Osmocote plus alternatives - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Osmocote plus alternatives

Hello, i have been battling a calcium deficiency for a while partly due to what i believe is my ADA AS striping away the hardness in my water. I combated it partly by dosing a GH booster but for whatever reason my crypts just are not doing well. They grow a few leaves only to melt a few old ones. I have recently read that crypts need alot of calcium and i have been feeding them with osmocote plus DIY root tabs every few months (not really a huge difference honestly being made to their growth). Today i checked the label on my bottle amd it doesnt contain any calcium. Do you guys have any alternates to use that are affortable?

Tank has been running for about 8 months,
72 gallons
Injecting CO2
Fluval Planted 3.0
ADA AS
Fertz daily pps-pro
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 05:01 AM
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Just as a note, any Ca++ the soil attracts from the water column will be available to the plant roots, so it's not like the soil is making it unavailable. This does not mean that it isn't a calcium deficiency though.

Generally speaking, most micros do not contain calcium, and most people who do dose GH booster (which contains Calcium, Magnesium, and usually Potassium) will dose it at water change to maintain a certain level on the tank.

With Aquasoil, you really should use RO water and remineralize instead of using tap. Any carbonates in your tap will reduce the soil's ability to lower pH and will eventually deplete it completely.

A very simple option would be to pick up Seachem Equalibrium and dose as it says to. If you don't mind a little extra work, pick up some CaSO4, MgSO4, and K2SO4 instead, and then use a fertilizer calculator such as Zorfox or Rotala butterfly to calculate your dosing of them.

If you have any pictures, that could be helpful in making sure what you are actually seeing is a calcium deficiency
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natemcnutty View Post
Just as a note, any Ca++ the soil attracts from the water column will be available to the plant roots, so it's not like the soil is making it unavailable. This does not mean that it isn't a calcium deficiency though.

Generally speaking, most micros do not contain calcium, and most people who do dose GH booster (which contains Calcium, Magnesium, and usually Potassium) will dose it at water change to maintain a certain level on the tank.

With Aquasoil, you really should use RO water and remineralize instead of using tap. Any carbonates in your tap will reduce the soil's ability to lower pH and will eventually deplete it completely.

A very simple option would be to pick up Seachem Equalibrium and dose as it says to. If you don't mind a little extra work, pick up some CaSO4, MgSO4, and K2SO4 instead, and then use a fertilizer calculator such as Zorfox or Rotala butterfly to calculate your dosing of them.

If you have any pictures, that could be helpful in making sure what you are actually seeing is a calcium deficiency <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_wink.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" >:-)</a>
Thanks for the reply. I was under the impression Equalibrium was basically the same thing as Barrs GH booster which is what I dose twice a week (1 Tbsp on sunday and 1 Tbsp wed). I had the strange spriral looking leaf growth from my sword before and it stopped since but i am still not getting much growth from my crypts and my snail’s dont seem to last long while their shells deteriorate fast. I will send pics later tonight. Maybe it is something else.

My other root plants are doing fine btw. Its just the cyrpts that are frustrating me.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 07:32 PM
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What are you GH and KH vaules?
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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@mgeorges. I have never actually tested GH and KH before. So i bought the api test kit and if i did it right my results are as follow GH 161, and KH is 17.6. My PH is 6.0... let me know what this means? Also i just added some GH booster for calcium yesterday, so that might fudge the results a bit
@natemcnutty. The pics of the crypts i am talking about are attached. Let me know what you see?
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 04:54 AM
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@mgeorges. I have never actually tested GH and KH before. So i bought the api test kit and if i did it right my results are as follow GH 161, and KH is 17.6. My PH is 6.0... let me know what this means? Also i just added some GH booster for calcium yesterday, so that might fudge the results a bit
@natemcnutty. The pics of the crypts i am talking about are attached. Let me know what you see?
I mostly do German degrees due to keeping shrimp, so a GH of 161ppm is roughly 9 dGH (about 18ppm per degree for easy math). This should be more than enough for most plants.

Your KH is low because your substrate is stripping the carbonates. This is a good thing because it brings the pH down which actually helps with most of the fertilizers we use. I see no need to worry about that

Seachem Equilibrium has a little different makeup than Tom Barr's GH booster, but I'm not sure you even need to dose it (but I don't think it is hurting anything either). Your dose adds just under 2 dGH, so without it, you'd still be over 7 dGH which should still be plenty. For reference, my tanks run between 4-6 dGH

Now, K and S are nice additions from the GH booster, so it may still be helpful to dose, especially if you don't have a water report to know how much Ca is in it.

Two other questions come to mind:

1) Are you following PPS-Pro for macros like NPK? What does your dosing look like?

2) Are you putting root tabs right under these or off to the side?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reply. I am dosing both macros and micros of pps-pro. Both are from greenleafaquariums.com. I dose both about 7ml each day except sunday which is the day I change the water.

As for the root tabs, i typically uses osmocote DIY tabs and place them maybe an inch from the plant. Today i tried a flourish tab to see if there is any difference to just one of thw crypts.

Question... any idea why my snails just dont seem to stay alive? Idk of my KH or GH have anything to do with it but i have never had problems with snails until i used the ADA AS.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 06:16 AM
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@natemcnutty

Thank you for the reply. I am dosing both macros and micros of pps-pro. Both are from greenleafaquariums.com. I dose both about 7ml each day except sunday which is the day I change the water.

As for the root tabs, i typically uses osmocote DIY tabs and place them maybe an inch from the plant. Today i tried a flourish tab to see if there is any difference to just one of thw crypts.

