Premixing dry ferts in water ? it re-solidified? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Premixing dry ferts in water it re-solidified?

I mixed my dry ferts with water and put it in the refrigerator. Today I went to use them, and two of them had solid particles inside the bottles.

I premixed these macro ferts with water, each in their own separate bottle, and here's what happened.
Nitrate (KNO3) solid crystals
Phosphate (KH2PO4) this one's okay
Potassium (K2SO4) some kind of solid matter
Is the problem because I put them in the refrigerator? Will the solid particles dissolve again once the water warms back up? Can I microwave the ferts to warm them up to speed things along? I'm already 1.5 hours late in dosing my tanks.

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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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I couldn't wait so I figured if I ruined it, I'd just dose dry for today. So I stuck the bottles in the microwave for a short time to warm up the water. That did the trick. Apparently, I shouldn't be refrigerating the macros like I do the micros. Learn something new every day!

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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 04:17 PM
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The solubility of most substances decreases with decreasing temperature (gases are the major exception, however). Therefore, i don't think it's unusual to find some precipitates from refrigeration (it also depends upon how concentrated your solutions are - the more concentrated, the more likely you are to be over the saturation point at the temperature of the refrigerator).

I don't see anything wrong with microwaving the solutions to heat them up.

Also, the precipitate of the K2SO4 could be from something in your water. Sulfates in general are insoluble so they could form a precipitate with Ca or Mg in your tap water. (This would explain why you are seeing less precipitates in the K2SO4 bottle than the KNO3 bottle, which i think it probably due to the lower solubility at lower temperatures.)
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, JeffyFunk. That was my main thought — were the solids due to temperature or due to a chemical reaction with something in my water?

I didn't just simply heat the bottles (but since no one was replying, I didn't go into detail). I first poured out the solids and crushed them using a mortar and pestle. That helped, but didn't fix the problem. That's when I zapped the bottles in the microwave and was able to redissolve the solids.

I'm going to keep the bottles out of the refrigerator and see what happens. If any of them re-solidify, then I'll know it's not the temperature, but a reaction to my tap water. My next step then would be to use a different water source.

Ultimately, I intend on creating a single macro solution, but the first time I tried, I got the solid particles. Since I had mixed the three macros together, I could not determine what caused the solids. That's why I separated the macros this time. I'll eventually figure it out.

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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 06:13 PM
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Maybe you are making too concentrated a solution, if you seem to keep getting solids.

Try adding perhaps half, or 1/4 of the amount of dry. If this works you will have to dose twice or 4x as much fertilizer-water to get the same dosing.
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think the solutions are too concentrated.

To make 15oz of each fert, I'm adding the following dry ferts to each bottle:
Nitrate (KNO3) 22.5 tsp (7.5 tbsp)
Phosphate (KH2PO4) 7.5 tsp (2.5 tbsp)
Potassium (K2SO4) 7.5 tsp (2.5 tbsp)
What I do is put each dry fert in a separate bottle and then add enough water to reach the 15oz mark. So those ferts are being put in almost 2 cups of water each. That's a pretty low concentration, I think.

Does that look like too high a concentration?

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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Nitrate (KNO3) — 22.5 tsp (7.5 tbsp)
That is approx 27 grams per 100 ml water.
At 10C (50F), its solubility is about 20 grams.
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KH2PO4 View Post
That is approx 27 grams per 100 ml water.
At 10C (50F), its solubility is about 20 grams.
So should I be okay if I didn't refrigerate it?

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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 08:42 PM
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I don't know. Mine got mold (yes, we're talking about macros, not micros).
So I've to keep it in the fridge, too. I mix it about half your concentration.
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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How many days/weeks worth did you mix up at a time? What I mixed would be enough for 6 doses for my 75g and 90g tanks each, so two weeks worth.

I suppose I could cut the amount in half and do just one week's worth or maybe get the larger bottles, but I kind of like the amounts I had figured out. The way I had it, I could dose 0.5oz to my 75g and 0.75oz to my 90g tank using the same mixture. If I double it, I'd have to dose 1.5oz to my 90g tank which would mean a double squeeze. Yeah, I know, that's so minor, but if I'm going to plan it out, I would rather not actually plan it that way.

I've heard that keeping it in a dark place reduces the problems with mold. Maybe I'll give that a try.

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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 12:50 AM
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25 days. I understand the want to keep it simple.
Hey, you can try it. You may not have the mold problem.
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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Do you mix your macros together or keep them separate once you've mixed them with the water?

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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 01:42 AM
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I use the fertilizer mixing calculatore here for PPS-Pro, and my macros always precipitated out of the solution when kept in the refrigerator. Since then, I started keeping them at room temperature and they stay in solution and haven't had any problems with mold.

Last edited by brogan; 08-13-2012 at 01:44 AM. Reason: Spelling
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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Do you mix your macros together or keep them separate once you've mixed them with the water?
Together. Well, it didn't look like mold normally found in Micros (which looks exactly
like coffee mold). The problem in my Macros was snot-like.
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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Ewwww. I don't want snot like anything.

So how are you mixing it? I'd love to mix all three together and get 25 days worth of ferts. I'll settle for half that. I'll even get bigger bottles if I need to. I'd just like to be able to dose them as liquids for a change. I'm tired of feeling guilty when my fish try to eat the ferts when I dose them dry.

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