Dry Ferts Recipes Questions

  1. W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    I'm going to be swapping my 65 gallon out for a 180 gallon. I've got a lot, possibly too many plants currently haphazardly planted in my 65. I also have a moderately stocked amount of fish for this 65. I am increasing tank size so my wife should, in theory have less to do husbandry wise, while I'm gone for a long time.

    I build up nitrates with my current stock even though I have a bunch of easy, fast growing plants. The 180 will be a dirted tank of mixed topsoil, organic garden soil, and flourite, capped with nat geo sand. Cant say enough good things about the sand, and the organic soil is manure free and I already sifted it so should be minimal issues there.
    Currently dosing nilocg 2 bottle all in one supplemented with a double dose of seachem aqua vitro propel for ludwigia and scarlet temple.
    I have medium ish lighting with 2 led bars. They will be split for the 180 since I'm doubling my footprint, so basically 1 6 foot light instead of 2 3 foot lights. It's too much light currently, but growth for the most part is great. Shouldn't be an issue in the 180.

    Questions:
    1. I do have a bunch of red stem plants. Some are thriving, some look burned, (still playing with exact dosing levels,) and I want to mix up a mega ton of dry ferts so all my wife has to do is toss a baggie into the bottle and let it do its thing. Is there a general, common recipe?

    2. Can I omit the potassium nitrate altogether for now since I accumulate nitrates currently anyway?

    3. Can I add a bunch of extra iron chelate to the mix since all my plants live it and my red ones always seem to want more? (So much so that I add a double dose on micro day and they are maybe barely as red as they might should be, not enough that they are as brilliant as they could be.)

    4. Can I put double doses, (or even quadrouple,) into the bottles to make it last longer in such a large tank?


    Edit: No co2 will be in this tank. The idea is to make my wife's life easier. The only reason anything survived last time is because I had the toughest golden wonder killifish of a tank. I wont have her messing with co2 and timers hoping to avoid nuking the fish, or plants growing great until the bottle dies and she doesnt realize it for 4 months.
     
  2. aniroc

    aniroc Well Known Member Member

    I will try to answer your questions only and hold my comments about lighting or the need to fertilize a dirted tank.

    1. Your macro solution has: 59 grams Potassium sulfate, 65 grams potassium nitrate, 6 grams Mono Potassium Phosphate, 41 grams Magnesium sulfate. All in 1 liter (1,000 ml) bottle.Fill with distilled water. Let sit overnight. Dose 1 ml per 10 gallon of tank water every other day, alternating with "micro" solution.
    Micro solution has Trace elements (eg: CSM+B): 80 grams per liter. Newer guidelines suggests even less (57 grams) for 1,000 ml distilled water and dose 2 drops per 10 gallons of tank water.

    2. Yes, you can skip KNO3, just dose more of K2SO4 instead.

    3. No, you can't add Iron to the macro solution since Iron should be kept separate from phosphate. Soil has plenty of iron, if your red plants are not as you want them to be, check your lights and lower your nitrates.

    4. No. Some of the ingredients are at their solubility limit, that's why the solution needs to sit overnight. If you double the amount, it will not dissolve in the stock solution bottle.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    Thanks! I've ordered a dry ingredients kit from nilocg. I meant more iron chelate to the micros bottle. I've also done a couple days worth of more research on what makes red plants red and I see what you're talking about. Agreed!

    I would like to hear what you have to say about the lights and soil. I think I agree with you that ferts shouldn't be needed, I'm just trying to have everything over prepared for my wife. If you are also implying that I shouldn't have mixed flourite with the soil, I understand where you're coming from but I needed a little extra filler and the flourite shouldn't hurt anything.
     