Question... any idea why my snails just dont seem to stay alive? Idk of my KH or GH have anything to do with it but i have never had problems with snails until i used the ADA AS.
Dosing looks to be inline with the old recommendation for micros (macros stayed the same). I think @Edward changed it when everyone was going through the great toxicity debate as it was on the high side anyway (I think?). I don't know a ton about it, but he'd be the best resource on proper dosing (seeing as how he made it :p)

Curious to see if the tabs make a difference. I was just checking to see if maybe they were burned from too much ferts directly under it or something. O+ uses urea which I guess is processed a little differently.

For the snails, it's going to be a combination of low pH (low KH) and CO2. Basically, very few snails can grow and repair their shell faster than it deteriorates due to acidity. Pond snails are probably your only option at a pH of 6, and even then, you'll be picking up shells frequently. They won't live a full, long life
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 02:14 PM
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Robo-snickers,
The plants on your pictures look like they are not having enough light. They are weak and vertically positioned trying to get higher and closer to the light source. And they are also suffering from ever changing conditions. You cannot just drop a tsp of some mineral booster here and there and not expect cryptocoryne melt.

Test your tap GH and KH, I expect it to have sufficient Ca level as is. For the daily dose I would use 7 ml of solution #1 macros and 3.5 ml solution #2 micros. And what are the snails supposed to eat? I have nice snails at zero KH, 20 ppm Ca and fed by frozen shredded spinach.

Consistency is important here because the ADA substrate keeps changing water parameters, you need to change the same amount of water at the same period of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by natemcnutty View Post
With Aquasoil, you really should use RO water and remineralize instead of using tap. Any carbonates in your tap will reduce the soil's ability to lower pH and will eventually deplete it completely.
Are you suggesting adding carbonates to RO or not?


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 03:08 PM
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Are you suggesting adding carbonates to RO or not?
Not. I personally don't as it supposedly reduces the capacity of the substrate to budget the pH. My Aquasoil tank is 0 dKH with no issues, but the low pH can be an issue for some species of snails. My point was that the lower the pH, the harder snails have to work to take care of their shells. Relation to carbonates is only that the soil strips them which lowers the pH.

So glad you pointed out the possible lighting issues. Definitely can see that now that you point it out. Sorry to bring up the micro tox discussion again, but I wanted to confirm that he should cut micros in half.

While I'm not a fan of adding GH outside of water change and targeting a specific level, is adding under 1 dGH really enough to cause issues? I've never actually had crypts melt outside is too high of heat, and I've definitely had some accidentally high fert doses in the past.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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@Edward

Thanks for the advice. I will up the power of my lighting and see what happens. I dropped it to about 80% because I was having a bit of an algae issue and was assuming it was the light. Perhaps not.. algea is nearly gone now and really only present on the buce, i will probably have to move them to a more shady area anyway.

Never heard of cutting the micros down by half but I will give it a shot, wouldYou say the amount of GH booster i dose is fine? I sill measure my tap tonight but I have had my sword leafs grow spiral like before the GH booster and they stopped since. Not sure if i want to cut it out completely.

Question, should I up my CO2 or lower it and how would i measure it? I have a drop check that turns green but have been told its not a reliable way of measuring it. And Would a split hose be better for a tank size of 72? (Diffuser on each side of the tank) i have a power head at the moment blowing over the CO2 but I am not 100% convinced the plants on the other side of the tank are getting enough.

Finally, i do my water changes every day on sunday and change about 40-50%. Would you think that is to much and should cut the amounth down? Perhaps that is making the water to inconsistent.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 06:28 PM
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Hello, just speaking of an alternative to Osmocote plus. I see Miracle-Gro Shake & Feed a lot in my area. Seems to be quite similar, small beads, slow release, but i did never try it. I wonder if it is good.

Michel

Plants and algae grower.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 03:15 PM
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I will measure my tap tonight
Have you tested the tap GH and KH?


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-18-2018, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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I will measure my tap tonight …
Have you tested the tap GH and KH?
Tested my tap and my water after 3 days of using the GH booster just to see if there was a change.

My tap: KH 35.8, GH 17.9-35.8

Water after 3 days of GH booster:KH 17.9, GH 161.1.... so really not changed since i tested it right after the GH booster.

I would also like to mention which i completely forgot (added it before i created this thread), I added a cuddle bone to the filter after i read an article online saying this can help. Not sure how much this has change my water in my tank since i never tested it without it. Thoughts?
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-18-2018, 09:57 PM
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My tap: KH 35.8, GH 17.9-35.8
Water after 3 days of GH booster:KH 17.9, GH 161.1
Tap: 2 dKH, 1 - 2 dGH
Aquarium after 3 days with GH booster: 1 dKH, 9 dGH
72 gallons

Your tap KH is perfect but GH 1 - 2 degrees is on the edge. dGH of 2 would be ok but 1 dGH not so much. You need to add Ca at weekly 50% water changes.

50% of 72 gall = 36 gall, GLA GH Booster 21.5 grams, 12.4 ppm Ca, 3 dGH, 24 ppm K and 5 ppm Mg.

Daily dose (7 x a week), 7 ml solution #1 macros and 3.5 ml solution #2 micros. More light and cuttlebone out. What KH is in the drop checker? If you are ordering more fertilizers, get CaSO4.

I think the problem was insufficient light, too high 75 ppm K and 16 ppm Mg from GH Booster, inconsistency. And snails need food.


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