For Dan ... Spezial N - Nitrogen Fertilizer

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by Tobias Coring, 2 Feb 2011.

  1. Tobias Coring

    Tobias Coring Member

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    Hi Dan and of course all other Ukaps Members,

    Dan and I've talked about the nitrogen fertilizer with calciumnitrate, magnesiumnitrate, potassiumnitrate and urea in Hannover.

    Here you can find the original thread about it at flowgrow (rubbish translated by google...)

    http://translate.google.de/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.flowgrow.de/naehrstoffe/diskussion-ar-makro-spezial-n-mikro-spezial-hybrid-t12464.html&act=url

    To sum it up for all of you.

    In Germany many people have problems with accumulating potassium in their tanks. Many of us aquarium hobbyists have potassium test kits with photometers and they can measure the potassium level very accurate. When fertilizing only with KNO3 many have problems after a while. Potassium rises and rises and you do not fertilize enough nitrogen in comparison to the potassium. If potassium is way higher than nitrogen it could lead to some problems. Only some plants suffer from this, the majority will still grow nice. And of course this does not happen in every tank. Makes it alot more confusing ;).
    Especially with Heminathus callitrichoides you can get problems. Leaves getting smaller and smaller and the plant isn't growing as it should. Other plants show similar signs.

    Using the new nitrogen fertilizer solves this problems. Somehow it works even more intense than using only organic nitrogen additives like ammonium or only urea (where you do not add potassium either). I have never seen such a dramatic reaction of my plants using a new fertilizer. You can see reactions of the plants very fast. In my case I've seen intense deficiency of micronutrients. It was a matter of days till my rotala sp. green for example showed nearly white tips and some necrotic holes. I needed to add a lot more micronutrient fertilizer and some more potassium too. So I needed to add some more potassiumnitrate besides the new nitrogen fertilizer to my tanks but it really depends on your tank. Some need more potassium some not. Some need much more micronutrients some not. But overall all testers had the same very good results regarding growth, when finetuning their systems with the new nitrogen fertilizer.
    I had a bigger test running with around 30 people and I've used it in my own 4 tanks of my showroom too with success. Especially HC is growing intense in those tanks where it wasn't growing at all before.

    I have 1 Iwagumi with minilandscaperocks. There the growth of HC was always good. In two other tanks HC wasn't growing that well. In those it changed dramatically.

    Here are pictures of the iwagumi:

    http://www.flowgrow.de/aquarienvorstellungen/iwagumi-aquasabi-showroom-120x45x45-t11164.html

    The other 3 showroomtanks:

    http://www.flowgrow.de/aquarienvorstellungen/240-liter-pflanzenbecken-aquasabi-showroom-t12011.html

    http://www.flowgrow.de/aquarienvorstellungen/360-liter-aquasabi-showroom-t12010.html

    http://www.flowgrow.de/aquarienvors...bis-kleines-schaubecken-t9849-45.html#p110853

    From some other guys using the fertilizer:

    http://www.flowgrow.de/aquarienvorstell ... 12854.html

    http://www.flowgrow.de/aquarienvorstell ... 13636.html

    http://www.flowgrow.de/aquarienvorstell ... 11923.html


    I'm producing ferts commercially (Aqua Rebell and sell them through my shop "Aquasabi") for people who do not want to work with all those chemicals.
    But here is the recipe for the new nitrogen fertilizer, i've posted it at my community http://www.flowgrow.de too:

    For one litre of water add :
    25.9 g potassium nitrate
    29.5 g calcium nitrate
    17.6 g magnesium nitrate
    5 grams of urea..... ( Your tankwater pH should be <7 to avoid problems with ammonia)
    That will add 1 ppm NO3, 0,2 ppm K, 0,1 ppm Ca and 0,033 ppm Mg.
    Dosing 1 ml per 50 litre of tank water.


    Nearly all German aquascapers are using my fertilizers for their tanks. For example all people won at Hannover "The Art of the Planted Aquarium" (Place 1-4 and Place 8 ) have used my ferts. Especially the lush Hemianthus callitrichoides from the winner tank used that new nitrogen fertilizer. The 3rd place used the "Spezial N" too.
    Alot of other customers from me had very good results with that nitrogen fertilizer too.

