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  1. #1
    Pubished in TFH! JakeJ's Avatar
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    Arrow RootMedic: A Review


    RootMedic Banner by ripariumguy, on Flickr

    "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 RootMedic.com: 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



    DSCN3683 by ripariumguy, on Flickr

    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.


    DSCN3663 by ripariumguy, on Flickr

    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


    DSCN3679 by ripariumguy, on Flickr
    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


    DSCN3655 by ripariumguy, on Flickr

    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 logo by ripariumguy, on Flickr

    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 RootMedic.com!


    *I AM NOT, OR IN ANY WAY, AFFILIATED WITH ROOTMEDIC.COM, BUT DID THIS REVIEW WITH ROOTMEDIC'S FULL CONSENT*
    "My next hobby is going to be tearing up $100 bills while simultaneously banging my head against a wall and flooding my basement."







  2. #2
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    Well written review, I love seeing un biased reviews posted up here for people to check out.



  3. #3
    ;sup' dog? ;woof and a wwwoof! dundadundun's Avatar
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    looks fancy. i hear they're good products, too. good to see hobbyists working things out for each other.

    few things, though. (constructive criticism)

    • although the product and the maker have a history, said history has no bearing on the quality of the product.
    • this is not hydroponics. specialized root tabs are not necessary. only in the minds of the buyer are they. give me my micros and macros and my plants will thank you.
    • plaster of paris (dap brand seems to be preferred) adds calcium quite well and takes care of spineless critters (invertebrates) shells quite well. not sure why i'd pay more when i can get that locally in any of the 48 states.
    • for $90, i can get 700+ root tabs, plenty of dry ferts to make countless 250ml bottles of both macros and micros to last me a couple years, metered dosing bottles (clear and opaque) for both solutions (or more if i want to dose individually) and a bottle or two of liquid carbon supplement. "just $91" isn't exactly a steal. competitive to the name brands and leaves little wiggle room for profits - especially per work load, but a steal it is not.
    • professional feel given off by the packaging? glossy labeling? how does that grow plants? like ADA packaging?
    • you are measuring with those bottles. probably 1ml per squirt. that's the point of metering bottles. although, i like the idea of just dumping in a 1/4tsp a day and being done with it... not having to worry if my metering valve craps out, cause i know what i'm doing, etc.. doesn't take nearly 10 minutes for several tanks in a couple rooms...
    • how would usps be to blame on a late package if the retailer has compensated by including extras in the package? usps is tanking as fast as our economy is and if we don't support them and make them a profit, they'll soon be gone leaving way for the rest of the package delivery industry to once again hike up their prices since their low ball competition is gone. no need to bad mouth them to up talk someone else' product. they provide a great service while being the cheapest in their industry keeping the others priced competitively.

    just some things that come to mind when reading your review (of products you've not yet sufficiently tested). meant as constructive criticism. hopefully taken that way. i think it would do justin some good to come over here and promote his products himself. i hear they're great products. if so, it's a great service to make things so simple. often beginners get caught up in misunderstanding from massive product lines, chemical/proprietary names etc. or worried that adding too much is going to cause this or that. 2 simple bottles of clear liquid with a metering squirter makes all that so much simpler... and justin deserves his pay for taking the time to make something so simple available (and pretty if that's what you need).

    many folks don't know that kno3 = salt peter, caso4 = gypsum/plaster of paris, mgso4 = epsom salts, etc.. stuff like this and mg, aquariumplantfertilizer.com, etc. are phenomenal resources for them. i, personally am trying to get a lifetime supply in one purchase for much less than that.
    Regards... Done.

    Sent from one of my tablets, netbooks, laptops, desktops or other devices using Win 7, Vista, Xp, ubuntu, xubuntu, android or another random OS of the week.



  4. #4
    Pubished in TFH! JakeJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundadundun View Post
    looks fancy. i hear they're good products, too. good to see hobbyists working things out for each other.

    few things, though. (constructive criticism)


    • although the product and the maker have a history, said history has no bearing on the quality of the product.

      Correct, but I did the small biography so that the people who are buying the products get a feel for the person who they are buying them from: an actually person (not some big corporation). I tend to like to know the people I am buying from.
    • this is not hydroponics. specialized root tabs are not necessary. only in the minds of the buyer are they. give me my micros and macros and my plants will thank you.

      Although this isn't hydroponics, certain plants do better with certain, different nutrients. For example, as mention in the review: amazon swords require large amounts of iron. Vallisneria (I believe) benefit from having peat around their root systems. So yes, plants do not need specialized nutrients, they are still beneficial.
    • plaster of paris (dap brand seems to be preferred) adds calcium quite well and takes care of spineless critters (invertebrates) shells quite well. not sure why i'd pay more when i can get that locally in any of the 48 states.

