The Custom Micro Mix Thread - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 06:04 PM
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Burr is doing a great thing for this hobby. i have few recipe as well but they are rather trial version and could be improved further, we have had a great success with Marchner Ratio, Non chelated recipe however did had better results just like in Burr's experiment. we have few member in this same field already trying this stuff, but they don't post as much. i will share something soon
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post #17 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
Burr is doing a great thing for this hobby. i have few recipe as well but they are rather trial version and could be improved further, we have had a great success with Marchner Ratio, Non chelated recipe however did had better results just like in Burr's experiment. we have few member in this same field already trying this stuff, but they don't post as much. i will share something soon
Lets get them posting, again the more info the better.

One thing that stands out so far and is becoming a common theme is the inert substrate bunch being able to dose a lot more micros without negative effects, along with improved plant health and growth.
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post #18 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 07:17 PM
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Greggz

Fe 1
Mn 0.5
B 0.27
Zn 0.19
Mo 0.0013
Cu 0.014

No3 32
Po4 15
K 65

are these really your weekly numbers? in my experiment we never had to use such a high dose of PO4. anyway the reason why this recipe works better is because of Non chelated are more available to plants than the chelated version. IMO there is always a room for error even if you feel like your plants are doing better now. i have worked with so many recipe, from non chelated to chelated, all kind of ratios that i could think of and we couldn't make a single recipe that is best for plants, but we came very close every time, non chleated recipe will precipitate and oxidize fairly quickly compare to chleated one, that mean you must dose it daily to keep it going well. like i said we have tried several recipes but there is always some kind of issue that occured after a while. the other reason people wont try such a recipe is due to the cost and hassle, they prefer premixed stuff, this stuff is only good for those who want to play around with the chemicals, like we do. the other reason i dont post much is due to the fear of people using the recipe to make money.
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post #19 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by happi View Post
Greggz

Fe 1
Mn 0.5
B 0.27
Zn 0.19
Mo 0.0013
Cu 0.014

No3 32
Po4 15
K 65

are these really your weekly numbers?
Happi yes those are my real numbers. I know the P04 seems high, but it is what works better for me. I have a very highly stocked tank, which produces lots of N & P. I suspect it may have something to do with my measured N & P ratio. My tank seems to like about 10:1. I've tested it enough times to know that in my tank more P is better than less.

And I know that seemingly I shouldn't have to dose macros at all, as fish waste/food should supply plenty. But every single time I try low to no macro dosing, my plants rebel. I have mentioned this before, but I am beginning to believe that there is a difference between the uptake of N & P generated by fish waste and N & P dosed from ferts. I have no scientific reason to believe that, just based on the observations in my tank.

And FYI, my weekly K level is also quite high, mostly based on adding K2C03 to my RO water to raise KH. I don't worry about it too much, as I don't think there are any negative effects from those levels.

And good to hear your thoughts on this topic, and look forward to hearing more from you.


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post #20 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Happi yes those are my real numbers. I know the P04 seems high, but it is what works better for me. I have a very highly stocked tank, which produces lots of N & P. I suspect it may have something to do with my measured N & P ratio. My tank seems to like about 10:1. I've tested it enough times to know that in my tank more P is better than less.

And I know that seemingly I shouldn't have to dose macros at all, as fish waste/food should supply plenty. But every single time I try low to no macro dosing, my plants rebel. I have mentioned this before, but I am beginning to believe that there is a difference between the uptake of N & P generated by fish waste and N & P dosed from ferts. I have no scientific reason to believe that, just based on the observations in my tank.

And FYI, my weekly K level is also quite high, mostly based on adding K2C03 to my RO water to raise KH. I don't worry about it too much, as I don't think there are any negative effects from those levels.

