RootMedic: The Nutrient Medic For Plants – Part 1

“Made in the U.S.A.,” “For hobbyists, by hobbyists.” In the aquarium industry those two statements tend to be rather rare when online stores and aquarium related products are concerned. You can, however find these two promises at A hobbyist run online aquarium business.

Why the name, “RootMedic” you ask? Along with the concept of being the “medic” to your plants (and there root systems), the owner (Justin) is also a paramedic himself.

RootMedic started in February of 2010, when Justin, a South Dakota native (a long time aquarist and the man behind RootMedic), decided that it was time to fill a gap. This gap was a lack of specialized aquarium plant fertilizer products designed with the advanced hobbyist in mind, and not the masses. RootMedic’s products aren’t for everybody. They combine strong, consistent results with a level of convenience worth paying for.

RootMedic’s product line is always evolving. It went from carrying a single basic RootCap fertilizer (they’re version of a root tab), to 9 specialized types of RootCaps, 3 different liquid fertilizers and 4 shrimp breeding and care additives, all since early 2010. The newest of which (oneSTEP) came out within the last week.

The Products


When describing the 9 different types of RootMedic RootCaps, I used the term “specialized.” This is because that is exactly what comes to mind when you see the list of the different RootCaps. When dealing with fertilizing plants, this make perfect sense. Certain plants require certain specialized nutrients. Lack of iron is the Achilles heel of Amazon swords. Want your Rotala to look a little redder? Adding some phosphates will probably get you the lush hue you desire. Whether your plant requires extra iron or maybe peat moss around its roots, RootMedic is the place to go.


What if you have some riparium plants planted on a trellis raft, or maybe some java fern that could use some nutrient “oommff.” what about them? RootCaps (or tabs) won’t be much help to you here. This is why RootMedic also has liquid, water column dosing solutions.

Although I am not partial to them myself, some people are really into spineless aquarium pets (aka, shrimp!). BacterBio Balls (bio-film buffets), Mineral Rocks (got to keep those exoskeletons hard!) and various other mineral additives are available from RootMedic to keep your many-legged shrimp friends happy.

The Review

RootMedic’s most popular item: Complete+

I placed an order with RootMedic for a Macro 250 liquid fertilizer, a Micro 250 liquid fertilizer, 25 Complete Original RootCaps, 25 Complete+ RootCaps, 25 proSand RootCaps and 20 Tourmaline-P Rootcaps. The 500ml of liquid fertilizers, 95 RootCaps and shipping came out to a grand total of $91. Not at all bad considering that the individual RootCaps last 6-8 months a piece.

Every package from RootMedic is sent via USPS Priority mail, and is usually received in less than a week. Mine arrived after 5 business days.

Now just a quick note, although my order was received in such a short time, there are several cases that I know of were the package arrived up to 2 weeks late. This is usually because of either a slight error (or overtime work shifts) on RootMedic’s part, or the USPS making “Priority” not so much of a priority. When this does occur however, extra goodies along with an explanation and apology is often included with the late order.

First Thoughts


On receiving my package, I was deeply impressed with several things. First being the professional feel given off by the packaging of the RootCaps. The individual bags and glossy labeling almost put the old packaging of my API root tabs to shame. Second, when it came to the liquid dosing, there was no measuring! I didn’t have to take up 10 minutes of my day taking teaspoons of certain liquids or powders and adding them to my tank. With the pump dispensing bottles from RootMedic, simply press, and you are done!

The day that the products arrived, I started use of them, immediately. I have the different RootCaps placed according to the suggestions found at the RootMedic website (along with several in my Riparium Supply Planters). For liquid dosing, I am following an easy print-out sheet available at the RootMedic website. Because barely any time has elapsed between the date I started using RootMedic, and right now, I am going to make this a two part review. So be sure to tune in later for the “Before and After” portion of the review!

Final Thoughts (aka Summary)

RootMedic is a well put together U.S.A based business. It brings specialty (and basic) aquarium fertilizing additives to the table, allowing one to cater to the specific needs of their aquatic plants. And they do this while keeping their prices competitive (about 50 cents per “standard” (Complete Original) RootCap). Shipping, though on occasion hit or miss (but always ending in you getting what you ordered, maybe just a little late) is generally reliable. Their customer service is grand, while their products over all get a solid “A.” All in all, I highly recommend!


Riparium Plants: List of Popular Species

House/Pond Plant Species

  • Spathiphyllum sp. (peace lily) – Most species
  • Pilea sp. – P. cardieri (aluminum plant), P. depressa (creeping jenny), P. grandifolia, P. mollis ‘move valley,’ P. myriophylia, P. nummulariifolia (creeping charlie), P. spruceana ‘silver tree’
  • Gibasis geniculata (Tahitian bridal veil)
  • Dieffenbachia sp. (dumb cane) – Dieffenbachia amoena
  • Chamaedorea elegans (parlor palm)
  • Acorus sp. (sweetflag) – A. americanus and A. calamus
  • Pogonatherum crinitum (baby panda bamboo)
  • Cyperus sp. – C. alternifolius, C. gracilis, and C. papyrus
  • Oplismenus hirtellu
  • Syngonium sp. – S. wenlandii, and various other species
  • Cyrtosperma johnstonii

