Can I "add" to an all in one fertilizer?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by Mr T, 5 Mar 2010.

  1. Mr T

    Mr T Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Nr Wroxham, Norfolk
    On my Osaka tank (see journal entry http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=10198) I currently dose 10ml of AE Aqua carbon and 4ml of EasyLife Profito daily. I have been reading up on the whole DIY dry ferts thing and think that may be the way to go in the future (specifically James C's DIY TPN+ version 3). However due to a bit of wheeling and dealing I obtained 2 litres of Profito for a tenner not so long ago, so obviously I'd like to use this first.

    So far things have been growing well in the tank. Recently however I suspected that the plants may not be getting all they need. I did several tests for both Phosphates and Nitrates (steady guys, I'm well aware how much these "test kit" things are despised!) and found them both to be almost non existent. Profito doesn't contain either of these so I'm sure to encounter some problems soon. Now I could obtain both a liquid nitrate and phosphate source. However due to the nature of my work (offshore - seismic survey) that would mean the introduction of another 2 dosing pumps and associated equipment, not to mention the considerable expense involved!

    Here's my proposal as a possible solution. Would it be possible / safe to purchase some Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Phosphate along with Ascorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate as preservatives? Essentially using the Profito as the trace mix, magnesium source and water mix. Does anyone know if they would mix successfully or would the chelating agent react in some way rendering the whole mix useless, worst of all toxic? If the idea's a goer what quantities would anyone suggest I mix?

    Any suggestions gratefully received as always!

    Tesco
     
  2. Mr T

    Mr T Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Nr Wroxham, Norfolk
    Crikey, have I stumped everyone on this? :lol:

    Tesco
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Calling Clive/JamesC :lol:
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Well, analysis can't really proceed without first determining why you feel this way. What symptoms are you detecting that makes you draw this conclusion? I mean, suppose your tap water were high in PO4/NO3 and that you were really suffering poor CO2 instead of poor PO4/NO3? If that were the case I could easily lead you down the primrose path that dalliance treads, right? So lets start with symptoms. Are you seeing yellowing of leaves, stunted growth, browning or decayed leaves? Are you seeing algae? If so then what type? Do you have photos that illustrate specific symptoms?

    I'm not even going to go here, as my thoughts on this subject are well known, except to point out that had you spent your hard earned cash on nutrients instead of test kits you might actually be ahead of the game. ;) Even with a zero reading you're still no wiser regarding the actual values. NO3 could as easily be 10ppm as zero. That's why it's necessary to observe the plants, and your observations of symptoms tell you more than any test kit could. Having observed symptoms of distress why on Earth would one then need to test?

    There's no chance of incurring a toxic mixture with these simple salts. Since the Profito is mostly water anyway I would just pretend that it is just water and prepare James's recipe in 500ml of the Profito. According to his recipe, add:
    10g Potassium Nitrate
    1.2g Potassium Phosphate
    0.5g E300 Ascorbic Acid
    0.2g E202 Potassium Sorbate

    So the only thing you're leaving out is the Potassium Sulphate, the Magnesium Sulphate and the Chelated Trace Elements Mix, because supposedly the Profito has all these. Then dose per James's suggestion (5ml per 40 litres). We're not trying to find a cure for Turret's Syndrome or anything like that, so we really don't need a whole lot of accuracy. Trace elements just have to be non-zero and hopefully, the vitamin C and the Potassium Sorbate will allow you to mix the PO4 with whatever meagre levels of Iron in the Profito, although I don't really know how Profito chelates it's Iron (but I really don't see this as a big deal anyway). When you run out of Profito then make up the proper mixture. Observe the tank and make adjustments to the dosing if you observe deficiency.

    On a side note, I believe you made an error in judgement in selecting EcoComplete as your substrate. If you are out of town a lot then you ideally want to have a nutrient rich substrate such as AS Amazonia or the Oliver Knott equivalent. EcoComplete has no macronutrients and only has a sprinkling of some trace elements. Nutrient rich sediment is always the way to go in cases like yours because it gives you a better margin of error in case your pump doesn't perform well and so forth.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Mr T

    Mr T Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Nr Wroxham, Norfolk
    Excellent, thanks Clive. :clap:

    I should have pointed out that I am using a 70 / 30 split of RO to tap water. The water where I live is pretty poxy and its so hard Mike Tyson considered using it as a sparing partner. I have to de-scale the kettle weekly. Sinks, taps and shower heads have to be wiped / soaked in an acid solution regularly. I keep Knife fish and other soft water varieties in other fish only tanks, but mix my water in bulk, hence the RO use.

    As to evidence, not a huge amount so far (thankfully). A couple of the larger Anubias leaves have a couple of spots of GSA on them and there have been a few threads of filamentous algae, the Amano's soon munched that though. I have noticed a couple of leaves with a few (very tiny) pinholes, and the stem plants seem to be taking an age to root properly, further adding to my nutrient worries.

    Maybe I'm just examining everything a little too closely, and need to give everything more time. I guess that I just want to ensure that my plants are getting everything they need to keep them healthy and prevent any future problems before they occur.

