Newbie to Ferts, can I use this fert in my tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie to Ferts, can I use this fert in my tank?

Ive read here and there about using miracle grow soil and ferts, and land plant ferts in the aquarium. Id like to know for sure, what the deal is with this?

I have this fertalizer from a company called New Era, and it just says plants food sticks. they are a light blue in color.
The ingredients are:
total nitrogen [N].....12%
3.5% Urea Nitrogen/8.5% water insoluble Nitrogen
Available Phosphoric Acid [P2O5] .....6%
Soluble Potash [ K2O].....6%
Sources: Urea-form/triple superphosphate acid...
Vhlorine.....not more than 0.30%


I am currently using Flourish Comprehensive Supplement, thought my rootters don t seem to be doing well! Im not sure what i should do.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyzzaRyzz View Post
Ive read here and there about using miracle grow soil and ferts, and land plant ferts in the aquarium. Id like to know for sure, what the deal is with this?

I have this fertalizer from a company called New Era, and it just says plants food sticks. they are a light blue in color.
The ingredients are:
total nitrogen [N].....12%
3.5% Urea Nitrogen/8.5% water insoluble Nitrogen
Available Phosphoric Acid [P2O5] .....6%
Soluble Potash [ K2O].....6%
Sources: Urea-form/triple superphosphate acid...
Vhlorine.....not more than 0.30%
The bolded part indicates that nitrogen is given in the form of urea, which is toxic to fish and shrimp (urea reacts in water to form ammonia). This fertilizer is not suitable for aquatic use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LyzzaRyzz View Post
I am currently using Flourish Comprehensive Supplement, thought my rootters don t seem to be doing well! Im not sure what i should do.
What kind of lighting do you have? Are you dosing any other fertilizers at all? Depending on your lighting, you may need to dose macronutrients as well.

Anthony


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 07:48 AM
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"The bolded part indicates that nitrogen is given in the form of urea, which is toxic to fish and shrimp (urea reacts in water to form ammonia). This fertilizer is not suitable for aquatic use."

I would agree with this personally as well and believe that it is easier and safer to use nitrates as your nitrogen source. This is the general consensus of the community.

There is a small group that has been experimenting with using fertilizer regimens with some urea in them. I am all for people experimenting and am always for people trying things that are counter to the conventional wisdom. Their rationale as I understand it is that the plants will take up the ammonia (it is preferentially absorbed before nitrates) fast enough that the urea being converted into ammonia will never rise to a harmful level. This is likely true as they are doing this in the setting of CO2 injected tanks that tend to have lower pH that renders ammonia relatively safer by converting most of it into NH4+. All in all I find their experiment interesting but not worth the trouble or risk unless you know exactly what you are doing and are fully aware of the risks.

TLDR: I wouldn't use it and neither would the majority of people on here
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 02:58 PM
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Sotty's explanation is excellent.

While urea can be used in an aquatic environment as plants do tend to uptake ammonia preferentially, it is a fine balance between maintaining what your plants want and not overdosing and killing your livestock.

If you have no fauna, then by all means, you can experiment with it, but keep in mind that algae may also be more problematic.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 04:16 PM
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As for using land plants in the aquarium, here is a quick run-down of what is going on.

1) Many tropical plants live in a sort of in-between world, flooded part of the year, and growing with 'wet feet' the rest of the year. Leaves out of the water.
Some of these plants do better out of water all the time, and make really good house plants. Some of these plants are OK under water all year round, and make fine aquarium plants, even though in the wild they spend part of their life with their leaves exposed to the air. Many Crypts are like this.
Some plants are so much in-between that they will do fine on land, but will hang in there long enough in the aquarium that they are sold as aquarium plants, even though they do not really thrive under water all the time.

2) Many plants live on the margins of lakes and streams, and grow into the water, often floating on the surface. Some of these can also grow under water, and in a low light setting, so make good aquarium plants.

3) Some plants only grow under water except that they will flower when they grow tall enough to reach the water surface. By constantly pruning these plants they keep on growing under water.

4) Stores sell what sells. If they can buy house plants cheap, and sell them as under water plants, they will. When the plants die... a) People do not bother bringing them back, but go buy more plants, or a better light, or buy ferts, or buy a cute little CO2 kit. b) People do bring them back and the store will sell them more plants, lights, ferts or a cute little CO2 kit. It is Win-Win for the store.

Land plants that may be purchased in the nursery, grown in soil, but will do OK in a wetter setting, like an aquarium, or growing out of the top of the tank with just the roots in the water, or as a marginal plant in a pond:

Almost all house plants, but especially Philodendron, Pothos, Maranta, Dracaena, Spatiphyllum, Spider Plant, Spathiphyllum, Wandering Jew.

Here in CA I grow a lot of plants outdoors that others may grow indoors only, but here are the ones that are OK for aquarium or pond use, but usually not as under water plants:
Mondo Grass, Lysmachia nummularia, Most Sedges, reeds and similar plants, including Papayrus. A few specialty Iris like Louisiana and Japanese Iris. Acorus (several species and varieties). Mints of all sorts. (can get invasive in damp soil)

There are a lot more plants that will do just fine in a damp setting, like sitting in a pot in a pond with the leaves out of the water.
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