Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

ctyank

Junior Poster
Jun 17, 2006
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Durham, NC
When I fertilize using Greg Watson's potassium, phosphate and nitrate products at the levels that are recommended in the Barr Report, my tank stays slightly cloudy (no, it is not green water or ammonia) for more than 12 hours. Is this normal? Do you have a recommendation for dealing with this?

I have a 180G that I dose daily (1/7th of a 2 qt. solution containing just over 1 tsp of the K (K2SO4), just over 1 tsp of the P (KH2PO4) and 4.5 tsp of the N (KNO3)).

Thanks. - Chris
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

How hard is the KH and GH?

This CMS+B might do that, but TMG etc should not do this even with rock hard tap water.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

evergreen

Junior Poster
May 15, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

I'm on well water. Lots of calcium and magnesium. The hardness is 6 degrees.

Keith,
 

Tom Barr

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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

6 is not bad at all.
Stop using the K2SO4 for now.
See how it goes.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

ctyank

Junior Poster
Jun 17, 2006
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Durham, NC
Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

I also wrote to Greg Watson directly. He was kind enough to respond.
GW response:
>>Greg, When I fertilize using your potassium, phosphate and nitrate products at the
>>levels that are recommended in the Barr Report, my tank stays cloudy for more than
>>12 hours. Is this normal?

To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in these three that can cause any cloudiness … I dose Potassium Nitrate (plus an equal amount of Potassium Sulfate, Mono Potassium Phosphate, and Traces (Plantex CSM+B and Magnesium Sulfate) at slightly higher than the EI recommended levels in my 180 gallon tank Monday through Friday, and micros again on Sundays …

That’s Macros on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday … Micros on Tuesday, Thursday, and after water changes … and this is assuming that you are not dosing your micros on the same days as your macros …

So is it normal? Generally speaking, I would say no … but it is actually impossible to answer a question like this because I don’t have any details or facts upon which to make that kind of assessment … I don’t know what your water quality is like, what you are dosing, water change routine, etc. etc. etc. …

>>Do you have a recommendation for dealing with this?

No … but you do need to figure out “what” is causing the cloudiness first …

This is actually a pretty simple process … I would suggest you simply make up a separate dosing bottle for each ingredient you are dosing. I personally like a Pepsi Big Mouth bottle … it has a nice wide mouth that makes it really easy to slip a plastic measuring spoon into without spilling …

My normal routine is to measure the amount of Potassium Nitrate (plus other ingredients, but you will want to do these separately) into a Pepsi Big Mouth bottle, walk to the aquarium fill the bottle about half full), put the lid on, shake vigorously, then pour the contents into the aquarium …

In your case … if you do this separately … you will instantaneously be able to tell which ingredient is causing the cloudiness … then armed with the knowledge about what is causing the cloudiness, you should be able to take the ingredient, your PH, GH, KH, substrate information, water change routines, and pose the question in your favorite online planted aquarium home and get some feedback on possible things to consider …

My water is relatively hard, with a GH/KH up around 12 coming out of the tap water … using CO2, it’s all I can do to get my PH down to about 6.7 …I have a Flourite substrate … pretty high water flow low in the tank utilizing two canister filters and a third high flow pump … very little surface turbulence … I have a relatively high plant density and relatively high fish load … for me, this creates a high degree of organics in the water … this organic load is usually an ideal environment for haze/cloudiness … and while I can get a milky white solution when I first shake it up, I can’t get it in my 180 gallon aquarium …

But test your ingredients one by one so you know what is reacting to create a cloudiness … put together all of the other relevant details about your water quality and someone in your favorite online planted aquarium forum will have similar water quality and have experienced similar cloudiness and will be able to make recommendations about what they tried and found …

>>I have a 180G that I dose daily (1/7th of a 2 qt. solution containing just over 1 tsp of the K,
>>just over 1 tsp of the P and 4.5 tsp of the N). Thanks. – Chris

Your math appears to be a little bit funky … but it shouldn’t matter too much …

Your Potassium Nitrate should be ¼ teaspoon every other day (about 4 times a week) x 9 (180 gallons/20 gallons) … this works out to between 6.75 and 9 teaspoons each week (I’m closer to the lower amount due to my fish load) …

Your Mono Potassium Phosphate should be about 1/16 teaspoon every other day (about 4 times a week) x 9 (180 gallons/20 gallons) … this works out to between 1.68 and 2.25 teaspoons …

EI doesn’t recommend dosing any extra Potassium but I also dose extra potassium in very similar amounts to what you dose …

The other concern you should have is whether you are dosing traces at the same time that you are dosing your macros? You don’t mention when or what you are dosing for traces … but your traces should in theory not be dosed on the same day that you macros are …

Hopefully this gives you enough background concepts to try to isolate where you are getting your cloudiness from … i.e. what you are dosing that is creating the cloudiness … so dose everything separately … dose your macros and micros on alternating days so you don’t get Iron and Phosphate reacting … and it shouldn’t take you very long to figure out what is happening …

Thanks,

Greg
 

ctyank

Junior Poster
Jun 17, 2006
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Durham, NC
Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

So lessee... Greg had a lot to say.

I have not been alternating micros and macros (I guess I didn't read the EI directions closely enough!). My WEEKLY solution (dosed daily) is as follows:

4.5 tsp of KNO3
1 1/8 tsp of KH2PO4
1 1/8 tsp of K2SO4
90 ml Flourish
40 ml Flourish Iron

The macro distribution (the math) came from the EI short script that called for the following for 40-60 G aquariums:
+- 1/2 tsp KNO3 3x a week
+- 1/8 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
+- 1/8 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
+/- 10ml trace Elements 3x a week

And I multipled all of that by three as my tank is a 180G (60G x 3).

