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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, after reading a lot about fertilizers, and the different chemicals that you can use, i came up with a few different mixes (shopping lists lol)
This will be going into 2 55 gallon fish tanks, 1 20 gallon fish tank, and a 10 gallon fish tank. (me and my friend are going to be splitting the mix in half) none of the tanks have pressurized CO2, and range from low to medium/high light.
Really, i just need a general fertilizer, and i thought mixing my own would be cheaper, and slightly more fun :D
so, here are some of the different mixes. they are all in parts...so like 4 parts KNO3 to 1 part KH2PO4...etc. to make it easy to scale to the different tanks. CSM+B is dosed separately to prevent the iron from reacting with something, right? the salts would be mixed with H2O, and dosed that way, so we only need to use a scale one time (mixing)
so, here are my mixes...some are obviously missing stuff, but it's early, and i am going to copy these right from the dozens of stickies plastered on my desktop.

1.
4 CaNO3
1 KH2PO4

2.
4 CaNO3
1 KH2PO4
1 K2SO4
CSM+B

3.
15 CaNO3
1 KH2PO4
6 K2SO4
20 MgSO4
CSM+B

4.
1 KH2PO4
2 K2SO4
1 MGSO4
CSM+B

5.
12 K2SO4
3 KH2PO4
5 MGSO4
CSM+B

there are a few more, but please tell me what ones will work, or what i need to add/modify in them to make them work better. also, dosing amounts would be good too :D there is just so much information, and variables that i don't know how to adjust for properly.

schedules:
CSM+B would be dosed on alternating days from the other mix...and a big water change will be done Sunday.
or, doses will be given on monday (mix 1) tuesday (CSM+B) thursday (mix 1) and friday (CSM+B) and water changes will be done on Sunday, or every two weeks (unless this is bad, in which case i won't be lazy)

Thank you so much for reading this (long) post and helping me out, if there is anything i can do to return the favor please let me know

P.S. i don't have anything against KNO3, it's just that before about an hour ago, i didn't know anywhere to get it from (in canada). i have found a spot that sells it for about $3 a pound, so if it would be better to use, please put that in, instead :D
 

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They all will work, I'd say the sediment, the light and the cO2 are 10X more critical than Ca(NO3)2.

Realize there are 2 NO3 for each Ca++ with Ca(NO3)2.
You seem to suggest it's = to KNO3 which is only 1/2 the NO3.

If you are using a calculator to get ppm's and are making NO3 ratios based off that, okay, but.........if not....then you need to account for that to have the correct info.

I just dose the macros dry:
KNO3(you can sub Ca(NO3)2 and add GH booster which as K2SO4(about 50% by volume)).

aquarium fertilizer.com will ship to CA.

So you should be able to get it.
 

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Ca(NO3)2 (fixed) is fine for most tanks. But some shrimps might not like the extra Ca.

I like #3, but i don't think you need the extra MgSO4, or are you trying to keep a good Ca/Mg ratio for some reason?

Calcium Nitrate = 17.1% N
Monopotassium Phosphate = 22.8% P
(17.1*15) / 22.8 = 11.25

A N/P ratio of 11.25 to 1. A little high but i think that's good as it ofsets the ferts from the fish food that generally have a to low ratio. If you don't feed the tanks much you can do 14 to 1 parts instead.
 

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Realize there are 2 NO3 for each Ca++ with Ca(NO3)2.
You seem to suggest it's = to KNO3 which is only 1/2 the NO3.
But we are dosing by mass(or weight) and not by the number of molecules.

Potassium nitrate is 13.9% N and calcium nitrate is 17.1% N, by mass. ie calcium nitrate contains 23% more N.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
These were gathered from around the internet...in grams, if it matters
#3 was made using the fertilator, and it showed me that there was no Mg being added, so other than that there was no reason, one less thing to buy now :)

so would:
14 CaNO3
1 KH2PO4
6 K2SO4
CSM+B

be better?
 