And good to hear your thoughts on this topic, and look forward to hearing more from you.
we actually do have an answer to your question on why things works better when you dose N and P when your fish already provide lot of it, the answer is within Cations and anions. now lets get to my honest opinions, i normally don't like to make people feel bad about their tanks, but i have to judge the tank based on how the plant health looks, first thing i notice is certain plant leaves are twisted and burnt looking, i also notice the lack of colors on certain plants, please do share more close up pics if you are not offended by my post. now let me share few more things with you, in our experiment there was no need to add so Much Fe, po4, K+, people are actually overdosing it in such a high amount that they don't realize that they are just precipitating some of them. if you are really interested in this kind of topic, do let me know, maybe we can share more data with you.

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post #21 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 11:06 PM
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the other reason i dont post much is due to the fear of people using the recipe to make money.
Top Secret Recipe???

"I have this great recipe and look how great the plants look!"
What's in it?
"I'd have to kill you if I told you"

Even if you bottled it and put it up for sale doesn't mean it can't be analyzed and copied just the same.
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #22 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 11:33 PM
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if you are really interested in this kind of topic, do let me know, maybe we can share more data with you.
This is the point of the thread happi.

Sounds like you have been experimenting with non chelated micro mixes as well. If you are finding issues with either the micro elements themselves or ratios being out of wack causing issues, I'm sure people would love to hear about it and see pictures of the issues you have observed.
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post #23 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by happi View Post
we actually do have an answer to your question on why things works better when you dose N and P when your fish already provide lot of it, the answer is within Cations and anions. if you are really interested in this kind of topic, do let me know, maybe we can share more data with you.
I am very interested. Please let us know. NO3 is a negative ion (anion) no matter what form (fish waste or split from KNO3) ...correct? Are you saying there are two different forms of nitrate? Is it possible that 'better' performance is noted when dosing KNO3 because of the K+ contribution?

Some plants prefer different parts of the nitrogen process, e.g.; ammonia. could it be that the 'better' performance was a result of this differentiation?

Color me very curious.

PS: Good thread, @Greggz. I've been making my own non-chelated micros for about a year, but at much lower doses and somewhat different ratios. I'm going to give your crazy doses a try in my inert (Flourite) substrate setup.
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post #24 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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PS: Good thread, @Greggz. I've been making my own non-chelated micros for about a year, but at much lower doses and somewhat different ratios. I'm going to give your crazy doses a try in my inert (Flourite) substrate setup.
Deanna good to hear from you. Interesting you've been rolling your own micros. Would like to hear what you have been doing, and what observations you can share.

As to the ratio and crazy doses, I have nothing to do with that. Burr740 and a few others started experimenting with custom blends. Burr asked myself and a few others to give his a try. We've been steadily increasing the dosing, to see if there is an upper limit. So far so good for many.

If I've learned on thing in the last two years, it's that the experimenting and learning never ends. You just hope to move another step forward now and then. To me that's what keeps it interesting.


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post #25 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Would like to hear what you have been doing, and what observations you can share.

As to the ratio and crazy doses, I have nothing to do with that. Burr740 and a few others started experimenting with custom blends. Burr asked myself and a few others to give his a try. We've been steadily increasing the dosing, to see if there is an upper limit. So far so good for many.

If I've learned on thing in the last two years, it's that the experimenting and learning never ends. You just hope to move another step forward now and then. To me that's what keeps it interesting.
Yes, I've been following Burr740's good work in his journal, but I didn't see the heavy dosing that you're having success in trying. Agree 100% on the fun in constantly pushing on the edges. I'm always trying to get another inch on that mile with the thought always in the back of your mind that you should never make a decision from which you can't back away.

Similar to what Burr740 did, I looked at CSM+B and said: "Doesn't seem quite right for aquatic plants." So, I tried to subjectively interpolate between Flourish Comp and Tropica. Unlike Burr740, I gave heavier weight to Tropica than Flourish. Ratios were further altered by trying to collect the info all over the web about ratios of various traces to each other and potential toxicities. The toxicity issue does concern me a little with my plan to do the Burr740/Greggz dosing (nutrient accumulation concern even with 50% wc's). However, it's not a decision that I can't back away from if it starts going south.