    Of course they all are using not only my macronutrient ferts but I think with micronutrient fertilizers you will never see such a drastic reaction when changing from one company's fert to the other than with this macronutrient fertilizer.
    The majority of the German aquascapers are using my micronutirent fertilizer "Aqua Rebell Mikro Spezial Flowgrow". Organic chelated iron mix with irongluconate and ironcitrate. Some are just using my normal blend micro fert "Mikro Basic Eisenvolldünger" a fully stabilized micro nutrient mix like alot of other ferts on the market with EDTA, DTPA and HEEDTA)

    Maybe some of you want to give it a try and mix it up and test it ;). Of course you are also welcome to buy it from me :D. But the recipe is just some lines above.

    Best regards
    Tobi
    => admin/owner of http://www.flowgrow.de and owner of the aquascaping shop http://www.aquasabi.de <=
     
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  2. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

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    Great stuff, Tobi! Thanks for sharing. :thumbup:

    Loved your Nature Aquarium visit lecture too, by the way.
     
  3. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for sharing Tobi, something to try with the next mixture :)
     
  4. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Some very nice looking tanks there! :thumbup:

    so where can we all the ingredients in the uk?
     
  5. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

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    My first call would be our sponsors - Fluid Sensor and Aquarium Plant Food UK.
     
  6. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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  7. Tobias Coring

    Tobias Coring Member

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    Hi,

    please remember that the recipe uses one type of calciumnitrate and magnesiumnitrate. Of course you can use any kind of calcium- / magnesiumnitrate but you have consider the crystalwater in the formula regarding the weight of the salt and than need to calculate a little bit to achieve the added nutrients from the recipe.


    I'm using:

    Ca(NO3)2*4(H2O) - Calciumnitrate
    Mg(NO3)2x6H2O - Magnesiumnitrate

    Best regards
    Tobi
     
  8. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Clive - what do you reckon to this?
     
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I mean, the world hasn't changed overnight and the thousands of people who are dosing high levels of K and are not having any problems would completely disagree that excess K is a problem.

    JamesC dosed with urea and got great results. Urea and ammonium salts have about a 4X higher Nitrogen yield so this part is reasonable, however NH3/NH4 is 700X more toxic to fish than NO3 so one has to be careful. So adding 5 grams of urea is almost like adding 20 grams of KNO3. My tanks are run with 60ppm K+ and I have no problems with the 70+ species so this conclusion of K+ toxicity simply can't be true. There must be some other factor at play.

    The fact that there are inconsistent results indicates that there is a misdiagnosis of why some people are having difficulty growing plants and what the fix actually is. If some people's tanks were low in calcium or low in magnesium then it would make sense that adding more of these would result in an improvement. If people weren't adding enough nitrate this would also fix the problem. If you don't add enough PO4 this also stifles N uptake, so there are many scenarios that can cause this illusion.

    Since we don't know the details of the experiment or the condition of the various peoples tanks prior to the experiment it's not possible to validate the results.

    Cheers,
     
  10. Tobias Coring

    Tobias Coring Member

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    Hi Clive,

    you can read the facts of the tanks at flowgrow. And I only said that those potassium levels could be the problem but not that they are for every one. At all I can say, that urea and ammonium do not work as the nitrogen fert with the different compounds of nitrate.
    With only ammonium and urea you can fertilize without potassium but I never had such tremendous growth with any of those.

    I've been fertilizing my tanks with any routine out there. Doing E.I., doing PMDD doing whatever else... po4 limited etc, organic nitrogen in any form etc. All worked, but with some I did not achieve the best results with every plant.
    One culprit was for example with EI that many plants looked like nitrogen shortage and with just KNO3 it isn't working at all. I've added KNO3 till 80 ppm. In other tanks EI is doing great... but somehow inconsistent.
    Take my Iwagumi and my "planted tank" for example. Same setup. Identical tanks (120x45x45) with same ligh fixture (6x54 watt dimmable - Easy Life Paradiso), CO2 in excess (KH4 solution in drop checker light green), good flow with a JBL e1500 on both tanks. PO4 always non limited, KNO3 dosage of 3-5 ppm NO3 per day, a little bit Seachem Equilibrium at water changes (50% per week). Both tanks have aquasoil as a substrate.
    In the iwagumi the HC growth intense and in the other tank it's nearly dying. Since the new nitrogen fertilizer I do not have problems with HC in the other tank.

    I do not tell that this fert is some magic water that will solve all your problems, but I know that it has solved some of our problems in German tanks.

    I for example need to fertilize at least 3 ppm Nitrate to my tanks daily. If I do it only with potassiumnitrate it isn't working in all tanks. For example in my tank with minilandscape rocks it's working ;). In others not. Especially with very soft tap water I do get problems with only KNO3.

    And clive....

