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I was wondering if there is a source of organic fertilizers for planted tanks. Anybody out there using or know of any sources that could be used as a substitute to the standard crystalized forms that are more commonly available?
 

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Organic fertilizers are going to have the problem that many of them are going to require an ammonia cycle. This would be the case with most anything that is going to add nitrates.
 

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"there is no organic form of potassium"

lol... so, none of plants growing in the wild are organic?

we use wood ashes for potassium suplemention in organic terrestrial gardening.
 

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Organic has a lot of meanings. What exactly do you mean? An animal or plant byproduct?

Why organic anyway? Hard to measure, impurities, etc.

Macclellan, perhaps he means a source of once living byproduct that contains mostly K? Not likely, K is highly reactive and is only naturally found bound to another element(s).
 

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Actually potassium sulfate is a mineral that is mined naturally in Utah.
Ya mean stuff that comes out the ground is naturaal? :hihi:

Organic aquarium ferts is a bit an odd thing.
It's the organic fractions that harm the aquatic ecosystems in many cases, NH4 and organic loading.......at least our tanks.

We use NO3 in the inorganic forms as well as PO4 to avoid algae blooms and fish toxicity to remove the organic fractions through rapid oxidation by the plant's and rapid uptake of NH4 produce by fish waste.

So yes, the tank is very organic, you might consider certified organic fish food as well if you believe this to be an issue. Organic free range worms Rex?

You know you cain't sez no!

Other methods such as a non CO2 plant tanks uses soil in some cases and fish waste to supply the tank, that might be more your tune.
You can use organic ferts, but you need to mineralize them good, boiling for 10 min or soaking for 2-3 weeks in shallow tray of water will leech the NH4 out.

But if you claim to be doing this for organic reasons, you need to make sure the fish waste/food sources are also organic. Non CO2 also provides non water changes, so you use less water as well.

There are trade offs associated with the various methods, but that's up to you and your goals there.

All in all, it can be done pretty easily, but you will end up using the non CO2 method, not a CO2 enriched method, as that goes directly against the concept................

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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For organic fertilizer I use whole tea leaves that are fed to grindal worms (small white worms). The variety I have are aquatic and live in the substrate so often I will add both the leaves and the worms.
 

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The principal element in the low tech natural or organic tank is simply high quality fish food. With a sufficient bio-load, uneaten fish food, along with fish and plant waste can sustain plants with little or no chemical additives (although the infrequent addition of trace elements is admittedly beneficial). This is evidenced by the Walstad and Walstad inspired methods.

Now in the absence of CO2 injection, high ferts, and bright light, some plants will either not do well or not grow at all. This seems especially true of many of the 'carpet' plants that typically grow in shallow, nutrient rich waters.

IMO, there are some important factors for low tech natural...

> The substrate must be sand, fine gravel, or capped soil.

> A bio-load that's somewhat proportional to plants to facilitate the BALANCE of light, (organic) nutrients and plant mass.

> Water circulation is important, but mechanical filtration (or filter servicing) is kept to a minimum.

> Substrate cleaning/vacuuming is eliminated allowing fish and plant waste to be processed (decomposed).

> Partial water changes are either kept to a minimum or eliminated altogether as water changes dilute/remove organic nutrients from the water.

> The cleanup crew includes Malaysian Trumpet Snails as they burrow in the substrate keeping it aerated and they deposit organic waste in the root zone. (a function not unlike terrestrial earthworms.)

So (just my $.02 but) the (organic) fertilizer is simply the fish food and the livestock.
 

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In terrestrial gardening you rely on the bacteria in the soil to convert organic compounds into the mostly inorganic compounds that are bioavailable to plants. Or, you just dose fertilizers that have most of the nutrients added in inorganic forms. In an aquarium that doesn't work out very well, because the water leaches everything that is in the substrate into the water, where some organic compounds can lead to algae or sickness for the fish. There really isn't any point in using "organic fertilizers" in an aquarium, which is about as unnatural a setting for the plants and animals as you can imagine.
 

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@Hoppy - that's just wrong. I fear you may be a victim of a chemical dependency! <hehe>. How do you think nature grows aquatic plants when in the wild, any introduction of man made chemical fertilizers would be considered pollution? The fact is that decomposition bacteria lives in water just as it does on land causing organic waste to break down into among other things, nitrogenous compounds. Ever notice the muck in the bottom of some lakes, ponds, or swamps? A lot of this bacteria lives in the aquarium substrate. As a matter of fact, I was thinking after my previous post that a veggie round or an algae wafer just might make a good organic root tab. This is not unlike when the indians showed us how well planting a fish with the corn did at Plymouth Rock - Remember @Hoppy? - lol
Oh and fish waste is every bit as good a fertilizer as manure on the farmers field.
 

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@Hoppy - that's just wrong. I fear you may be a victim of a chemical dependency! <hehe>. How do you think nature grows aquatic plants when in the wild, any introduction of man made chemical fertilizers would be considered pollution? The fact is that decomposition bacteria lives in water just as it does on land causing organic waste to break down into among other things, nitrogenous compounds. Ever notice the muck in the bottom of some lakes, ponds, or swamps? A lot of this bacteria lives in the aquarium substrate. As a matter of fact, I was thinking after my previous post that a veggie round or an algae wafer just might make a good organic root tab. This is not unlike when the indians showed us how well planting a fish with the corn did at Plymouth Rock - Remember @Hoppy? - lol
Oh and fish waste is every bit as good a fertilizer as manure on the farmers field.
Before you go dumping algae wafers in your tank, make sure you read the ingredients first. Wheat, soy, and corn meal serve no purpose other than cheap fillers that do nothing more than make a huge mess in a tank environment. Fish do not eat wheat, soy or corn in the wild despite that the indians may have said about it. How did Plymouth Rock and indians even become part of this conversation? Are your fish decked out in Thanksgiving garb?

