Should I try dry ferts? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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Should I try dry ferts?

Let me try to ask questions differently to see if I can get some more help.

Background: Tanks are all low tech with low light plants and heavily stocked, nitrate is quite high. I dose seachem comprehensive, excel every week after 25-30% water change. Iron and potassium are used when needed, oh I do use root tabs.

Without co2 and high light, and with high nitrate, I don't want to dose ferts every day or do 50% water change every week due to some fish are more sensitive. I want to switch to dry ferts but I'm getting very frustrated because everywhere I read about dry ferts, they point to EI or PPS-Pro with means daily dosing. I tried PPS-pro before but never keep up with the schedule. Should I forget about dry ferts and stick with seachem flourish, iron, etc.?

Do you have any suggestions? I just want something simple, doesn't require every day fert dosing or weekly 50% water change. TIA.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 01:49 PM
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How is the tank doing with your current regime? Are you satisfied with the outcome? Basically, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

The idea that dry fertilizers have to be used for EI or PPS is wrong. The opposite is also true that changing to dry fertilizers requires using either of these methods. So why are dry fertilizers so popular? The main reason is the price. You can get all the fertilizers you'll need for a few years for the cost of one bottle of Seachem. There is nothing wrong with the Seachem products. They are basically the same thing with the exception of paying a hefty price for the water in the bottle.

Your tank does not require daily dosing and weekly large water changes. However, there is an advantage to dosing excel and iron more frequently. Neither will last for a week in the water column. That said, I don't think you'll see any huge increase in growth or plant health by dosing every other day.

In a nutshell. Seachem products and dry fertilizers are essentially the same thing with the exception of price.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 04:41 PM
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You can also try dosing once per week at half or third the suggested EI dose and see what happens and go from there.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 05:02 PM
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Also keep in mine that any method is an ESTIMATE, not exact but an attempt to give us a starting point. That leaves me thinking it was meant that we should adjust it as we see what happens in our tank.Too much nitrate? Cut back dosing nitrate. You may find that the estimate was done with tiny little fish and you have big fish that produce all the nitrate needed?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
How is the tank doing with your current regime? Are you satisfied with the outcome? Basically, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Tanks are alright, but my #1 priority is to fix the hole in my wallet/pocket, the hole is getting too big. Nothing is wrong with seachem, but one thing leads to another, this hobby is killing me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nilocg View Post
You can also try dosing once per week at half or third the suggested EI dose and see what happens and go from there.
That might work? without 50% wc weekly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Also keep in mine that any method is an ESTIMATE, not exact but an attempt to give us a starting point. That leaves me thinking it was meant that we should adjust it as we see what happens in our tank.Too much nitrate? Cut back dosing nitrate. You may find that the estimate was done with tiny little fish and you have big fish that produce all the nitrate needed?
Suppose I want to give dry ferts a try, based on the calculator input with my medium size 30g tank first, for KNO3,

7.5 ppm NO3 you will need to add
1.389 g KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) to yield
Element ppm/degree
K 4.73
N 1.69
NO3 7.50

The 7.5ppm or 1.389g is per dose based on 3 times a week, not the total per week, am I correct? so if I want to reduce it to 1/3 like nilocg suggested, 1.389g of KNO3 is all I need for the 30g?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 10:01 PM
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If you want to dose dry fertilizers you may want to base new dosing off of what you currently do. However, you can dose daily,weekly or monthly and do water changes weekly or monthly. It all depends on what YOU want to do.

Instead of calling a dosing regime by name just devise your own. We know the nutrient levels for non-limiting fertilizers...

CO2 range 25-35 ppm
NO3 range 10-30 ppm
K+ range 10-30 ppm
PO4 range 1.0-2.0 ppm
Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher
GH range 1-2 degrees "extra" 17-40 ppm or higher

Play with this model to devise a balance of dosing and water changes based on your own preference. Simply keep the nutrient levels within range. Then you can use the nutrient calculator to calculate how much of what is needed to raise the ppm where you want it. Whola, you have the NoGo dosing method.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
If you want to dose dry fertilizers you may want to base new dosing off of what you currently do. However, you can dose daily,weekly or monthly and do water changes weekly or monthly. It all depends on what YOU want to do.

Instead of calling a dosing regime by name just devise your own. We know the nutrient levels for non-limiting fertilizers...

CO2 range 25-35 ppm
NO3 range 10-30 ppm
K+ range 10-30 ppm
PO4 range 1.0-2.0 ppm
Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher
GH range 1-2 degrees "extra" 17-40 ppm or higher

Play with this model to devise a balance of dosing and water changes based on your own preference. Simply keep the nutrient levels within range. Then you can use the nutrient calculator to calculate how much of what is needed to raise the ppm where you want it. Whola, you have the NoGo dosing method.
Yeah! I can't follow the exact dosing regime due to unmet requirements as stated. I never dose dry ferts and am nervous about altering the dosage, one mistake can kill everyting.

