Making Root Tabs With Agricultural Fertilizer
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Fertilizers and Water Parameters


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-31-2013, 04:07 AM   #1
Pbaff
Algae Grower
 
Pbaff's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Joplin, MO
Posts: 35
Default

Making Root Tabs With Agricultural Fertilizer


I've made root tabs in the past with Osmocote, but I don't care for the little shells that are left over when you get done. I have access to some free agricultural fertilizer from work and would like to make some more root tabs with some of that.

Here's what I have access to:

Potash: 0-0-60
Diammonium Phosphate: 18-46-0
Micro Essentials SZ: 12-40-0 +10 Sulfur and 1 Zinc
Elemental Sulfur: 90% Sulfur
Zinc: 20%


I don't know that I need much sulfur or zinc, so I was thinking of just using Potash and DAP. If I do a straight 50/50 blend that makes 9-23-30. I know I probably don't want the ammonium. Would it work if I cut the amount of DAP back? I could lower the amount of ammoniam and P2O4 and still get a good shot of KCL.

I've dealt with all of these fertilizers in the past, but I've never used any in an aquarium. I have some leftover veg-capsules from Amazon, but I've also been thinking about dry dosing these fertilizers into my sump. As long as I put them before the filter floss I shouldn't have to worry about any floating bits.
Pbaff is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 10-31-2013, 04:48 AM   #2
Greystoke
Planted Member
 
Greystoke's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 217
Default

I would skip the ammonium fertiliser. That's a bit dicey. See if you can get ordinary saltpetre (KNO3) instead. That also contains enough potassium in it.
You DO need some iron too. Get iron tablets from the chemist(75mg), crush them and add them to the tablets.

Have fun.
__________________
Regards
Cor
Greystoke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 11:09 AM   #3
happi
Planted Tank Guru
 
happi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (20/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 2,760
Send a message via Yahoo to happi
Default

i wouldn't worry about the Ammonium when it is used under substrate.
__________________
happi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 02:07 PM   #4
Greystoke
Planted Member
 
Greystoke's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 217
Default

Hi,
I have no experience with that. I normally avoid ammonium. It's too volatile for my liking.
__________________
Regards
Cor
Greystoke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2013, 01:42 PM   #5
Pbaff
Algae Grower
 
Pbaff's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Joplin, MO
Posts: 35
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greystoke View Post
I would skip the ammonium fertiliser. That's a bit dicey. See if you can get ordinary saltpetre (KNO3) instead. That also contains enough potassium in it.
You DO need some iron too. Get iron tablets from the chemist(75mg), crush them and add them to the tablets.

Have fun.
Are you talking about iron tablets for health supplement, or some other type of tablets? Also, is it possible to get too much iron in the system? I normally dose iron into the water column.

Do aquatic plants need much sulfur? I have access to it and I know grass crops use some. I was thinking of adding a pinch to the root tabs under my dwarf hair grass.
Pbaff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2013, 10:10 PM   #6
happi
Planted Tank Guru
 
happi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (20/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 2,760
Send a message via Yahoo to happi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pbaff View Post
Are you talking about iron tablets for health supplement, or some other type of tablets? Also, is it possible to get too much iron in the system? I normally dose iron into the water column.

Do aquatic plants need much sulfur? I have access to it and I know grass crops use some. I was thinking of adding a pinch to the root tabs under my dwarf hair grass.
no plants do not need too much sulfur, actually too much sulfur isn't a good thing either.
__________________
happi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2013, 05:29 PM   #7
Diana
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 7,465
Default

I would set up a test, perhaps in a jar or small plastic storage bin (like a shoebox size)
Try whatever blend you want, and see what happens to the water column over time.
It may be that whatever ammonia is in the various materials will be locked up or converted by the bacteria to nitrate.

I would set up the test like this:
Set up 3 tests for each fertilizer:
1) Pure sand and water with each of the fertilizers you are proposing to use in a separate container.
2) Aquarium substrate with microorganisms and the fertilizer.
3) Aquarium substrate with microorganisms, plants and fertilizer and feed the 'tanks' with fish food.

Use the substrate that you are using in the aquariums. Actually take some of it from the tanks, since it will have all the microorganisms that are growing in the tank. If you cannot spare very much from the aquariums then use what you can by scattering it on top of some other material. Best would be if you had some left over substrate from when you set up the tank. The microorganisms you get from the tank will colonize that.

Fill with water, dechlor and whatever other things you are using in the aquariums.

Set up a bubbler or something so there is some water movement in all tests.

Add a plant or two. It could be planted in the substrate or drifting in the water. Or both. I would be pretty generous in adding plant material. But make all the planted tests start with the same amount and species of plants.

