Plantex & K2SO4 questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Plantex & K2SO4 questions

I'm just about out of the Kent micros that I've been using for micros for the past several months and I'm ready to mix up GW's potion but I have some questions first and I'm super paranoid about changing anything after all that I've been through and all of the algae that I've battled (and won)!

I figure it'll be convenient to reuse the Kent bottle for the Plantex (CSM+B) solution, but it's 17oz, is this too much to mix up at once? What exactly is the best way to mix it up? Tap water? The PMDD recipe from GW says to add Magnesium Sulfate, but my tap water KH is already 15, should I skip the MgSO4.7H2O? I also have a sack of Fe, should I be adding this to the Plantex solution? How and how much?

I bought some K2SO4 when I ordered all this stuff, but it wasn't in TB's dosing regime but I see it in others EI regimes.. should I be dosing this? (I'm currently dosing 3/8Tsp KNO3, 1/16Tsp KKH2PO4, & 10mL micros 3x per week).

Also, I bought some Nutrafin "Plant Gro" fertilizer sticks that are supposedly good for a whole year. I stuck one under my new Red Tiger Lotus, and it's suddenly huge and beautiful! Could've just been the new environment though, anybody use these? Do I need to take the ferts in these things into consideration when dosing dry ferts, or does it not matter since they're not in the water column? Would my Crypt benefit from these?

Oh yeah, ... I almost forgot. I also have a bottle of this Kent stuff called "ProPlant" Freshwater plant gowth accelerator. It says "This product provides bio-available nitrogen, magnesium, and micronutrients..."Sources of nutrients: Sodium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulfate, Boric acid. Is useful for anything? It was supposed to be a supplement to the other Kent stuff.

Thanks everyone, my plants are exploding and my tank is starting to look awesome (comparatively anyway). I still don't have the creative flair to aquascape like most of the tanks I see posted here so maybe I'll post some pics soon and try to get some tips. Thanks!

Dan O
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
I figure it'll be convenient to reuse the Kent bottle for the Plantex (CSM+B) solution, but it's 17oz, is this too much to mix up at once?
The issue is not how much solution you make, it's how fast you will go through it. The chelated iron, which is available to plants, may break down to a form plants can't absorb after time in solution. Some people have also reported stuff growing in their PMDD.

I try to limit my liquid supply to two months. You can make as much dry mix as you want, then easily replenish your liquid supply from that - simply write down the amount of dry mix and water on a label and affix it to the bottle for easy reference. If the bottle you want to use is too big, you can always make a weaker solution so you use more.

Personally, I use dry mix directly when doing water changes, and for daily doses, I use a strong solution from a dropper bottle. Drip, drip, I'm done. I don't even have to reach for a spoon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
What exactly is the best way to mix it up? Tap water?
Yup. If you're extra paranoid, you can buy a gallon of distilled water for $1 and use that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
The PMDD recipe from GW says to add Magnesium Sulfate, but my tap water KH is already 15, should I skip the MgSO4.7H2O?
You cannot accurately tell how much magnesium is in your water from either GH or KH. Your water company should be able to provide you with an analysis of the water supply. If they can't, or if there is any remaining doubt, I would add the magnesium. It won't contribute much to your water hardness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
I also have a sack of Fe, should I be adding this to the Plantex solution? How and how much?
The CSM+B in the PMDD mix already has enough iron for the majority of tanks. In fact, dosing PMDD to maintain 1-2ppm of iron is the only way to know that you're using enough PMDD! So I wouldn't recommend experimenting with extra iron yet. Also, is that sack of Fe chelated? If not, it wouldn't work anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
I bought some K2SO4 when I ordered all this stuff, but it wasn't in TB's dosing regime but I see it in others EI regimes.. should I be dosing this?
I would dose it. You really can't have too much potassium. In my opinion, Tom tends to operate on the cutting edge of planted aquaria technique, and that is not a comfortable place for many of us.

This active thread contains a lot of good info on PMDD, and my latest post further discusses the potassium issue, as well as some other stuff I think you'll appreciate. Check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
Oh yeah, ... I almost forgot. I also have a bottle of this Kent stuff called "ProPlant" Freshwater plant gowth accelerator.
Good grief man, who needs an LFS? I'm heading to your house next time.