  4. aniroc

    aniroc Well Known Member Member

    If you are using the same light fixtures from the 65g over the 180g, there is a good chance that your light would be inadequate.
    I started my 180g over 5 years ago. It took me more than 6 months to steer it in the right direction. I use Aquasoil and I had ammonia for few months and nutrient leaching into the water column leading to several kinds of algae.
    I also mixed Flourite with the soil because Aquasoil is so expensive. I found out later that soils are acidic while clay (Fluorite) contain large amounts of metal oxides. When mixed, soil's acidity solubilize the metal oxides and release excessive amounts of Iron and Aluminium which can injure plant roots. Large amounts of Iron in the water column will prompt algae.

    I would not fill the tank and let your wife deal with it while you are away; freshly submerged soils are very unstable for the first few months. Under anaerobic conditions, soils can release hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and organic acids. Pockets of gasses can accumulate at the bottom. Sometimes, you need to poke the substrate to release those gases and avoid a disaster.

    I don't think that soil is suitable for beginners, let alone for someone who never took care of a fish tank.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    Fair enough. Thanks!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    Just wanted to let you know, the tank came out 90 percent great. I've got tannins leaching but I'm finally accepting it. No spikes of anything at all, though to be fair, I used a big bottle of tss+ as a preventative as soon as i set up the tank and hooked up the canister filter. Everyone and everything seems happy as can be at the moment. The only thing that got really made was my hygro temple regular. The scarlet did fine, but the regular stuff threw an absolute fit. I'm not sure it will recover. All the leaves are rotting on 2/3 of them. I'm not too upset since it's so cheap and easy to get. My crypts didnt care... at all. They're still growing prolifically. My newest sword was destined from the start to die since I forgot it on the counter for 4 hours in Colorado's super dry air. The silver lining is it went into emergency mode and has been shooting out new roots and leaves all over the leaves so the baby plants are finding good spots to live around the tank.

    I got the dry ferts just in case. I mixed up a nitrogen light load for the macro and an iron heavy for the micros. Nothing crazy, just slightly off the standard setup. I haven't really used it but it's just in case I get a photo of sick plants so I can recommend a course of action. Once the tannins go away, I think this tank will be a stunner. Not an aquascape winner, or placer, or consideration, but pretty in an underwater jungle garden sort of way.

    To be sure of no dirt leeching problems, I've got sand capped at 2 to 3 inches everywhere. I used a colander to sift out anything bigger than a pine needle. I credit these to my success. I suspect if I had more time to mineralize properly, I wouldn't even have noticeable tannin leeching.

    I've got 2 more fluval plant 3.0 lights on the way. Hopefully they get here tomorrow. Hopefully my lids show up at the same time. The two lights I had before definitely arent enough in the lumens department, so I'm pretty sure they arent great in the par department either. They will probably be too much, but I've walked the wife through setup and using them. It's ease of use and my pricing through the store is the only reason I went with them.
     
  7. Cricket lynn mclean

    Cricket lynn mclean Well Known Member Member

    I have a follow up question on the iron. Can you add red clay wrapped root tabs to the soil without affecting other ferts?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    I've heard mixed results with using the red clay technique. It seems easier to drop it into the tank directly. The uptake rate on iron is insane just dosing the tank so it seems the better way to go about it. I'm just a meddler with plants atm. @aniroc, care to weight in?
     
  9. Cricket lynn mclean

    Cricket lynn mclean Well Known Member Member

    Just to be clear you're saying that clay is slower right?
     
  10. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    No. I'm saying that some people report that the way the clay interacts in the substrate is problematic, and can get to the point where the type of iron ions cant really be taken up by the plants very easily. There are also people that have issues with it leaching out quickly even after baking it in the oven first. People still use rusty nails in substrate, but it just seems easier and less problematic to buy dry chelated iron and dose the tank accordingly.
     
  11. aniroc

    aniroc Well Known Member Member

    Why would you wrap a root tab in clay? Generally, clay is impermeable to water; I'm afraid that it will delay the release of nutrients from the root tab.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    Yes, although making clay tabs and placing them under the substrate is fairly common. It's the new rusty nails trick.