What causes Root Tabs = Ammonia Spike - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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What causes Root Tabs = Ammonia Spike

I have read a ton of tank journals lately, and have noticed quite a few folks have mentioned an ammonia spike due to using root tabs. What is it about root tabs that causes this to happen?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 06:41 AM
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Urea
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Well that explains it. I should have done a quick search about the contents of root tabs and I would have answered my own question before posting this thread.
Thank you m00se

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 04:44 PM
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Love ya kiddo! :-)

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Good!
Now...I'm ready for the next mystery so I can practice my detective skills...where is that book...ya know, the "Detective Skills for Dummies"!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 06:32 PM
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Root tabs designed for garden use are good when the water level in the soil varies.
Water dissolves the root tabs a little at a time, and the fertilizer gets washed down through the root zone of the plant. When the soil is drier the root tab does not dissolve, so there is some remaining for the next time it rains, or the sprinklers come on.

This is not quite the way it works in an aquarium.
Root tabs for the garden, placed in an aquarium, dissolve in water. Deep under the substrate there is not a lot of water movement. When they start dissolving, but there is not much water movement, the water surrounding the tab gets rich in the various fertilizers, and the tab stops dissolving. Then the water movement (slight as it is) and the plant roots remove the fertilizers (slowly) and the tab continues dissolving. Even if the fertilizer moves upward though the substrate there are usually more roots that will take it in before it reaches the water column, or else the substrate can latch onto the fertilizer. (read about cationic exchange capacity). That works just fine. Plants get the benefit of the fertilizer, and minimal traces get into the water column.

If the tablet is too close to the surface of the substrate, too close to the water column, the fertilizer that dissolves is carried away by the water movement, and can enter the water column.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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That's what I was thinking; that some had trouble with the root tabs causing an amonia spike due to not being pushed into the substrate deep enough. Seemed to be the only Logical answer.

Thanks Dianna for your informative post about how root tabs work. You always have very thorough explanations.

So now I completely get it thanks to you and m00se. The tabs have ammonia (err, I meant urea) in them (which I did not know because I didn't take a moment to look into it ) and if not placed deep enough they can leach into the water column.

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Last edited by Amandas tank; 11-28-2012 at 08:02 PM. Reason: inserted edit: urea
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m00se View Post
Love ya kiddo! :-)

Okay...I gotta say one more thing about this guy! The expression after he looks into the book is priceless! I swear I make that face far too often LOL! This will make me giggle for quite some time. Thanks m00se

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 07:03 PM
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not all root tablets have ammonia, they may have other things, perhaps urea, that break down (in the garden or the tank) to become ammonia.

However, read the label and you sure may find ammonia there.

Yes, the 'How to be a Detective' guy is a neat post!
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ammonia, ammonia cycling, ammonia spike, root tabs

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