Seriously, PMDD already provides those nutrients. Don't add a bunch of other stuff on top of PMDD until you're comfortable with PMDD! Otherwise, if you have a problem, you'll never know what's to blame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
I still don't have the creative flair to aquascape like most of the tanks I see posted here so maybe I'll post some pics soon and try to get some tips.
That's the same reason I've been holding off pics of my tank, it's in a constant state of flux while I move stuff around. I'll be looking forward to your pics.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks DC! While I appreciate everybody responses, yours seem to consistently be among the most thorough and clearly stated. (Which assures that I'll continue to pester you with questions!). Like:

At water change you dry dose the Plantex CSM+B?

The Fe says 10% Iron Chelate... what is this for?

Dan O

46g bowfront, BML 6300K, Black fluorite, Filstar XP3, pressurized Co2, Milwaukee reg & SMS122, AM 1000

5g 36W 6700K, flourite, ZooMed 501, DIY Hagen Co2 & bubble ladder
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
At water change you dry dose the Plantex CSM+B?
My dry mix includes the CSM+B, potassium sulphate, and magnesium sulphate. Did you check out that other thread I pointed you to? I discussed it there to the point of exhaustion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
The Fe says 10% Iron Chelate... what is this for?
I assume you're asking what "chelate" means? You can absorb iron from eating meat or spinach, but you won't benefit much from eating chunks of iron, or rust. Same thing goes for plants. Chelated iron is an organic form that can be easily absorbed.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Oops.. I posted before I was done... more interrogation!

My house has turned into an LFS... its crazy how much time and $ I've spent since I got addicted to this! That's why I appreciate your time so much, I really want to get this right.

I see in the other thread that you referenced, that you add K2SO4 to you micros solution, does this replace dry dosing K2SO4 or should I also be dry dosing it?

So I don't need to test for non-chelated iron? If iron is desirable in the chelated form, why won't the 10% chelate that I have work if I need more then whats already in the PMDD mix?

Lastly, here's my current revised schedule for my 46g (about 35g actual)
Here's an EXCELLENT volume calulator: http://home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/volcalc.html


Comments or tweaks on this routine?

Sunday
50% water change
+/-3/8Tsp KN03
+/-1/16Tsp KH2P04
+/-1/16Tsp K2S04

Monday
+/-10ml Trace

Tuesday
+/-3/8Tsp KN03
+/-1/16Tsp KH2P04
+/-1/16Tsp K2S04

Wednesday
+/-10ml Trace

Thursday
+/-3/8Tsp KN03
+/-1/16Tsp KH2P04
+/-1/16Tsp K2S04

Friday
+/-10ml Trace

Saturday
No ferts

Target values

CO2 - 25-35PPM (+/- 5PPM)
NO3 - 5-30PPM (+/- 1PPM)
K+ - 10-30PPM (+/- 2PPM)
PO4 - 1-3PPM (+/- .2PPM)
Fe - .2-.5+? (+/- .1PPM)
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Feel free to ignore me DC... it could be a full time job responding to me!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
I see in the other thread that you referenced, that you add K2SO4 to you micros solution, does this replace dry dosing K2SO4 or should I also be dry dosing it?
My liquid mix is made directly from my dry mix, and therefore has the exact same chemicals and proportions.

I think perhaps you're trying to examine my personal dosing routines too closely. Dose in any way that achieves your ppm goals, and makes you and your plants happy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
So I don't need to test for non-chelated iron?
Nope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
If iron is desirable in the chelated form, why won't the 10% chelate that I have work if I need more then whats already in the PMDD mix?
It will work, but why do you believe you need more? Do you have plants known to have special iron requirements?

CSM+B contains chelated iron and trace minerals in ratios approximating what most plants actually use. You *can't* test all the individual trace mineral levels, but you *can* test your iron. If your iron is running low, your trace minerals probably are also; and that's the only way you will ever know. If you add extra iron from a different source, you lose the ability to make assumptions about your trace levels. Better in my opinion to just add more CSM+B.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
Comments or tweaks on this routine?
Generally accepted range for iron is 1-2ppm, and since iron/trace come from the same source, your trace minerals are going to be low as well. Of course, if what you're doing is working, there's really no need to change it.

Not that it actually affects anything, but I'm curious why you dose trace on separate days?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I think perhaps you're trying to examine my personal dosing routines too closely. Dose in any way that achieves your ppm goals, and makes you and your plants happy!
Probably, OK! I have a tendency to need to overunderstand everything... it' how my brain works. If I don't understand how it works down to the frickin molecular level it's hard for me to put it into practice.. it's a real curse. I'll get over it.

