DIY Fertilizer Formula Recommendation

Hanuman

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I have been looking at the APT Complete ppm values. As recommended in the website a 4 x dosing per week brings N to 6ppm and to 10.5ppm if 7 x week. Same for K at 16 ppm for 4 x a week and 28ppm if 7 x week.

Looking at the recommendations you gave:
For "Solution 1" I'd aim for 20 ppm NO3 and K, 5 ppm P, 2 ppm Mg in the tank.
your values seems to fit very closely for a 7 x week but for N and K that would bring the concentration to 38.5ppm total (10.5+28). Wouldn't that be too much?

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 16.56.53.jpg


What is difficult to understand is what is too much or too little or just right in terms of ppm.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
N and K that would bring the concentration to 38.5ppm total (10.5+28). Wouldn't that be too much?
The "4 times a week" dosing is plenty.

To convert from nitrogen (N) to nitrate (NO3) you need to multiply by 4.43 (14/62), so that would give you 46.5 ppm NO3 at "7 times a week" and 26.5 ppm NO3 at "4 times a week".

The suggested "20 ppm NO3 and K, 5 ppm P, 2 ppm Mg in the tank" are just ball-park figures, anywhere near will do.
What is difficult to understand is what is too much or too little or just right in terms of ppm.
There isn't really a right or wrong answer, it is going to depend on the amount and intensity of light (PAR), how quickly your plants are growing, what plants you have, how much CO2 is available etc.

If you have very quick growing, non-CO2 limited plants, grown under high light intensity then they will be able to make use of <"all the nutrients you can give them">.

That is why I like the <"Duckweed Index">, you don't need to worry about exact measurement or anything else, you just <"look at the plants">.

Even though they have very different aims and methods, the idea behind the "Estimative Index" (EI) is the same. You don't need to try and measure levels of nutrients in the aquarium, or worry too much about ,<"accurate weighing"> (you use teaspoons), you just follow the EI recipe and have a 50% water change every week.

They don't sound as <"scientific"> as methods as those that involve continually water testing and exact ratios and recipes, but they are robust methods that are based on the scientific methodology and, more important, they work.

cheers Darrel
 

Penta

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The values of APT Complete that Dennis Wong posted on his website are for NO3 and PO4, not N and P.
Its designed for active substrate (or dirted), with lots of Nitrogen in it.
 

Hanuman

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The values of APT Complete that Dennis Wong posted on his website are for NO3 and PO4, not N and P.
Its designed for active substrate (or dirted), with lots of Nitrogen in it.
Thank you. So you are saying that ATP is not suitable for aquasoils like Amazonia from ADA or Black Earth from Cal Aqua Labs?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
APT Complete that Dennis Wong posted on his website are for NO3 and PO4, not N and P
Found it, <"JUST 1ML PER 20L ADDS THE FOLLOWING: 1.5ppm NO3, 0.7ppm PO4 & 4ppm K">.

You can convert from phosphorus (P) to phosphate (PO4) and from either PO4 or P to P2O5 (the way phosphorus values are <"quoted for fertilisers">).
The workings (from the linked thread) are below, but 5 ppm P is equivalent to ~15ppm PO4--- (5/0.326).
To convert P2O5 to P you multiply by 0.436.

If you want to know how much PO4--- that is, it is bit more complicated because you need to know the percentage of P in P2O5 (43.7) and the percentage of P in PO4 (32.6), the divide 43.7/32.6 = 1.34, so 10 mg/L P2O5 = 13.4 mg/L PO4, to go the other way around PO4 to P2O5 its 32.6/43.7 to give you multiply by 0.747.
Its designed for active substrate (or dirted), with lots of Nitrogen in it.
So you are saying that ATP is not suitable for aquasoils like Amazonia from ADA or Black Earth from Cal Aqua Labs?
You need @Penta to comment, but my reading would be that the APT mix is designed for substrates (like ADA Amazonia) with a reserve of nitrogen (N) present. Because of this the "ATP complete" it is very light on nitrogen, when compared to its potassium (K+) etc content.

If you do them as a ratio of N: P : K for "ATP complete" it is: 3.4 : 2.3: 40
((1.5*0.224): (0.7*0.33): 4. I multiplied them by 10 to make them easily comparable).

Personally I just wouldn't get too bogged down in exact ratios, replicating some-one elses recipe etc. Just choose values and make the solution up, you can tweak it afterwards, if you need to.

