Is there a dry equivalent of Seachem Iron? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a dry equivalent of Seachem Iron?

So I'm mixing up my own Excel, and have gotten Potassium and Phosphorous and know how to get them to the Seachem equivalent.

Seachem Comprehensive isn't that expensive in large volume, so not in a hurry to replace that, but Iron is, I use it daily.

Green Leaf Aquariums for example (who I like a lot) sells Iron Chelate (11% DPTA).

Seachem says
Flourish Iron is a Gluconate
Plants are able to much more easily derive a benefit from Flourish Iron™ than from EDTA-iron sources because all EDTA iron is in the ferric (Fe+3) state. Since plants require iron in the ferrous (Fe+2) state, additional physiological energy must be expended in order to extract the ferric iron from EDTA-iron and then convert it to the ferrous form.
If i use a dosing calculator (rota.la) it says to get the same iron as a 5ml does daily (what I put in a 45G) that I need 449mg of DTPA iron. So that's easy.

What isn't quite so easy is: Is it the same?

Would one use more or less DTPA iron using equivalent Fe result?

Is it as good? The Iron is not that horrible expense that I NEED to change if it is really better.

And/or are there places to buy the same Iron Gluconate?

Incidentally, there's a very long discussion on this that Seachem participated in here. After reading it I really can't come to a conclusion, other than being a bit hesitant to discount Seachem's conclusion that it works better, as it at least appears to work differently.

So... is it worth changing? Is DTPA at the same target result really, almost, approximately the same?

Or perhaps more to the point -- what would I notice if, after switching, I am OVER dosing? Increased iron levels in the water? Dead fish? Something else?

PS. I have a low tech tank with infrequent water changes, trying for an overall good balance of what I dose and what the fish contribute. Definitely not in the EI mode of "too much is OK, it comes out each week".

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 08:12 PM
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Ferrous gluconate.... Several sites sell it.

One that I have no experience with: http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...ditU=1&Regit=4


That said, from reading several of Tom Barr's posts on here, the chelated iron compounds (EDTA/DTPA) require more energy for plants to extract than gluconate forms. However, it is a relatively small amount of energy in the overall budget of plant energy..

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...6&postcount=17

There's also some discussion in the same thread of EDTA Iron being only suited for low KH water, and dissipating in a few hours at KH of 4. DTPA Iron hangs out for 2-3 days at the same KH.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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In that thread, there's this comment:
The main issue is the Fe in solution and/or in the sediment pore water and not precipitated.
Grammar aside can you explain what that means?

But this is where I get very confused every time I head down this path. Consider the link to the fertilizer. It says:
100% ferrous gluconate dihydrate

Mix 1/8 cup (20 g) ferrous gluconate in 1/4 cup water (62.5 ml) water to make 10,000 ppm solution. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of this stock solution to 12.5 gallons (47.3 L) water for an initial concentration of 0.26 ppm.
I've been using 5ml in 45G of Flourish Iron. Over at rota.la it says that results in .29 ppm FE.

Based on their .26, then this would seem to say of their solution I need 20.1ml in my tank to get a .29 ppm solution. 20.1ml of the original 62.5 (ignoring increase in volume from solution) gives 6.4 grams (6400 mg) in the dose they recommend.

If I use FE Gluconate (12.46%) at rota.la, it says I need 396mg to get .29. If I adjust that from 12.46% to 100%, that's 49mg.

There's a HUGE gap between 49mg and 6400mg.

Or conversely if I just try their solution of 10,000ppm on the rota.la calculator, and put in 0.0625L, 160g (12.46 * 8 =100%) I get 318976 ppm, way different from 10,000.

This is why I get so terribly confused when I try to replicate the seachem dosing.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linwood View Post
In that thread, there's this comment:
The main issue is the Fe in solution and/or in the sediment pore water and not precipitated.
Grammar aside can you explain what that means?
Sediment pore water is the water in between grains of a sediment. ie: the water between the grains in wet sand.

I think he's basically trying to account for everywhere the iron could be that isn't a precipitate. (precipitate meaning coming out of the water as grit/dust and settling on the bottom where the plants can't get it).





Quote:
Originally Posted by Linwood View Post

But this is where I get very confused every time I head down this path. Consider the link to the fertilizer. It says:
100% ferrous gluconate dihydrate

Mix 1/8 cup (20 g) ferrous gluconate in 1/4 cup water (62.5 ml) water to make 10,000 ppm solution. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of this stock solution to 12.5 gallons (47.3 L) water for an initial concentration of 0.26 ppm.

Those numbers from that fertilizer site are nonsense.

It should take 5g of Ferrous gluconate to make 10,000ppm of solution in 62.5ml of water, not 20g.

Also, if you have a 10,000 ppm solution, then 5ml of it in 47.3L of water is going to make 1.05 ppm, not 0.26ppm.

