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Old 11-01-2005, 12:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to make DIY substrate fertilizer sticks?

Any one know how Flourish tabs or other substrate fertilizer sticks are made? Most importantly, what do they use as binders to give it the characteristic slow-release without leaving waste around? I imagine I can use clay is the bulking agent or something, but it leaves dirt behind after it's completely dissolved. Anyone know what they typically use as binders or bulking material?
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Old 11-02-2005, 05:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi
Why go through this trouble? (Unstable, uncontrollable and unreliable)

Any inert substrate with little peat moss underneath, low KH water and simple water column fertilization will grow any plants you can imagine.

Edward
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with Edward.

However, if you're really really determined to try this, I seem to remember some discussions on this topic over on APD. It was a while ago but the info should still be there somewhere...
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Old 11-03-2005, 05:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Jobes sticks are so cheap I don't know why you'd bother.
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I made some of my own fertilizer balls a while back. I couldnt figure out how to make them slow release though. I used clay as the binding agent(red art clay). What I did was wet the clay and mix in my ferts(Po4, No3, etc...). Then I baked them in extremely high temps. They seemed to work well, and the cost was extremely minimal. Only problem was they came apart rather quickly. I would like to know how the seachem root tabs are slow release also. Just for the sake of knowing. Also, I realize Poe835's post doesnt make since to most of us, but he still has not got a decent answer other than people blowing him off. Anyone care to try and answer his questions???
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Old 11-03-2005, 08:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Kit for sale

Someone actually made a kit for sale on the internet that came with some dry ferts and an applicator. It has a little pellet press and a plunger tube thing to stick the pellet into the gravel without it crumbling. It used red art clay and you mix ferts in the clay, make a pellet and let it dry. Can't recall who made it, I have it here somewhere. Sort of a hassle and the pellets can get stuck in the plunger thing. Gee, maybe that is what the swords are missing nowadays....
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Old 11-04-2005, 04:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies. They don't really sell Jobes sticks here in Thailand, and I, like Chiahead, would like to know mostly for the sake of knowing. I always wonder how Flourish tabs are made to slow-release the contents. One reason is perhaps we can make a slow release mixture that will deliver constant amounts of fertilizer with time. This doesn't have to go in the substrate, but it can just sit in the water column. This would avoid frequent fertilizing and spikes in fertilizer concentration. It may be useful, it may not..but I just wanted to know. I thought clay baked at high temperatures would do the trick, so I was surprised to hear Chiahead's observations. If anyone else has any inputs, please share them.
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Old 11-04-2005, 06:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonapersona
Someone actually made a kit for sale on the internet that came with some dry ferts and an applicator. It has a little pellet press and a plunger tube thing to stick the pellet into the gravel without it crumbling. It used red art clay and you mix ferts in the clay, make a pellet and let it dry. Can't recall who made it, I have it here somewhere. Sort of a hassle and the pellets can get stuck in the plunger thing. Gee, maybe that is what the swords are missing nowadays....
The company was PlantGuild Products. I beta tested one for the owner. Basically, it was just a slim plexiglass tube (hollow) with a "pusher stick" which fit inside of the tube. There was also a small device to make the clay "sticks" which the device would inject into the substrate.

It worked, but it was a pain to use (at least, I found it to be a pain to use).

As far as I can determine, the company and the product have disappeared (web address no longer works).

If you like the idea of injecting solid fertilizer sticks into the substrate, ADA has a very nice (rather expensive though) injector and they also sell several types of premade "sticks" for it. The device is called "Bottom Release" and is sold through ADG for $47.00 US. The fertilizer sticks are either $18.00 US or $22.00 US per package of 30.

I have used DIY clay balls mixed with dry fertilizers, baked in the oven and then inserted into the substrate. The biggest problem with them is that household ovens aren't hot enough to "bake" them - they disintegrate once they get wet, leaving you with a mess.

This is one place where it just makes more sense to buy either Seachem Tabs or Jobes Palm & Fern Sticks. No mess, very little cost, maximum convenience. I have better things to do with my time than to make "mud pies" for my aquariums.
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Old 11-04-2005, 07:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiahead
I would like to know how the seachem root tabs are slow release also. Just for the sake of knowing.
It might be best to pose this question in the Seachem forum if you haven't already. I don't know if they will give you that information but it is worth a try!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiahead
Also, I realize Poe835's post doesnt make since to most of us, but he still has not got a decent answer other than people blowing him off. Anyone care to try and answer his questions???
I think Laith already gave him the best answer out there and that was to check the APD, http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plants/month.9906/ There is a lot of stuff to search through but if he wants to know this would probably be the best bet. He could always start a thread in the Seachem forum also. May as well go directly to the source!
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you look on the contents of the seachem tabs you will see that one of the constituents is protein hydrolysates.
I did a fast research in google it seems to be zelatin and I quote:
Hydrolyzed Proteins from Bovine, Porcine and Marine sources. Hydrolyzed gelatin, also referred to as Collagen, provides both a source of protein as well as texture.
So prolly this is yours and actually my answer cause I was wondering exactly the same thing. It seems we can make this tabs ourselves.
Here is an analysis of the seachem tabs:

Total Nitrogen 0.28%
Available Phosphate 0.17%
Soluble Potash 0.16%
Calcium 14.9%
Magnesium 0.06%
Sulfur 12.2%
Boron 0.029%
Chlorine 0.55%
Cobalt 0.001%
Copper 0.001%
Iron 2.2%
Manganese 0.23%
Molybdenum 0.0009%
Sodium 0.14%
Zinc 0.0024%
Derived from: Potassium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Magnesium Chloride, Ferrous Gluconate, Cobalt Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Boric Acid, Sodium Molybdate, Zinc Sulfate, Protein Hydrolysates.

I hope this helps
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