Fertilizer.

Discussion in 'The Nursery' started by MichaelW, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. MichaelW
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    MichaelW Algae harvester

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    I just have some questions on fertilizer.

    Are macro and micro fertilizers something you can buy from a shop or is it something you do yourself.

    In general what is it best to do with fertilizing? Just get a good substrate fertilizer and then some liquid fertilizer?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Hi Michael

    I'll be writing a few articles soon discussing all these aspects as there are many ways to run a planted tank depending exactly on what you want to do with it. Some folks prefer low maintenance (non-CO2) and others like the quick growth and clean look about a CO2 enriched tank.

    Usually only folks who use CO2 add alot of ferts. With non CO2 tanks the rate of nutrient uptake is slow so the fish waste and fish food is enough for the plants to get by on, although a nice dash of Potassium or magnesium once a week or so will benefit the plants.

    Macro ferts are NPK (Or Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium)
    Micro ferts are trace elemnts (iron, boron, molybdenum, copper etc)

    Macro ferts can be made at home from products bought from Dischem or any chemist.
    Micro ferts are usually bought in liquid form from your pet shop. I can recomend EasyLife Profito from Hillfox, it's cheap and does a good job. Don't buy the locally made stuff, I don't trust it.

    I will put up an aricle in the next day or 2 outlining how to go about buying the ingredients and how to work out how much to dose into the tank. Its very easy, you just need to practice itb a bit and get used to dosing the plants and seeing their response.

    Michael, what type of setup are you planning on going for, high light CO2 or low light/low maintenance?
     
  3. Discus
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    Discus Algae harvester

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    One thing that's worth bearing in mind is that just like with multivitamins, just any old sort of Iron (and the same applies to other elements as well) won't do. It has to be bio-available; to plants, this means that it has to be supplied as Fe II, not Fe III (I won't go into the chemistry); basically, Fe II is good for plants, whilst Fe III does nothing.

    How is this relevant to fertilisers? Well, if your fertiliser does not somehow stabilise these unstable bio-available forms, then they rapidly become useless. Even worse, some may be formulated with the wrong type of iron (or other nutrient) from the outset. Generally, things like chelating agents (e.g. EDTA) bind and help to protect them; good fertilisers contain the right forms of the various micronutrients and ensure that they are in a bioavailable form, protect them against oxidation and so on.
     
  4. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Exactly :)

    The reason I say I don't trust the locally made plant fertiliser is they point blank refuse to tell me how much iron is in the stuff (after numerous promises from them that they would). It's very difficult to judge how much of this stuff to put in your tank as they do not list what and how much of what is in their product. Also, the directions say to 'add a few drops' every water change, this is certainly not enough for any planted tank to get by on let alone stay biologically available over a week for the plants! It just does'nt make sense for me to use this local product (as much as I'd like to). I'll be bringing in some trace ferts from Singapore hopefully soon, they have very similar water make up to ours so it should do well in our tanks.
     
  5. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    And to make it even more interesting:

    *please note that this is how I understand it, I am no chemistry expert :p*

    When iron is chelated the only way for the plant to "get hold of it" is to exchange the the iron with either calcium or magnesium. So if you are dosing Iron on its own you need to make sure that you have sufficient calcium and magnesium in the water as well.

    I will ask Dirk if we can post his email to the Aquatek list here as well
     
  6. Discus
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    Discus Algae harvester

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    Many plants are also adept at exchanging hydrogen ions for bound trace elements in the wild.
     
  7. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    Wow, I did not know that

    All I know is that I have been using Dirk's plant fertilizer for a long time now and my plants are visibly greener and growing lusher than before when I was using commercial products.

    This is in a low tech setup without CO2 though.
     
  8. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    mmmm, I wonder if Prof. Bellstedt would be interested in selling his Micro ferts here on the site? Local is lekker :)
     
  9. chiron
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    chiron Noob

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    Camron

    If we can convince him to join and selt his ferst I would definitely be interested. But with the usual speed of internet connections at the academic institutions I doubt if he will join. One can maybe publish some of his extensive contributions on Aquatek-L in digest form here with his permission of course. Has anyone got any contact with Tyrone from Aquatek-L fame? He may be another useful member to this forum.

    Neels
     
  10. Discus
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    Discus Algae harvester

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    Why not send a message to Aquatek-L suggesting people join? Most won't as they find getting a few emails into their inboxes preferable to checking a web forum (the idea was suggested some time back and most people didn't like it).

