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Everyone is right ...

Zeus.

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I would add more to this reply but my aging PC is having a 'go-slow funny half hour'!

Sounds like it may be a classic 'PEBCAK' error to me ;)😆

 

JoshP12

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A good question: Why is Tropica nutrition so awesome? Why do copy cats without Urea not perform as well? Why does Urea overdosing not work if Urea provides CO2 and Nitrogen via enzyme Urease -- I mean CO2 without worrying about gases!?!

Stuff we need:
1: Nitrogen drives growth (you can increase your own metabolism by increase your protein - nitrogen - intake ... and I reckon not ONLY due the thermic effect).
2: Fix a species. For each "amount" of N, there will be a unique amount sugar - neccesarily CO2 - that is required to metabolize it. It has to use it, due to gavage water column feeding of NO3 (see the first post photo).
3: An example of a species that needs more CO2 for each N is ... hopefully no surprise to anyone: Rotala Macrandra.

This is why people say these "sensitive" species do better under low NO3 in the column AND require more CO2 (I mean we can't control NO3 liberated into the column, come on).

More CO2, localized at the leaf (via good flow), WILL solve every issue. But to gavage feed NO3 and then dope the tank with high levels of CO2 is cruel to the livestock. Not all livestock, ofcourse, but the ones that are not used to such a low pH and so much free CO2.

Ok, now that we see this balance of N and CO2, why is a common advice to get proper plant forms on MORE sensitive species to reduce N? Well, because to get the CO2 you need to match your Nitrogen forced feed on those particular species will cause immense amounts of discomfort to livestock. Look at the photos of "beautiful tanks", you can tell how people dose by looking at the fish ... or the absence of fish entirely.

Reducing light will work ... but we established above how important it is NOT to restrict light.

If you restrict N (and P) too far, the tank isn't stable ... overfeeding of fish will cause unhealthy plants, algae etc (and a good exercise would be to understand that statement from what I wrote in the post). Sound familiar? Old school ideology.

So, dosing some N and P is good. Too much NO3 and we go back to the above, driving CO2 demand.

Ok Why is Tropica so great? They dose Urea too ... CO2 pack-a-punch. So, classic, get rid of all NO3 and dose only Urea ... genius. BUT it won't work. Why? Same thing.

If we think about evolution - the plant would have ALWAYS been in an environment where Nitrate and ammonia are present. And the transportation of these nutrients during low tide, high tide, etc etc etc is different since you need to use active transport over the root etc.

So, the "smartest" plant would assign jobs to both Urea and NO3. Welcome Tropica: No3 and Urea over the week. Genius. This is why Tropica tanks look so beautiful. It is also why ADA looks so beautiful --

How can we circumvent this with only NO3? Stock heavy and feed lots. I hope this sounds familiar to many readers.

To understand the latter, we need to connect that Nitrate requires CO2 to convert it to Ammonia ... so if you give no ammonia, you need EVEN MORE CO2 to compensate (and if you have no nitrate and just ammonia); of course the plant can do it ... or it wouldn't have survived.

We could even analze the lines of fertilizers ... the ones for "form and colour" are always leaner in N (and P) ... and if you look at cases where people switch from richer lines of the exact same fertilizer to leaner varietals (so they have issues with a richer of the same brand), it is always to alleviate stunting, formation, compactness, etc etc ... all common CO2-related/nutrient-related issues (and I put both because they are all the exact same thing).

The best advice (unless you want a wild ride): Buy a pre-made fertilzer (or mimic it properly) and dose it as per the instructions.


Oh, one more thing, in photos if we look carefully at the fish species and contrast it to the plant form and plant selection and observe the "state" of them ... they are always well-matched for pH/CO2 OR one of the living things are suffering.

Also ... every method can work and provide a healthy tank.

Cheers,
Josh
 
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JoshP12

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Well, I think that covers most issues I’ve read about/come across/had and explains the fixes and why each system works. That urea piece was missing from everything before.


If anyone thinks anything is incorrect/out of place, I’d appreciate some feedback.
 

