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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2011, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Fert Help

Ok so I am very lost when it comes to ferts I have read through the forum but all the terminology seems to be over my head. What are the absolute necessary dry ferts needed to start? I read the Dosing Regime's sticky and from my understanding I am going to need KN03, KH2P04, K2S04, and what else? I have found those ferts on ebay where can I find the others at a reasonable price? I am going to be dosing my 29 gallon moderately planted tank. Should be heavily planted eventually. With high light and pressurized C02 if that helps understand my situation here. Appreciate any help anyone can offer here. Please put it in ferts for dummy form for me hah I dont even know what trace elements means?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2011, 09:29 PM
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You are off to a good start.

So you may have heard of 'macro' and 'micro' nutrients. 'Macro' means large and 'micro' means small. In this case it means that plants need a large amount of the macros and a small amount of the micros.

The three macros are Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), and Phosphorous (P). Plants need these nutrients to build healthy new growth.

The main source for Nitrogen is KNO3 and fish waste. If you notice, there is also a 'K' in that chemical formula, which means it is also a source of Potassium. (The chemical formula means that there is one potassium, one nitrogen, and three oxygen atoms in the molecule.)

The main source for Phosphorous is KH2PO4. Once again, there is also a K in that chemical formula, which means that there is Potassium in this molecule as well.

If you're finding that your plants need more Potassium you can also dose K2SO4, which is just an extra source.

'Trace' elements are micro nutrients; things that plants only need a small amount of. For instance, iron is a trace element for us humans, since we don't need a large amount of it, but it is vital that we have a small amount so that our blood can function properly.

The main source of trace or micro nutrients is a 'micronutrient' or 'trace mix', or 'GH booster'. These mixes both contain a bit of several elements that plants need in small amounts to stay healthy.

I dose KNO3, KH2PO4, and GH Booster in my low-tech tank, and it's going well. The GH Booster also has a bit of Potassium (K) in it, so from those three sources I get enough K and don't have to dose K2SO4 to get any more. In a high tech tank like yours you may end up needing to get it.

Joy to the fishes!

Last edited by Jadelin; 05-17-2011 at 11:29 PM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2011, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Now what is microplex? Would that be used as my micronutrient or trace mix? Thanks for the help by the way. I think I understand enough to move forward now. Also if I am right in assuming that microplex would be my trace mix does it contain enough iron to not have to supplement or would I add iron as well?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2011, 11:29 PM
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I think microplex must be a specific brand of trace mix; I've never heard of it, but I found it on this website: http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizer.html
I don't know where you're looking at buying from, but I would order from a site specifically for aquariums, such as the one above, or this one: http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...ditU=1&Regit=2
So yes, it microplex does seem to be a trace mix.

I also don't know about how much iron it would have. That's one of those things that you have to try out in your tank to see what the needs are of your specific setup. I would start with the three basics for now (KNO3, KH2PO4, trace mix), and then get other fertilizers if your plants seem to have a deficiency. I mean, you might want to just get them so you have them on hand in case you need them, but my philosophy is don't spend money on something you don't know you need yet.

A quite popular trace mix is CSM+B; I've never used it personally, but a lot of people seem to use that one.

Joy to the fishes!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-18-2011, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much you have cleared up a lot of confusion for me.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-18-2011, 02:03 AM
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As someone who recently decided it was necessary to figure out dry ferts, I can appreciate your confusion, and I don't mind helping out!

There's a lot of information out there, and not all of it necessarily true (for instance, the idea that putting ferts into a low-light tank is pointless - it's definitely not pointless!!)
Your plants will thank you for going to the trouble of figuring it out. And once you figure out what it is you need to get and how much, the actual dosing isn't hard at all.

Joy to the fishes!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-18-2011, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Do you do any testing? I was wondering if I should consider getting some sort of tester.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jadelin View Post
I think microplex must be a specific brand of trace mix; I've never heard of it, but I found it on this website: http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizer.html
I don't know where you're looking at buying from, but I would order from a site specifically for aquariums, such as the one above, or this one: http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...ditU=1&Regit=2
So yes, it microplex does seem to be a trace mix.

I also don't know about how much iron it would have. That's one of those things that you have to try out in your tank to see what the needs are of your specific setup. I would start with the three basics for now (KNO3, KH2PO4, trace mix), and then get other fertilizers if your plants seem to have a deficiency. I mean, you might want to just get them so you have them on hand in case you need them, but my philosophy is don't spend money on something you don't know you need yet.

A quite popular trace mix is CSM+B; I've never used it personally, but a lot of people seem to use that one.
Have you tried DIY Tropica Plant Nutrition?

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...-mix-your.html
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 04:10 AM
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the only think I test for is Nitrates, which is the 'NO3' part in KNO3. That's because I have a goldfish in my bigger tank that poops too much for his own good and I want to make sure the Nitrate doesn't get too high. Because of the high level of Nitrate in this tank due to the goldfish, I don't add KNO3 to it; I only add that to my shrimp tank.

If you have healthy plants, a normal fish load and do regular water changes, high NO3 isn't likely to be a problem for you.

Joy to the fishes!
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