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  • Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

    Hi there!

    I have an 80g planted tank (approx 60g water column), one month old, usual parameters: PO4 about 0- 0.25 ppm, Fe = 0, NO3 about 10-20 ppm. pH= 6.8 to 7.8, evening to morning, with CO2 injection. dKH=8 degrees, dGH=12 degrees. Plants= Cryptocorynes, Amazon Swords, Hydrotriche Hottoniiflora, Wisteria, Glossostygma, Ludwigia, Bacopa, microsword

    I have been dosing Flourish Potassium and Trace off and on in an attempt to get the plants to sop up my nitrates a bit more, so that my tank achieves a better balance. I did have some algae problems, but with reduction of light and a 50% water change in two consecutive weeks, and one or two doses of Excel, that seems to be more under control. Didn't find a convenient test for K, but I believe my plants have been doing well with K dosing, so that seems likley to have been deficient. Glossostygma and microswords are still not thriving -- not dying, but not eager to grow either.

    I am now trying to go into automatic daily dosing with perstaltic pumps, so I plan to use some combination of NPK (light on the Phosphorus, lighter on the nitrogen -- since my tank seems to have some of those -- and heavy on the K) from one bottle, and TRACES from another bottle, with dosing from the two bottles separated by at least an hour to prevent precipitation/interaction problems.

    So my first major question is, what do I put in the TRACES bottle. I have looked at the formulation of your Traces and Comprehensive products, and believe that some of my colorful plants need extra iron as well, especially given that the Nutrafin test seems to show zero Fe. Here's what I'm thinking. Your Comprehensive product recommendation is 5ml/60 g x 1-2/wk; your Trace recommendation is 15ml/60g x 2/wk; and your Iron recommendation is 6ml/60g as needed. So I'm planning to add 5 ml of Comprehensive, 15 ml of Trace and 6 ml of Iron, and does it out in even amounts all through the week. A bit costly, especially in terms of Trace, but sort of covers all grounds, I'm thinking. Does this make sense?

    As I said, I'd make sure that the TRACES mixture above will be dosed from a different bottle compared to the NPK mixture, and will be dropped into the aquarium at least one hours apart from the NPK mixture. Will this cause any problems?

    I may even dose a little bit of Excel along with the NPK occasionally if I want to give a leg-up to the carbon, or if I notice any algae. The general plan is that I will continue to monitor NO3, PO4, and Fe, until each of these are just detectable at the end-of-week tests. I will also monitor Cu to make sure it stays at zero or barely detectable, as a benchmark that I am not overdosing TRACES.

    Does all this make sense? Any comments, especially on the Traces dosing but also on anything else, will be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Aadro

  • #2
    Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

    [QUOTE=aadro;10606]Hi there!

    I have an 80g planted tank (approx 60g water column), one month old, usual parameters: PO4 about 0- 0.25 ppm, Fe = 0, NO3 about 10-20 ppm. pH= 6.8 to 7.8, evening to morning, with CO2 injection. dKH=8 degrees, dGH=12 degrees. Plants= Cryptocorynes, Amazon Swords, Hydrotriche Hottoniiflora, Wisteria, Glossostygma, Ludwigia, Bacopa, microsword

    Forgot to add lighting information in earlier message. My tank is about 23 inches deep, and has 4 x 54W T5HO lamps. Two of these are 6700K, and two are ColorMax.
    Last edited by aadro; 08-20-2012, 13:02. Reason: forgot infomation

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    • #3
      Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

      Hi aadro,

      Thank you for your post.

      We typically do not recommend mixing the Flourish products. I understand that this makes dosing much easier, but if we could combine the products without issue, then we would certainly do this. We would like to make aquarium keeping as simple as possible.

      We really recommend dosing the NPK individually. It is best to know the current phosphorus and nitrogen levels, and dose accordingly in order to maintain the 1:5 ratio. While you should not experience any precipitation issues when mixing the NPK, you most likely will increase one nutrient too much, since these elements are uptaken at different rates and amounts.

