'All In One' dosing solution

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by JamesC, 9 Jan 2008.

  1. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    As I keep on being asked about the 'All In One' solution I make I thought I'd post some details of it.

    After Tropica released their Plant Nutrition Plus, which is an 'All In One' dosing solution, I became interested in doing the same to make life easier for myself. Normally it is advised to keep potassium phosphate and iron traces in separate solutions to prevent any reaction occurring that results in an insoluble precipitate of iron phosphate. The chelated traces that are used contain iron that is complexed and as long as the iron remains complexed it should be safe from any reaction with the phosphate. The problem is that once the traces are in solution the chelator tends to deteriorate and so releasing the the iron. I discovered that the chelators used are a lot more stable in a solution with a pH of 6 or less. After a bit of experimenting I ended up using E300 Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) which not only keeps the solution acidic but is also an anti-oxidant. Enough is used so as to maintain a pH of 6. Another problem with keeping traces in solution is that they often tend to develop mould. To combat this I use E202 Potassium Sorbate which is a yeast and mould inhibitor. Luckily the Potassium Sorbate works most effectively at a pH around 6 which is what the solution is kept at.

    More info is on my website - http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/allinone.htm - for those interested. For Estimative Index users this probably isn't of much use as macro's and trace's are dosed on alternate days.

    All this is very much work in progress and is posted mainly for information. But if anyone is willing to give it a go as well I'd be very interested in hearing your opinions.

    James
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi James,
    Good stuff. Thanks for adding this! Actually, EI anoraks can use this just as well I reckon. I think the alternate day routine was implemented specifically to avoid of the issue of iron phosphate precipitate, so this would work. The only downside is that there would now be two more compounds to get :arghh:

    Cheers,
     
  3. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

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    Brilliant, James.
     
  4. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

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    James

    Is this still your PMDD+P mix with the added ingredients or has it been altered (whispers----to tropica PN levels) or are they simiilar proportions of each element anyway?

    Andy
     
  5. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    Bexley, Kent
    Yes it's based on my latest PMDD + PO4 formulation. The DIY TPN+ is different and was posted for a bit of fun really, but should work. I'll test it out soon with the same amount of TPN+ that George doses and see what the results are. What is interesting is how much leaner it is on traces compared to what I use and EI uses.

    I've had to change my PMDD+PO4 formula after changing my lighting to 4WPG of T5 so now have two slightly different formulations. Most of what I post about dosing on my website is information for others. It gives an insight to my methods that work for me and hopefully makes others think more about their dosing.

    I'm one of these people that likes to tinker (as my wife puts it) and am always trying new things. Another project I'm working on is a cheap substrate after Tom Barr got me interested in his findings on different types of substrate. It was with a single plant type but still very interesting. Normally on a small tank I'd be happy with ADA AS but on large tanks this just becomes uneconomical, in my opinion anyway. More to come very soon but as a teaser it cost me £6.50 for 15 litres of substrate.

    James
     
  6. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

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    Let us now about the Tropica. We don't all get good deals on ferts like George. lol

    Substrate would be interesting. I agree AS is ridiculously priced.

    Andy
     
  7. Ray

    Ray Member

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    It looks to me like I could make between 5 and 10 times as much TPN+ if I buy the raw materials than if I buy from Tropica, if I can be bothered and if I could get the vitamin C and the Potassium Sorbate. Where can we get them - are AE going to start stocking them (does Richard read this?)?
     
  8. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    Getting hold of the additives is going to be the hard part. Luckily I'm able to get hold of a large number of chemicals. It is possible that Ascorbic acid could be brought from a chemist as it is Vitamin C. Potassium sorbate will be more difficult. The good thing about Pot sorbate is that not only is it a yeast and mould inhibitor but also a preservative so is used to prolong shelf life of many foods and cosmetics. I have looked on Google to try and find a source but no luck so far unless you want to buy a minimum amount of 25KG.

    Here's one company that sells food additives - http://www.arndaleingredients.com/Products.html

    I doubt very much Aqua Essentials will stock these as there is likely to be very little demand.