Emersed Aquatic Species

      • Microsorum sp. (java fern) – pteropus, pteropus ‘wendelov,’ pteropus ‘needle leaf’, (Any java fern species that can be grown emersed)
      • Echinodorus sp. (amazon sword) – E. bleheri, E. cordifolius, (any species that can be grown emersed)
      • Hygrophylia angustifolia
      • Limnophilia aromatica
      • Anubias sp. – A. barteri, A. nana, A. hastifolia, (any species that can be growned emersed)
      • Cryptocorne sp. (crypts) – C. ciliata, C. wendtii, C. cordata, (any species that can be grown emersed)
      • Bacopa sp. – B. monnieri and B. caroliniana
      • Taxiphyllum barbieri or Vesicularia dubyana (java fern)
      • Taxiphyllum alternans (Taiwan moss)
      • Vesicularia montagnei (Christmas moss)

Friday Fish Funnies – “That Face”

I think we all have a face like this…

Riparium Plant: Cyperus spp.

Cyperus spp. – Umbrella sedges

A grouping of Cyperus spp.

Orgin: The tropical/subtropical regions of all continents

Care Level: Easy

Planting Method: Planter

Placement: Background

Planting Medium: Hydroton with capping medium

Growth Rate: Medium

Size: Large

Propagation: Splitting crown of larger plants, flowering

Notes: Very commonly available house and pond plant. Very good used as an accent, or with carpeting stem plants. There are many Cyperus species out there. If you do not want to experiment, be sure to get a tried and proven suitable species for your riparium.

Cleaning Aquarium Glass

Part of my weekly aquarium cleaning ritual includes cleaning the glass of my aquarium. Over the week, I (and by “I,” I really mean every aquarium hobbyist in existence) usually get a build up of finger prints, water streaks and hard water stains all over the glass of my aquarium. These streaks and stains are obviously very unsightly, but with a little elbow grease and a quick house hold concoction cleaning aquarium glass is a snap!


The Aquarium Version of “Windex”

Every hobbyist should realize that the less chemicals you use in and around your aquarium, the better. This “rule” should even include your glass cleaning liquid. What if you accidentally spray some Windex into your nano reef aquarium? Better safe then sorry in my opinion. The following “recipe” is for a very good, very cheap, fish-safe aquarium glass cleaner.

What You Need

White vinegar


A spray bottle


What To Do: Simple combine the vinegar and water (following a ratio of 1 part vinegar for every 10 parts water) into the spray bottle. Lastly, spray away!


It is really that easy.  With this solution, you don’t have to worry about getting any harmful chemical residues. I like to use this vinegar/water solution on a lot of my aquarium related items: riparium planters and rafts, powerheads, pruning scissors, really pretty much everything! I highly recommend using this “recipe.” Happy glass cleaning!

Friday Fish Funnies – “Past AGA Aquascaping Winners”

Who says that aquariums can’t be funny?  With the help of “MisterGreen” from The Planted Tank, every other Friday I will be bringing you a comic about our fishy hobby. So stay tuned!

“Tanked” – Aquariums Take Over The Big Screen

There are aquarium forums, wikis, blogs, Youtube videos and now, a TV show! Tanked is a show all about aquariums. It follows two guys (Wayde King and Brett Raymer) on their adventures as they run the biggest custom aquarium making and acrylic tank manufacturing business in the United States. You will see a them manufacture and setup a host of unique aquariums. A shark desk, feng-shui reef, circular manta ray tank and the amazing 75,000 gallon church aquarium are just a few examples. Most of the tanks featured are saltwater, but even still the show is very fun and entertaining. (Though I sometimes still loath the look of their often used fake corals). Be sure to give them a look! New episodes premier every Friday night on Animal Planet at 9PM E/P.

Tom Aquarium Products Internal Filter Review


Filtering nano aquariums has always been a problem for me personally. Either I had too much flow, or too little filtration. This was one of the problems I had when finding a filter for my 2.5g betta (Betta splendens) tank. This is where the Tom Aquarium Products Internal Filter comes in. I bought this filter for $15 at a large chain petstore. The filter boasts a circulation rate of 45 gallons per hour, though, thanks to a small fail-proof mechanism in the filter catridge, it is adjustable. The filter comes in two main parts: The head/pump and the filter cartridge. The cartridge is a small perforated plastic box made out of flimsy plastic that is filled with filter foam, and a very small compartment of activated carbon. The cartridge attaches to the bottom of the head. At the top of the head, there is an output hole. This is where one can place one of the two included output attachment. The two attachments are a smaller spray bar and a V-shaped tube. These allow one to play with the configuration of the water flow around the tank (ie, more surface agitation, less flow, etc). One can clean and customize the media inside the cartridge. When one breaks/wears out however, three packs of new cartridge are available online and at certain chain petstores.

The filter as a whole is decent in the beginning. Unfortunately, over time, it clogs very easily. Also, the way that the cartridge attaches to the head is rather shifty, as it is way to easy to take apart (at least, in my opinion).

Final Thoughts

Although the price and output attachments are appealing, the filter on a whole does not operate well, do to excessive clogging and lack of decent media. I do not recommend this product for long-term use. For a quick quarantine tank use, definitely.