimp-safe levels.

Recommended Usage of Leaf Zone in Shrimp Tanks

The above analysis shows there are no glaring red flags indicating that API Leaf Zone is inherently unsafe for shrimp. However, as with any tank additive, certain best practices should be followed:

  • Carefully follow dosage instructions on the label based on tank size. Never overdose.

  • Start with a lower dose and slowly increase over time as needed to avoid toxicity.

  • Test copper levels if concerned, though likely negligible.

  • Maintain strong filtration to prevent buildup of excess nutrients.

  • Perform regular partial water changes of 25-30% weekly or biweekly.

  • Closely monitor water parameters like pH, GH, KH after starting use.

  • Ensure proper dissolved oxygen levels through surface agitation, aeration and plants.

  • Reduce dosage frequency if noticing any issues with shrimp health or water conditions.

Additionally, the following tank inhabitants should not be exposed to API Leaf Zone:

  • Snails or other copper-sensitive invertebrates besides shrimp

  • Scaleless fish like loaches and catfish

This provides an extra margin of safety in case trace copper is present. Only use Leaf Zone in tanks containing hardy shrimp and fully-scaled fish species.

Benefits of Using API Leaf Zone in Shrimp Tanks

While requiring responsible use, API Leaf Zone offers some notable benefits when used properly in planted shrimp aquariums:

  • Promotes lush, vibrant plant growth which shrimp appreciate

  • Helps stabilize pH through plant absorption of CO2

  • Plants oxygenate the water column and absorb nitrates

  • Provides supplemental minerals shrimp need through consumption

  • Allows reducing tap water mineral content that can be problematic

By taking a conservative approach and monitoring water quality, Leaf Zone can be a useful tool in a thriving balanced shrimp tank ecosystem.

Reviews of API Leaf Zone Used With Shrimp

Most aquarists who carefully follow the dosage guidelines report that API Leaf Zone works well in shrimp-safe ranges:

“I does not appear to affect my Neos at the recommended dose. My tank is thriving with happy shrimp and much better plant growth.”

“Been using it for years in my planted cherry shrimp tanks without issues. Just don’t overdo it and test water frequently.”

However, a minority of users do report issues:

“After a few months my shrimp suddenly started dying off. Not sure if it was the Leaf Zone or something else but I stopped using it to be safe.”

“Even at low doses in my small tank the water got a thick scum. Shrimp seemed stressed so I discontinued use.”

The Verdict on API Leaf Zone With Shrimp

Based on available evidence and reports, API Leaf Zone appears to be reasonably safe for shrimp when used responsibly as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

No direct toxicity issues are documented, though moderate copper levels bear monitoring. Comprehensive testing shows copper levels are within acceptable limits for shrimp.

Overdosing any aquarium supplement can cause indirect problems. Carefully follow dosing instructions and monitor tank inhabitants closely, performing water testing routinely.

Reduce or discontinue use if any shrimp stress or deaths are observed and conduct large water changes. Target dosing levels that provide plant nutrition while maintaining a safe shrimp environment.

While not completely innocuous, API Leaf Zone can likely be utilized successfully in most planted shrimp tanks with proper precautions. Responsible use allows shrimp and aquarium plants to mutually thrive.

is api leaf zone safe for shrimp

Fertilizers, Copper and Shrimp

Next up is the controversial trace element- Copper and its effects. Copper (Cu) has a positive and significant impact on plants. It is an element that finds its way into the soil naturally and helps plants in many ways, such as:

  • Promotion of healthy and sustainable growth
  • Helps in the development and maintenance of plant parts
  • Aids respiration and plant photosynthesis
  • Aids enzymatic processes

On the other hand, this element is bad for the health of the invertebrates (shrimp, snails, crayfish, and crabs) that live in the planted tank. This is usually common when exposed to high concentration levels.

The presence of copper in higher amounts disrupts their respiration, inhibits reproduction processes, and harms the immune system. Copper also affects the metabolism of aquatic species, higher concentration affects osmoregulation, molting frequently, and ultimately its survival.

While shopping for fertilizers for planted tanks, it is very important to make sure that you only buy the ones that have the least amount of copper or none at all. A lot of companies label their products as “shrimp safe,” but you need to look at what’s in them and choose the one that’s best for your aquarium.

I promise you that you wouldn’t want to see a scene where you fertilize plants and the shrimp start showing bad symptoms or even die suddenly. Keep in mind that just because plant fertilizers contain copper doesn’t mean you should never use them. Copper is bad for shrimp. Do not believe this false idea. All you need to do is keep an eye on the concentration levels and choose the ones with few or no traces. Then act accordingly.

To that effect, we will highlight safe shrimp plant fertilizers you can use in your planted tanks.

Shrimp Safe Plant Fertilizers

This is one of the best fertilizers to use in planted tanks inhabiting snails, fish, and shrimp. There are good fertilizers that won’t hurt your shrimp. These are the ones you should choose. Easy green was specially made for a low to medium light kind of tank conditions. This is what most plants in shrimp tanks need (see my posts “Top 5 Plants for Your Shrimp Tank” and “Top 7 Nano Aquarium Plants” for more information).

From the composition of the Easy Green plant fertilizer it is stated that copper (Cu) is 0. 00%, thus it is totally shrimp and snails safe. The complete contents includes: N 2. 66%, P 0. 46%, K 9. 21%, Mg 0. 7%, S 0. 80%, B 0. 015%, Fe 0. 13%, Mn 0. 036%, Mo 0. 00%, Zn 0. 072%.

According to the manufacturers – Aquarium Co-Op (check out his Youtube channel):

Recommended dosing of Easy Green plant fertilizer:

  • Every week, add 1 ml to every 10 gallons (about 40 liters) of tank water. Every two weeks, add another 1 ml to every 10 gallons of tank water (medium to high light tank).

Note: You are required to store out of sunlight reach for optimal shelf life. This shrimp safe fertilizer can be obtained here.

With just a quick look at the website’s review section, you can see that over 1500 people have said good things about this fertilizer. You will have no regrets about going for this shrimp free fertilizer.

API Leaf Zone Aquarium Plant Fertilizer! (It Works!)

Is API leaf zone safe for shrimp?

API Leaf Zone is shrimp safe, according to the manufacturer. Laboratory tests show that this fertilizer contains extremely small traces of copper (1 mg/kg), just for comparison, green beans and potatoes contain more copper than API Leaf Zone. It is rich in iron and potassium to promote the growth rate and vibrant coloration of aquatic plants.

Is API leaf zone plant fertilizer safe for fish?

Yes, API LEAF ZONE plant fertilizer is safe to use with all freshwater invertebrates, such as shrimp or snails. Do you need to remove your fish when API LEAF ZONE™ plant fertilizer is applied to your tank? No, API LEAF ZONE plant fertilizer is safe to use in tanks with fish.

What is API leaf zone?

Keep your aquatic greenery lush and vibrant with API Leaf Zone. Just like any other plant on land, aquatic greens need a little boost to grow and stay healthy. This plant fertilizer contains chelated iron and potassium, which are essential to the health of leafy plants.

What is the difference between API leaf zone and organic fertilizer?

The organic compound slowly breaks down over the 24 hour period, allowing the plants to absorb what they need. Meanwhile, API LEAF ZONE plant fertilizer is stable in the water until the nutrients are utilized by the plants, allowing for a weekly dose.

Leave a Comment