My local tap (Durham, NC) is very soft. GH 1.5 and KH 1.5. During my weekly 50% water changes, I add enough Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Sulphate and Calcium Chloride to bring the GH up to 10 and the KH up to 3.5 (That was good for a lot of cloudiness as well). With my CO2 injection, the pH stays around 6.8 most of the time. (The tank is very heavily planted btw).

From what Greg says, I need to split my solution into two rotating solutions. I'll do that immediately. I'm going to his recommended proportions for a 180G. I'll also test each of the powdered macros to see which is the main culprit. I'll post that as an addendum once I know. - Chris
 

quenton

Guru Class Expert
Mar 14, 2006
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Toronto Ontario (Canada?)
Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

Well -- I just ran this through my calculator (see my sig). I came up with

180g with about 2" substrate and no huge internal objects gives about 170g.
So feeding 170g I get the following 3x per week:

KNO3 2 1/8 tsp (6 3/8 total per week)
K2SO4 3/4 tsp (2 3/8 total per week)
KH2PO4 1/2 tsp (1 1/2 total per week)
MgSO4 5 7/8 tsp (17 1/2 total per week)

I did not do the Ca calc -- depends on your target etc etc.

My calc does CSM+B or TMG, to that comes to
CSM+B 3/4 tsp (2 1/4 total per week)
or TMG 43ml (130ml total per week)

And re your cloudiness -- I have heard it said that dosing iron along with the macros can cause it -- have never tried that to see though.
 

ctyank

Junior Poster
Jun 17, 2006
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Durham, NC
Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

Cool! That will help. Thanks for the direction and help.

Not sure why I didn't use a dosing calculator in the first place. Must have been all of those bags of various white powders in the box from GW. I guess I felt a little overwhelmed.
 

Patrice

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Jan 6, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

maby I am wrong but after I had that cloud problem for many month, someone told me that Phosphate and Fe add at the same time (same day)could create that reaction (cloud).
So I stoped doing this and the problem was solve.
 

quenton

Guru Class Expert
Mar 14, 2006
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Toronto Ontario (Canada?)
Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

Patrice said:
maby I am wrong but after I had that cloud problem for many month, someone told me that Phosphate and Fe add at the same time (same day)could create that reaction (cloud).
So I stoped doing this and the problem was solve.

I had heard / read that too -- nice to hear some first-person results though, now I can report it elsewhere with more confidence.
 

Patrice

Guru Class Expert
Jan 6, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

now on a non-co2 tank, I put everything at the same time and it dont seem to cloud the water. dont know why :confused: but I dont complain.
 

Patrice

Guru Class Expert
Jan 6, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

exact! way less than in my Co2 tank
 

evergreen

Junior Poster
May 15, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

Tom Barr said:
6 is not bad at all.
Stop using the K2SO4 for now.
See how it goes.


Do you think the K2SO4 is reacting to the magnesium and calcium in my water? Or is it just not needed?

Also, thought I'd start dosing macros one day and iron/trace the next.

Thanks.

Keith,
 

vidiots

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Apr 29, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

Tom has written several posts suggesting that K2S04 might be unnecessary as the K in the recommended doses KNO3 should be more than enough. He also suggested that K2S04 only be added when you cut back on the dose of KNO3 due to already high levels of NO3 from a high fish load or other causes.

I think this is to maintain a good N to K ratio.
 

quenton

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Mar 14, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

vidiots said:
Tom has written several posts suggesting that K2S04 might be unnecessary as the K in the recommended doses KNO3 should be more than enough. He also suggested that K2S04 only be added when you cut back on the dose of KNO3 due to already high levels of NO3 from a high fish load or other causes.

I think this is to maintain a good N to K ratio.

It depends -- in my 65g, I am aiming at 20ppm N and 30ppm K. I start off with none of either (according to the city experts).

So I dose 5/8tsp KNO3 (x3 per week) to get my 20ppm N -- this gives me 18.3ppm K. I also dose 1/8tsp KH2PO4 for phosphates and that gives me 3ppm K. This comes to about 21ppm, so I still need some if I want 30ppm, so I dose 1/4tsp K2SO4. (those are all x3 per week).

If on the other hand I aimed at 20ppm K, I would have it all from the KNO3 and the KH2PO4. So it depends on your targets.
 

evergreen

Junior Poster
May 15, 2006
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

vidiots said:
Tom has written several posts suggesting that K2S04 might be unnecessary as the K in the recommended doses KNO3 should be more than enough. He also suggested that K2S04 only be added when you cut back on the dose of KNO3 due to already high levels of NO3 from a high fish load or other causes.

I think this is to maintain a good N to K ratio.

Thanks for catching me up. Boy there is alot of information here!!!!

Have a great 4th!

Keith,
 

VaughnH

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Jan 24, 2005
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Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

One more tidbit from Tom's discussions about potassium: the amount that should be in the tank is not at all critical. Some is needed, but a lot more than some isn't a problem, and less than some probably isn't a problem. That's why I just rely on the KNO3 and KH2PO4 for potassium.
 

ctyank

Junior Poster
Jun 17, 2006
19
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1
Durham, NC
Re: Cloudy from dosing with dry fertilizers

Well, I dosed the Phosphate, Nitrate and Potassium on Friday without any cloudiness. On Saturday I dosed both Seachem's Flourish and Iron products (as well as some Iodine for my shrimp) and I got some cloudiness. It was not as cloudy as it had been while I was dosing everything all at once though. - Chris