Best/Easiest way to increase iron - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Best/Easiest way to increase iron

I very clearly have an iron deficiency in my tank.

Why question is:

Can I simply double my dose of micro solution (making the iron dose 1.0 ppm per dose, but also doubling all other micro nutrients in the solution) or should I just get a liquid iron fertilizer?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoscia View Post
I very clearly have an iron deficiency in my tank.

Why question is:

Can I simply double my dose of micro solution (making the iron dose 1.0 ppm per dose, but also doubling all other micro nutrients in the solution) or should I just get a liquid iron fertilizer?
Iron doesn't last long in the aquarium (hours), so I would suggest dosing it more frequently over increasing the dose. However, both may be needed...


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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So could I dose iron with my macros to the EI level (0.5ppm) making that level available every day?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 12:03 AM
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I dose iron separately, along with micros, and macros. I bought some iron supplement from GLA, and mixed it in a 500ml. bottle. I can add more or less without increasing the other nutrients,
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 12:11 AM
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I dose liquid Seachem Iron everyday.

It's the only fert that gets dosed like that.

Everything else is on a rotation but the Iron is the 1 fert that goes in 6 days a week in my tanks.


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoscia View Post
So could I dose iron with my macros to the EI level (0.5ppm) making that level available every day?
Yes, you can. But, again, iron does not last long in the water column, so if you can dose it a couple of hours before the P04....that would be better. Iron and P04 precipitate each other out of the workings, so it is best to avoid dosing them together. However, it is generally not that big of a deal. It's just 1 of the reasons why people dose macros 1 day and micros the next.

I picked up some DTPA iron, so I could dose some extra. I dose the micros to the 0.5ppm iron and then an additional 0.5ppm of iron alone. It's a low tech setup, so I do not do the 3x/wk dosing of standard EI, but the principle of what I am doing is the same.

Also, you may have some other issue that is blocking the absorption/utilization of the iron. You may have plenty of iron, but the plants just cannot use much/most/all of it.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 12:26 AM
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How big is your tank?

Lighting level?

CO2 injection, Excel or nothing?

What, how much, and how often are you dosing?

How frequent are your water changes?

Hard to say anything about adding more or less without knowing the basics. What could appear to be an iron deficiency could be another. For example, If you're following the EI method then it's not a nutrient problem. If not the above answers would be helpful.

I don't mean to nit pick but it sounds like you're already dosing EI since you want to double the dose to 1 ppm. Let's make sure you're dosing everything in sufficient quantities before targeting one nutrient.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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10g, finnex planted+ for 8 hours divided with 2 hours off in between, excel at 2x the recommended dose, EI modified with no KNO3 since fish produce enough waste. So K2SO4, KH2PO4 and nilocg micro mix, with a splash of API leaf zone.

50% water change on the final day.

It look just like iron deficiency from online charts.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoscia View Post
10g, finnex planted+ for 8 hours divided with 2 hours off in between, excel at 2x the recommended dose, EI modified with no KNO3 since fish produce enough waste. So K2SO4, KH2PO4 and nilocg micro mix, with a splash of API leaf zone.

50% water change on the final day.

It look just like iron deficiency from online charts.
That no KNO3 dosing stands out as a potential problem to me. How do you know fish are supplying enough? What measured values are you getting on tank nitrates? Even then, nitrate tests are notoriously unreliable.

My guess (just that, since we don't have pics of your plants) is that you have a nitrate deficiency, since fish waste and 50% weekly water changes are likely not maintaining adequate levels.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 01:32 AM
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Well that still does not answer how much the dosing is over all. If nitrates are 10ppm or over (and more importantly your test is accurate) you're correct that KNO3 is not needed. NilOCG micro's targeting 0.5ppm of iron is MORE than enough for an Excel based tank. That dose is for high tech tanks (about 80% more than you need btw). In addition, you're dosing API leaf zone which is even more iron plus the additional potassium. The problem is not iron. Ensure your nitrates are in fact enough. This can mimic an iron deficiency in many ways. I'm not trying to beat you up here. Just trying to get to the bottom of the problem. Dosing amounts and frequency makes a HUGE difference. To me, "modified EI" means there is a strong possibility for deficiencies. My gut tells me you're seeing a nitrogen deficiency by assuming your test is accurate. Supposition? Certainly. Trying to limit nutrients to near limitation causes more problems than it's worth. Adding 25% of actual EI dosing regardless of anything else won't hurt. In fact, it may help in your case. Just keep up the water changes.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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They were 40+ and now usually between 5-10.

Similar symptoms as iron deficiency?

Ps. Thanks for the help all
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 01:50 AM
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Those values are definitely low enough to suspect nitrate deficiency. Always keep in mind that plant demand for N, P, and K macronutrients is far greater than for any trace minerals such as iron.

Plants manifest iron and nitrogen deficiencies very similarly, with pale, sickly-looking leaves
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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No no I understand you're not attacking! The whole point is to solve the problem. I dose 5 ml of the non-nitrate macros, 2.5ml of the nilocg micros as suggested and 3 ml leaf zone and this is within the EI scehdule.

So should I just go back to the original nilocg macro mix?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoscia View Post
They were 40+ and now usually between 5-10.

Similar symptoms as iron deficiency?

Ps. Thanks for the help all
So let's assume your nitrates are 5-10ppm. Adding 50% of an EI dose (3.75ppm 3 times a week) will raise your nitrates to no more than 33ppm which is well below any dangerous levels. You really only need around 10% of EI.

I hate trying to reduce dosing to not "waste fertilizers" though. That's why I say dose 1/3 of full EI for Excel based tanks. Then there is NO question it's not a nutrient issue. Logic dictates that we can eliminate deficiencies by dosing "above the barrel". Trying to narrow down nutrients to limiting levels is like playing Russian roulette. You WILL eventually lose.

The other option is to dose "above the barrel". The excess is not harmful and we know for a fact the plants are getting what they need. No need to wonder if the test is accurate or if the dose is enough etc. Just dose more than enough. That's the idea behind EI.

Modifying a method that works is asking for trouble. Trouble we see all to often. People rely on tests or think their tank produces enough X, Y or Z. It's all subject to error. Supplying nutrients is simple. Dosing more than we need is not harmful. I'm not sure why so many people choose to ignore this.

Again, I'm not trying to berate you. I'm just trying to explain that there is no need to wonder whether nutrient A, B or C is causing problems.

I'm usually not a big supporter of identifying deficiencies for the reasons above. Iron and nitrogen deficiencies can cause chlorosis. Usually iron will be on new growth and nitrogen is on old and new. Instead of relying on this approach just dose above those limitations.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 02:40 AM
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I put a rusted nail in the substrate.


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