(10000 *5) / (47300 +5) = 50000/47305 = 1.0569

Basic math failure.

I was really just pointing the site out to suggest that gluconate is available for sale.


That said, depending on your water parameters, you might not want to use gluconate:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...9&postcount=11
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 09:54 PM
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I’m not sure where you got that recipe but it’s wrong. First off a ¼ cup of water is not 65.5ml it’s 59.1471ml. If you add 20 grams of Ferrous gluconate 12.46% to ¼ cup of water you get a concentration of 42,132 ppm not 10,000. So I would not pay too much attention to that recipe.

Seachem iron is 1% iron derived from ferrous gluconate. So there is 10,000ppm of iron in their solution.

To mix a solution equal to Seachem’s add 40.128 gm (which is approximately 16 1/2 teaspoons) to 500ml of water. That’s about as close as you’ll ever come to their recipe.

To raise iron in 45 gallons to 0.29 add about 5ml of that solution.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
That said, depending on your water parameters, you might not want to use gluconate:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...9&postcount=11
That's pretty clear. I aim for about 6 dKH, so it sounds like switching to DTPA might actually be an improvement.

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Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
I’m not sure where you got that recipe but it’s wrong. First off a ¼ cup of water is not 65.5ml it’s 59.1471ml. If you add 20 grams of Ferrous gluconate 12.46% to ¼ cup of water you get a concentration of 42,132 ppm not 10,000. So I would not pay too much attention to that recipe.

Seachem iron is 1% iron derived from ferrous gluconate. So there is 10,000ppm of iron in their solution.

To mix a solution equal to Seachem’s add 40.128 gm (which is approximately 16 1/2 teaspoons) to 500ml of water. That’s about as close as you’ll ever come to their recipe.

To raise iron in 45 gallons to 0.29 add about 5ml of that solution.
I was trying to adjust both for their quoted 100% solution and the rota.la use of 12.46%, as well as what I was using for my tank and their desired target (.29 vs .26), maybe I got the adjustment incorrect, but the quote I gave is what you get at the fertilizer site referenced above if you click through for more details.

But... relative to the above... is the consensus that DTPA is better in a moderately soft (6 dKH, 6-9 dGH) environment then?

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 10:35 PM
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I see where you got it from now. They are using 100% ferrous gluconate. Never the less their calculations are wrong lol.

I wouldn't call your water soft. With those values DTPA would be a better option. The best option would be to mix 3 parts Plantex and one part DTPA. Then you have the best of both worlds. You could even augment with some ferrous gluconate if you really wanted to however, I doubt it would make any difference. Iron seems to be the cure all myth in nutrient mangment these days. It's just another nutrient IMO. Supply them all in non-limiting amounts and move on .

btw, Ferrous gluconate is C12H22FeO14. If you say you have 100% ferrous gluconate you have 12.5174% iron NOT 100%.
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Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Supply them all in non-limiting amounts and move on .
Thanks for the sanity check.

The above is one issue -- I'm after low tech and low maintenance, so I'm trying to put the minimum (or appropriate) amounts, and doing very infrequent water changes, like monthly.

When you say Plantex, do you mean PLANTEX CSM+B? That would be replacing Comprehensive?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 12:34 AM
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Tonight I'm more in the mood to "teach a man to fish" rather than "giving him a fish".

Plantex is Plantex CSM +B. However, you can use Flourish comprehensive instead if you already have it. They are both trace mixes.

If you're willing to do monthly water changes, you can still obtain non-limiting nutrient levels without much need for testing. Here is a post that makes sense of a lot of this lingo.

Basically we want to keep our tanks within a range for each nutrient. We are dosing macros and micros. There are three macros, Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The micros are everything else. Rather than worry about each individual micro nutrient we can dose one micro mix targeting iron. Most micro mixes are already balanced. That eliminates a lot of calculations. So basically we only need to worry about four things.

The ranges for each are listed in the link above. To decide how much we should dose based on water change frequency we can use this calculator. We want to balance the dose (expressed as ppm) to water change frequency so that it keeps each nutrient in those ranges. This is the important part when we want to deviate from traditional ABC dosing! It's not rocket science but you'll see that changing either can make a huge range change.

Each tank is different. Plant uptake changes based on many factors. So testing initially especially for low tech setups that get infrequent water changes is a good idea. This gives us an idea of how much our plants are using. Then we can adjust.

To calculate each dose you can use this calculator. Something to consider is what each fertilizer adds. KNO3 is the perfect example. KNO3 also adds potassium. This calculator will tell you how much of each element is being added for each fertilizer. Those elements should be added together reaching a total. Since KNO3 and KH2PO4 both have potassium we can total how much they provide. Amazingly they provide about 66% of what the EI method suggests. That's usually enough so we usually don't need to add K2SO4.