The plants really don't care, it doesn't matter where it came from, once an ion (PO4---, K+, NO3- etc) is in solution, every K+ ion is identical to every other K+ ion.

cheers Darrel
 

Hanuman

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What I have been confused about is the NPK values tagged along the chemicals. In fact I just realized that is doesn't matter at all because we are dealing with raw unmixed chemicals. For example Potassium Nitrate will always be 13-0-46. That NPK is what makes it Potassium Nitrate. My confusion stemmed from the fact complete terrestrial fertilizers can have very different NPK values from one brand to another as they target different things (growth, bloom etc). I just got lost in my own confusion!

but my reading would be that the APT mix is designed for substrates (like ADA Amazonia) with a reserve of nitrogen (N) present. Because of this the "ATP complete" it is very light on nitrogen, when compared to its potassium (K+) etc content.

If you do them as a ratio of N: P : K for "ATP complete" it is: 3.4 : 2.3: 40
((1.5*0.224): (0.7*0.33): 4. I multiplied them by 10 to make them easily comparable).

Personally I just wouldn't get too bogged down in exact ratios, replicating some-one elses recipe etc. Just choose values and make the solution up, you can tweak it afterwards, if you need to.
Noted. I think I will just stick with Jame's Planted Tank formulas but the issue has never really been choosing a formula but making the calculations specially the ones relating to the micros as most formulas are referring to CSM + B so I have to figure out the weights of every individual element (S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn). As I said before CSM + B is not an option as too expensive considering my location and NIC-SPRAY clearly has too much copper. So I am left with using individual trace elements, which I already have anyway. For you clearly all these calculations seems like a breeze but for me the chemical names and their formula, coupled with percentages, mass, ppm etc etc etc makes it a nightmare :twisted:. I was never good in chemistry.

I was able to figure out the weights of the macros for the APT Complete formula but considering what was said above about the soil I might go for the DIY TPN+ (3) or PMDD+PO4 formulas from Jame's Planted Tank. My soil is 7 months old and possibly starting to be exhausted. I am using Black Earth from Cal Aqua Labs. These are the calculations for the APT complete where ppm was provided. For the traces well that's just not possible as no ppm is provided by Dennis Wong. I made the calculation for 2ml in 20 liters of water. For 1ml in 20L of water simply multiply weights by 2. I am just posting this for the posterity. I did nothing but use the Rotalabutterfly and Zorfox's calculators.

Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 18.44.54.jpg


And yes I did the calculation with both Rotalabutterfly and Zorfox's. I'm the kind of person who likes to verify numbers and make sure I am not being duped :lol:. Joke aside now I need to figure out how to calculate the weight of each trace for the DIY TPN+ (3) or PMDD+PO4 formulas.
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
For example Potassium Nitrate will always be 13-0-46
That is it.
For you clearly all these calculations seems like a breeze but for me the chemical names and their formula, coupled with percentages, mass, ppm etc etc etc makes it a nightmare :twisted:. I was never good in chemistry.
Yes, just use one of the calculators.

I can remember the RAM of most of the nutrients, but I had to go and check for zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) etc.
Joke aside now I need to figure out how to calculate the weight of each trace for the DIY TPN+ (3) or PMDD+PO4 formulas
For the micro-elements you will need to use some maths, but it is exactly the same process you used for KNO3 etc.

This is the working for "sodium molybdate dihydrate" (Na2MoO4·2H2O).

The RMM is 242, you get to 242 by adding together the RAM's of the elements.

Sodium (Na) has a RAM of 23, we need two of these so
Na = 46
Mo = 96
Oxygen has an RAM of 16, we have O4 + O2 so O = (6*16 = 96)
O = 96
Hydrogen has RAM of 1, we have 2*2
H = 4

46 + 96 + 96 + 4 = 242

The percentage of molybdenum (Mo) is 96/242 ~ 40% Mo.

First we need a value to aim for, James says
The TNC Trace, Chempak and CSM+B traces come in powder form and have been made into a solution by adding 3g of trace to 250ml of water....and the content of the TNC trace was "0.002%" Mo.
So we need to do a bit of conversion.

To convert the % nutrient to ppm we need to multiply by 10^4, the reason it is 10^4 is that percentage is "in 100" and 100 is 10^2 . Ppm is "parts per million" and a million is 10^6. 10^6 - 10^2 = 10^4, so we can move the decimal point four places to the right, and the TNC trace contains 20ppm Mo.

I don't know what is the recommended dosing for "TNC trace" is, but if you did? You could use the "12 g in one litre (1000 mL)" to find out how much Mo is in one mL of made up solution.

If I use my "100 litre aquarium" (just makes the maths easier) and aim for 0.02 ppm Mo, I'd need to add 5 mg of Na2MoO4.2H2O as a dry salt. That is going to be fairly difficult, so if I aim to add it as a solution (as part of the all in one).

I could add 1 g of Na2MoO4.2H2O to 1000 mL of water and dose 5mL for the same result.

