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IFC Aquarium Fertilizer Calculator

Hanuman

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4 Jan 2019
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583
Location
Thailand
Hello everyone,

Based on its ancestor, the new IFC Aquarium Fertilizer Calculator is completed at last. This has been a long (sometimes fun, sometimes painful) adventure for me. I have spend more time than I care to admit but here it is, ready to roll. Home screenshot here below:
Screen Shot 2020-12-24 at 09.16.07.jpg
Background: This brand new Excel-based calculator is a work collaboration with @Zeus. and credits also go to him for his initial calculator which served as a working basis. He initially built that calculator for his personal use and needs hoping it might serve others. My role here was to make the calculator accessible and appealing to a wider audience while still preserving the ability to make in-depth configurations. Hence, when designing this new version, not only did I make the best efforts to provide visual guidance to users when using the calculator, but we also incorporated new features. However, please note that it might not be fitted for the super noob who wishes to be spoon fed. Still though, if you are a curious mind and you are willing to learn then nothing stops you from messing around with the file, and that is the idea. Overall, it is always a challenge to make a one-size-fits-all, but we tried our best, so keep that in mind.

In short, this calculator will enable you to do the following in just a few clicks:
  • Create clones of well known commercial/regime fertilizers (macro & micro);
  • Create fertilizers from predefined ppm targets (macro & micro);
  • Create fertilizers from predefined weights (macro & micro);
  • Create custom trace mixes with the ability to do serial dilution easily.
There are a few extras like the ability to save multiple tanks or comparing ppm and prices of known commercial fertilizers with your own. The calculator is also highly configurable so you can tweak things according to your needs or desires.

To conclude, the file is Excel based and there is no MACRO/VBA involved. Before hitting the download button, read the Technical notes below. Trust me, they will save you, and us, some undesired headaches. This said, if you have questions, doubts or suggestions then shoot.

Enjoy.


How it works:
  • SIMPLE: when opening the file everything should be self-explanatory but just in case, you need to start from the 'Home' sheet and follow from there. Carefully read everything as all has its purpose. It can seem daunting at first but learn to love it and it will love you back.
  • Although not required, for best experience and improved visuals you can do the following:
> disable Gridline, Headings and Formulas Bar.​
> disable Error Checking: Tools>Options>Error Checking and uncheck "Enable Background Error Checking"​

Some general recommendations:
  • Using RO/DI water to prepare your fertilizer is strongly advised. At the very least use RO water. Also always acidify the water prior adding any compounds. This is specially true when doing AIO (all-in-one) fertilizers.
  • Prefer dilute solutions that will last you a month or so rather than highly concentrated ones that will last longer. This will prevent unwanted mold build up and/or interactions between elements.
  • The calculator will not tell you which compound you have to use to built your fertilizer so a little research from your side is required (and expected).

A few technical notes:
  • Compatibility: Excel 365 (Win and Mac). Should also work fine with Excel 2016 and Excel 2019. For Excel 2010 and 2013 our initial tests show it works fine but we did not fully test under those versions. In terms of visuals, things might also slightly differ from the intended look. Below those versions (i.e Excel 2007 or lower, the calculator will definitely not work as intended and I will not support if run under those versions, sorry).
  • File will definitely not work as intended with free and open-source office suite like LibreOffice or under Linux and Co. Sorry.
  • Under Excel Online things don't look as intended so I also don't recommend using Excel Online.
  • If you feel you screwed up something with the file or your Excel crashed unexpectedly it might be worth making a fresh download.
  • Although the user has the option to select between metric and imperial units, all user input NEEDS to be done in metric units. Why? Because the imperial units are only there to provide visual guidance.

