Which iron ? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Which iron ?

If I wanted to increase iron but not other nutrients I can use dry.
But the places where you buy if from list two kinds.
10% or 13% (chelated)
Which and why ?
And second related question is has anyone gotten better reds by using more iron ?

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 01:33 PM
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The percentage is not important. This is simply a measure of how much iron there is by weight. So 5% versus 30% means you dose more of the 5% but they both can supply the exact same amount by dosing different portions.

The chelator used is what you should look at.

EDTA is better for low KH and DTPA for high. Think of the chelator as a time release medication. No chelator is like swallowing powdered medication. It's used very quickly. A gel capsule lasts briefly until the stomach acid breaks down the gel. Other longer lasting medication breakdown even slower.

So the chelator "protects" the iron. High KH attacks the weaker chelators faster which causes the iron to become unavailable to plants in the water column. Stronger chelators will protect the iron for longer periods of time.

On the flip side dosing strong chelators in low KH will provide less iron than a weak chelate would.

There are three basic types of iron commonly used in the planted tank. Gluconate, EDTA and DTPA. Gluconate being a very weak chelate. Then EDTA and finally DTPA.

This is a very over simplified explanation. One could probably write several books on how iron reacts with various things. However, this is what we need to understand about the different chelates used.

Does iron make red plants redder? No. Do red plants need iron? yes. However, so does every other plant. The key to red plants is to grow them well by providing optimal conditions as you would for any other plant. Iron is not the panacea for red colors.

Many of the images we see online have been post processed to increase red color. In addition many hobbyists use lights with a higher red spectrum that will make red plants appear more red. The key to red plants as any other aspects in the planted tank is to grow healthy plants. It's funny how nearly every question always boils down to that simple concept.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 03:09 PM
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zorfox nailed it. I dose iron to make sure my red plants have what they need, but I also know it won't "make" them red. I also have CO2 and dose EI ferts to keep everything happy. I can also change my lighting to make my reds pop like crazy or make them very muted. Lighting makes a big difference. I don't push my colors with photoshop though.

I also learned something new about the different chelates. I'm glad I use the iron from GLA that has DTPA because I have high KH water. I never knew that. Thanks!



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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 07:09 PM
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Yeah, as mentioned, if you have a pH in the 6-7 range you want to go with the chelated EDTA Fe as it is a readily more available iron for plant uptake in that range. I too find lighting is the most influencial factor on red plants, you can have everything else (ferts, co2, iron etc) but if you have the wrong light spectrum, your red plants will not be as red as they should.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Towards this end I use one 6700K bulb and one 650nm bulb in there.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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