You would then need to work out all the other elements based on a 5mL dose (of your bespoke all in one solution). That would be part of the reason for making up three separate solutions.

cheers Darrel
 

Penta

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You need @Penta to comment, but my reading would be that the APT mix is designed for substrates (like ADA Amazonia) with a reserve of nitrogen (N) present. Because of this the "ATP complete" it is very light on nitrogen, when compared to its potassium (K+) etc content.
Yeah, rich Amazonia type substrat with Nitrogen and high CEC (because of low Fe dosing)
 

Hanuman

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For the micro-elements you will need to use some maths
The % is already provided to me on the package of each element.

Iron DTPA (Fe-DTPA 7%)
Iron EDTA (Fe-EDTA 13.5%)
Manganese EDTA (Mn-EDTA 13%)
Boron (B 20.9%)
Zinc Chelate (Zn 14%)
Sodium Molybdate (Mo 39.5%)
Copper Chelate (Cu 14%)

I don't know what is the recommended dosing for "TNC trace" is, but if you did? You could use the "12 g in one litre (1000 mL)" to find out how much Mo is in one mL of made up solution.
I assume it's the same as CSM+B as James states in his PMDD+PO4 formulas:
6g EDTA Chelated Trace Elements Mix (TNC Trace, CSM+B)
TNC is stronger but CSM+B contains Magnesium which is already present with the macro mix so I guess TNC it is.

If I use my "100 litre aquarium" (just makes the maths easier) and aim for 0.02 ppm Mo, I'd need to add 5 mg of Na2MoO4.2H2O as a dry salt. That is going to be fairly difficult, so if I aim to add it as a solution (as part of the all in one).

I could add 1 g of Na2MoO4.2H2O to 1000 mL of water and dose 5mL for the same result.

You would then need to work out all the other elements based on a 5mL dose (of your bespoke all in one solution). That would be part of the reason for making up three separate solutions.
I understood the principle and all but one issue remains. I was going to calculate the weight of each element on the rotalabutterfly but I couldn't because some of the elements are not listed, namely, Manganese EDTA (Mn-EDTA 13%), Boron (B 20.9%), Zinc Chelate (Zn 14%), Copper Chelate (Cu 14%). Same with the Zorfox calculator.

Solution 1: Macro-nutrients and magnesium.
Solution 2: Iron chelates.
Solution 3: Trace elements.

For "Solution 2" I'd aim for 0.5 ppm Fe in the tank.
Also for the solution 2 you recommended, what iron should I use? Iron DTPA (Fe-DTPA 7%) or Iron EDTA (Fe-EDTA 13.5%) or both?
 

X3NiTH

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If you can get unchelated salts for everything (to save on the math cos I hate that too) other than the Iron then my recipe posted in the Reconstituters thread might suit. Super easy to measure out and prepare.

Here's my Micro recipe and preparation instructions if you are interested.

500ml Micro Mix @ 1ml/10L -

Fe 0.15 ppm
Mn 0.05 ppm
Zn 0.04 ppm
B 0.03 ppm
Cu 0.002 ppm
Mo 0.0015 ppm
Ni 0.0005 ppm

This mix includes a liquid Fe Gluconate component, 'Grow Microbe-Lift Plants Fe' (bottle instructions 1ml/100L - 0.1 mg/L and the solution in the bottle is pH 3.05).

The preparation water is RO/DI.

I acidified the water beforehand using Ascorbic acid (I had this already and should have used it with the previous 5L preparation noted in my last post) and checked the pH of the solution before adding the salts. At the addition of each salt there was vigorous mixing to achieve near full dissolution (salt crystals disappearing on visual inspection after each shake of the bottle) then the pH probe was put in the resultant mixture and the reading was allowed to stabilise for 5 mins before it was noted down. The following list shows the respective weights of the salts addition and the resultant pH of the mixture, the Mo, Cu and Ni component is derived from individual pre prepared solutions (100ml containers dosing at 10ml/5L for Mo 0.0015, Cu 0.002, Ni 0.0005).

500ml Micro dosed @ 1ml/10L, Preparation as follows -

450ml RO/DI + 0.25g Ascorbic Acid - pH 3.2

+ 0.77g MnSO4.H2O (Mn 0.05 mg/L) - pH 3.42

+ 0.9g ZnSO4.7H2O (Zn 0.04 mg/L) - pH 3.5

+ 0.86g H3BO3 (B 0.03 mg/L) - pH 3.5

+ 0.019g Na2MoO4.2H2O (Mo 0.0015 mg/L) - pH 3.6

+ 0.04g CuSO4.5H2O (Cu 0.002 mg/L) - pH 3.68

+ 0.0113g NiSO4.6H2O (Ni 0.0005 mg/L) - pH 3.74

At this point the resulting mixture is clear with zero precipitation. The addition of the Fe increases the opacity of the mixture.