    "Thousands of people are dosing high amounts of K" that's exactly what Tom Barr is telling. Maybe right... but please show me 1000 superb running tanks with excellent plant growth. Maybe some of those 1000 have it, but the majority will only have descent growth. And that's still not the point. I do not need and do not want to prove anything. I really do not need it ;). In my community really alot of people are using my ferts and they have excellent grwoth effect with this combination of nitrates. Besides I really do not see those thousands (even more than 1000) great looking tanks on the planted tank communities and I've been reading all those planted tank communities for some years now. Here and there you see a jewel but all together those aren't thousands and especially there aren't thousands who dose potassium in excess and have best lush plant growth. Especially the asians are very conservative regarding big amounts of macronutrients. Look in the ADA gallery for example ;). ADA's system uses big amounts of potassium too... I've not seen one tank with good growth of HC in the NA Gallery. But of course it could be anything else that leads to that specific growthproblems.

    But Calcium and Magnesium are not the case for any of those growth problems. It's not the small quantities of calcium and magnesium which are doing the trick. Could not be... because than you would achieve the same results with just adding calcium and magnesium. No one in my community could ever solve problems with just adding calcium. German tap water always has enough calcium and magnesium in only rare cases is not enough.We've tried all of that too ;). Adding huge amounts of calcium and magnesium.
    CO2 it isn't either. We are all using drop checkers with KH4 solution in my community and we all know that flow is essential in our tanks. Big quantity of people in my community use ADA aquasoil as a substrate too. And we are all not scared of PO4 ;).

    But to sum it up:

    Maybe potassium could have something to do with some problems. Fact is that potassium isn't used 1:1 with nitrogen. You will nearly always get a build up of potassium when only using KNO3.
    Against the potassium thing is standing that you cannot achieve the same results with urea and ammonium alone as a nitrogen source. You maybe get good growth but you will not see such intense reactions of your plants than with the other nitrogen fertilizer (positive or negative, depends what else you are dosing).

    - PO4 can be limited but is not needed to be limited. I for myself have around 0,1-1,0 ppm PO4 in my tanks.
    - CO2 is always 30+ ppm with good flow in the tank
    - substrate ADA Aquasoil
    - micronutrient fertilizer in needed quantity.


    There were not any scientific experiments regarding that ferilizer. Only subjective tests from people of my community. I've sent out around 30 bottles to people who are willing to test it and report back. Different setups to see how that fert is doing and if they experience the same results as I was. Now around 100 more people are using the fertilizer since I've started selling it too.

    Thing is... I'm not here for discussion and I'm not here for selling :D. I'm here for sharing ... I know that it works somehow ;). Feel free to try it too and report. That's why I've posted the recipe. I would be very interested if you get similar results.
    More a practical approach than a scientific one. And really I yet do not know why this fert is working that well and intense.

    Best regards
    Tobi
     
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  11. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

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    This is really interesting. Dan was talking about this on the way home from Hannover and I was fascinted. You certainly cannot deny the results. I've never seen such healthy HC in my life, and I consider my own carpets over the years as quite nice.

    I don't understand the science too much, but look forward to trying this new recipe out for myself at some point.

    Are you running any tanks at the moment, Clive? Is it worth trying it out for yourself, I wonder?

    Thanks again for contributing, Tobi - and Clive, of course! :thumbup:
     
  12. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

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    I must admit it's interesting to read about.

    This comment is interesting...

    and one i agree with. I've seen the odd picture from NAG, with HC not looking very well at all.

    wouldn't that be down to user error though?... So many people bang on about ADA this and that, but I've seen full ADA systems 'fail'...it's not the product, but rather the person in control of the product.

    I believe its the same issue with EI, wrong dosing, can give problems also.

    Whether the product is enough to make me change is yet to be seen, but i'm always willing to try new things.
     
  13. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    I don't think there is anything wrong with using calcium / magnesium nitrate, as well as potassium nitrate, as an approach. I also agree with Clive it doesn't matter where that N (or any other element) comes from "a nitrate is a nitrate is a nitrate". The reason people use KNO3 is not that it has some wonderful unique properties, but that it is easily obtainable, soluble and supplies both K and N. Same with magnesium from MgSO4.7H2O cheap, easily obtainable and soluble. If you were starting from scratch and formulating your "perfect mix" then you might use potassium, magnesium and calcium nitrates.

    In the plant growing fraternity it is only us that are worried about ammonium nitrate (NH3NO3), and that is because of the problems of its toxicity to animals, and nothing to do with plants themselves. Because I dose nutrients to a much lower level than you would with EI, at present I'm using some remaindered "citrus fruit liquid feed" (complete with ammonium nitrate) as my occasional nutrient source, although I wouldn't recommend this as a method.

