DIY Root Tab Recipe - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Root Tab Recipe

NOTE THIS HAS NOT BEEN TESTED!

Hey guys so just looking for opinions. After extensive research I found a few, 2, recipes for DIY clay based root tabs. The other I found were just store bought slow release with a gel cap which forces you to find a Store bought slow release that meets all of your needs. Well after looking I did not find any that have the micros and macro in the appropriate level. Looking at what most people use I cherry picked the best of each Seachem, Rootmedic, Osmocyte, and Dynamite. I went to the drawing board and came up with the formula below, rolled into 200, 4g Tabs. According to my calculation we should get a product that is 9-9-12 which contains all the micros that Seachem tabs do, for reference Dynamite is 14-14-14 while root medic caps are 14-10-11. All comments are welcome. tests to come when all products come in. If anyone wants to see the spreads I used to calculate please let me know.

175g Red Clay perferably 7% iron
30g CSM+b
30g K2SO4
80g KNO3
150g KH2PO4
50g MG(NO3)2
30g Urea
300g CA(NO3)2
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 01:59 PM
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Off the bat urea = ammonia at pH above 6.5 or 7 (bad for fishes/invert's)
Have you considered Osmocote + which contain's macro and micro nutrient's minus the urea (walmart).?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah looked into Osmocyte + the issue is that the micros are way short of Seachem. I was a little hesitant at first about the Urea also, however, if you look at something like Osmocoyte 8% of the nitrogen comes from an ammonia base where as this mixture its closer 1.5%. Does anyone know what compound Osmocoyte uses for its nitrate?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Off the bat urea = ammonia at pH above 6.5 or 7 (bad for fishes/invert's)
Have you considered Osmocote + which contain's macro and micro nutrient's minus the urea (walmart).?

While its true that at a ph over 7 most of that would turn into ammonia, most store bought liquid fertilizers designed for aquariums contain urea or nh3. Look at Seachem nitrogen. Seachem claims that even at a ph over 8 it should not cause any issues. Not sure I believe it not but its what they say.

Also I believe that O+ also contains urea.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by nilocg View Post
While its true that at a ph over 7 most of that would turn into ammonia, most store bought liquid fertilizers designed for aquariums contain urea or nh3. Look at Seachem nitrogen. Seachem claims that even at a ph over 8 it should not cause any issues. Not sure I believe it not but its what they say.

Also I believe that O+ also contains urea.
Yes,it is the slow release of the osmocote and the burying of it deep in the substrate that also prevent's it from becoming toxic for fishes too quickly or to any large degree except for those who maybe use too much(common) or do not bury it deep enough.
The OP's content % listed for Urea seem's a bit much for my taste.
opinion's vary.
Been using the osmocote for a few year's now with moderately hard water and pH around 7.6 .
Lot's of plant's also readily take up ammonia which they are said to prefer over nitrogen but ammonia and urea in excess is not tolerated well by fishes/invert's.
Lot's of stuff I would be willing to try in plant only tank that I might be apprehensive about with fauna.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Is nitrogen in the soil a limiting factor to the growth of root feeders?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 12:50 PM
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Is nitrogen in the soil a limiting factor to the growth of root feeders?
No,I do not think so.
Not sure how you could keep it out of soil's considering what soil is and bacterial processes therein .
But then I also add it (nitrogen) to the water column once a week or two in my low tech affair's.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 01:28 PM
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Yes,it is the slow release of the osmocote and the burying of it deep in the substrate that also prevent's it from becoming toxic for fishes too quickly or to any large degree except for those who maybe use too much(common) or do not bury it deep enough.
I made the mistake of adding to much the first time I used O+. Since then I add only a small amount on the glass when first setting up the tank, I usually wait 3 to 4 weeks before adding fish. Every three months or so I add one capsule at the base of heavy root feeders and I place it as close to the bottom glass as I can get it. I also place a few in the midst of my dwarf sag carpet. I have had excellent luck using O+. From experience I can say too much is a bad thing.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 02:39 PM
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I've tried using O+ in PFS substrate and I find that over time, the little balls come to the top, seemingly regardless of how deep I push the ice cubes...I haven't noticed any adverse affects from the fish, but i'm sure my root feeders don't appreciate it.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 03:11 PM
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I've tried using O+ in PFS substrate and I find that over time, the little balls come to the top, seemingly regardless of how deep I push the ice cubes...I haven't noticed any adverse affects from the fish, but i'm sure my root feeders don't appreciate it.

The balls will stick around almost indefinitely, but after a month or two the nutrients inside them are exhausted. Other than being a little unsightly they should be harmless.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 04:18 PM
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The balls will stick around almost indefinitely, but after a month or two the nutrients inside them are exhausted. Other than being a little unsightly they should be harmless.
I've seen half empty to fully empty shells of O+ balls. It's something that I try to siphon out with a water change. There are so many of them! They tend to stay under better with eco-complete or similar gravelly type substrate. But with PFS or simiilar, I would try something else. Too late to turn back now!

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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OK, so if the consensus is that appropriate levels of nitrogen are already found in the soil for heavy root feeders then I will remove the majority of it from formula. No sense in adding something that's no needed for. I'm assuming though that P - K levels should be elevated correct since the nitrogen cycle doesn't produce any?

Last edited by dalfan039; 08-17-2016 at 06:24 PM. Reason: god awful typing
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dalfan039 View Post
OK, so if the consensus is that appropriate levels of nitrogen are already found in the soil for heavy root feeders then I will remove the majority of it from formula. No sense in addingeneral something that's no needed. I'mean assuming though that phosphorus and potassium are needed I'm spades correct?

Im not sure removing all the nitrogen is necessary, maybe just remove most of the urea to be safe.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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So attempted this earlier today. Was a massive failure the amount of powder is way to much to fit in the clay. Maybe if you cud turn the clay to paste, but when I tried that I got clay water. If anyone knows a better way of making a block of clay into paste like mixture I'd try again.
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