Liquid EI Fertalizer - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Liquid EI Fertalizer

Hello everyone,

I have been experimenting with an easier way to take care of my aquarium because I have gotten a lot busier lately. Attempting to save myself some time, a few months ago I bought a bunch of 40 ML jars and started per-measuring out two weeks worth of fertilizers, this helped out a lot because I did not have to worry about measuring out everything everyday, I would simply just open the jar, add water, shake and pour!

Recently I have tried to make this even simpler by making a liquid fertilizer for each daily dose, using the same 40 ML jars I just added water to the per-measured amount of fertilizer. I am able to get the iron and CSM+B to dissolve easily, but I am having a problem with the mixture of Kn03, KH2P04 and GH Booster, these fertalizers don't seem to want to ever dissolve fully and will remain as clumps, even when I shake the $%^& out of it. I have tried dissolving it in more water, but I still get the same result, so I don't believe it isn't dissolving because the water is fully saturated, I think I am just missing something here.

I am dosing a 75 gallon aquarium with the following amounts:

Will not dissolve in 40ml of water
3/4 tsp Kn03
3/16 tsp Kh2P04
1/4 tsp GH Booster

Will dissolve in 40ml of water
1/4 tsp CSM+B
1/8 tsp Iron

The first picture if of 3 jars, empty on the left, an iron and csm+b mixture in the middle ( mixed 24 hours ago ), and a Kn03, Kh2P04 and GH booster mix ( mixed 24 hours ago )

The second picture is to show that the Iron and CSM+B have fully dissolved within the 24 hours.

The third picture is to show how much of the Kn03 mixture has yet to dissolve after 24 hours.

The final pictures are to show a Kn03 mixture I mixed with water 3 days ago and has yet to full dissolve.

If anyone has any suggestions on this please let me know, I have a TON of good quality dry fertilizers and would like to work out this clumping issue.

Last edited by aquarist; 03-17-2014 at 11:15 PM. Reason: dosing
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 12:08 AM
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I just want to confirm; this is only one dose's worth of fertilizers that you are trying to dissolve in 40 mL of water, correct?

Chances are, if you try to dissolve just the potassium nitrate (KNO3, not KN03) and potassium phosphate, it will dissolve just fine, as the amounts you are trying to dose are well under their solubility limits.

The problem arises most likely with the GH booster. The magnesium and potassium sulfates dissolve relatively easily into water, but the calcium sulfate is a bit harder. You can try adding it on its own to a separate container, though it may not solve your problem.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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You are correct, a single dose in each 40ml jar which actually holds 36ml of water, I measured it after I made the first post. I will try splitting the GH booster from the other fertilizers and see if that helps the GH booster dissolve. But if the GH booster is not dissolving even on its own is there any suggestion on a way to handle this?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 01:42 AM
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If you want ease of use why not mix up a batch of 500 ml? You can use your 40 ml jars as measuring devices. If you have an old water bottle (they are usually 500 ml) add the amounts below. Then pour 40 ml of that into your tank every other day. I realize the sticky here says 3/16 tsp. for a 70 gallon tank but that's actually twice what you need (2.77 ppm per dose of PO4). You can heat the water to aid in the dissolution. This won't help in dissolving the calcium in the GH booster very much though. I would add enough to raise GH 1-2 dGH once a week with water change instead. The calcium and phosphate may be reacting and forming calcium phosphate. I would try to separate them and see if that helps.

Bottle one,
KNO3 8 tsp.
KH2PO4 1 1/8 tsp.

Bottle two,
Plantex 6 tsp.
Iron (DTPA 11%) 2 tsp.

Dose GH booster after water change once per week.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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So I guess it is the GH booster that is clumping in the mixture. I went with the individual jars so there is no measuring except once every two weeks, also when I go out of town or work double shifts I have someone else feed my fish and add the fertilizer since everything else is on timers, and I believe it would be more fool proof to have it pre measured for them. I do this with my fish food as well when I go out of town, put the amount I want fed into a jar for each day.

If the GH booster doesn't dissolve readily does it dissolve at all once inside the aquarium?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 03:19 AM
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Yes, GH booster will dissolve in the tank. There is a LOT more water in there.

Alternate method:
Do not add water to your 40ml jars.
Just put dry ferts in them.
Dump dry ferts into the tank.
I try to aim for the maximum water movement, such as the flow coming in from the filter, or adding the ferts in front of a power head.

Ditto to using the GH booster just once a week, when you do water changes. Even when I was preparing a garbage can full of water I had to shake the GH booster a lot to get it to dissolve. I would shake it with some water, then pour off the water, keeping the undissolved GH booster in the jar and keep adding more water, shake, pour off the water... until the GH booster was fully dissolved.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response, when my jars are empty in a couple weeks, or I go to the store and buy more, I will update this post with a few trails. I read somewhere I believe that a few drops of lemon juice can help the fertilizer dissolve, but am unsure of this. I will definitely start dosing the GH booster a single time a week. Should I stick to a single 1/4 tsp weekly, or should I add more?

I used to add the fertilizers directly to the water in power form, but noticed that they would often clump up and didn't seem to get as well dispersed in the tank as they do if you dissolve them beforehand. Also it creeps me out when my fish eat it the chunks lol.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 03:40 AM
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Use your GH test to determine what the proper dose (volume and frequency) is for your tank.
Hard water fish will want a much higher GH than soft water fish.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 03:33 PM
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CaSO4, aka plaster of paris, is onerous to dissolve.

I would try somethign else for Ca++ if you need such small water volumes and want to mix together, eg, Ca(NO3)2 or CaCl2(since you do not need that much Ca++) both of which dissolve easily.

I add GH booster dry to my sump and it dissolves in the flow well after a couple of hours. You can try adding it to very hot water also.

Use 5% vinegar(acetic acid) to the water 1st, wait 1-2 minutes and swirl it around, then.........add the traces/ferts etc.
Say 5 mls to 100ml. This will destroy the KH and you will have a KH= 0 unless the water is really hard.

Tom Barr
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