    The magnesium nitrate hexahydrate is cheap in the link, so I would use that (and ignore the Ca(NO3)2.4H2O), although it doesn't contain very much N (about 10% N & 9%Mg). If people want to make up the suggested recipe you can buy 25Kg of fertiliser grade "Calcinit" for about £15, rather than paying that for 500g of anhydrous.

    All nitrate compound are hygroscopic, so unless you keep them in a desiccator they will end as the hydrated forms any way.

    cheers Darrel
     
  14. Tobias Coring

    Tobias Coring Member

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    Hi,

    of course a plant should not care which form of NO3 it's getting but somehow the plants react much different when using this mixture.

    I'Ve added CaNO3 alone for some weeks without that results, I've too used NH4NO3 for a long time and many other nitrogen sources. And for organic nitrogen compounds I do see the problem with toxity too. Give a beginner a NH4 solution and he maybe will kill all his stock.

    At all I do not deny that most of the systems like EI, PMDD or whatever work, but sometimes you struggle with your own tank. It's not always an easy solution like "more CO2, more KNO3, more KH2PO4, more flow or more this and that". This would even be to easy and we all would have the best looking plant tanks ever.

    So we need some tweaked options to test and I've seen that for example this particular nitrogen fertilizer works very good. You have to be carefull and observe your tank, because it could be that you see intense micro nutrient shortages or potassium deficiency. But than you can react and finetune your system till perfection. I too use KNO3 for my tanks beside the new nitrogen fertilizer but with only KNO3 I do have some kind of problems with certain plants. Most of my plants are doing very fine, but some look not as good as I like to.
    And of course I cannot say that this nitrogen mixture will work in every tank. You need to finetune. Some may not but most ofthe users of this fertilizer had to change something regarding their usual fertilizing routine.

    Give it a shot.

    @Mark Evans
    It could be.... that the system itself does not fail, the user is doing, but especially the EI is that damn easy to understand that most of the people cannot fail in the application or the CO2 delivery or the flow. Some will, but if you are an advanced hobbyist you will not. But on some tanks you still have some problems. This should not be, if it is that easy.
    From my point of view you need to find the right micronutrient mix which is working good regarding chelatation and your tapwater. (pH => kind of chelators used in the micro nutrient mix, availability of the micronutrients during the time). Filtration is also an essential part. Do not "overfilter" your tank if it's a planted tank. Your filter could grab the nitrogen before your plants are able to. Regarding iron the same.

    Always look first for enough CO2 and nitrogen and after that keep in mind that you need PO4 and K too to grow lush plants.

    And of course do not think that the way you are maintaining your tank can work on every other tank on the planet ;). The person that would invent something like that would be rich ;).

    And last but not least.... look at your plants. They will tell you what they need :D.

    Best regards
    Tobi
     
  15. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

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    Thanks mate :thumbup: i'll bare all of that in mind :D
     
  16. tyrophagus

    tyrophagus Member

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    Can overfiltering remove npk from the tank?
     
  17. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Tobi,
    As I mentioned before, the benefits of using urea are well documented. Discussions have occurred both here and at APC as noted in the thread Dosing with Ammonia and Urea

    There is little doubt that urea is an effective Nitrogen source, as I said, primarily because it is converted externally by the enzyme Urease to form ammonium which is then consumed by the plant. Ammonium is much less expensive for the plant to pull Nitrogen from. In fact, in order for the plant to use NO3 it must first be converted to NH4 and then stripped of the Nitrogen. That is the science of why it works better than NO3. Unfortunately, NH4 is as toxic to plants as it is to everything else and so if there is excess, the plant converts it to NO3 for storage.

    This has nothing to do with Potassium. So I'm not arguing about whether urea works better or not, I'm already convinced of it's effectiveness, but what I am saying is that you are misdiagnosing the causal factors for poor performance as K+ toxicity, which is an illusion. If the problem in the tank was poor Nitrogen uptake and you fixed it with a product that has a 400% greater Nitrogen efficiency, well, of course it will improve performance, but it is only a coincidence that the K+ levels dropped, because you substituted a non K+ Nitrogen source. Plants do fine with a vast range of K+. So, increased performance is due to increased N, NOT due to reduced K+.