My year-old formula is:

Quote:
........PPM 3x / week..........Accumulates (50% wc - plant uptake ignored)
Fe (gluc)....0.04.............................0.2-.3
B..............0.008..........................0.03-.06
Cu............0.0012.......................0.004-.008
Mn............0.02............................0.08-.15
Mo............0.0008.......................0.003-.005
Zn............0.004...........................0.02-.03
I did see a noticeable improvement over my use of Tropica at the time, so I kept it but, again, always looking for that extra inch. I've actually kicked the gluc up to .2 in the last month, following some back-and-forth with Burr740, but can't definitively say I've seen a difference.
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Last edited by Deanna; 12-18-2017 at 01:36 AM. Reason: add
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post #26 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 01:29 AM
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I have found Seachem trace products (Trace, Comprehensive) to be very unbalanced. This is what pushed me towards rolling my own.
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post #27 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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I have found Seachem trace products (Trace, Comprehensive) to be very unbalanced. This is what pushed me towards rolling my own.
Interesting. I really had no idea so many were experimenting with custom micros. Shows what a noob I am.

Would be curious to hear and see what type of changes you have seen as you have gone down this path. And also what kind of dosing you have experimented with? Have you also tested both uber low and higher trace dosing?
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post #28 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 03:35 AM
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Greggz, What compounds are you using for your micro dosing?

Greggz, Slipfinger, I would assume you are just posting your dosing levels. Have you been monitoring these levels with any test kits (if so which ones)?

I also noticed that zinc levels are much higher than in CSM+B are you basing your dosing based on what Burr has done or is it just trial and error? Or did you base the dose on something you saw on the web?

Sorry for all of the questions but earlier this year I thought about making my own micro mix but family issues and another aquarium research project got in the way and I dropped the micro idea for later. I only started using CSM+B this year (was using flourish). I suspected there was an issue with it but I didn't think it was a toxicity issue of the EDTA. Given my history with multiple aquarium deficiency issues. I suspected it was a deficiency issue but wasn't sure which element was deficient. I just want to better understand how these levels and ingredients were chosen.

As luck would have it I have some zinc sulfate, I just put a little in based on what I am seeing above. One thing I noticed about a year ago some of the concentrations in fertilizers nutrient levels do not appear to be based on the amount plants actually need with Copper being one example. Many fertilizers drop it since it can be harmful to shrimp and fish. Very few fertilizers have calcium or chlorine, and sulfur in them even though all plants need these elements to grow.
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post #29 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 08:58 AM
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I am kind of new here, although I have been lurking these forums for quite a while now. I started rolling my own micros about 2 months ago, after months of struggling with tip stunting and Alternanthera mini doing very weird things. I use RO water and garden soil (1-3 cm) capped with plain quartz sand.

After several weeks for starting the tank, I noticed that I cannot dose more than 0.12 ppm Tensco Cocktail (based on Fe) weekly, or I would experience tip stunting and super twisted A. reineckii minii. Switching to a different micro mix (only available in this country) improved the situation slightly, but not much.

Having a PhD in chemistry, I dived into literature and found number of papers on toxicity and low biodegradability of EDTA, so I decided to use non-chelated metals, except for Fe which is difficult to keep in solution as it is. This has improved the situation considerably for me. Over the time, I came to ratios quite similar to Burrís, except for Zn (which I increased now based on Burrís observations to see what happens.

One interesting thing I would like to share with you though: I was mixing a second batch of micros and I miscalculated the amount of copper sulfate, and I was suddenly adding about 3 times more than what Burr was adding (0.015 ppm per 0.5 ppm of Fe). After about 2 days, I saw severe necrosis and stunting of new growth on A. reineckii mini. I realized the copper must be the issue, so I went 2 more weeks without any micros, 2x 50% water changes and mixed a new recipe without any Cu at all. I am now adding twice as much micros as with the wrong Cu batch, yet A. reinickii mini is fine.

Because of this, I now think Cu is part of the missing link in the micros (along with EDTA). There is a lot of copper tubing in the houses and because of this I think levels of copper vary greatly among people. It is difficult to measure and almost nobody does it (I plan to do analysis of Cu in my lab in near future). Also, Cu is much more toxic than I thought before. Usually acute toxic levels start at 0.1 ppm (even for plants such as L. minor), but in the paper below, they report [email protected] for Rasbora at 0.006 ppm and for P. reticulata at 0.038 ppm (a guppy fish(!)).

