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Tropica root tabs and surface film

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11 Apr 2013
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Hi all, I added root tabs yesterday evening during my weekly routine. Tropica type. After I got home today I noted a hazy hue in my tank, drop checker more yellow than normal and I’ll my Oto catfish were stationary. When I angled my spray bar up to create more gas exchange I noted bubbles forming and an obvious surface tension but not typical film I have experienced. My skimmer going 24/7 didn’t clear it. Anyone else experience same after adding tropica root tabs.
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Ghettofarmulous

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Of course I had picked up some shrimp on my way home.

I’ll update over next few days. No time to google what the casing around tropica tabs are but maybe it’s gelatine or something. Definitely something on the surface, no oily sheen, doesn’t break when touched, almost a more viscous layer but no visual presence if that makes sense

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Ghettofarmulous

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I did a test with tap water vs same water with dissolved root tab.

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Before adding tab after a good splash mix.


9F8DB86F-880E-4520-9ED3-3AF86D8A84D9.jpeg

After adding root tab with a good splash mix.

It appears I have found the cause. As all my equipment is isolated from the rest of the household I could only put it down to the one change I observed. Addition of root tabs.

Perhaps I have misused them in some way but I followed the advise of many YouTube vids. Bury deep, none floated. After a 70% water change the surface tension still exists albeit reduced however, it acts like a weak polymer solution. I will have to observe closely tomorrow.

Thankfully I run my Co2 at a lime green, not so close to yellow so I hadn’t completely gassed them out. With the surface tension at a higher rating the oxygen wasn’t getting in as quick, and the Co2 wasn’t escaping as quick. I think my surface skimmer whilst not removing the offending element it provided some aeration. I got lucky.

I’d appreciate anyone’s input here. I would assume it will break down naturally.
 
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Ghettofarmulous

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Well I just did an ammonia test with this one (in date). I don’t know what’s going on. It was 0 the day before.
 

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Aqua360

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Hi all, I added root tabs yesterday evening during my weekly routine. Tropica type. After I got home today I noted a hazy hue in my tank, drop checker more yellow than normal and I’ll my Oto catfish were stationary. When I angled my spray bar up to create more gas exchange I noted bubbles forming and an obvious surface tension but not typical film I have experienced. My skimmer going 24/7 didn’t clear it. Anyone else experience same after adding tropica root tabs. View attachment 178353
View attachment 178354
View attachment 178355
View attachment 178356

When I used them, they floated up and caused an ammonia spike which killed my shrimps. Then tropica said it was my fault.

Thanks Tropica!

P.S people may have different experiences, mine was terrible though; I would recommend against these root tabs strongly.
 

Konsa

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Hi
Tropica and many other similar products are more or less Osmocote in gelatine capsule.Really can't get my head around how people pay those prices for the branded ones.50 -100 capsules cost less then £2 and jar of Osmocote is like £3.
Those slow release fertilizers dump nutrients rapidly in water and often their Nitrogen is Ammonia based so very easy to over do it.
I do use Osmocote in base layer if not using nutrient rich substrate without the gelatine casing just a light sprinkle on bottom before adding substrate. Also insert individual grains here and there sometimes but in very limited amount and as deep as possible.
In past used to make holes with a needle in the gelatine casing to aid the water going in and reduce the chance of them floating on me but as said above changed my application metod.

Regards Konstantin
 

Ghettofarmulous

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So I texted in duplicate to be sure, at the surface and using a new pipette at the substrate. Both came out as indicator for high ammonia, tested tap water and zero.
D780D6E9-8B1F-487A-9551-EAA308B5A5E9.jpeg

I have replaced the water x2 and I will aerate. Co2 will remain off until I’m happy system has stabilised.
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I have always planned for such an event so I grabbed my incident bag containing pumps, hoses etc and was able to respond quickly. I’m happy I did.

I use tropica plants substrate and products were I can. Living in Ireland it is not always freely available without travelling far or paying delivery. I’m disappointed that for all the research I did I didn’t come across significant warnings.

I’ll update tomorrow
 

Ghettofarmulous

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What a nightmare... Also very strange that there are no more reports of this happening.

Have you thought about fishing the root tabs out? I would dose Seachem Prime or a similar product in the meantime. Best of luck!
I will dose a cap of Prime to the tank in addition to the dosage I gave when dechlorinating. I don’t know the ration to ammonia vs prime but I doubt I needed to dose prime for chlorine as ammonia-N will eat 10mg/l of chlorine for every 1 mg/l of ammonia-N.

I didn’t go digging the tabs up. I’m more hoping the system will stabilise instead.

This is the current levels of ammonia as per the test below. I’ll monitor for the night and if levels climb I’ll change out water again.

F23BBECA-A3DB-47C2-B146-B39524FB2496.jpeg


Man what a night, so far.

And thanks for all your reply’s. nice to know someone is watching, a crises is always easier when your not alone😎
 

erwin123

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I have been discussing my experiments with an Osmocote clone (Starxcote) in the following thread: Root tabs and/or liquid ferts

Given the release pattern of Osmocote in water, it is better to insert a little bit weekly rather than all at once as this will smooth out the release curve (as shown in the diagram below Osmocote dumps more NH4-N in the first 2 weeks compared to other slow-release ferts like Nutricote)

I'm not sure how many Tropica Tabs you added and how many osmocote balls were in those Tabs, but I'm guessing it was probably too many at one go?



