Is it safe to use GelCaps for substrate fertilizer delivery? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-01-2004, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Reading through the various boards/threads on DIY substrate fertilizer tabs got me to thinking that it would be a lot easier to stick a few Osmocote pellets into a gel cap (such as this) than to try and make clay tablets (this after I went to the plastic shop and found that getting acrylic dowel to fit smoothly into an acrylic tube is not easy).

Most gel caps will stay solid for a decent amount of time so placing them in the substrate using a pair of long tweezers should not pose a problem of releasing fertilizer into the water column. So the main concern is in the gelatin material of the capsule itself.

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 11:37 AM
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To the best of my knowledge they are just starch (soy based I think). They can’t be that reactive since companies but drugs inside them. I have a friend who is a registered dietitian. I'll ask her. She knows what everything is made of that goes in a human body.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 02:28 PM
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It sounds like a great idea. I used to use them at work--the Eli Lilly brand ones. Not great in the rain! Lists ingredients as "Beef Gelatin, Glycerite, water". That seems safe enough...
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Roger Miller, a Mod at didn't think the gelcaps would cause any harm, but did advise me not to use Osmocote since the time-release beads don't dissolve. So after the fertilizer is spent they have a tendency to work their way out of the substrate and float to the surface.

I did work out my acrylic rod/tube fit problem by sanding the rod down. So for now I'm just breaking Jobes Fern/Palm spikes so that they wedge in the base of the tube, then drive it into the gravel and use the rod to push it out.

Funny thing is that another reason I started to investigate the gelcaps was that I had gone to several stores (Lowes, Wal-Mart, and several nurseries) and could not find the Jobes Palm/Fern spikes...only to discover that Orchard Supply carries them. And they're located right across from the plastics store :lol:

In the end I don't know if the substrate fertilizing will be good for me as my swords are now growing so fast that they're getting out of control! I have one that will put out 3" of new leaf growth overnight :shock: [/url]
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