+ 50ml Fe Gluconate (pH 3.05 - Fe 0.1 mg/L) - pH 3.35 (Green tint to the mix)

+ 2.275g FeDTPA 11% (Fe 0.05mg/L) - pH 3.19 (Brown Green tint to the mix)
The recipe is also really easy to tweak for differing values.

:)
 
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Hanuman

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If you can get unchelated salts for everything (to save on the math cos I hate that too) other than the Iron
:)
Thanks, help appreciated but unfortunately those unchealated traces will not be easily found here without buying loads at the time. All traces that I have are chelated except (if I am not mistaken) for the sodium molyddate (Na2MoO4.2H2O) and the boron (B). Also being in Thailand, buying Grow Microbe-Lift Plants Fe or products that one usually finds easily in Europe or the USA need to be bought through amazone or the like when possible (usually not due to their chemical nature), and shipping usual just makes it not worthwhile.

Grr this is becoming more complicated than I though just to make a simple liquid fertilizer. I'm just stuck at the trace solution and wish someone could just step in to tell me how to do (if possible) with those traces that I already have.
 

Hanuman

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@X3NiTH I was wrong. I was able to find those chemical rather easily and for cheap. I have not yet bought them since I wanted to ask you some questions.
1 - I am proposed different grades (laboratory, industrial, factory). Which one is appropriate?
2 - Can't find Fe Gluconate component, 'Grow Microbe-Lift Plants Fe'. What should I do? I do have Iron DTPA (Fe-DTPA 7%) and Iron EDTA (Fe-EDTA 13.5%).
 

X3NiTH

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You want the Lab grade purity, you want as close to 100% purity as you can obtain, you could get away with lower purity but it may contain undesirable amounts of impurity elements like lead, I personally didn't take that chance and went for Lab grades. I would be inclined to stay away from factory grade as that will have the highest amount of impurity.

An alternative to the Microbe-Lift Plants Fe for ease of use if you can obtain it would be Seachem Flourish Iron (not Flourish Comprehensive as that contains low doses of trace elements). If you have trouble sourcing the Seachem Iron then an alternative is to source Ferrous Gluconate itself, it can can come as a powder or as a liquid and you may be able to get this from a Pharmacy, I would go for the powder if you can. You would also need to source Humic Acid (as a dry powder if you can) and mixing in water (RO/DI or distilled water for zero impurities) with the Fe Gluconate should give you a Seachem or Microbe-Lift facsimile.

You don't have to use a Gluconated Iron source, I like to use it because of its low persistence and that it comes mixed with Humic Acid which may provide some natural chelation for the unchelated traces when it all gets mixed up in the bottle. My aim is to have zero EDTA in the tank as it won't play nice with the Fe and let go of it all at the higher KH/pH I run my tank. I boost my Fe Gluconate dose with FeDTPA (11%) instead as it has a little better persistence at higher pH (detectable the day after dosing).

The choice between using DTPA or EDTA for the Iron depends on the pH of the tank, if you are below 6.5 most of the time then EDTA would do but if the pH is any higher then it will start dropping the Iron making it unavailable. I have measured lower than half of my DTPA dose the next day having spent daytime at pH 6.5 and overnight around pH 7.8 (my KH is about 7.8-8).
 

Hanuman

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Crap. Quotation just came in for all the chems. The lab grades are just insanely expensive. These are the minimum amounts I can buy. Sigh
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 15.38.14.jpg


Edit: prices are in US Dollars.
 
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X3NiTH

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What's the currency in use for the price, hopefully it's in Baht although I suspect it's dollars!
 

Hanuman

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I should have mentioned it indeed but, no those are US dollars else I would not have said it's expensive ;). I converted the currency as this is an international forum.
 

X3NiTH

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Wow, OK that's pretty expensive, being half-serious thinking about it another way for some entertainment, it could be an exceptional deal! If you kept half the minimum amount to yourself and sold the rest you would still have more than a lifetime supply, how much money you want to make from it depends if you can get 1,400 250ml lightfast plastic bottles to fill with premixed trace (makes 350L of mix using 250g of Zinc and dosing at 0.01ppm Zn like Flourish Trace), finding somewhere to sell it though may be tricky but make it dirt cheap like 40Baht on top of the wholesale cost for the bottles and the RO/DI water to mix it with, you would still make a good little profit on the investment.
 

Hanuman

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ahahah yeah seen that way could be worth it but not sure who would by the stuff. There are already a bunch of players on the market here selling fertilizers for planted aquariums. Building trust would take loads of times and I would probably be carrying those 1400 bottle for a pretty long time.
Jokes aside I have to see if I can buy less quantities. Initially I was looking for 100 grams or even less for each element. Maybe buying the CSM + B including shipping might end up being cheaper after all and will last me a life time as well. Sometimes it's just a pain in the ass to live on the other side of the earth. Sometimes it isn't ;)
 
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