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Opinions for root tabs

EA James

Member
Joined
22 Jul 2019
Messages
553
Location
Staines-upon-Thames
Evening all,
My tropica nutrition capsules are nearly all gone so I need to stock up with some more. Ive been having a look about and have TNC make tabs, I use there liquid ferts so would like to give these a try.
Does anyone use them or have another recommendation?
Cheers, James
 

Sammy Islam

Member
Joined
12 Mar 2019
Messages
692
Location
Hertfordshire
I use the tnc root tabs and the seachem ones which are both great. The seachem ones have a lot of different nutrients on the ingredient list so tend to lean towards them.
 

Onoma1

Member
Joined
12 Aug 2018
Messages
516
Location
West Yorkshire
I have started to use osmocote. The results so far seem to be very positive. Its also a heck of a lot cheaper than branded stuff. Scatter it on the base or insert encased in icecubes for specific plants
 

MWood

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2017
Messages
92
Location
London
I'm another osmocote user, though always a bit unsure how densely to scatter on start up... I did intend to use the Seachem ones as i liked the idea of crushing them up for use in shallow foreground planting, but clearly not enough to remember to actually buy them and give it a try.
 

deeproots

Member
Joined
26 Sep 2016
Messages
48
Location
Bedfordshire
We can't get the osmocote used in the hobby in the UK? I think it's a US blend? What product is everyone using if you are UK based?
 

deeproots

Member
Joined
26 Sep 2016
Messages
48
Location
Bedfordshire
Thanks Darrel - as usual good info and links - I thought the NPK values were different in the UK ones or there was some other key ingredient issue (ammonia or something else). I need to find the link again which showed this
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,694
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I thought the NPK values were different in the UK ones or there was some other key ingredient issue (ammonia or something else).
They may be, that is often issue with horticultural fertilisers, they use urea (CH4N2O ~ 46% N) or ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3 ~ 33% N) as a nitrogen source. Very useful for your plants but that makes them fairly dangerous to your livestock.

Have a look at @Barbara Turner's posts in <"Soil enrichment">.

cheers Darrel
 

Mark Nicholls

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2020
Messages
66
Location
Stevenage
I have made my own root tabs which have proven extremely effective and economical and you only need two easily sourced ingredients!
I used:
  1. Fullers Earth in my original experiment however, I am in the process of ordering some red pottery clay powder for my next batch. It's really important that the clay or fullers earth is the red variety as the redness is the cheated iron which is essential.
  2. E.I. Complete Fertilizer salts. I bought mine from CO2 Supermarket as this is the mix I use for my liquid fert too. Instead of using salts, any liquid fert for aquaria would work.
Here's what I did:
  1. Mixed in a measured amount of salts with the powder.
  2. Added enough dechlorinated tap water (cold) to make up a stiff clay.
  3. Rolled the clay into balls of various sizes. Small for foreground plants and large for background and greedy plants.
  4. Allow to airdry overnight. Baking is not an option as I will destroy some of the chemicals.
  5. Store in a cool dry cupboard until needed.
The advantages of this method are that:
  • The clay also contains nutrients and minerals which aren't in the fert mix.
  • The clay is easy to handle and to push into any substrate.
  • It slowly softens and releases it's contents over a period of approx a month and after that, it just becomes part of the substrate.
Most importantly, I know exactly what I'm putting into my tank and can very accurately place the clay balls near or under roots. As a final advantage, being heavy, the clay balls can't be uprooted by burrowing fish such as loaches and will therefore stay where they are put.
IMG_20200216_175959.jpg

The image above shows the dried clay balls. They appear slightly grey as the salts do tend to crystallize slightly on the skin whilst they are drying. This was probably due to the fact that I dried these on a radiator as they were needed fairly quickly.
As an alternative, it is possible to go completely organic and use seaweednextract as the liquid feet instead. Apparently it is fairly effective however, seaweed contains a high content of iodine which can inhibit growth in large amounts.
Here's an easy to follow instruction.
DIY_Natural_Clay_Fertilizer_Balls-Aquarium_Plants.jpg

By using these in conjunction with E.I. Liquid fertilisation, my swords and crypts are really really taking off and I have spare money which I can then spend on more plants!!!

As a final thought, red montmillorite clay, red fullers earth and red pottery clay can be used on their own as substrate certs as they all contain the essential cheated iron and minerals. However, they will be slightly less effective without the addition of extra salts.

Hope this helps!
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,694
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
As a final thought, red montmillorite clay, red fullers earth and red pottery clay can be used on their own as substrate certs as they all contain the essential cheated iron and minerals.
That was the idea behind adding laterite to the soil layer that <"Dupla popularized in the 1990s">.

There can still be some issues, the red colour is iron, but it is in the form of hydrated ferric oxide (Fe(III)O2, "rust"), so it isn't plant available all the time the <"substrate is aerobic">, there may also be problems with hard water.

Have a look at @Zeus.'s, and @Craig Matthews's threads about <"FeEDDHA">.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,694
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
is one more suitable than the other to be put into ice cubes for diy root tabs, looking on amazon both are available.
The slower release formulation is better, but it will still release nutrients much faster in the tank then it would in potting compost, so you need to use it fairly sparingly.

cheers Darrel
 

Paul Willi

Member
Joined
5 Nov 2019
Messages
101
Location
Maidstone
Thanks Darrel
Anyone tried
Pinia Balls Root Tabs Fertiliser from Aquaplantcare ? Thinking these could be more suitable as I have plain gravel sub.
Cheers 🍻
 

Andy Pierce

Member
Joined
27 Nov 2020
Messages
258
Location
Cambridge, UK
If people are doing EI dosing, is there really any point to root tabs? All the substrate will be saturated with the EI fertiliser anyway... never really saw the sense in root tabs unless fertiliser in the water is limiting, and even in that case in a tank with good water circulation I might expect the root tab fertilisers to very rapidly equilbrate with the bulk water essentially as soon as anything dissoves from them. Full disclosure: I've never used root tabs.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,694
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
is slower release always better? The 12-14 month osmocoat is available on the well known auction site!
Slower the better really.
I might expect the root tab fertilisers to very rapidly equilbrate with the bulk water essentially as soon as anything dissoves from them.
Yes, I think that is probably right, even the slowest release formulation of Osmocote will still go into solution fairly rapidly. Dependent upon the substrates CEC you may get retention of the ions with higher valency (Ca++ etc.) in the substrate, but potassium (K+) and nitrate (NO3-) are very lightly bound and will make their way into the water column.

cheers Darrel
 
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