      Also, mixing Flourish Iron or Flourish Excel with any product will cause precipitation, therefore I would not recommend combining these with any other supplement. Combining the Flourish Comprehensive and Flourish trace also is not recommended, since Flourish Comprehensive is basically Flourish Trace plus organic nutrients. Since trace elements are depleted quicker than the nutrients, we recommend dosing Flourish Trace on the days you do not dose Flourish Comprehensive.

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      • #4
        Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

        Hi HK!

        Thank you so very much for your prompt response. But, now I am a bit confused.

        (1) I thought you recommended a Phosphorus to Nitrate ratio of 1:10, but you are recommending a ratio of 1:5? See Techsupport LK at http://www.seachem.com/support/forums/showthread.php?t=3958.

        (2) I was under the impression that it was okay to combine ingredients together as long as you did not mix phosphates and iron in the same concentrated mix. See, for example, your TechSupport CH at http://www.seachem.com/support/forums/showthread.php?t=289&highlight=soup .

        (3) I am still not sure why mixing Flourish Comprehensive & Flourish Trace would be a problem, as I'd be doing a larger dose of the traces and a smaller dose of the organic nutrients.

        [Please understand that I am not arguing ... I am sure you have a lot more knowledge and experience than a newbie like me... I'm just trying to understand the reasoning in the above situations. I will of course, in each case, dilute the mix with distilled water in about a 1:10 ratio.]

        (4) Lastly a follow-up question. If I can't mix Excel and Iron, can I add the Excel to the NPK mix?

        You see, I am desperately trying to set up a two-container dosing automation. I know a number of people do this routinely with EI methods using dry chemicals dissolved in water, so if Flourish is going to cause problems because of unique formulation, it would help me to know the details of the extent to which I can do the same with Flourish products.

        Thanks so much again!

        -Aadro

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        • #5
          Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

          We recommend a nitrogen to phosphorus ratio of 5:1. This translates to a nitrate to phosphate ratio of about 7:1.

          We have found that mixing iron with anything else will lead to precipitation. It is not simply the phosphorus and iron mixture that causes precipitation. You could dilute the iron very well, and avoid precipitation.

          Trace elements are not only utilized by fish and plants, but they are mostly evaporated or precipitated. Therefore, I would not add more than the recommended amount of trace elements daily, since most of this will not be utilized by the fish and plants. You will essentially be tossing away product.

          Excel and Iron both have the ability to precipitate other products. Therefore, both of these should be dosed individually, and are not to be combined with other products.

          You can certainly try what you have mentioned, I am simply suggesting that precipitation may/will occur. You may be making dosing easier, but you may also be wasting product/money.

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          • #6
            Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

            Thanks HK, the clarification is helpful.

            I am an automation fan (fanatic?) so I'll go ahead and try the combo, but I'll try to keep in mind that Excel or Fe might cause precipitation.

            I see that Flourish Comprehesive already has Fe, so mixing the two should not be a problem. Similarly, Flourish Trace is a watered down version of Comprehensive + some other elements such as Rubidium etc., so that should not be a problem. But, given your information, I'll use a very small amount of Trace, so that I don't overdose/waste.

            So the Comprehensive + a little Trace can be one solutuion, diluted with distilled water. And NPK can be another solution, diluted again.

            Excel seems tricky, based on your information. A number of people online have suggested using a small amount of Excel (~5 ml) as a preservative, especially with the Traces, so I was hopeful that I could simply add more to include it in the dosing, but your information suggests that can cause problems. So for now, that stays out.

            Thanks again,
            aadro

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            • #7
              Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

              Flourish Comprehensive does contain some iron, but the amount of iron present is at a minimal amount. Flourish Iron is so concentrated, that it will cause precipitation unless it is diluted. Of course when it is diluted, it will also not be as effective.

              Flourish Trace is not a watered down version of Flourish Comprehensive. Flourish Trace is simply the trace elements that are within Flourish Comprehensive (Flourish Comprehensive minus the nutrients).

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              • #8
                Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

                My only reason for harping on Flourish Traces for use **in addition** to Flourish Comprehensive, is the apparent presence of the following in Traces, which don't seem to appear in Comprehensive:

                rubidium chloride, nickel chloride, and vanadium sulfate

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                • #9
                  Re: Combining Comprehensive + Trace + Iron in automatic dosing

                  Those are elements that are not utilized as quickly, therefore they do not to be dosed every day.

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