Basically, all we need to do is balance dose size to water changes. That's where the dose size and weekly water change idea stems from. We can alter that. It simply takes a little common sense and basic knowledge.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Tonight I'm more in the mood to "teach a man to fish" rather than "giving him a fish".
Well, I keep fish, but I hate eating them. But I like learning, which I hope is the analogy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Plantex is Plantex CSM +B. However, you can use Flourish comprehensive instead if you already have it. They are both trace mixes.
I probably should mentioned how I started. I figured the Seachem liquids were easy, well known, and lots of information on dosing, so I started entirely with them. My intent was to work through the more expensive ones later and convert to dry. Potassium and Phosphorous were no brainers in terms of being easy.

But a side effect of doing this is that I have things growing nice and seem to have a good balance, so that I'm (rightly or wrongly) less looking for "how do I dose" than "how do I keep doing what I am doing with dry", which includes "maybe you shouldn't".

So feel free to also say "you are doing it wrong in the first place". Just in case it helps to know where I'm coming from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
If you're willing to do monthly water changes, you can still obtain non-limiting nutrient levels without much need for testing. Here is a post that makes sense of a lot of this lingo.

Basically we want to keep our tanks within a range for each nutrient. We are dosing macros and micros. There are three macros, Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The micros are everything else. Rather than worry about each individual micro nutrient we can dose one micro mix targeting iron. Most micro mixes are already balanced. That eliminates a lot of calculations. So basically we only need to worry about four things.
Here's where I get confused. I've encountered those calculators and descriptions (though not your specific very clear one) before. I get the principle, but not the mechanics, especially with regard to iron.

I can test it (Seachem Multitest Iron), but I've had wildly conflicting advice, even reading the Seachem responses on their forums. Fundamentally it seems to come down to "dose to maintain 0.1 ppm" and in the same breath "you probably can't detect iron as it is immediately absorbed".

I'm new to Aquariums but not new to English - How exactly do I "maintain" a 0.1 ppm level if it disappears before I can measure it? I had someone else in a different thread tell me by adding (example) 5ml to a 45G low tech tank daily I was severely over-dosing iron. So while I can use the calculators and know what each dose adds, I do not know where it goes, and I'm pretty unclear how to tell if I have enough since it can't be tested accurately.

Aside: I guess that dosing chelated solves this "cannot test" problem?

Phosphorous is easier - I'm working on getting that to 0.2, though in reading your note that's still low (right now it is "trace" at best).

Potassium is easy because while I can't test everyone tells me that it is very hard to over-dose.

dKH takes care of calcium, Nitrates are OK though in one tank I'm actually loosing and probably need to add more fish or think about dosing.

So you can see why I come down to iron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Basically, all we need to do is balance dose size to water changes. That's where the dose size and weekly water change idea stems from. We can alter that. It simply takes a little common sense and basic knowledge.
Yeah, but this presumes either knowledge of uptake rate, or ability to test. And that's why Iron is so confusing -- right now I'd adding iron that I can't test for. The plants were yellow and growing slowly before I started dosing iron, they are healthy and happy with what I add. So in one sense that "test" is passed, but it is not quantitative.

Sorry... long winded answer. I'd appreciate any "how to fish" guidance, especially as to Seachem's "maintain" and "you can't detect it".

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Potassium is easy because while I can't test everyone tells me that it is very hard to over-dose.
Welcome to non-limiting fertilizers! The ranges that are listed are non-limiting levels. Plants will have more than they will ever need. IF you could test for them they would NOT be undetectable as you have heard. If plants are using all the nutrients then they are NOT non-limiting. Sorry, but that’s a bunch of baloney.

The levels we want to maintain are well beyond problematic levels. You could easily double those top end ranges and see no deleterious effects. That’s one of the beauties of this concept. I've personally had nitrates of 80ppm, phosphates over 5ppm and no problems. I've purposely double dosed everything and nothing happened.

Targeting those ranges listed are adequate for plants. There is no need to worry about overdosing. We simply do water changes to keep them in the ball park.

I said testing is a good idea. This is simply to give us an idea of how much our plants are utilizing. We don’t need to test every element. We can simply test for the ones we can. That will give us an overview of uptake ratios. As you have seen in the accumulation calculator we can even ignore testing. We can always dose enough based on 0% uptake then do water changes to keep things in check.

When it’s all said and done dose enough nutrients to keep the levels in range. Watch your plants and not your test vial. The mechanics can be confusing at first but once you get past that, nutrient management is actually the easy part. Let’s get those mechanics down so you can focus on more important issues. Trust me, you are not the only person who feels lost when they see all this new jargon, chemical terms and conflicting information. This hobby is FULL of myths that are simply wrong. Even experienced hobbyists seem to perpetuate them.

Btw, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". -Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie, Mrs. Dymond

Last edited by Zorfox; 10-22-2014 at 02:35 AM. Reason: Addition
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