Feed some virtual fish, just as if there were real ones in there. The fish food you are adding to the real aquariums is supplying some nutrients, so you are trying to replicate the real aquariums without risking the fish.

Monitor several things:
All the aquarium tests you have, but especially ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. GH, KH, TDS will also help. If you have other tests like Fe, Ca or others, do them, too.
Plant growth. Especially note odd growth that might mean a deficiency or a toxicity.

This is why you started several tests. Your test 'tanks' that you are feeding fish food might go through a nitrogen cycle, and the fertilizer might contain ammonia. While you tried to bring some bacteria in from the established tanks, it might not have been very much.
The fish food will supply ammonia as the protein breaks down. If these 'tanks' show ammonia spikes, followed by nitrite spikes, then the nitrate starts rising then that may be from a combination of fish food and fertilizer, or just fish food.
If the tests that are fertilizer only, no fish food, go through a similar cycle then you know the fertilizer is adding ammonia to the water.

Once that cycle is complete (takes up to 3 weeks if you added no started colony from the cycled aquariums' substrate) you will continue to monitor the conditions.

Here are the results I would look for:

1) Does the fertilizer add ammonia? If yes...
2) Does an established bacteria colony have enough population to turn that ammonia into nitrate fast enough that the ammonia (and possible nitrite) is not a problem for the fish?
3) Does the fertilizer add anything else in amounts that are toxic to the fish?
The aquarium tests may help with this (Fe, TDS, other) but you might have to actually add some fish to see. Make sure the fish are acclimated to the TDS of the test 'tanks' so that if they do get sick you know it is not because of osmotic problems.
Diana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 04:37 PM   #8
Pbaff
Algae Grower
 
Pbaff's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Joplin, MO
Posts: 35
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
no plants do not need too much sulfur, actually too much sulfur isn't a good thing either.
I know they don't need much. I was thinking of adding less than one piece per root tab for my hair grass. I was just wondering if anyone had done that before.


Diana, I will try something like that. Right now I have a bucket with a good dose of DAP and potash in it with ten goldfish. That was more of a test for contaminants though.
Pbaff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2013, 01:46 AM   #9
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (74/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,782
Default

The easiest and safest way to handle this problem is to buy the chemicals that are normally used and dose them instead. You can get them from nilocg, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...705&highlight= They are ridiculously cheap considering how long a small amount will last.
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2013, 04:38 AM   #10
Pbaff
Algae Grower
 
Pbaff's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Joplin, MO
Posts: 35
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
The easiest and safest way to handle this problem is to buy the chemicals that are normally used and dose them instead. You can get them from nilocg, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...705&highlight= They are ridiculously cheap considering how long a small amount will last.
I followed your advice and got some fertilizer from nilocg. I now have an EI dosing kit that I have been using and some fertilizer to make root tabs with. I picked up some clay on my way home today, so now I just need to make sure I have enough fertilizer to get started.

Here's what I have now:

1lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1lb K2SO4, 1/2lb CSM+B and 1/2lb of Iron Chelate 13%

Am I missing anything major or am I good to start cooking up a mix?
Pbaff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2013, 09:13 PM   #11
Monster Fish
Planted Tank Guru
 
Monster Fish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (35/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Queens, NY
Posts: 2,961
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pbaff View Post
I followed your advice and got some fertilizer from nilocg. I now have an EI dosing kit that I have been using and some fertilizer to make root tabs with. I picked up some clay on my way home today, so now I just need to make sure I have enough fertilizer to get started.

Here's what I have now:

1lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1lb K2SO4, 1/2lb CSM+B and 1/2lb of Iron Chelate 13%

Am I missing anything major or am I good to start cooking up a mix?
All of those will suffice. If your water is soft, you can add some dolomite to your root tabs.
__________________
5.5 gallon grass tank|5.5 gallon Rili tank
RAOK Club #77|The Fraternity of Dirt #112

Last edited by Monster Fish; 12-07-2013 at 09:14 PM.. Reason: typo
Monster Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2013, 03:36 AM   #12
Diana
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 7,465
Default

Looks like you are good to go.
Let us know how it turns out.

How did the goldfish do in their test with the DAP? What were the ammonia levels in that tank?
Diana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2013, 12:27 AM   #13
Pbaff
Algae Grower
 
Pbaff's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Joplin, MO
Posts: 35
Default




The root tabs came out well. I'm going to try and use some tonight and see how they work.

The goldfish lived just fine in the bucket, but I never got around to testing the water. I was going to after a few days, but by that time I had already decided to buy different fertilizer.
Pbaff is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012