How to make DIY root fertilizer tablets with clay - Page 2
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
No offense but unless you put the whole "Cake" into 1 tank, you have no idea what the chemical content dose of each "pc of Cake " is, when you are just sprinkling dry frets on clay.

Even something as controlled as a aspirin tablet can not be broken in 1/2 and insure each pc. is 50% dosage.

I'm not posting to be difficult, just trying to understand how how this method can work with 'Burning' some plants along the way?
I don't think the nutrient levels in these ferts are so high/low that you could "burn" any plants. No need to be any more precise than a little of this, little of that, honestly.

Some of any of these is certainly better than none at all.

People buying things need to see that it exactly this or exactly that. But when you're making it yourself, i really don't think that is necessary.

If you want them to be "better" distributed, using powder clay and mixing it really well will give you that. But I don't think it is necessary at all. The clay works to make a pretty slow releasing product.

This is essentially how we make the clay that goes in RM Complete+. Just on a smaller diy scale.

IF you happen to have a pasta extruder you can use it to help you mix, too. Several passes through while adding the ferts and then keep passing it through. That is, if you're willing to scrub the clay and ferts out of your extruder.
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
They're root tabs. You're not gunning for a specific dosage, really. You're just trying to get enough ferts to the roots of heavy root feeders.

So I don't think you have to worry so much about dosage.
...
Yes, I do understand the concept of a Root Tab.

I'd offer, for conversation, that I would be less concerned it this was a water column mix as the water itself would balance out the fert mix. With this method you may be blasting one plants roots with only Fe and another with Ca or Mg.


Now maybe that is a non-issue but, it seems to defeat the purpose.

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....
If you want them to be "better" distributed, using powder clay and mixing it really well will give you that. But I don't think it is necessary at all. The clay works to make a pretty slow releasing product.
....
That really was my point a more even, control distribution.

Very good point on the clay as a time release enhancer. I could see the benefit in that aspect.
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Yes, I do understand the concept of a Root Tab.

I'd offer, for conversation, that I would be less concerned it this was a water column mix as the water itself would balance out the fert mix. With this method you may be blasting one plants roots with only Fe and another with Ca or Mg.


Now maybe that is a non-issue but, it seems to defeat the purpose.
I don't think it ends up that way though. You mix the ferts before kneading it into the clay. Then knead the clay thoroughly and you'll be a-ok. I've made these exact things in the past and never had a problem.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:49 PM   #19
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This is meant to be a How To thread only, not a debate. So in order to steer the thread back to it's intended purpose, here is a tank that is fertilized only by these homemade root tablets:



The water is a little cloudy as I had just finished rescaping, but as you can tell, the growth is outstanding. The progress of this tank has been documented here for those interested in actually trying this method of fertilization.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:58 PM   #20
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Great post! Yes, I agree you want to mix the dry ferts thoroughly before starting to work them into the clay.

One question I have - won't adding phosphates and Micros in one recipe STILL bind up the iron (and perhaps phosphates)?
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:37 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
No offense but unless you put the whole "Cake" into 1 tank, you have no idea what the chemical content dose of each "pc of Cake " is, when you are just sprinkling dry frets on clay.

Even something as controlled as a aspirin tablet can not be broken in 1/2 and insure each pc. is 50% dosage.

I'm not posting to be difficult, just trying to understand how how this method can work with 'Burning' some plants along the way?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
Great post! Yes, I agree you want to mix the dry ferts thoroughly before starting to work them into the clay.

On the fertilizer - yes this can be an issue. You have to blend, blend, blend, blend, blend....until it your hands are exhausted (or get a pasta machine for a little easier process). If you just put one fertilizer in a hunk of clay, set that aside, and repeat and just kind of halfheartedly push them together, you are going to have this issue. There will be more of this chemical in one piece, more of another in a separate and none at all in other hunks. Even with all the blending, it'll be impossible to know exactly what is in each tablet without analysis. The goal is to get it blended well enough that it's a nominal discrepancy.

You aren't going to burn any plants if you mean by excessive fertilizer. There isn't enough fertilizer to worry about it in each piece. I've dumped a hole batch in my tank before 300+ tablets and never had an issue other than a clay rich substrate (which is messy when uprooting).

What I do now is this (also because it is much easier and the clay doesn't mold over time as it likes to do in a wet form):
1. Take out wet clay and run it through the pasta machine or a rolling pin until it is thin and let dry. Place these in the cuisinart and pulverize the clay (or in a baggie and roll over them to crush).

2. Put all the fertilizer in a container. Add in a cup of water, just a bit at a time to blend it into a paste and eventually a liquid. I've down the phosphates separate from the other chemicals before worrying about
whole precipitate thing. Now, I don't bother.

3. Add in clay a bit at a time until you get it into a pliable form. Basically, similar to Wallace's method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
One question I have - won't adding phosphates and Micros in one recipe STILL bind up the iron (and perhaps phosphates)?
Wasser - on mixing the phosphates and other chemicals- This is what I've found over the years. My water is really high in iron, yet when I add phosphates in the water column, it's effective and doesn't become unusable. Also, I've been mixing phosphates and micros for years in a liquid solution and have never had an issue with it. Plants grow just as well as using separate containers. There is a bit of residue on the bottom of the bottle, but it was never much.

