fert mix up - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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fert mix up

I suspsect I have mislabeled my ferts. Any clever ideas to distinguish between KNO3 and KH2PO4 salts?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 05:57 PM
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a nitrate test kit.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 05:57 PM
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how do you know it's mislabeled?

you can you a nitrate and phosphate test kit to check. They will register.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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unfortunate for this case...I am a no test kit kinda guy. (cmon...that's why I asked for clever ideas )
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 06:02 PM
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Then you're going to need magic. A nitrate test kit is 5 bucks and they are handy to have around. Otherwise you can go ahead and replace them.

On appearance they look identical and there is no other way to test them.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 06:02 PM
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Like many N containing compounds, KNO3 is explosive.

Lighting a little bit on fire will tell you which is which. (Just a pinch)

You heard me say a little bit right? Don't burn yourself because of something I told you to do.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
how do you know it's mislabeled?
I dont know that they are... I stupidly label the lids of the storage jars. I think that last time I made stock, I may have swapped the lids. Seems I should have less KNO3 but it is on the jar with more powder....
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Like many N containing compounds, KNO3 is explosive.

Lighting a little bit on fire will tell you which is which. (Just a pinch)

You heard me say a little bit right? Don't burn yourself because of something I told you to do.
That was my first thought...no real result. Will try again.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 06:10 PM
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It should fizzle, crackle, pop, while it burns. Other salts burn, but usually with less gusto.

You can tell by taste also. (Sounds weird, I know).

The thing is, you have to already know what they taste like, or have a known sample to compare.

Both taste more or less salty, but KNO3 has a slightly bitter after taste.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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The only thing I see when puting a flame to them is one turns a bit brown when melting...the other stays pure white. Anyone want to try to get the same results with known salts?
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 07:05 PM
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Strange. I've burned KNO3 many times and always had very different results. I'd guess yours has absorbed alot of moisture maybe? Or it isn't even KNO3.

Do you have any iodine? If you add iodine and phosphate to water you should get a weird blue color.

Otherwise mix one into a sample of water and take to your LFS for testing.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 07:19 PM
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KNO3 smells kinda bad. Not like obnoxious, but def stinky.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Yes...high humidity is the norm here in Fla. Likely the cause as I remember "burning" it to impress my young nephew when it was new. Not very impressive...but something.

One other thing that differentiates them...one is very white and more granular. The other has a bit off-white/yellow and more powdered and clumped. The latter is the one that browns when heated with a flame.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking back, I may have mixed sugar with the KNO3 to make it go... hmmm.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Yep. Added sugar...got flame up. (I had them labeled correctly the whole time )
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