    James
     
  9. sks

    sks Guest

    Excuse me for being ignorant James, since I've never been good at chemistry, but you say that pH 6 prevents the reaction between the iron and the potassium phosphate, but what happens when the mixture goes into the tank when it is going to be around pH 6.5 - 7.0 (mine peaks at 7.0 at night and lowest 6.7 before lights off). I take it that you are of the view that the mixture would be diluted anyway, hence any reaction would be not significant to dent the purpose?
     
  10. sks

    sks Guest

    The Americans are getting it at $27 (about £13.74) for 9 litres, go figure. :eek:
     
  11. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    The low pH doesn't prevent the reaction but helps prevent the chelator from deteriorating and so keeping the iron complexed. When in the tank I believe, but could be wrong, that plants are able to access the iron from the chelator. Also bright aquarium lights will break down the chelator. Depending on the chelator used this can happen over different time periods. Some people have problems with white hazy water when adding traces. This is because the chelator is breaking down too quickly and the iron is reacting with the phosphate in the water.

    James
     
  12. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

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    They al;so get 2 litres of Excel for less than we get 250ml!!!

    Those yanks just get good deals


    Andy
     
  13. sks

    sks Guest

  14. sks

    sks Guest

    Oh, and it is EDTA chelator in the AE trace elements isn't it? If it is, then that's the oldest trick in the book according to someone I had a long conversation with, doesn't EDTA break down naturally into phosphates and nitrates?
     
  15. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    Fantastic. Well done for finding that. Even if you don't make an all in one solution, just adding these two to the trace solution makes it last for months and months. I've had a trace bottle made up yonks ago and it still looks fine.


    Most likely is EDTA. Sometimes two chelators are used. What is the oldest trick in the book? EDTA does not break down into nitrate and phosphate. It's an amino acid and doesn't even contain any P.

    James
     
  16. sks

    sks Guest

    wasn't quite sure about EDTA, but I've been told it was a very commonly used chelator. Also home brew do vitamin C powder too. :D
     
  17. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Hi James,

    So is adding macros and trace at the same time (even if from seperate bottles) not such a good idea? In my nano I'll be doing a water change every 2 days, so there is not enough time to dose macros and trace on alternative days. I could leave dosing overnight i.e. so there would be 12hrs between dosing the two, would this be enough?

    Any thoughts/suggestions?

    Cheers

    Sam
     
  18. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    Location:
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    Depends a lot on the trace you use and if you have hard water (possibly due to higher pH). Using a trace with a good chelator normally fixes the problem. Tropica trace is very good. I use AE trace with no probs but then I have soft water. EI has higher dosing levels than other methods so may cause more problems if dosed same day.

    You can normally detect if there is a problem when after dosing the traces the water turns a bit hazy. Remember that bright light and UV can also affect chelators causing the same cloudiness. As long as your dosing is regular it shouldn't be much of a problem with regard to plant availability - just makes the water a bit hazy.

    Possibly, you can only try it and see. Some people who dose both EI solutions on same day just leave a few minutes between dosings.


    Out of interest I've now made up the DIY TPN+ solution as outlined on my web page to see how well it works. Solution is nice a clear and green in colour. Dosing 1ml per day to my 25l tank. Shall give it a month and see how it goes. So far so good and everything still pearling and no signs of any algae.

    James
     
  19. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Location:
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    Right, cheers James. I must admit I've never noticed any cloudiness when dosing the two together, but I do run soft water tanks prob down near 3-4GH. pH will be low due to the CO2.

    I'll keep it doing and see what happens, I guess the plants will tell me if something is wrong!

    BTW - any tips on growing HC in inert gravel?

    Also - that bonsai gravel you mentions on the other tread, could you use it as a complete substrate i.e. no need to cap it with sand/gravel?

    Thanks again

    Sam
     
  20. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Not really I'm afraid. I just push small clumps in with about an inch spacing and leave it be. Grew great when I dosed EI and grows great still under PMDD.

    I would only use it by itself to be honest. Any sand or gravel that is put on top would just sink in to it over time. The only thing I'd add is a sprinkiling of peat on the bottom.

    James
     

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