    As to the test kits, I had them long before I became an "enlightened" aquarist! :lol:
    I was just thought I'd use them as a (very!) rough guide to try and lend some weight to what I thought may be an emerging problem.

    Interesting point you make on my choice of substrate. Could this be alleviated somewhat by the addition of some root tabs, or am I just pandering to marketing hype with these? :D

    Don't think I fancy the idea of a complete teardown just to replace it :wideyed: !

    Taking all this into account I think I may go ahead and purchase the dry ferts, mix them with a single 500ml bottle of the Profito and see how we go. Like you say, monitoring the tank will give the best clues as to any emerging problems.

    If nothing else this will be an interesting experiment. I'll keep you all posted on how things turn out. Anyone have any good suggestions on where to obtain some accurate scales? I've already seen some on E-bay but welcome any suggestions / recommendations from other readers who already have such an item.

    Thanks again Clive :thumbup:, I think the world needs more people like you!

    Tesco
     
  6. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Messages:
    945
    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Hi Mr T
    When I started EI, I started with scales thinking I had to be super dooper accurate. How wrong was I, and boy it was time consuming.
    Dive down to Asda's (or Tesco's) and get yourself a set of measuring spoons. They do sets there that go down to 1/8th of a teaspoon for the grand total of 99p.
    Much quicker when mixing up your ferts.
    As you may have already worked out, it is better to be slightly over than under. So no need to worry about the odd 1/8th or 1/4 of a teaspoon over.
    Just think, the money you save on the scales will probably pay for your first batch of ferts :D .
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    If Tyson forgets to take his Lithium tablets he'll probably end up marrying your water, then divorcing it the next day.

    Hmmm..well, filamentous algae, structural decay and GSA all point to a CO2 shortfall. The GSA on anubias is the only item which is less than certain, mainly because GSA is both CO2 and PO4 related. Anubias is such a slow grower that often one has to discount this because it's so susceptible to GSA, even when conditions are good. But there is no denying that the others are early symptoms of carbon deficiency. See what I mean? Adding more nutrients only feeds CO2 related algae. This is how folks get tripped up and later blame all algae on nutrients. You may want to think about a separate dosing pump for Excel/EasyCarbo or the AE equivalent.

    No, not at all. Close examination is a good thing and it will save you in the end. One needs to think about this and to anticipate possible problems but one also needs to draw the right conclusions based on the results of that examination. The tank is telling you that right now CO2 is a much more urgent issue than nutrients. This never gets better by itself, only worse.

    You need to trust me on this: Take the test kits with you on your next seismology survey. Find the deepest crevice on the most active fault line associated the fastest moving tectonic plate on the planet. Then, throw them in the crevice, turn around and resume your research. The problem with hobby grade test kits is that they don't really add any more guidance than what you can see with your two eyeballs, and they will even confuse you on a regular basis. Now there are quality kits used by professionals if you want to spend a few hundred quid, but I think it's cheaper, easier and more reliable to train the eyeballs. Someday, when you have a better understanding of the dynamics occurring in the tank you can play Laura Croft Tomb Raider and retrieve the kits buried deep in the bowels of the Earth. Then you can prepare standard solutions and perform real anorak science projects like calibrating the kits against the standards and so forth. But for now forget about them, they are nothing but trouble.

    Oh I agree completely. I just wanted to point that out to you for next time. I think JamesC has a clever recipe for homemade root tabs. I'll see if I can find the thread. Store bought tabs are usually expensive. If you don't intend to disturb the substrate then the garden centre tabs can work effectively, you just have to be careful because they likely will contain ammonia so they would have to be pushed deep in the substrate.

    Oh cool, a world filled with many me - just like Agent Smith in Matrix Reloaded; Me, me, me.....and me too!

    Cheers,
     
  8. Mr T

    Mr T Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Nr Wroxham, Norfolk
    Thanks for taking the time to reply!

    I already have my liquid carbon source delivered via a dosing pump (10 ml per day in 260l tank). I may increase the dosage slightly but am wary of overdosing, mainly due to the possible detriment to my shrimp and vallis. I am considering mixing my own carbon source. I have located a supplier who sells a 50% solution of Glutaraldehyde and have done fairly extensive reading on its hazards and concentrations used (about 1.5%) in aquatic plant fertilizers. I live alone, and don't ever have children around (can't stand the blighters!) so I'm confident I can store & use it safely.

    As I said in my previous post, I'm going to go ahead and order the ingredients for the DIY TPN+ mix and I'll do a trial on dosing up some profito, just to see what happens.

    I've only recently left the RAF (how I came to meet the infamous Mr. Farmer) where I was a weapons engineer. I have a few friends involved in bomb disposal, surely that would be a much more spectacular way to dispose of them, would want to pollute the marine ecosystem now would we! :D

    Ah, but just think of the tranquillity. A world decorated with beautifully planted tanks all perfectly nutritionally balanced. Not to mention an army of tank supervisors, all possessed with the wealth of your knowledge to keep them in top condition! :lol:

    Tesco
     

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