    I access this forum from Rhodes; it's not too bad, much like using a modem, really :D
     
  11. Ryan
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    Ryan Green fingers

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    I'm also online at varsity. NMMU (formerly UPE) to be specific. This is one of the quickest sites I visit.

    James, we have a feeling that the Aquatek list is broken. An email was sent to everyone, however, only people who are on digest subscriptions seem to have replied.
     
  12. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Neels and James

    I did send a mail to the aquatek list about the opening of this forum but only people subscribed to the aquatek digests received it. So I guess alot of folks still do not know about it yet. I have spoken to Renier about it and he is taking a look into it. I agree that having Prof Bellstedt among others would be nice but as you say, alot of them are'nt into the whole forum thing. I kept that in mind when designing the site as it's very low in graphics and loads reasonably quickly, even on Dial-up. As soon as Renier sorts out the list I will repost the anouncement. In the meantime if you now of anyone who might fit in here then please let them know about it.

    Tyrone has been invited to the site but as yet he has not made an appearance, i would really like him to help out on the Killi side as he has very good experience with this fish, did you guys know that Tyrone is held in high regards in some overseas circles, he's famous :)

    I'll try and twist Dirk's arm to make it here but with him being a professor I'm affraid there's not much time for him to spend here. Perhaps Andre will try persuade him again ;)
     
  13. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    Hi There

    Cameron has sent a few mails to aqua-tek but they did not seem to go through. Dirk is currently on holiday but he won't mind us posting his contributions here I am sure. He has said that he might contribute - time permitting. So we will see :)

    Watch this space
     
  14. Ryan
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    Ryan Green fingers

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    To get back on topic...

    What exactly does "exchanging hydrogen ions for bound trace elements in the wild" mean? I'm afraid I've only been studying physics, computers and fish for the past few years...
     
  15. Discus
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    Discus Algae harvester

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    Ryan: basically, not many things in nature like just floating around out there. They tend to bind to things like clay, organic debris and other things in soil, usually due to ionic charges (positive and negative charges). The easiest way to persuade one of these things that is bound to say some clay is to flood the area with some other ions which can then be "swapped" for the chemical you're interested in, which will then float around in the thin film of water around the particles and can then be taken up through the roots (in the case of terrestrial plants). I'm sure most aquatic plants do much the same.
    "Ion exchange resins" which you can find in things that clean water swap one kind of ion that you don't want (perhaps nitrate, or hardness in the water) for something less harmful/unwanted (usually sodium, sometimes hydrogen) use a similar principle.
     
  16. Discus
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    Discus Algae harvester

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    Hmm, that would explain why it's been so quiet for a while :)
     
  17. Ryan
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    Ryan Green fingers

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    Yes. If you go have a look in the archives there are new posts, but I have not received any of them.
     
  18. MichaelW
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    MichaelW Algae harvester

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    Jirre! Nice quick replies guys thanks for that :) And yes I think it will be a good idea to get some good articles up on the site covering the basics of plant keeping. I'll be waiting for that fertilizer article ;)
     
  19. Len
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    Len Algae harvester

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    To much chemstry for me!

    If I buy "EasyLife Profito from Hillfox" :

    - is that all that i need to add or do is still have to add other stuff?
    - i assume this is a liquid? Do i have to add "pellets" to the gravel as well?
    - how much Profito? Is is base on my tank size (600l) or on the amount of water changed? Or what else?

    I run 5 x 54W lights and presurised CO2 with a biological filter.
     
  20. PondmanSA
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    PondmanSA Noob

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    Just to let you guys know - I got a very different fertilizing approuch. Having said that - take into consideration that I grow plants in ponds. However, I'm fertilizing my little aquarium plants the same way now, so I hope for the best.

    Each plant gets potted up individually, using containers that has no holes - so the food stays in the pot, amongst the roots. 1) First some compost, with chicken manure (Bounce Back pellets) and bone meal mixed in. 2) Second layer, normal clay soil, also with CM + BM mixed in - this is the thickest layer. 3) Usually I put the plant (with some of the soil it was growing in up to this point) on top of this layer and keeping it down with a 4) layer of sand - only the leaves sticking out. The sand helps to keep everything in the pot. I add small stones as a final layer, to prevent fish from digging up the plant. I add water to the pot while "building" each layer, so the air can be out already when I sink the pot in water. Not doing this may cause a big mess with bubbles (and everything else in pot) coming up.

    I had up to 6 flowers open simultaneously on one plant this season. Pictured here is a hardy lily. :silent:
     

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