The issues with plants we are observing are not as dramatic as death, rather only deformations which in my opinion are very likely to occur at even lower levels of copper.

(The paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23302712)
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post #30 of 1426 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 09:53 AM
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Here's my current routine in the spreadsheet. Micros tend to get changed every couple of weeks but this has proven to be a pretty good default recipe. If I make a few tweaks and something doesnt work out I go back to something like this for a while (usually)



* In the spreadsheet for micros is says 7x a week, but that's not full doses. I add half a dose of micros on macro days. Started doing this a couple months ago, more or less on a whim as a result of a Fe deficiency, and Ive just kept on doing it. In the spreadsheet for micros is says 7x a week, but that's not full doses.

Other known tap water content, from both testing and water report

Ca - 40
Mg - 4
SO4 - 7.65
Na - 1.79
Cl - 9.14

As some of you know for the past few months Ive been experimenting with higher B and Zn levels, and having really good results.

Early on when I was starting out with lower levels, similar to whats in csmb and other edta based products, I saw some weird deficiency symptoms. A few stem species developed really short internodes, a couple of other things developed chlorotic white spots and/or holes in the general range of 3-4 sets of leaves down from the top. Increasing B and Zn eventually solved it.

Interesting note on Seachem products (of which we are using the exact same compounds except for Fe)

First keep in mind that Flourish comp isnt meant to be a stand alone source of micros, its designed to be used along with Flourish Trace. Despite the marketing hoopla it's basically just a source of Fe (gluconate)

Getting back to B and Zn, since we are using the same compounds as Seachem I think it is relevant to see what Trace provides:

At the recommended dose
B - .0016 ppm
Zn - .101 ppm

Helluva ratio, huh?

Dosed at .5 Mn adds almost 1 ppm of Zn

Ratio-wise you wont find anywhere close to that much Zn in any other commercial product, agricultural study, plant research, Hoaglands, nothing. At best you'll find something around a 1:1 B:Zn ratio.

Why does seachem use so much? @fablau posed the question on their forums and they said its based on their research of what plants need...yeah right. My theory is they use so much because unchelated Zn simply doesnt stick around very long.

Either way since we're using the same compounds I think its a good idea to follow in their same general footsteps.

On the EDTA chelate: It is important to note that edta only breaks loose from Fe around 6.5 PH. To all the other micros it remains bound much higher.




So the problem here is edta Fe - IF your PH is much higher than 6.5 for any length of time. My tank for example is only under 6.5 during the photo period when the co2 is on. Overnight it degasses up to around 7.4. So for at least 14-15 hours every day it gets way above 6.5.

When edta breaks loose from the original compound there are a couple of potential issues:

One is all that edta is now free to bind with other stuff. In addition to other micro elements it has a high affinity for Ca, and other things too but Im not sure exactly what all else. This additional binding may or may not be a problem.

Edta is also not biodegradable. It just sticks around building up like the macros we add, only removed by water changes.

The other potential issue, and perhaps the most significant, when the chelate breaks loose Fe is in whatever raw state it was in before. At the very least precipitating out, and almost certainly binding with P and who knows what else. Fe is very volatile, which is why it needs an appropriate chelate relative to PH.

The other micros are not so critical. It's more important in agricultural use where you might fertilize the soil every few weeks. Everything needs to stick around as long as possible in an available state. It becomes less important dosing every day or two like we are.

Fun fact: Csmb is 65% EDTA



Great thread @Greggz , I know @slipfinger had a hand in doing this too so thanks to you both. Im sure that collectively we can learn a lot as more folks share their anecdotal experiences. The more the better.

As far as the hobby goes thats really all we have when it comes to the whole micro debate. Still so many unknowns how various compounds behave and interact under various conditions. Anyone who pretends to know it all is either delusional or just plain full of crap.
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Last edited by burr740; 12-18-2017 at 12:44 PM. Reason: ppb/ppm
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