Bug reporting:
Any comment even those that could seem insignificant are welcome. If you notice something not working or out of wack please state the following:
  1. your Excel version;
  2. a screenshot showing what is not working, and;
  3. a short explanation so we can track the issue easily. Make it short and straight to the point please.
Other than the above technicalities, if you have any questions about how the calculator works or if you have issues using it then please let us know. Hopefully you will find the calculator useful.
[4 Dec. 2020] IFC Fert Cal- v1.04br MasterRelease
[5 Dec. 2020] Added note to OP about Excel Online
[8 Dec. 2020] Added comment about imperial units in technical notes
[9 Dec. 2020] Update to v1.05br. This update covers the following fixes:
  • Typos
  • Formula enhancements in non-user sheets
  • Clarification on the use of "Units" in CoreSettings sheet
  • Dennerle products prices were picking the wrong prices
[13 Dec. 2020] Update to v1.06br. This update covers the following features & fixes:
  • NEW: Added a new trace mix (Manutec Trace Elements)
  • Incorporated Calcium and Sulphate in Trace tables in TargetCalculator and DIYCalculator. This is to allow traces containing Ca and SO4 to show up
  • Added dGH to Trace tables in both TargetCalculator and DIYCalculator
  • Added data validation in TankAndDosing sheet to prevent water change volumes (TAP, RO or combined) going above the tank volume due to incorrect user input
  • Added additional disclaimer regarding product composition
  • Several formula improvements and fixes
  • File cleanup and typos
[26 Dec. 2020] Added thread picture
[16 Jan. 2021] Update to v1.07br. This update covers the following features & fixes: [file not still uploaded]
  • NEW: Added Fe 8 % to traces
  • NEW: Added cost per 1 ppm of element in CostDetails sheet
  • NEW: Added "ADA Green Brighty Iron" and "ADA Green Brighty Mineral" to clone list in TargetCalculator
  • Fixed compare list in DIYTraceCalcuator. It was locked and prevented users from selecting compare traces
  • Fixed text in formula in the "Instructions" column of DIYTraceCalculator when no serial dilution was selected
  • Fixed "ADA Green Brighty Mineral" Fe content (0.01% instead of 0.001%)
  • Fixed Ca % of "Thrive AIO" and "Thrive+ AIO"
  • Fixed elements %. "APFUK Chelated Trace Elements" and "Aqua Plant Care CSM+B" elements % were inverted
  • Renamed "APFUK Fert" to "APFUK Ei Starter 1 Kit" to reflect real product name
  • Added missing traces to "APFUK Ei Starter 1 Kit"
  • Added color coding to Guide sheet
  • Multiple improvements and fixes to formulas and conditional formating
  • File cleanup and typos
[17 Jan. 2021] Added in OP note about Win, MAC and Linux.
 
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Zeus.

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Yorkshire,UK
"Four and half billion years in the making, based on star-dust, endorsed by Gods and brought to you straight from Mount Olympus......."

The IFC Aquarium Fertilizer Calculator


Its ‘International’ status is achieved by co-operation of folk from all over the world in its making and sourcing of information/data relevant to the hobby. The Metric system of units is in the core of the coding, it does also allow the end user to have Imperial units as well. We hope it is used internationally.

Why ‘IFC’ in the early stages before the program had a name, I had a personal message/thread going with the main contributors at the time, Hanuman, Darrel, X3Nith and Fablau. I thought “Fert Club” sounded good as “fert” could be pronounced “Fight” which sounded much cooler, nobody objected and then Darrel came up with the strap line and added an “I” for international and it was sealed, the IFC was formed

Ownership of this program is everybody’s – so free to use or distribute as you see fit. Please support your local forum.

Thanks to all who have helped ‘freely’ in the making of this program directly and indirectly. Without your blogs, threads, posts, articles, FAQs etc it would not have been possible.

Special thanks to

@Hanuman, without whom I dread to think how long it would have taken me, he has spent countless hours working though my coding errors to get the program as intuitive as possible. There’s a cool beer waiting in my fridge and a place at the table for you any time M8

Darrel (aka @dw1305 ), patience of a saint, with the reference ability of a super nano computer when doing replies to my enquires. Author of the IFC ‘strap line’

@X3NiTH (aka – ‘The Half Blood Prince’) Hope we manage to share your potion abilities with all that dare the finer arts of potion making.

@fablau – who has been maintaining and updating Rotala Butterfly for the hobby, since its original author ‘Wet’ sadly passed away

@Andrew Butler – (he requested a copy of my original fert spreadsheet on 2/2/2020)

Hi Andy,

Sorry the first spreadsheet wasn’t very good; I have managed to ‘pool’ together an international team and tidy up the coding a little. Hopefully this version will meet your needs.

Zeus.
 
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Andrew Butler

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Banbury, Oxfordshire
Hi Andy,

Sorry the first spreadsheet wasn’t very good; I have managed to ‘pool’ together an international team and tidy up the coding a little. Hopefully this version will meet your needs
I only wanted to look at how you had your calculations laid out! Still to check this out in its new, finished format but will sure do so.
Thanks Karl (and everybody who put the work in to make it happen)
 

Zeus.

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Yorkshire,UK
I only wanted to look at how you had your calculations laid out! Still to check this out in its new, finished format but will sure do so.
Thanks Karl (and everybody who put the work in to make it happen)
Your welcome Andy, well I had to tidy up what I had and improve it a little then before I knew where I was I thought others may find it useful, the thread started with various releases and the rest is history. It is always good to contribute to the hobby something which may help others as others help me to achieve my present tank.
 

Zeus.

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Hi, tried opening this on a Mac this morning and got this:

I do not use Mac, however @Hanuman did much of his programming on Mac OS as well as Win10, switching form one system to another depending on where he was working on it, so he would be the best person to answer that question seeing it is Mac related. Seeing its the first time you open it you do have nothing to lose either way - 'I think' 😬
 

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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Nottingham
Fantastic work @Zeus. and @Hanuman, an awesome tool, you should both be very proud!