While it's great that we have good bacteria in a tank, just like with a garden there is also bad bacteria. Heterotrophic Bacteria and Their Practical Application in a Freshwater Aquarium
 

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I've seen urea discussed lately as an alternative "organic" form of nitrogen to dose, and potash is a source of potassium that its typically derived from wood ash (though what kind I'm not sure on yet). Using some variety of dirt/clay as a substrate will also bring with it a variety of macro and micro nutrients, and if it's derived from compost could be considered "organic", though with this you may have an extended ammonia spike as the tank settles in and the cycle develops. As for phosphates, I would expect that enough is added from fish food, that it shouldn't really need an outside source (same goes for nitrogen)
 

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...There really isn't any point in using "organic fertilizers" in an aquarium, which is about as unnatural a setting for the plants and animals as you can imagine.
This is very true. Things that work in 'nature' simply don't work very well or would have serious effects on the aquarium. You could follow to a certain extent the Walstad method but those setups as we know are extremely limited in their paramters In most setups relying on organic methods to achieve nitrate, etc for plants is far worse and not really comparable to dosing inorganic ferts. Your basically keeping your tank 'dirty' to feed the plants. Not sure why anyone would want to do that.
 

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Before you go dumping algae wafers in your tank, make sure you read the ingredients first. Wheat, soy, and corn meal serve no purpose other than cheap fillers that do nothing more than make a huge mess in a tank environment. Fish do not eat wheat, soy or corn in the wild despite that the indians may have said about it. How did Plymouth Rock and indians even become part of this conversation? Are your fish decked out in Thanksgiving garb?

While it's great that we have good bacteria in a tank, just like with a garden there is also bad bacteria. Heterotrophic Bacteria and Their Practical Application in a Freshwater Aquarium
I'm guessing you're not an organic gardener (I've grown an organic veggie garden in 3000 sq.ft. for the last 30+ years!)

Actually I was thinking more of my Omega One Veggie Rounds with the following ingredients:

Ingredients:
Whole Kelp, Spirulina, Whole Salmon, Halibut, Seafood Mix (Including Krill, Whole Herring, & Shrimp), Wheat flour, Wheat Gluten, Lecithin, Astaxanthin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Phosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Natural and Artificial Colors, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid, Biotin, Inositol, Tocopherol (Preservative),Ethoxyquin (Preservative).

Guaranteed Analysis:
Min. Crude Protein….34%
Min. Crude Fat……….8%
Max. Crude Fiber…….6%
Max. Moisture………. 8.5%
Max. Ash……………..15%
Min. Phosphorus…...(0.5% )
Min. Omega 3 ………. 2%
Min. Omega 6…………1%

But decomposed wheat, soy, and corn ARE excellent organic ferts for plants! And we were talking about root tabs as plant food, not fish food. the reference to fish planted along with the corn seed was about ORGANIC FERTILIZER.

In the unplanted tank we are concerned about organic waste and heterotrophic bacteria. But this is just not the same in the planted tank.
There are many low tech planted tanks that don't rely on chemical ferts. You might find interest in Dianna Walstad's Ecology of a Planted Aquarium?
 

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@Smooch - I do agree that many fish foods that have grains as the primary ingredient, followed by fishmeal are not good for fish. You're right, fish can't process grains and it just passes through as waste....lots of waste. I'm not sure which is worse, the grains or the low quality fishmeal! That's why I use Omega One and/or Almost Natural fish foods that use whole fish as the primary ingredient and protein binder.
I noticed way back all those years ago when I switched to these higher quality fish foods that the fish waste was dramatically reduced.
 

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...In the unplanted tank we are concerned about organic waste and heterotrophic bacteria. But this is just not the same in The planted tank.
Why are you stating this as if it's true for planted in general. It's a patently untrue.

The Walstad method you stated below is extremely limiting and is in no represents the vast majority of planted tanks. It's a niche within a niche. Why do you think all the major planted tank suppliers/professionals do large weekly water changes for most setups? It's not just to reset ferts, it's to REMOVE organics from the water column. [/QUOTE]
 

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No question, the Walstad method works. To use it you need to follow all of the method, not just pick and choose which parts you like and ignore the others. It is a low light planted tank method.

You can succeed with a planted tank a variety of ways. You can also fail with a planted tank for several reasons. If your goal is to play around with different methods, try various things, figure out why you have problems, and fix them, etc., then by all means try organic fertilizers and don't use basic inorganic chemicals as fertilizers. But, if you want a really nice looking tank, with the best chance of avoiding ugly, discouraging algae and unhealthy plants, following a method like the EI dosing method, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11-fertilizers-water-parameters/21944-_dosing-regimes_.html is a very good idea. What ever you decide to do you won't be "wrong", but you may have more problems than you wanted.
 
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