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Root tabs

_Maq_

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There seem to be two ways to use root tabs/ osmocote
(1) 'whole tank; approach. - i.e. adding X number of root tabs per square inch in order to 'cover' the entire tank
(2) 'target plants' approach - adding a much small number of root tabs under specific plants in order to help them grow better.

I use method (2)..

I have plants that grow like weeds without adding osmocote (which suggests they are perfectly happy with whats in the water column) so I see no reason to increase their growth rate further by adding osmocote for those plants. Instead, I add osmocote to 'help' selected plants . Since I am using far smaller amount of osmocote , ammonia leakage (if any), is less of an issue.
... "they are perfectly happy with whats in the water column" ...
Please, correct me if I'm about to preach to the converted again, but has the topic of adsorption been discussed in this forum?
 

Hanuman

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Can anyone recommend some really good root tabs. Currently using Seachem flourish tabs but they are very expensive.

Many thanks
Dennis will soon release some new root tabs. Price is still unknown.
 

erwin123

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I’m into shrimp, the higher copper level in osmocote versus flourish concerns me, any thoughts?
thats why the recommendation is just to get the NPK version without TE and avoid worries about metal toxicity.

1658792531810.png
 

Hanuman

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I have been curious about this new root tabs that Dennis is selling in his website. He claims a lot of things. Below a summary:
Screen Shot 2022-07-31 at 11.25.53.jpg

APT Jazz was specially engineered to retain potent ammoniacal nitrogen within the root zone.
APT Jazz contains ammoniacal nitrogen [...] and contains additional clay to improve CEC content of the substrate.
Screen Shot 2022-07-31 at 11.38.12.jpg

By looking at the appearance (color and texture) of it I started doing some research and came to one conclusion so far. Those are biochar NPK infused root tabs. I could be wrong but biochar checks all the boxes specially the long lasting impact and low ammonia spike release claims. The high CEC of biochar will prevent all the nutrients to be dumped in one go.

@dw1305 and @X3NiTH what are your thoughts on this?
 
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erwin123

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By looking at the appearance (color and texture) of it I started doing some research came to one conclusion so far.
ada supplement.jpg



Looking at the similarity of colour and texture... is there any relationship to Amazonia Supplement? (I would need to whack at the Amazonia with a hammer to make smaller pieces like the Jazz tho'....)
 

Hanuman

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View attachment 191747


Looking at the similarity of colour and texture... is there any relationship to Amazonia Supplement? (I would need to whack at the Amazonia with a hammer to make smaller pieces like the Jazz tho'....)
I do not think they are the same at all. These ADA tabs are extruded. You can see it by the shape. They are also brown and not black which tells me they are clay based. I initially wanted to buy the ones from Dennis but I then looked at the price and # tabs in the package and got a heart attack. You'd be paying basically 1usd/root tab....
 
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Wookii

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I do not think they are the same at all. These ADA tabs are extruded. You can see it by the shape. They are also brown and not black which tells me they are clay based. I initially wanted to buy the ones from Dennis but I then looked at the price and # tabs in the package and got a heart attack. You'd be paying basically 1usd/root tab....

Come on man, give Dennis a break - he has to buy in all that expensive Biochar at what, less than a tenner a kilo?:


Soak in some ferts, dry it again, and sprinkle a bit into a gel capsule, which are really expensive at, what, less than 1/3rd pence each:


Then bag 20 of them in a fancy foil pouch at, what, 50p a pouch:


So he's looking at a huge cost base here of, what, heading towards a quid a pack, so you can't blame him for adding a tiny 1900% markup surely?!


cheers-true.gif
 

Hanuman

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Then bag 20 of them
18 to be precise.
so you can't blame him for adding a tiny 1900% markup surely?!
Still conservative I think. 😂

The crazy price enraged me and pushed me to look for alternatives. I found this and I am looking how I can source it:
 

_Maq_

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I wonder whether biochar/charcoal can bring any benefit underwater. It is perhaps (scientific tests are not fully positive) good for field soils. But we don't need it to retain water nor nutrients - they cannot escape in aquarium. What is likely beneficial is adsorption capacity of the substrate. Detritus is a fairly good adsorbent. Clays and zeolites are quite effective sorbents for selected elements, and together with organic matter they work better than any of them alone. Detritus is for free and purified clays and zeolites are cheap. I've been experimenting with charcoal and activated carbon as well, and I cannot recommend them - their particles are much lighter than other soil components and with time they tend to accumulate at the surface of the substrate. Being there, they are extremely attractive to algae.
I don't believe in a 'nutrient-rich' substrate. I believe in adsorption, which is not the same. If your substrate has good adsorption ability, it adsorbs nutrients from water column. That is perhaps beneficial, though my tests were inconclusive.
Another possibly beneficial way is the tabs of the Osmocote kind - slowly releasing nutrients. Possibly. But personally I'd still prefer enhancing adsorption strength of the substrate as a whole and supporting a rich microbial community.
 

