Steel Wool!?! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Steel Wool!?!

A local planted hobbyist I know took one look at one of my rather drap amazon swords, and said they needed some Iron. Now, usually, people use iron in powdered form (dry fertilzers) or in root tabs. Well, me being 14 and a rather low budget aquarist, I asked if he knew of a way to provide iron without spending to much money (I mean, $15 for 10 root tabs!?! Give me a break!). Well, he had a way. He suggested that I purchase some steel wool, give it a good cleaning, put it in a chemical media bag, stick it in my canister filter, and BAM! Plenty of iron! I was pretty skeptical, and still am about this... Won't that effect/kill any fauna in the tank? Apparently for him though, it has worked like a charm. And he has the plants to prove it. So, is steel wool really a cheap and effective way to provide iron for our plants? Enlighten me.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 06:52 PM
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It would certainly get iron into your water column.

I don't know if it would be too fast or too slow for the plants.

I'd be careful about making sure I gave it a really good cleaning. There could be machine oils in the stuff to prevent corrosion.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 07:15 PM
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Test the water for both chelated and non-chelated iron.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 07:37 PM
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A years supply of EDTA is pretty cheap, almost as cheap as a bag of steel wool.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 10:07 PM
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No way it's not even close to the same thing, I don't know what rust is but maybe something like Iron Oxide. A Chelated Iron is what you are looking for, Chealated is like saying pre-digested so the iron is available for immediate uptake by the plants. I think regular steel wool would just make a mess by rusting which would a mess and collect in your filter, tubing, etc. and a stainless steel wool would most likely not do anything at all. Now lets wait to hear from a chemist???

Chelated Iron is available from any online, it's a little expensive but will last you forever, try here; http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...ShowItemStart=

I actually have a 2.5 gallon bottle of chelated iron that I use on my lawn but I'm afraid it may contain something harmful that I don't know about, so I just leave it alone as far as the tank goes.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 10:20 PM
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steel woool is loaded with an anti corrosive. basically wd-40, but worse. it will turn innto iron oxide rapidly. that being the case, iron oxide is toxic, on a basic level it is hharmful to ur skin u just dont notiice it. anything oxide has the ability to corrode. it will destroy non organics(filter, pump, tubing, silicone, etc) faster than organics, good chance it will neutralize a lot f benefiicial bacteria, and lastly steel wool is not pure. its pot steel so its going to break down into other metals as well, tin, iron, copper, zinc, and a few others that werent refined out.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 10:38 PM
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A pound of CSM+B will last you years for $4, something like that.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
steel woool is loaded with an anti corrosive. basically wd-40, but worse. it will turn innto iron oxide rapidly. that being the case, iron oxide is toxic, on a basic level it is hharmful to ur skin u just dont notiice it. anything oxide has the ability to corrode. it will destroy non organics(filter, pump, tubing, silicone, etc) faster than organics, good chance it will neutralize a lot f benefiicial bacteria, and lastly steel wool is not pure. its pot steel so its going to break down into other metals as well, tin, iron, copper, zinc, and a few others that werent refined out.
I don't mean to question your knowledge of chemistry but care to elaborate on pretty much everything you mentioned above? Also steel wool is 98% Fe, ~1% C and ~ 1%Mn (trace Pb and S).
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 02:56 PM
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My car is 60% iron but it's not going in my tank, just because it's made of iron doesn't mean it will break down and be absorbed by your plants. Plants also use a very minute amount of copper and we drink the water from copper pipes but it is very deadly, if you drive a copper nail in a tree it will die over the course of a year and if you put too much of a product with copper in your tank your fish and plants will die.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lipadj46 View Post
I don't mean to question your knowledge of chemistry but care to elaborate on pretty much everything you mentioned above? Also steel wool is 98% Fe, ~1% C and ~ 1%Mn (trace Pb and S).


nah, your the chemist ill let you fill in my miistakes

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2011, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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So, it is a deffinate no then? Good to know. Thank for all the help guys! Again, I was really skeptical when I heard about it... Just, wasn't 100% sure.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2011, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
A pound of CSM+B will last you years for $4, something like that.
I do have some CSM+B, but I never know how much to dose in a low tech tank. Should I make up my own EI dosing method? Or?

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2011, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
nah, your the chemist ill let you fill in my miistakes
I thought you knew something I didn't. As far as I have learned there are a few different forms of iron oxide as iron and oxygen have more than one oxidation state, and as far as I know those forms are fairly inert and the most common form of rust (Iron(III) oxide, the red stuff) is biologically speaking non toxic and used in medicine to some degree. Fe2O3 is also what is dissolved in EDTA to give us our chelated iron for fertilizing. Another form of iron oxide is used in reef labs to adsorb phosphates as I recall. As far as steel wool I recall doing a flame spectroscopy lab in college and that steel wool (well the stuff we used at that time say 13 years ago) was basically Fe, with some Mn and C and traces of S and Pb.

On a side note another fun redox reaction is to mix aluminum with Fe2O3 at high temp to get a thermite reaction.
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