MichaelJ

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A good question: Why is Tropica nutrition so awesome? Why do copy cats without Urea not perform as well?
Hi @JoshP12 Not sure I ever saw urea listed as an ingredient on Tropical Premium or Specialized? - it might be in there of course. If urea is such a potent/beneficial compound why isn't it used more in off-the-shelf aquatic plant fertilizers?
I've used Tropica for years (recently and in the past). Good product, but expensive in the long run and somewhat harder to find here in the US. I completely switched over to DIY dry dosing NPK and a a liquid agriculture micro blend a while ago. seems to be doing just as well as Tropica did in my two heavily planted low-tech tanks.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights.

Cheers,
Michael
 

JoshP12

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Hi @JoshP12 Not sure I ever saw urea listed as an ingredient on Tropical Premium or Specialized? - it might be in there of course. If urea is such a potent/beneficial compound why isn't it used more in off-the-shelf aquatic plant fertilizers?
I've used Tropica for years (recently and in the past). Good product, but expensive in the long run and somewhat harder to find here in the US. I completely switched over to DIY dry dosing NPK and a a liquid agriculture micro blend a while ago. seems to be doing just as well as Tropica did in my two heavily planted low-tech tanks.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights.

Cheers,
Michael
Hey Michael!
It is used in seachem, ADA, and Tropica.

Will only notice under more demanding species and with its use probably can get by with less co2 injection. In low tech, could keep “more demanding” species potentially than you could without. Or more stability etc. It could even be an observation of shorter internodes vs longer so favoured plant forms.

Kind of like adding glut.

:)

Josh
 
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MichaelJ

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Hey Michael!
It is used in seachem, ADA, and Tropica.

Will only notice under more demanding species and with its use probably can get by with less co2 injection. In low tech, could keep “more demanding” species potentially than you could without. Or more stability etc. It could even be an observation of shorter internodes vs longer so favoured plant forms.

Kind of like adding glut.

:)

Josh
Hi @JoshP12 OK, interesting. I might look into dosing urea separately.
Cheers,
Michael
 

JoshP12

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Hi @JoshP12 Can you recommend a product? and possibly dosing regime for a 151L (40 US gallon) tank? I see mentions of 0.5 ppm weekly.
Cheers,
Michael

Personally, I won’t keep urea in my house due to MSDS (for the same reason I won’t keep glut or use excel in my tank).

If I went the urea route, I’d simply buy into a brand and pay for the fertilizer.

To get around buying ferts, I would err on stocking heavier and feeding more while dosing low Nitrate into the column.

In fact, this is exactly what I am adjusting my current regime to :).

Josh
 

MichaelJ

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Personally, I won’t keep urea in my house due to MSDS (for the same reason I won’t keep glut or use excel in my tank).
well, didn't realize it would be a safety hazard ... well, maybe I'll skip this one :) And I am not really inclined to go back and pay money for commercial aquatic fertilizers.
 

JoshP12

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well, didn't realize it would be a safety hazard ... well, maybe I'll skip this one :)
I don't want to bias you from making personal decisions. Many people use gluteraldehyde and also Urea-formaldehyde in their homes.

I will share that for me, it is the carcinogenic factor. Now, I use slow-release tabs with UF in it -- but I don't mix anything with it.

One can argue that eating PAH on BBQ food or even smelling burnt gasoline from a truck that passes by is equally likely and one should be more concerned with other things etc.

It truly is a personal decision. Further, the reason Seachem can sell the concentration they do is because at suggested doses, it remains below a provable exposure threshold -- this is not a slight, it is to illustrate that risk-benefit analysis can be done in this decision as well.

:).

Josh
 

MichaelJ

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Miracle Gro slo release in gel caps (all natural - I’ve used both animal and vegan - from health foods store or online).

Roll ‘em up, plunk ‘em in!

They are potent.
@JoshP12 Thanks... yep, I've seen other people here mention Miracle Gro... I should be able to find it on amazon. I'll have to see how it will factor in with my current Macro and Micro dosing.
Cheers,
Michael
 
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JoshP12

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@JoshP12 Thanks... yep, I've seen other people here mention Miracle Gro... I should be able to find it on amazon. I'll have to see how it will factor in with my current Macro and Micro dosing.
Cheers,
Michael

Its like an additional investment. Just put them in the substrate and they act as a reserve to top off water column (via obeying leidbig). So if you don’t dose the column, the roots can access nutrients from substrate. It is a very effective tool as the plant can virtually choose what it wants from the substrate, instead of being fed through the column. So if your availability (whether demand or acquisition) is off for one of your species, it can probably just top itself off from its roots. The ultimate is basically doing both -- feed the column "the basics" minimally, then let each of your poorly picked species (since we pick for selfish reasons often lol), struggle to adapt and give them a buffet in substrate.

