Urea results - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Urea results

I know this isn't scientific but I'm not a scientist. I took 1 week and literally measured a lindernia India stem. It grew about a 1/2". That was using the pps method out of a 500 ml solution. I doesd 2ml of the NPK and 5ml trace every day for 7 days. I then started dosing the urea (seachem) not my own mix and dosed phosphorus (seachem). After another 7 days I measured the same stem and it had grown over 1 1/8". This is a 10 gallon tank. With 7 wpg. I also noticed a reduction in my thread algae problem, other plants colors were brighter too. Please let me reiterate I am not a scientist and this was not a controlled experiment. It is totally anecdotal. JUST MY OBSERVATION ONLY. I have seen enough that I am going to continue using these fertilizers. Btw I did 2 water changes.

Thanks Todd Ziegler
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 06:26 PM
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There is a reason we've been using urea in RootMedic ferts since the beginning. It works. Ammonical Nitrogen is consumed by plants more efficiently than KNO3.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 06:34 PM
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Urea is a great supplement but in no way a replacement for nitrates or ammonia. Only some plants, mainly angiosperms, can use it.


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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 06:49 PM
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Can anyone say what the affect of urea would be if the plants already have ample NO3 from KNO3? In other words, is it possible for plants to have nitrate stored up in them so that the urea would not have any affect on their growth?
I hope this question makes sense, as I'm not very knowledgeable about how plants store and use nutrients inside the plants.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
There is a reason we've been using urea in RootMedic ferts since the beginning. It works. Ammonical Nitrogen is consumed by plants more efficiently than KNO3.
So does having a good fish stock and feeding them well.
Since most of us got into the hobby via fish.....seems a bit obvious to use them for the source of NH4. NH4 at high levels = dead fish, so small metered dosing via fish food seems the safest method.

If you lack fish............well.............then adding urea or plenty of it should pose little risk.

I ran some tanks without snails or any livestock, I could not tell any differences personally, with dry weights and more critical and controlled test, I have. But it's specific to species. Not all species will respond the same way.




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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 06:56 PM
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Can anyone say what the affect of urea would be if the plants already have ample NO3 from KNO3? In other words, is it possible for plants to have nitrate stored up in them so that the urea would not have any affect on their growth?
I hope this question makes sense, as I'm not very knowledgeable about how plants store and use nutrients inside the plants.
John
Visually in a basic hobbyists view, I could never tell the difference, in fact, less algae and better growth was observed. Those results like many.....are suspect, as I have done controlled test with dry weights and found some difference, but not a lot.

Plants do NOT store NH4, they do store lots of NO3 however.




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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 07:40 PM
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When urea combines with water does it produce ammonia (NH3) and carbonic acid (H2CO3), which leaves you with a variable mix of NH3, NH4OH, CO2, and H2CO3? It looks like it would - to a non-chemist. If so, then urea in water is the same as ammonia in water?

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
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When urea combines with water does it produce ammonia (NH3) and carbonic acid (H2CO3), which leaves you with a variable mix of NH3, NH4OH, CO2, and H2CO3? It looks like it would - to a non-chemist. If so, then urea in water is the same as ammonia in water?
I don't think so as some/most plants/algae/bacteria/yeasts have enzymes to break down urea to ammonia. If urea spontaneously breaks down to ammonia and the other stuff there would be no need for this enzyme.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urease

Please ignore any spelling/grammatical errors. I'm swedish and sometimes I'm also drunk.

Last edited by m8e; 07-27-2012 at 08:37 PM. Reason: +yeasts
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 09:40 PM
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https://plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=179668

feel free to try this method, works even better.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 09:43 PM
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Urea is a great supplement but in no way a replacement for nitrates or ammonia. Only some plants, mainly angiosperms, can use it.
prove me wrong

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ThatGuyWithTheFish View Post
Urea is a great supplement but in no way a replacement for nitrates or ammonia. Only some plants, mainly angiosperms, can use it.
This is not valid in submersed aquatic systems.




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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 11:33 PM
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When I tried adding urea to my already non limiting tank (nutrient wise), my nitrates went up very high. I didn't see any change in growth for the better either.
I have two canister filters and both have a lot of bio media. Maybe the bacteria got to it faster than the plants since my plants had stored NO3, they didn't need or use the urea/ammonium?
Any thought on this?
John
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddziegler View Post
I know this isn't scientific but I'm not a scientist. I took 1 week and literally measured a lindernia India stem. It grew about a 1/2". That was using the pps method out of a 500 ml solution. I doesd 2ml of the NPK and 5ml trace every day for 7 days. I then started dosing the urea (seachem) not my own mix and dosed phosphorus (seachem). After another 7 days I measured the same stem and it had grown over 1 1/8". This is a 10 gallon tank. With 7 wpg. I also noticed a reduction in my thread algae problem, other plants colors were brighter too. Please let me reiterate I am not a scientist and this was not a controlled experiment. It is totally anecdotal. JUST MY OBSERVATION ONLY. I have seen enough that I am going to continue using these fertilizers. Btw I did 2 water changes.
I get 4-6 inches a week out of several species using a basic EI dosing method.
Hoppy has seen the tanks in person.
The tank journal also illustrates this.

Adding ferts does the job. Location(sediment or water column or both) "works" quite well in all cases, but having ferts in BOTH locations makes the dosing best since there is redundancy/back sources using both.
Adding N is SOME form also works very well, I've not seen any evidence that suggest otherwise.

NH4 or NO3, does not seem to make any difference nor make or break any tank and if so, then there are OTHER problems going on with the tank, generally CO2, circulation, filters, degassing of CO2, poor care etc.

7 WPG can mean many different things also, a light meter is a better tool to compare light intensity. In general, it's harder and places more demand on CO2 as you increase PAR intensity/duration.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgb77 View Post
When I tried adding urea to my already non limiting tank (nutrient wise), my nitrates went up very high. I didn't see any change in growth for the better either.
I have two canister filters and both have a lot of bio media. Maybe the bacteria got to it faster than the plants since my plants had stored NO3, they didn't need or use the urea/ammonium?
Any thought on this?
John
Some NH4 should target the plants, but what % goes to bacteria vs the plants? Hard to say. there is a way to do it, but requires stable isotopes, N15 labeled urea/NH4Cl etc.......then measure the % that was taken up in the plant's dry matter.


Plants in a well run system might remove 0.8 to 1.0 ppm of NH4 per day, which is = to about 3-4 ppm of NO3 per day.

Folks can use NH4Cl or NH4NO3 or (NH4)2(SO4) if they want to explore more with NH4, urea is cheap and often used, but this will get around the urease issue.




Regards,
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 11:49 PM
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prove me wrong
Well, I can't, really. But I doubt that using urea for ferns and mosses will yield any better results.

Quote:
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This is not valid in submersed aquatic systems.
That might be true, I'm not sure what it does in water, but I do know that not all plants have urease, and that it's mostly bacteria in the soil that digest urea in commercial fertilization.


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