A couple of initial questions from a quick play:

1. Does the calculator automatically assume a single weekly water change? if so, is there a way to account for water changes of different frequencies - e.g. daily water changes, bi-weekly?
2. I haven't seen it, so I'm assuming not, but can the spreadsheet calculate nutrient accumulation?
 

Hanuman

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Fantastic work @Zeus. and @Hanuman, an awesome tool, you should both be very proud!
Thank you. Yes has taken most of my free time in the past 6 months.

1. Does the calculator automatically assume a single weekly water change? if so, is there a way to account for water changes of different frequencies - e.g. daily water changes, bi-weekly?
Yes. Single water change. This is primarily a fertilizer calculator so we didn't account for multiple water changes.

2. I haven't seen it, so I'm assuming not, but can the spreadsheet calculate nutrient accumulation?
No we have not incorporated that. Many other calculators actually do it already but could be added down the road if enough people think it would be a good feature to add.
 

Wookii

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Thank you. Yes has taken most of my free time in the past 6 months.

Wow - that's some serious commitment. I take my hat off to you.

Yes. Single water change. This is primarily a fertilizer calculator so we didn't account for multiple water changes.

It's possibly too complex to incorporate anyway, but as you introduce additional water changes it significantly alters the fert dosing levels required. I can run it on a basic spreadsheet for my own purposes using Goal Seek, based on matched accumulation to standard dosing and water change schedules, but it's not very elegant.

For example, if you add an extra 50% water change on a Wednesday to standard dosing, you need to increase the 3x-weekly dosing by a factor of 1.8. (e.g. a 20ppm 3 x weekly dose becomes a 36ppm 3 x weekly dose).

If you dose daily and have a daily 25% water change (like I do) you need to increase the total weekly dosing quantities by a factor of 3.5.

If I run enough examples (or someone with a better mathematical brain than me thinks it through) it might be possible to come up with a simple formula for calculating a percentage increase based on dosing frequency, water change volume, and water change frequency - but probably out of the scope for this calculator, so sorry for the digression, just thinking out loud.

No we have not incorporated that. Many other calculators actually do it already but could be added down the road if enough people think it would be a good feature to add.

I'll add a vote for that then - assuming you are looking to add more features going forward (and no one would blame you if you wanted to call it job done and leave the Calculator as is).
 

Hanuman

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Yes for now I will focus on making this release the most stable as possible. New features could be added down the road of course but at present moment I want to make sure everything is working as it should... and I need some rest too 😂. It has actually taken a toll on me. Going to bed quite late everyday and dreaming of numbers.😴
 

Zeus.

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1. Does the calculator automatically assume a single weekly water change? if so, is there a way to account for water changes of different frequencies - e.g. daily water changes, bi-weekly?
As Hani said, but will give it some thought, but not something that's going to be implemented soon as we are after focusing on any potential issues and fixes for what we have produced so far.
2. I haven't seen it, so I'm assuming not, but can the spreadsheet calculate nutrient accumulation?
As Hani said again, but I have been giving it a little thought to the integration of a 'nutrient accumulation' sheet and some graphs as all the data is already there so would need no user input. But focusing on getting what we have done as polished as possible. Everything we have added are things we both find/think are useful. But not sure I would use a 'nutrient accumulation data' as with a 50% WC it is irrelevant IMO.
Fantastic work @Zeus. and @Hanuman, an awesome tool, you should both be very proud!

Thank you, Like Hani said it has consumed a lot of our time. ' do or do not, there is no try' -Yoda
 

Hanuman

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This must be the best Christmas present for all into DIY ferts in this hobby. Thank you so much.
I hope I can manage to find my way around this one. Can not wait to check it out.
Ofcourse yet I don't know how intuitive this new version is... and I don't like to push any further work on you guys... anyway I have to mention after trying out the last version:
A guided tour, like a video of you experts calculating some eksampel and show newbies around the sheet... I am sure it would help a lot of people to actually step down the road of diy ferts.
Can wait to calculate and probably fine tune my fert mixes... thanks again.
Thank you and you are welcome.

I tried my best to make the calculator user friendly and to guide the user through the process but I know that without any background it might be a bit difficult for a new comer to understand all those numbers.

I might detail a bit more the guide sheet that is already included in the calculator in order to clarify certain things but at this stage a video is not planned. I will reflect on it but no promise.

The reality is that the calculator is not meant for super newbs although with some willingness to learn anyone can use it. Reason being that newbs usually don't go for DIY ferts at first. They tend to start with commercial products which is entirely appropriate.

Anyhow now that it is out there we welcome any suggestions to improve the calculator.
 
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Hanuman

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The whole context: 😉

« However, please note that it might not be fitted for the super noob who wishes to be spoon fed. Still though, if you are a curious mind and you are willing to learn then nothing stops you from messing around with the file, and that is the idea. »

@Zeus. great to hear it's done pal, Its been a long time coming eh! I'm really looking forward to checking it out
Yeap lots of work involved. 6 months in the making. Even if you are a noob I am glad if you can use the new calculator. 👍
 
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