I put one tab every 6 inche square about I'd say, then just when I remember I replace it. Done both inert and high CEC substrate. Except on startup - LOAD that sucker up with nutrients on startup basically make ADA powersand/soil. Daily water change + high light + good temp + high CO2 + no livestock.

Josh
 
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MichaelJ

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Its like an additional investment. Just put them in the substrate and they act as a reserve to top off water column (via obeying leidbig). So if you don’t dose the column, the roots can access nutrients from substrate. It is a very effective tool as the plant can virtually choose what it wants from the substrate, instead of being fed through the column. So if your availability (whether demand or acquisition) is off for one of your species, it can probably just top itself off from its roots. The ultimate is basically doing both -- feed the column "the basics" minimally, then let each of your poorly picked species (since we pick for selfish reasons often lol), struggle to adapt and give them a buffet in substrate.
Hi @JoshP12 Thanks for the additional info. I will try it out. I am not really too worried about any downsides with over-fertilization - as long as it wont jeopardize the livestock of course.
 

JoshP12

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Hi @JoshP12 Thanks for the additional info. I will try it out. I am not really too worried about any downsides with over-fertilization - as long as it wont jeopardize the livestock of course.
My pleasure.

Livestock isn't going to care too much for nitrate and phosphate levels unless you don't change water for months. I think I linked some studies in some thread somewhere -- it was like 100ppm of N (which means more Nitrate) . Certainly, if you lard in micros to crazy levels, those metals could very potentially get your fish, but not in the concentrations EI prescribes.

Intuitively, I think I understand what you mean about over-fertilizing; though, I am not sure this concept exists. If you fertilize more, you just need more of everything else, including CO2: and with species that have lower demand of CO2 for each mol of "the largest influencing nutrient for that species", your fish will be fine; if the species demands more CO2 per mol of "the largest influencing nutrient for that species (very likely nitrogen)", then you may need more CO2 to gain ideal plant forms and plant health and that could jeopardize your fish. Or, you turn down the light and hope that plant can still get enough food ... but then a plant which prefers red, turns greenish (AR and Macrandra are examples) -- also long internodes to get that atmospheric gas.

To illustrate I dosed 30NO3 and 10PO4 a week for months and saw no issue with any species OTHER than "advanced" ones by Tropica categories. And even not all of those - some are green and come from nutrient-rich waters so they are used to creating mechanisms to accomodate high metabolic demand OR they simply adapted to having lower metabolic demand (like we would if we ate calorie-restricted meals for an extended period of time). The easy and most medium are simply fine - lots don't come from high CO2 waters or experience lots of "air exposure" time or have 2000PAR of sunlight (and have adapted to having LOADS of energy).

Josh

EDIT: I should add that my fish were not distressed from CO2 and I did not wait until they gasp and then turn it down just a bit. I could easily circumvent the issue I ssaw from the advanced ones by putting my livestock in distress and adding more CO2. It will work.
 
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MichaelJ

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My pleasure.

Livestock isn't going to care too much for nitrate and phosphate levels unless you don't change water for months. I think I linked some studies in some thread somewhere -- it was like 100ppm of N (which means more Nitrate) . Certainly, if you lard in micros to crazy levels, those metals could very potentially get your fish, but not in the concentrations EI prescribes.
Right. I already routinely have 20-40ppm of NO3 and 20ppm of PO4 and probably around 80ppm of K.

Intuitively, I think I understand what you mean about over-fertilizing; though, I am not sure this concept exists.
Agreed...I was mostly thinking along the lines of hitting limits for the livestock, which are arguable very high for all the Macros at least.


Cheers,
Michael
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
If urea is such a potent/beneficial compound why isn't it used more in off-the-shelf aquatic plant fertilizers?
I assume it is because of the potential issues with ammonia (NH3).
Miracle Gro slo release in gel caps
I'm still using the liquid formulation of <"Miracle-Gro"> and I know that @Zeus. and @jaypeecee have experimented with urea dosing.
mention Miracle Gro... I should be able to find it on amazon
It is an American product so I would expect that you can find it stateside.

cheers Darrel
 
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