      Plaster of Paris? How does one add that effectively to an aquarium without causing a mess? I have never heard of that being used in an aquarium before.
    • for $90, i can get 700+ root tabs, plenty of dry ferts to make countless 250ml bottles of both macros and micros to last me a couple years, metered dosing bottles (clear and opaque) for both solutions (or more if i want to dose individually) and a bottle or two of liquid carbon supplement. "just $91" isn't exactly a steal. competitive to the name brands and leaves little wiggle room for profits - especially per work load, but a steal it is not.

      Where do you get your root tabs by chance? I get them 10 API root tabs for $14 at my LFS (high I know). When compared to that, is is a steal. Also, I don't think you are taking into account how long they last: 6-8 months when compared to the "average" 3-4 months. Could you please show me some links to were you could get said products? Are they all from AF.com or?
    • professional feel given off by the packaging? glossy labeling? how does that grow plants? like ADA packaging?

      What would you rather receive: an nice package or a crappy one? It doesn't grow plants, yes, but I think it is something to take into account. Not because it is useful but to show that RootMedic is a real business, not a hobbyist homemade gig thing.

    • you are measuring with those bottles. probably 1ml per squirt. that's the point of metering bottles. although, i like the idea of just dumping in a 1/4tsp a day and being done with it... not having to worry if my metering valve craps out, cause i know what i'm doing, etc.. doesn't take nearly 10 minutes for several tanks in a couple rooms...

      Will it give out? Probably not... Atleast, I highly doubt it will. I must be a slow poke I guess.... Mixing up my dry fertilizers took me forever. 0_O
    • how would usps be to blame on a late package if the retailer has compensated by including extras in the package? usps is tanking as fast as our economy is and if we don't support them and make them a profit, they'll soon be gone leaving way for the rest of the package delivery industry to once again hike up their prices since their low ball competition is gone. no need to bad mouth them to up talk someone else' product. they provide a great service while being the cheapest in their industry keeping the others priced competitively.

      You are right, that was a posting fail on my part. What I should have said was that when the fault for a late deliver is RootMedic's, Justin usually includes extras, etc. Earlier this year, a "disgruntled employee" of the USPS stole/broke a lot of RootMedic's out going packages. He reshipped them with extras. That is what I kind of ment by saying "Not so prioority." I didn't mean to talk trash about USPS. My bad if it came across that badly
      .


    just some things that come to mind when reading your review (of products you've not yet sufficiently tested). meant as constructive criticism. hopefully taken that way. i think it would do justin some good to come over here and promote his products himself. i hear they're great products. if so, it's a great service to make things so simple. often beginners get caught up in misunderstanding from massive product lines, chemical/proprietary names etc. or worried that adding too much is going to cause this or that. 2 simple bottles of clear liquid with a metering squirter makes all that so much simpler... and justin deserves his pay for taking the time to make something so simple available (and pretty if that's what you need).

    many folks don't know that kno3 = salt peter, caso4 = gypsum/plaster of paris, mgso4 = epsom salts, etc.. stuff like this and mg, aquariumplantfertilizer.com, etc. are phenomenal resources for them. i, personally am trying to get a lifetime supply in one purchase for much less than that.

    Just to make a quick point: The review was comparing RootMedic products with other commercial fertilizing products. Not DIY doo-dads. Just to make that clear... Yes, I probably should've taken them into account though.

    Thank you very much for the criticism, it is always greatly appreciated!
    "My next hobby is going to be tearing up $100 bills while simultaneously banging my head against a wall and flooding my basement."