Quote:
It will work, but why do you believe you need more? Do you have plants known to have special iron requirements?
I asked that questions because of your earlier reply
Quote:
Also, is that sack of Fe chelated? If not, it wouldn't work anyway.
which I now realize that I misread... oops sorry. No, i'm not aware that my plants have special iron requirments... I'm just trying to understand why I bought a bag of it!

Quote:
I'm curious why you dose trace on separate days?
It seeme every EI routine that I saw while researching it showed everybody dosing micros and macros on alternate days, and I think I came across a post where Tom explicitly said to do that... I could be wrong again though.

Thanks again mon
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
Probably, OK! I have a tendency to need to overunderstand everything... it' how my brain works. If I don't understand how it works down to the frickin molecular level it's hard for me to put it into practice.. it's a real curse. I'll get over it.
Ahhh! You like to grok. No wonder we bounce off each other so well.

If you ever get to the point where you've reached information overload and you still haven't reached that higher state of understanding, just forget about it for a few days. Your brain does something magical while you sleep. Come back to it later and it will suddenly make more sense.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2005, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Ahhh! You like to grok
Grok! What's that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra
If you ever get to the point where you've reached information overload and you still haven't reached that higher state of understanding, just forget about it for a few days. Your brain does something magical while you sleep. Come back to it later and it will suddenly make more sense.
True... I'm learning this, but it's hard to put into practice for me sometimes. I'm kind of impatient, I want answers and results immediately! I think that's why my wife is encouraging me into this "hobby" 'cuz it would seem to be a relaxing kind of thing to do.... LOL!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 05:17 AM
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It looks like Dark Cobra did a fantastic job of answering your questions ... there are lots of "right" ways to do things ... each aquarium is a unqiue set of variables, and so sometimes some of us may do things just a little bit differently than others ...

For example ... Dark Cobra and I dose the Potassium Sulfate, but not everyone does ... I'm happier doing so and more comfortable doing so ... however, in today's environment with higher light, we are often dosing a lot more Potassium Nitrate and Mono Potassium Phosphate than we did 10 years ago ... back then we needed to dose the extra potassium ... today, we *probably* are getting enough Potassium from the Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Phosphate ...

So why do I still dose it? It's cheap ... and an excess doesn't do any harm - so I will personally continue to do so ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
I think that's why my wife is encouraging me into this "hobby" 'cuz it would seem to be a relaxing kind of thing to do.... LOL!
Now Dan has captured the greatest benefit of this hobby ... a happier wife.

I don't personally drink, but I often will make the argument that it is a cheaper hobby than what most men spend in the bar on their way home from work ... and where would your wife rather have you? ... at home with an aquarium or out in a bar drinking? <grin> ... Personally, I vote for spending time with the aquariums ...

Greg


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Otterdahl
Grok! What's that?
grok /grok/, var. /grok/ vt. [common; from the novel "Stranger in a
Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein, where it is a Martian word meaning
literally `to drink' and metaphorically `to be one with'] The emphatic
form is `grok in fullness'. 1. To understand. Connotes intimate and
exhaustive knowledge. When you claim to `grok' some knowledge or
technique, you are asserting that you have not merely learned it in a
detached instrumental way but that it has become part of you, part of
your identity.

Although it's a fictional word in origin, it is useful and unique enough in its meaning that it worked its way into the English language to the degree that it's now printed in many dictionaries.

Once you grok something, you have built a working mental model of every aspect of it, from the macroscopic to the microscopic, and you can summon that entire model to mind instantly with a *single thought*. This mode of thinking transcends both verbal and visual, although you can easily focus in on specific aspects and examine them with internal dialogue and images if you prefer.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 12:11 PM
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Ha! now I'm glad I've read this thread (it was somewhat interesting before the grok discussion)!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2005, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Oh yeah, I have a friend who was an acid head in the 60's who told me that word before! He's an interesting guy... but that's another story. Thanks DC. Wow GW! I'm humbled and honored, thanks for the input!

Dan O
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Not that it actually affects anything, but I'm curious why you dose trace on separate days?
DC, I just ran across this, and remembered that you had asked:

From Georgiadawgger:
Quote:
As far as a big reason why we don't generally dose micros on the same day as macros is because of precipitation issues (usually phosphate and iron will precipitate out as a white powder--I did that a long time ago by mistake).
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