Then, I looked at mineralized soil. People have been adding red clay and phosphates for years this method. Red clay has a lot of iron in it and should do similar as a root tablet. Add that to the rivers and creeks that are full of clay and phosphates in the dirt and it just made since to me that it won't be an issue.

So, I decided to test my theory. In the first set, I didn't add phosphates and saw growth, but it wasn't as quick as I hoped for. I went ahead and added phosphates to the second batch and the growth was stronger, healthier and faster. I think precipitate is not as big of an issue as we perceive. Of course, this is all conjecture.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
Great post! Yes, I agree you want to mix the dry ferts thoroughly before starting to work them into the clay.

One question I have - won't adding phosphates and Micros in one recipe STILL bind up the iron (and perhaps phosphates)?
It depends on pH. If you have an acidic soil, or make your soil acidic, it will prevent precipitation of iron/phosphate. This is essentially how products like TPN+ and RM Onestep work. High acidity keeps both soluble and stable.

You could add something like humic acid powder to your clay mix as an insurance. However if your pH isn't abnormally high, you probably won't have much issue at all with at least some iron and phosphate being usable. However, most plant roots enjoy having a little more acidic substrate, so the humic acid would benefit them too. A little goes a long ways, and you'll find the powder tends to stain things when mixed with water, so use caution when mixing. It washes off eventually but is stubborn.

http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/2...s=1&ZyEntry=41

Holy cow, that is a long link....

try this:
www.bit.ly/OYSpKL
Not all "irons" are the same and do not interact with phosphate in the same way.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:01 PM   #23
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YAY! I'm so glad you wrote this because I LOVE your root tabs!

Ok....now I should actually read everything

edit
Ok now that I've actually READ the post, I'm still REALLY glad you made it! I might have to try this out some time! Or I'll just keep pestering you to trade with me for your root tabs as long as you'll let me

Also, I figured that I would just throw in my personal experience since Sara was generous enough to send me some of these root tabs as a trade for something or other a while back. MY personal experience with these exact root tabs is that they work REALLY well, better, IMVHO, in fact than the commercial ones I had tried previously. And my tanks are quite different than Sara's, I run low light, low tech tanks, but these root tabs have made a dramatic difference in the health of my plants. Being super low light, nothing grows extremely fast in my tanks, but everything grows a little faster and a lot healthier with the tabs than it did without them. I'll have dig up some before and after pictures.

Anyway, just thought I'd add that for anyone that might have had doubts
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Last edited by Karackle; 08-16-2012 at 04:48 PM.. Reason: adding more
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Karackle View Post
YAY! I'm so glad you wrote this because I LOVE your root tabs!

Ok....now I should actually read everything

edit
Ok now that I've actually READ the post, I'm still REALLY glad you made it! I might have to try this out some time! Or I'll just keep pestering you to trade with me for your root tabs as long as you'll let me

Also, I figured that I would just throw in my personal experience since Sara was generous enough to send me some of these root tabs as a trade for something or other a while back. MY personal experience with these exact root tabs is that they work REALLY well, better, IMVHO, in fact than the commercial ones I had tried previously. And my tanks are quite different than Sara's, I run low light, low tech tanks, but these root tabs have made a dramatic difference in the health of my plants. Being super low light, nothing grows extremely fast in my tanks, but everything grows a little faster and a lot healthier with the tabs than it did without them. I'll have dig up some before and after pictures.

Anyway, just thought I'd add that for anyone that might have had doubts
Oh wow, that's some powerful testimony! I'm more and more excited to try them out.

I spread my wet mixture out on a cookie sheet with wax paper, all ferts added, to let it dry a little.



It seemed to work pretty well, I got it to this stage then rolled it into a log in some saran wrap so it would be easier to work with. I made around 15 little balls before I realized I need to let the log dry a little, because it was a little sticky and started accumulating on my fingers and it became really hard to manipulate the little pieces of clay dough into shape.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:17 PM   #25
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WG - can't wait to see/hear how your plants like their new ferts! Looks like you're having fun making them so far too
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:30 PM   #26
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To those of you nervous about working with the hard brick of clay and getting things mixed, I used a kitchen aid mixer with a bread hook to mix some up today.

Start with small chunks and mix away. I mixed in some MGOPS to the mix and it looks interesting so far. Will show details if I like what I see!

I also added in HUmic Acid powder to help with acidity and the yummies that it provides.
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:47 PM   #27
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Here's my small batch complete! The clay mixture is actually very smooth, the rough outside texture was from it being sticky when I rolled it out...
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:16 PM   #28
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nice brownies
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:59 PM   #29
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that looks good never tryed root tabs as i'm using co2 but nice thread... share? lol
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:06 AM   #30
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looks like dog food
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