  5. #5
    ;sup' dog? ;woof and a wwwoof! dundadundun's Avatar
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    • i understand the homey feeling of knowing something about a company/person you're buying from. lots of products print something about their humble beginnings on their packages. good marketing tool, but takes away your 3rd party non-bias imo if you're including it in your review. it's non-subjective.
    • IME plants need to have what they need and not be limited unless you're trying for something specific like to artificially force a bloom or tweak the taste of a crop to your liking. this seems to be especially true when it comes to aquatics. so while one plant may need more of one thing than another plant does, having plenty in the soil/water for all your plants will give you your best results.
    • adding calcium to a tank full of water is a mess for a short while no matter how you do it unless you're not trying to dissolve it as far as i can tell. in that event you surely could use plaster feeding blocks of which there are many recipes on the net for your "spineless critters". dissolution of calcium isn't the greatest. cacl2 might be a better alternative for many and is widely available at pool supply places. cuttle bone is also widely accepted, easy to find and relatively cheap. if one were trying to up the ph or buffering capacity at the same time, dolomitic limestone could be added to a filter as well. plenty of options on the cheap and/or for somewhat lifetime supplies. then of course there's gh boosters and seachem equilirium.
    • i have used API and flourish tabs alike. i think they're both lousy products, personally. don't do a whole lot in terms of results and leave a nasty mess that's very likely to wash up into the water column at one point or another fouling the water. i've also used the DIY tabs in the sticky here and had great results, but i won't be putting that much effort into root tabs again. what a chore! then there's osmocote fertcicles. they worked great, but then i wound up with freezer bag full of poison ice cubes in a freezer where 2 young children think they have free reign. i've since found that Mg carries fert capsules for very cheap and that i can make my own for ~$20 per ~700 capsules that'll last anywhere from 3-9months depending on formula. (as opposed to "commercial" tabs that peter out after a couple weeks at best.) fert analysis very close to root medics as well. feel free to check my photo albums for more details. there are plenty of other products as well that can be frozen into plugs or shoved into capsules and inserted into the substrate to fortify down there according to ones perceived needs.
    • personally, i like ugly packages that hold the product well, honestly. i don't know what it is, but it gives me the feeling that the product is the focus, not the purty packaging. not that that actually has any bearing.
    • you're probably right. the likelyhood of a metering pump giving out in 250 actuations is probably very low. however, i do like having the ability of dosing individually if i ever feel the need to... or adjusting my mixture if i think something is lacking. mixing my ferts, though is not an every day event. i mix up my ferts for months of dosing. i mix them dry so i can dose one thing, period. my daily routine consists of one scoop per tank and a squirt of a liquid carbon supplement. this scoop accounts for macros, micros, iron and a little boost in my gh. it's pretty easy...
    • what justin did when the "disgruntled employee" did whatever is supposed to be standard good business practice. unfortunately some businesses don't follow that, but it's good that justin does.

    Just to make a quick point: The review was comparing RootMedic products with other commercial fertilizing products. Not DIY doo-dads. Just to make that clear... Yes, I probably should've taken them into account though.
    i understand that. however, as of right now, he's not exactly a commercial fertilizing facility. he's got a great business plan and (from what you're saying) good business ethics as well as (from what i understand) a great product lineup. his niche' or catch if you will is "simple yet effective" and as complicated as it seems (it really isn't) to grow plants in a box full of water, that plan should do him well if he could get his products on the right shelves. however, right now he's a small business that fits the description of hobbyists helping hobbyists. in that niche' i believe there are plenty of products that are just as good for a lot less money in comparison to much of his product line. they just don't have the pretty packaging, handy metering squirters, super simplicity and fancy logo that are great for marketing purposes.

    don't get me wrong - i support justin in what he's doing and fully hope that root medic takes off to the hills, makes him rich, etc.. i just don't do it with my money because i'm not independently wealthy, have 3 kids and have many other interests to support. i'm also the DIY type who'd rather buy the tools and materials than pay to have the job done, etc.. what i think here is that the marketing/homey type info you've picked up and posted from knowing justin through other boards should have been excluded as well as how pretty the packages are, phenomenal price, etc. and you should have focused on good business ethics, quality products and real world results (i'll be looking forward to them, although i think you'd do just fine with other products as well). maybe started of with a "i'm so excited! just received my first root medic package. review to follow in a couple months including before and after pics" type of thread and answered questions from there, followed up with a review, etc.. this would have given you the ability to up talk justin and his company without sounding like a paid spokesperson. third person conversational speak instead of third party paid advertiser speak.

    congratulations on the article, BTW. i caught a glimpse of it and thought you did a very good job. it's not often you get such exposure as a young person, so i hope you capitalize on it well and it follows you through your life and career.

    Thank you very much for the criticism, it is always greatly appreciated!
    thank you very much for taking it well. it really is intended for your benefit in the future. i know your young and i think re-directing a little bit here will do you a lot of good, make you stop and think in a different way from now on, etc.. i do think what you did do was really well constructed and written. i can't take that away from you, so know that.
    Regards... Done.

    Sent from one of my tablets, netbooks, laptops, desktops or other devices using Win 7, Vista, Xp, ubuntu, xubuntu, android or another random OS of the week.



  6. #6
    Senior Member aXio's Avatar
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    While you have a nice review... I feel that your giving RootMedic way too much praise at this moment. It's seems you've just gotten your products in and your already "highly recommending" this product to people. I understand that you like the shinny packaging, service, and friendly interaction with Justin. Shouldn't you be writing a review a few months down the line when you have properly been able to test the product. It's seems that your just taking Justin's word for a lot of things when it comes to what the product does and how well it works towards those goals.

    Also since your review seems to mainly focus on the packaging, shipping, bio, website... I think it's good to say that RootMedic has zero pictures on their website for any of their product. Which I have mentioned to Justin personally on another forum. Might seem a bit silly but a lot of people want to see what they are buying berfore they dish our their money. And who needs that many different root tabs, seems overkill and a waste of money. Now with all that said, I was actually on the market for new Fertilizers. Liquid ones in specific. I looking into ADA, Pfertz, and RootMedic... and after lots of research I decided to go with Pfertz. I haven't gotten them in yet should be here in a couple of days so I can't vouch for them yet. But I'll see how they work =)



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