Hanuman

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I wonder whether biochar/charcoal can bring any benefit underwater. It is perhaps (scientific tests are not fully positive) good for field soils. But we don't need it to retain water nor nutrients - they cannot escape in aquarium. What is likely beneficial is adsorption capacity of the substrate. Detritus is a fairly good adsorbent. Clays and zeolites are quite effective sorbents for selected elements, and together with organic matter they work better than any of them alone. Detritus is for free and purified clays and zeolites are cheap. I've been experimenting with charcoal and activated carbon as well, and I cannot recommend them - their particles are much lighter than other soil components and with time they tend to accumulate at the surface of the substrate. Being there, they are extremely attractive to algae.
Depending how the biochar is processed I think it won't necessarily float or come to the surface. I have no clue whether Dennis product is made from biochar, it could be that it is not at all but I find the color very suspicious. Another possibility that comes to mind is that it's clay based with humic acid, rendering the granules black. But I find the uneven shape of the granules odd.
I don't believe in a 'nutrient-rich' substrate. I believe in adsorption, which is not the same. If your substrate has good adsorption ability, it adsorbs nutrients from water column. That is perhaps beneficial, though my tests were inconclusive.
Not sure what you mean here. As an example Amazonia is a nutrient rich substrate and so are many others. It also has a high CEC, just like akadama has. Only issue is that although they absorbs nutrients from the water column through time (NO3, P and K), NH4 depletes and that's why we need to either dose more or change the substrate, or add root tabs. In a low tech tank it would take many years to observe depletion. In a high tech tank it is just a matter of a few months if it is heavily planted.
Another possibly beneficial way is the tabs of the Osmocote kind - slowly releasing nutrients. Possibly. But personally I'd still prefer enhancing adsorption strength of the substrate as a whole and supporting a rich microbial community.
This has already been done for many years. Only problem is that osmocote is not designed for a 100% aquatic environment so the content of the granule could very well leach to the water much faster than we think. Other issue is the horrendous colors of those granules. They just end up coming up to the top of the substrate at some point.

Here is an interesting analysis that Tom Barr carried out many years ago on Amazonia soil: https://barrreport.com/barr-report-...Aqua-Soil-Power-Soil-Analysis-Barr-Report.pdf
 
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_Maq_

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Not sure what you mean here. As an example Amazonia is a nutrient rich substrate and so are many others. It also has a high CEC, just like akadama has.
Yes, it's full of nutrients. Their excess leaches to water column and many water changes are necessary before things get stabilized. In the end, it keeps just as much nutrients as its adsorption capacity permits.
Therefore I say why not make it the other way round? Make a substrate with high adsorption capacity but without excess nutrients. It will adsorb nutrients from water column.
they absorbs nutrients from the water column through time (NO3, P and K), NH4 depletes
They definitely don't adsorb nitrates, and I doubt whether they adsorb potassium in a significant amount. Phosphorus ends up in the substrate (and in the filter) even if the substrate is just silica sand.
that's why we need to either dose more or change the substrate, or add root tabs
I don't think so. Adsorption capacity is permanent. That is my point. Basically, you can make given substrate keep nor more neither less nutrients. It adsorbs just as much as it can. Microbes and plant roots are consumers, and fertilization into the water column replenishes the stock.
That's why I say I don't believe in nutrient-rich substrate, only in substrate with high adsorption capacity.
 

Wookii

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Their excess leaches to water column and many water changes are necessary before things get stabilized. In the end, it keeps just as much nutrients as its adsorption capacity permits.
Therefore I say why not make it the other way round? Make a substrate with high adsorption capacity but without excess nutrients.

I tend to agree - I've become a bit jaded with the nutrient loaded soils. The nutrient release at the start is just a PITA.

I used a non-nutrient enriched soil designed for shrimp in one of my tanks (Dennerle Shrimp King), and it was so much better - none of the nutrient release issues, and the tank benefitted from the organic acids released from the soil without having to flush them all away to get rid of the unnecessary ammonia release.
 

plantnoobdude

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I tend to agree - I've become a bit jaded with the nutrient loaded soils. The nutrient release at the start is just a PITA.
This is one of the reasons I’m apprehensive to use aqua soil in my next tank. I’m considering kitty litter or akadama soil. Both should be low in nutrients, and have a lot of the same long term effects as aqua soil.
 

Hanuman

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Yes, it's full of nutrients. Their excess leaches to water column and many water changes are necessary before things get stabilized. In the end, it keeps just as much nutrients as its adsorption capacity permits.
I've become a bit jaded with the nutrient loaded soils. The nutrient release at the start is just a PITA.
Well it takes me basically ~ 4 days to nitrogen cycle a tank with new rich substrate while using old substrate as a base layer. WC every 2-3 days for a round 2 weeks. At the 5th or 6th day no more ammonia is detectable in the water column. Heavily planted. All good. I never had any problems other than a small onset of diatoms which is barely noticeable.
This is one of the reasons I’m apprehensive to use aqua soil in my next tank. I’m considering kitty litter or akadama soil. Both should be low in nutrients, and have a lot of the same long term effects as aqua soil.
If you are planning on using Akadama it needs to be pre soaked in a solution of nutrients or you'll have a bad surprise because akamada is basically deprived of any nutrients other than some traces and iron...but the real issue is that akadama also has a very high CEC so it will suck anything it can for a while and you will have lovely swings all over the place for a couple of weeks. Not something you want in a new tank, or at the very least something you want to minimize. If you are not aware of this it will drive you nuts not understanding what is going on.

At the end, it all depends what you are seeking to do, what you are planting and how much of it. If you make a farm tank like I do, to me, a nutrient rich substrate is a must or you'll end up having more problems at the beginning by using inert or poor substrates.
 
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