1637654278207-png.png




I also referred to the advice from 2hr aquarist. Do note that his recommendation is to insert after the aquasoil is exhausted, which implies this will be in a heavily planted tank with extensive root systems which presumably be able to use some of the NH4-N before it leaks out into the water column. But if it is in relatively new tank, then spreading out the insertion of Osmocote to smoothen the release curve seems ideal.

Spiking the substrate with ammonia rich root fertilizers such as osmocote is an easy way to boost plant growth in planted aquarium. Ammonia in the water column is toxic to both fish (and plants too at higher levels). However, providing it in the substrate is very effective. The key point about osmocote is to not to use too much (such as in gel caps). It provides great bang for the buck if used correctly. I prefer inserting individual balls (one ball every inch square), once every 3 months, in heavily planted areas. Insert them deep, and use them sparsely. If the balls are are not inserted deeply enough, the result ammonia spikes in the water column often give rise to heavy green dust algae.

p.s. you can add Seachem Prime as well.
 
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Ghettofarmulous

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I have been discussing my experiments with an Osmocote clone (Starxcote) in the following thread: Root tabs and/or liquid ferts

Given the release pattern of Osmocote in water, it is better to insert a little bit weekly rather than all at once as this will smooth out the release curve (as shown in the diagram below Osmocote dumps more NH4-N in the first 2 weeks compared to other slow-release ferts like Nutricote)

I'm not sure how many Tropica Tabs you added and how many osmocote balls were in those Tabs, but I'm guessing it was probably too many at one go?



1637654278207-png.png




I also referred to the advice from 2hr aquarist. Do note that his recommendation is to insert after the aquasoil is exhausted, which implies this will be in a heavily planted tank with extensive root systems which presumably be able to use some of the NH4-N before it leaks out into the water column. But if it is in relatively new tank, then spreading out the insertion of Osmocote to smoothen the release curve seems ideal.



p.s. you can add Seachem Prime as well.
This is excellent information from the quick scan I did. It seems I have a very big problem. I added 1 root tab per 2square inches. About 20 tabs in all maybe. How the F do I get them out now, won’t they be dissolved?

Im just about to go to bed after another swing of water changes but I suspect I have fallen ill of the “requirement to have a fertile substrate” even though I dose to the water column. My tropica media is 2.5 years old and looking the same as day 1 but I considered it exhausted. I have a lot more to learn.
 

Ghettofarmulous

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I tried to see if I can remove one tab as an experiment and the casing has dissolved so I see two options.

1. Tear down tank and start again
2. Manage the incident until water parameters become stable.

I complete a tear down and relocation of the tank 1 week ago today. So this isn’t really an option because I have no new soil or time to dedicate to this. I am also working in the same room and coming up to Christmas I just can’t do this.

I will do my best to do water changes continually. My main concern is the live stock as I don’t want them to suffer. Should I relocate these to a bucket with an air pump and allow the plants to do the work?

Tank is relatively “new” but filter and media are mature. I basically did a rescape but retained the biological treatment. This I counted as a success when I moved the tank which took a few days between tear down and build up.
 

Aqua360

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I tried to see if I can remove one tab as an experiment and the casing has dissolved so I see two options.

1. Tear down tank and start again
2. Manage the incident until water parameters become stable.

I complete a tear down and relocation of the tank 1 week ago today. So this isn’t really an option because I have no new soil or time to dedicate to this. I am also working in the same room and coming up to Christmas I just can’t do this.

I will do my best to do water changes continually. My main concern is the live stock as I don’t want them to suffer. Should I relocate these to a bucket with an air pump and allow the plants to do the work?

Tank is relatively “new” but filter and media are mature. I basically did a rescape but retained the biological treatment. This I counted as a success when I moved the tank which took a few days between tear down and build up.

I would just do increased water changes, and keep testing
 

Ghettofarmulous

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after 6 rounds of ~90% water changes ammonia has gone to more or less zero. At least until leaching occurs again. I’ll check first thing, in about 3 hours 🥱.

Live stock are much calmer, ottos relaxed, shrimp moving about again. Amano still in hiding but that’s to be expected as I find them skittish after any change. Thanks all.
 

MichaelJ

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Anyone else experience same after adding tropica root tabs.
I haven't, but I never used Aqua soil with the Tropica tabs either. As this is a new tank, I am probably more inclined to believe the enriched substrate might be the culprit or some other reaction. No reason to tear down the tank just keep up the large WCs as @Aqua360 suggests.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Ghettofarmulous

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This morning at approx 07:30 ammonia was back up. Test indicates between 0.25 and 1 mg/l. I estimate water changes every four hours until leaching levels can dealt with by biological treatment. It will take number of weeks for bugs to increase in numbers but I have plenty of media installed for fixed growth.

Another two water changes today. Surface tension still exists to the point it is retaining a foam but it is reduced with every water change. Livestock are stressed, but Alive. Shrimp I added yesterday are present but impossible to tell if I have had due off. Galaxy rasboras are very stressed. I suspect they may not make it. Lethargic and resting on the bottom/wedged in plants.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Test indicates between 0.25 and 1 mg/l. I estimate water changes every four hours until leaching levels can dealt with by biological treatment. It will take number of weeks for bugs to increase in numbers but I have plenty of media installed for fixed growth.
Unfortunately you will have to keep <"changing water">. "Prime" might help, as it will <"complex some of the ammonia (NH3)">.

I'm very wary of <"controlled release fertilisers">, because "controlled" can easily <"become "uncontrolled">. I've had my <"own experience of this">.

If you have them? <"floating plants will help">, they aren't CO2 limited, so can make use of the extra ammonia.

cheers Darrel
 
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