Dry Ferts for beginners - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Dry Ferts for beginners

I know I seen a thread for good dry ferts for beginners but I can't find it. What dry ferts are essential to a tank. I was looking on greeleafaquariums.com and it says that the n-p-k and plantex csm+b is the complete set. Can I just use that kit or do I need additional ones? Also if someone can point me to the thread I'm looking for, then you can delete this thread if you like.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 12:03 AM
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That is pretty much all you will need.

For your NPK's, potassium nitrate, potassium (dihydrogen) phosphate and maybe potassium sulfate (really depends on your water) is enough. The CSM+B will provide your micros.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 05:34 PM
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Yep, like noted above those are the dry ferts you will be looking for. I think the thread you want is the one describing the Estimative Index (EI) fertilizing method. It goes into decent detail and gives some suggested starting amounts for your tank size....you will adjust from there to your tank's needs. I think it was on APC (The APC EI post) but there was one on Planted Tank also I think?

Your Macro Ferts:
1. Potassium (Nitrate) - KNO3
2. Potassium (Phosphate) - KH2PO4
3. (Potassium) Sulfate - K2SO4
Personally I did not require the K2SO4, the Potassium from the others and my source water did not need additional help.

Your micro Ferts:
4. CSM+B Plantex - a little Fe (iron) and other trace elements

Alternate the days you add Macro and micro ferts to reduce any precipitate drop-out potential. I add these dry and have never had issues....some choose to make a liquid solution and add that to the tank instead.
Some also use GH booster to add back what conditioned water is lacking. You might want to read up on Barr's GH booster also see if you could use it....I did not end up using it.

Good luck!!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 05:55 PM
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I'm so confused on dry ferts. I keep reading different things? One site said all I need is Iron Chelate and Potassium Sulfate....the other said just CSM+B Plantex and KNO3.

I realize it depends on your tank, but does anyone have a newb "shopping" list you would recommend? I can't seem to find a consistent anwser on which dry ferts I need.

20G High Tech
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 06:00 PM
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Easy way to make liquid solutions:
You will mix up 2. One is macros, the other is micros.

1) Figure out how much of each you will use for a week. (Start with the EI system, and see what it does for you. Like JarHarms I also adjusted the recipe as I got into this)
2) Add enough water to dissolve these in any amount easily divisible by 3. Perhaps 30 ml.
3) Dose 10 ml each day Mon, Wed, Fri.

Do the same for Micros:
1) From the EI system, put 1 weeks worth in a jar.
2) Add enough water to dissolve it. Perhaps 30 ml.
3) Dose 3 days a week, 10 ml each Tue, Thu, Sat.

Water change Sunday.

For a larger tank, or multiple tanks it will take a lot more than 30 ml to dissolve the ferts. ANY amount of water is fine, the math is easiest if it is a volume that you can measure, and divide by 3.
I happen to have several tools that are labeled in ml, so I use ml.
If you have cups and tablespoons, then use that. Perhaps dissolve the ferts in 3/4 cup of water and dose 1/4 cup daily three days per week.
It is also easiest to mix both macros and micros with the same volume of water. Not in the same jar! Just use the same amount of water to dissolve them, then daily dosing the the same amount. Just one day is macros, the next is micros.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 06:14 PM
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Newbie shopping list:
Get the smallest package of each, and about the same amount of each. For example:
1 lb KNO3
1 lb KH2SO4
1 lb K2SO4
1 lb Plantex CSM+B
1 lb Chelated Iron.
1 lb Barr's GH Booster
OR whatever size they are offering.

Some ways that you might change the order:
IF.....
You have a large fish load and the nitrates are always up above 5 ppm, then skip the KNO3. In a high tech or even medium tech set up especially with a small fish load you will need KNO3. Fish food supplies nitrogen, though, and plants can use it.
IF....
Your tap water is already somewhat hard (GH about 4-5 degrees or more) AND you do not notice the GH dropping during the week as the plants use calcium and magnesium, then skip the GH booster. You might need more potassium if you do not use this GH Booster, but do not order more, yet. (GH booster also has K) If you are using RO or rain water you will need GH Booster.
IF....
Your tap water is already high in something like iron or phosphate then you might be able to skip one of these. (A report from the water company might help)

Once you get started on the system you can test the water and watch the plants to see how things are going. See how much of each you are using and base your next order on that. You probably will not order more KH2PO4, right away, the dose is very small.

I happen to use a lot more K2SO4 than the EI system suggests, and a lot less KNO3, and GH Booster only in certain tanks. But that is what works in my tanks, with the water I use.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 07:46 PM
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I am in a similar situation and have a question. In my tank at work, I would like to start dosing fertz, but since I'm not in the office 2 or 3 times a week, I can't follow the EI method. Can I dose the correct amount of macro's one day, and the micros the other day? I'm not looking for huge growth, just want to keep everything healthy and algae at bay.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post

I happen to use a lot more K2SO4 than the EI system suggests, and a lot less KNO3, and GH Booster only in certain tanks. But that is what works in my tanks, with the water I use.
Hi Diana,

I dose K2SO4 1/2 tsp 3 times/week for my 55g and 1/4 tsp for my 30g. Is this good enough?
I do not dose KNO3 b/c I do get enough from my fish and food.
I also dose Fleet and Epsom.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 02:11 AM
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bklyndrvr, you can dose a whole week's worth of macros one day, and the whole week's worth of micros another day (or even separated by several hours, say AM for one, then PM for the other), but your tank might be more stable if you looked into some fertilizer tablets that you place deep under the substrate. The heavy root feeding plants would probably do better that way. Then, dose perhaps half the EI system in the water column. If you have plants that are not rooted (floaters, or tied to driftwood) then the tablets will not help them.

barbarossa, I do not know if you are dosing enough, not enough or too much potassium. Each tank is different.

Do your plants have holes in the leaves? This is one of the major signs of K deficiency. This is the test I use to tell how the K dosing is going.

I see you are dosing Mg (Epsom salt). Plants also need calcium, are you dosing? Or is your tap water just that unbalanced? Lots of Ca, very little Mg?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post

barbarossa, I do not know if you are dosing enough, not enough or too much potassium. Each tank is different.

Do your plants have holes in the leaves? This is one of the major signs of K deficiency. This is the test I use to tell how the K dosing is going.

I see you are dosing Mg (Epsom salt). Plants also need calcium, are you dosing? Or is your tap water just that unbalanced? Lots of Ca, very little Mg?
No holes but, I only get K from K2SO4 and KH2PO4 since I do not dose KNO3.
My tap water is very soft, GH is between 1 and 2 with very low Ca and Mg. I do dose Ca 3 times/week along with the other macros. According to the Fertilator 1/2 tsp of K2SO4 will add 6.9 ppm to my 55g. I heard that a bit more potassium dosing it's OK. Anyway , I do not think I ever got over 30ppm of potassium in my tanks.

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Last edited by barbarossa4122; 02-18-2010 at 10:28 PM.
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