    In high light tank, improved N uptake efficiency has a tremendous effect, however, it is also possible to improve performance by radically increasing PO4. That is one of the functions of PO4. So, there a re many ways of achieving the goal. If the tank has sensitive species, using urea is not necessarily the best way forward. For those who have a plant-only tank, and need to get growth going, say, to meet a competition deadline, urea is an excellent alternative because there is no toxicity concern.

    In James' case, he was having difficulty growing Althernanthera and the addition of urea had a positive impact, so yes Nitrogen hungry species can benefit, but there is a risk, so people need to be made aware of the risks as well as the benefits and they do not need more illusions about K+. There are enough myths.

    Here is what I absolutely LOVE about your recipe:
    People are always going on and on about how high GH makes it difficult to dissolve CO2 and how plants need soft water and all of that. I try to explain the best I can that this is another illusion but I get the feeling that folks just don't believe me. Well, here you go. That recipe is almost like adding GH Booster (Calcium + Magnesium)so now I can point to your recipe as further evidence that GH is irrelevant!

    Cheers,
     
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Re:

    No, but high levels of biomedia house high levels of nitrifying bacteria which will compete with the plants for ammonium, oxidizing it to NO2=>NO3 theoretically lowering the effectiveness of ammonium dosing.

    Cheers,
     
  19. Tobias Coring

    Tobias Coring Member

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    Hi Clive,

    sorry mate... I think you are not reading what I'm typing.

    It's not the Urea part in the fertilizer. As I've said in Germany alot of people are dosing with NH4 or Urea or with a commercially available fert containing no3nh4, kno3 and urea (which is available for SOME years now... ) and they all do not get the same results as with using this recipe. Maybe here only James made some tests but in Germany we are aware of the positive effects of organic nitrogen for quite some years (decades) ;).
    So please read what I'm telling. It's not the less energetic uptake approach that is working here.
    You are getting quite a little bit to theoretically here. Theory is one thing... praxis the other. I cannot explain it scientificly beacause I do not understand why this fertilizer works that good. A plant should not care which NO3 form it's getting. As you've told the less energetic part of using NH4 for a plant should be considered, but not in this case. We only have very little Urea in this solution.

    And regarding the GH Booster part... please do the math ;). When adding 3 ppm daily of NO3 with this fertilizer you are only adding 2 ppm Ca and 0,7 ppm Mg per week. I do not see the big GH boosting part of this fertilizer. You are adding around 0,44°dGH per week with a higher (EI like) NO3 dosage. If you fertilize only around 1 ppm NO3 per day you will only get ~0,15 °dGH. Sorry ... I really do not see the essential GH boosting part of this fert.
    50% water changes are always made by the majority of people in my community, so you will not get a build up of the GH too.

    Besides... I did not test it in an experimental setup, and I know how to setup experimental tests from university..., but for example if someone using this fert is again dosing high amounts of K+ to a tank formely running great he will again get exact those problems and this is repeatable again and again. All other variables kept unlimited only changing this one variable.
    If K+ gets much higher than NO3 you can (you do not need to) get problems. If it's the K+ itself or something else interfering with. I really do not care and could of course be some correlation. Botanists and plant experts from Germany (and I know quite some, all have the same idea regarding K+ and NO3). If K+ gets way higher than NO3 it could lead to problems. Maybe you guys should get K+ test kits to get an idea how much K+ you have in your tanks. I for myself am not the "water testing" guy... I look at my plants. But many in my community do tests with very precise testkits. They were all measuring skyhigh K+ levels when adding just KNO3.
    As I've said earlier... could all be correlations...


    Anyway I always doubted those experts... always preaching the same lines like you.
    Look thousands are dosing high amounts of K+. they only use KNO3, they have no trouble... but if it's K+ or not... with this nitrogen fertilizer it's working much better and it's NOT the urea part I'm talking about. Than all this should have worked with only NH4 or Urea too and believe me I have heavily used those organic nitrogen sources in some tanks and many mates of me too.

    Regarding filtration... of course a high stocked filter with sinterglass or other high biological filtermedia can go anaerobobic and use alot of nitrogen (nitrate too). You can measure it in many tanks (thousands I would say ;)).


    Best regards
    Tobi
     
  20. nayr88

    nayr88 Member

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    I really haven't got anywhere for this information in my brain, understanding alternating current theory on my electricle course gives me a head-ache... haha and I'm still new to the planted tank scene, however I did pick up on the words 'better” and 'HC' :) and that's good enough for me :) is there a online German shop that we can buy this stuff from premade? I'm sure its cheaper to mix yourself but plenty of UK based suppliers also offer premixed EI 'starter kits' containing all you need and dosing instructions.

    :D
     

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