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Iron Pills & my experiment

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by freshgoby, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. freshgoby

    freshgoby Junior Poster

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    I wanted to get this out there and see what other people thought about it.

    A while back I found myself dosing a lot of iron into my tank (Seachem iron at least 1 capful a day). But I started getting tired of sucking on the iron nipple (i.e. always needing it - and paying for it, $8 for 250ml per month is no fun) I couldn't find any chelated iron where I live so I thought I'd try adding iron pills into my substrate.

    I did it and my plants have stayed really green. So it doesn't seem to have had any adverse affect (I added them about 4 months ago). And now I don't need to add much if any iron to the water (and really only for the floating plants).

    The iron pills I use are:
    Nature Made 65mg Iron tablets from Ferrous Sulfate.
    Ingredients> Ferrous Sulfate, Cellulose Gel, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate, Croscarmellose Sodium, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Titanium Dioxide (artificial color), Magnesium Stearate, Polyethylene Glycol, Triethyl Citrate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Citrate.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Iron gluconate ought to be available as well, adding Fe to the deeper substrates that have some organic matter will reduce the Fe3+ to Fe2+ naturally via bacteria and low O2.

    The chelator is rather weak with gluconate and is often what's used in Vitamins and in the SeaChem Fe. This means it's very easy to break the bond for the plant, but it also means it will not last in the environment long also.

    DTPH last longer and is a nice middle ground.
    Iron filings, iron "dust", nails etc have been added to substrates in the past and seem to work.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. freshgoby

    freshgoby Junior Poster

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    Tom,
    You've sparked my curiosity... What's DTPH? And do you mean that I could actually take some iron nail I found at Home Depot and put it in my substrate?
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes,

    DTPH is a type of chelator, like EDTA, but slightly weaker and better optimized for our pH ranges.

    see older APD post about Fe and filings etc

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I have read elsewhere on here a trace mix by Tom containing 1 tablespoon of CSM+B and 1 teaspoon of ferrous gluconate (1 litre of water)

    Could I use ferrous sulphate/sulfate instead of the gluconate? and if so would it still be 1 teaspoon?

    AC
     
  6. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    And dose 15 cc per 55 gallon.
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/7340-How-much-iron-to-dose

    As liquid fert to be absorbed via leaves? Probably not.
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Reduction

    Hi AC,

    I think ferrous sulfate (sulphate) oxidizes to ferric when added to the aquarium.

    I have used ferrous sulfate to “clean” water of silicates. When I pour the ferrous sulfate solution in the water starts out green(ish) and turns a strange brown, murky muddy color, apparently the ferrous sulfate being oxidized.

    An obvious conclusion I draw is that iron gluconate is far more stable, staying in the reduced form in the water column much longer.

    I think the ferric iron settles into the substrate and is slowly reduced back to ferrous so as to add available iron to the substrate.

    Assuming the heptahydrate of the ferrous sulfate 1/3 teaspoon should yield an equivalent amount of iron, though I assume most will end up in the substrate as ferric.

    If you use a bunch in the aquarium I suggest aerating. :)

    Biollante
     
  8. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    This does confuse me a little though. I understand that green = not so useful and brown better. Is that right?

    But products like Easylife Ferro are green liquid compared to my trace and TPN which is brown.

    What does this all mean. lol

    AC
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Perpetually Confused

    Hi AC,

    I am perpetually confused, :eek: nor am I any sort of expert, simply what I have read and observed.

    I have never used Easy-Life Ferro; in a quick search, it does not appear the Easy-Life folks are willing to share information regarding the formulation. :confused: If the label includes ingredient information, I would be interested. :)

    Based on their advertising:
    Easy-Life Ferro concentrated iron source for healthy and vibrant plants This product contains iron (II) but also other supplementary nutrients such as potassium. Ferro is multiply stabilized and Nitrate/Phosphate free.