Back to my question,

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoGo View Post

Suppose I want to give dry ferts a try, based on the calculator input with my medium size 30g tank first, for KNO3,

7.5 ppm NO3 you will need to add
1.389 g KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) to yield
Element ppm/degree
K 4.73
N 1.69
NO3 7.50

The 7.5ppm or 1.389g is per dose based on 3 times a week, not the total per week, am I correct? so if I want to reduce it to 1/3 like nilocg suggested, 1.389g of KNO3 is all I need for the 30g?

Is the 7.5ppm or 1.389g is per dose based on 3 times a week, not the total per week, am I correct? so if I want to reduce it to 1/3 like nilocg suggested, 1.389g of KNO3 is all I need for the 30g?

How come the calculator doesn't calculate iron?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 01:06 PM
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Sorry I don't know what you mean by unmet requirements. I didn't see any mention in previous posts.

The 1.389 gram dose is a full weekly dose for EI. The daily dose is 592mg. Select EI Daily in the picklist for that. However, based on your initial post you don't need KNO3. You said your nitrates were high.

Based on the title of this thread I read your other thread about nutrients. Creating equivalent Seachem concentrations is not a bad option for you. Obviously you will need the dry fertilizers and some sort of containers. Nilocg sells them at a competitive price. In fact, I don't think you will find them cheaper anywhere when you include shipping fees. Nilocg includes shipping.

The minimum fertilizers you will need to continue the method you have been using are DTPA Iron, K2SO4 and Plantex CSM +B. Personally, I would add KNO3 and KH2PO4 to that list just so you will have them if needed. The cost is minimal.

Below are the recipes to mimic the Seachem's products you use. The form of nutrients are different but the same level of nutrients are supplied. Use these solutions exactly as you have been.

Iron solution
add 13 teaspoons of 10% DTPA chelated iron to 500ml of water.

Potassium solution
add 9 teaspoons of K2SO4 to 500ml of water.

Trace mix (Flourish Comprehensive)
add 6 teaspoons of Plantex CSM +B to 500ml of water.

Those recipes were calculated from this calculator. It does calculate for iron as well as many others. Change the "I am dosing with" selection for whatever nutrient you are calculating for.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoGo View Post
Yeah! I can't follow the exact dosing regime due to unmet requirements as stated. I never dose dry ferts and am nervous about altering the dosage, one mistake can kill everything.
Fertilizing doesn't need to be exact. A mistake usually has no effect on the fish, it just uses up your supply of ferts. If you double the doses called for in the EI method you will probably not even be aware that you made a mistake. The toxic amounts of those chemicals is way above what is called for in EI. Of course it is better to keep the levels of those chemicals in the normal range, but that doesn't mean a disaster is looming if you don't.

Hoppy
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
The 1.389 gram dose is a full weekly dose for EI. The daily dose is 592mg. Select EI Daily in the picklist for that. However, based on your initial post you don't need KNO3. You said your nitrates were high.
Thank you very much! I didn't know there are EI daily and low light/weekly options available. Sweet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Based on the title of this thread I read your other thread about nutrients. Creating equivalent Seachem concentrations is not a bad option for you.
That's what I thought too because I have several tanks and they're different in sizes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Obviously you will need the dry fertilizers and some sort of containers. Nilocg sells them at a competitive price. In fact, I don't think you will find them cheaper anywhere when you include shipping fees. Nilocg includes shipping.
His liquid ferts come with bottles and I already have too many of the seachem 500ml bottles around, so I will probably pickup some dry ferts from him once I figure it out what I need and how to use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
The minimum fertilizers you will need to continue the method you have been using are DTPA Iron, K2SO4 and Plantex CSM +B. Personally, I would add KNO3 and KH2PO4 to that list just so you will have them if needed. The cost is minimal.
It's probably the best starting point for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Below are the recipes to mimic the Seachem's products you use. The form of nutrients are different but the same level of nutrients are supplied. Use these solutions exactly as you have been.

Iron solution
add 13 teaspoons of 10% DTPA chelated iron to 500ml of water.

Potassium solution
add 9 teaspoons of K2SO4 to 500ml of water.

Trace mix (Flourish Comprehensive)
add 6 teaspoons of Plantex CSM +B to 500ml of water.

Those recipes were calculated from this calculator. It does calculate for iron as well as many others. Change the "I am dosing with" selection for whatever nutrient you are calculating for.
Fantastic! I really appreciate your help, Zorfox. It's a great way to show me how to use the calculator. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Fertilizing doesn't need to be exact. A mistake usually has no effect on the fish, it just uses up your supply of ferts. If you double the doses called for in the EI method you will probably not even be aware that you made a mistake. The toxic amounts of those chemicals is way above what is called for in EI. Of course it is better to keep the levels of those chemicals in the normal range, but that doesn't mean a disaster is looming if you don't.
OK, Thanks.

Happy holidays everyone!
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