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I am finding that I need to adjust my ferts as I find what works for my tank. As all tanks are different, there can be no one firm answer for what is needed. The proposed dosings are set up for what is "normal" but then must be adjusted if it doesn't fit your tank. I would not want to have all my ferts mixed together so that I could not reduce one or increase another. My tanks are constantly changing as plants and fish change, so I would expect to have to change the ferts over time. I started with dosing nitrate but I'm finding I get plenty from feeding my fish. I now find I need additional iron for my favorite plant. If it were all mixed, I would have to start over to change the mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there a good way of deciding what is lacking in my tank without spending $50 on tests?

what would be a good base, to start with...i will only mix enough for 2 weeks, at a time. promise ;)
 

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You can test nutrients by adding more of one, watching the plants for a significant period of time, a week or two, probably, and if they improve, repeat until they don't improve. That should be an optimum level for that particular nutrient. The flaw with this is that the plants won't do any better with more nitrate, for example, if they are very lacking in phosphate or CO2.

So, a better approach is to follow the EI dosing method, knowing none of the nutrients is in short supply. Then reduce one of the nutrients, nitrate for example, and watch the plants to see if they do less well. If not, reduce it a bit more and repeat until you see a negative effect. Then do another nutrient, until you have gone through them all.

The one nutrient you are most likely to find is in short supply is carbon - CO2. Fix that and most of the deficiency problems will be fixed.
 

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But we are dosing by mass(or weight) and not by the number of molecules.

Potassium nitrate is 13.9% N and calcium nitrate is 17.1% N, by mass. ie calcium nitrate contains 23% more N.
Chemically this can get us into trouble by not putting the Ca(NO3)2 as it should be.

CaNO3 is not a chemical formula.
 

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Is there a good way of deciding what is lacking in my tank without spending $50 on tests?

what would be a good base, to start with...i will only mix enough for 2 weeks, at a time. promise ;)
Hoppy made mention of a method.

you can model the outcome using the Wet's dosing calculator and modeling function. Then use a % water change to see where you end up.

Dose Ca(NO3)2 and see what the out come is. They have several % uptakes also to see how much risk there is for build up based on plant growth/uptake as well, from 0%, to 90%.

Say chose 2 grams dosed daily on a 55 gal tank with 50% weekly water change.

http://petalphile.com/#splash
 

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Chemically this can get us into trouble by not putting the Ca(NO3)2 as it should be.

CaNO3 is not a chemical formula.
yes, Calcium nitrate is Ca(NO3)2, used it in the calc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
okay, i will EI dose, and decrease nutrients one at a time (to find the optimum level)

how much of each chemical should i buy (in 1/2 or 1 pound increments)
and what would be a good starting point (as that was what i was trying to find in my OP)

Thanks for the help :)
 

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I was in your situation a short time ago and searching for the same answers. It is often true that the people who do this often know best. Then the problem becomes one of finding a reliable dealer who is not just working for the big bucks! I'm sure there are several dealers who visit this forum who are not just in it for the money and can be very good at advising you. I have only dealt with Nilocg and I feel very good about his service but I am sure there are several others who might do just as well. Look over the adverts on the forum and find one who you feel has what you want.

Since you will be splitting with a friend, I might advise to go long on the amount, a pound of each of the major ferts is not too much at all. Larger amounts make the shipping much better. I would not hesitate to contact them for their advise. You gotta admit that a fellow hanging around here, giving free advise is not likely to be the high roller looking to scam you for the big retirement! Pushing ferts for $3 a pound is not likely to get you the Mercedes very quick.
 

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okay, i will EI dose, and decrease nutrients one at a time (to find the optimum level)

how much of each chemical should i buy (in 1/2 or 1 pound increments)
and what would be a good starting point (as that was what i was trying to find in my OP)

Thanks for the help :)
A good starting point is to follow the dosing tables in http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=21944 How much of each chemical you buy depends on how big the tank is, how long you want your supply to last, and how difficult or expensive it is to buy more later.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
i bought 800 grams each of: KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4
and 100 grams of a trace mix, from hydrotech hydroponics in Markham

i mixed
4tsp KNO3
1tsp KH2PO4
2tsp K2SO4
into a container, and added water (around 130mL)
i am going to dose 10mL every two days (should last 16 doses, if i measured correctly)
i also mixed 1tsp of the trace mix into water (works out to 160 mL total colume in container), and am going to dose 1/16th tsp worth of trace mix every second day (10mL)
btw, this is going into a 20gallon tank...for my 55 i will dose 25mL
so, in a month i will run out of my current setup (or sooner, if i dose my 55) and i am wondering what i did incorrectly/what i could do differently next mix. i want a good base mix before i start messing around with the mix by myself :D

you guys are wonderful
 
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