    1. “Multiply stabilized” kind of sounds “chelated” to me, I am curious what the agents are.
    2. “This product contains iron (II)” it appears that each 250ml bottle contains 1.25 gram of iron, compared to Seachem’s Flourish containing 2.5 grams of iron in 250 ml.
    3. “ Also other supplementary nutrients such as potassium” I am always curious as to what “other supplementary nutrients” in addition to potassium and how much?
    4. “Ferro… is Nitrate free” that is good since Nitrates would presumably oxidize ferrous iron.
    5. “ Ferro is Phosphate free” that is good since the ferrous iron would bind and fall to the bottom.

    My suspicion (I tend to be suspicious and more than a little paranoid :eek:) is that the “green” is a dye of some sort. I know many questioned the efficacy of Seachem’s Flourish thinking that because it is brown (in the bottle) the ferrous iron had been oxidized.

    I do not know that any of this makes any sense but as Scottward has pointed out; my doctors keep me on good drugs. :p

    Biollante
     
  10. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I assume you get the iron g from the statement 10ml dose in 100ml water will raise the ppm by 0.5 ? I also assume that the chelator is IDHA? No idea how strong that is but seems to be used in liquids.

    On a lot of forums I just searched people were asking how often to dose :)

    So after ignoring the fools, one of which said 'every four weeks like every fertiliser or you will get algae' lol
    I came across the consensus that people are suggesting you are supposed to get an iron kit, measure for iron and then calculate how much you want to add on top of residual.

    Now I know that testing Iron is basically a waste of time (and test kit money) so this starts to puzzle me.

    Anyway the short is I am looking for Gluconate which seems to be unavailable in the UK. Someone dumped this 'Ferro' on me as part payment for some moss the other week and I had the intention of ebaying it. lol However I'm testing extra iron at the mo so thought I may as well try it. I've been adding 2.5ml a day. No ill effects, no cloudy water, too soon to see difference in the plants though :)

    Your info is the same as the label.

    After this snake oil is finished and seeing as I can't find dry gluconate I have found a mix where they sell 50g comprised of 4.1% EDTA and 3.1% DTPA.

    I guess the EDTA is the next weakest above the gluconate and the DTPA stronger? I am trialling pulsing you see. Now this may well be better for my water seeing as I have hard to very hard according to the water report. Ph7.2-7.4/KH6-10
    and the gluconate may lock up instantly.

    Not a problem though. I can test this freebie and then the mix is only a couple of quid so not losing any money :)

    AC
     
  11. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    Green should be better, it's natural color of Fe2+.
    Fe3+ is brown.

    But Fe3+ is fine too. I saw some thread in other forums
    that said Fe3+ was virtually unavailable for plants.
    But then why many chelated iron ferts are Fe3+ ?

    The purpose of chelation seems not to prevent oxidation.
    But to prevent iron from interacting with other chemicals,
    making it precipitate.
    http://www.jhbiotech.com/plant_products/chelation.htm

    Tom also said plants take up Fe3+ too.
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2768-Chelated-vs-non-chelated-iron

    So normal Fe(III)-DTPA is good enough and simple for me.
     
    #11 nipat, Sep 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2010
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    The Complexity of Complexing

    Hi AC, Nipat,

    I have no experience with IDHA as a complexing agent; it is significantly lighter and has considerably less stability. I suspect daily or at least four times a week dosing, likely closer to gluconate, which I would think would meet the biodegradability test. ;)

    It is also obvious that IDHA is not the source of the green coloration. :rolleyes:

    I think as far as strength I think EDTA and DTPA are actually pretty close it is the effectiveness of DPTA at somewhat higher pH. DPTA is heavier and somewhat more stable.

    Perhaps you have tried, but once upon a time, I purchased my iron gluconate from a health food store.:)

    Nipat I like the Chelation and Mineral Nutrition information, it is great. I think 1, 2 and 5 are your answers. :gw

    Biollante
     
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