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Old 05-06-2018, 09:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY carbon source, not CO2

So I'm looking at Excel and Flourish Advance.
I don't want to deal with the toxic chemicals in Excel so Advance looks promising. Besides the ferts, it uses glutamic acid, and Amino Butyric Acid. I'll focus on the glutamic instead since you can buy the stuff on Amazon. While searching, I ran into potassium glutamate, a supplement. It's half the price of glutamic acid.

I did a quick test on some plants in 2 cups of water. I did get the plants to pearl but you can definitely overdose and melt the plants. I added 1/4 teaspoon of K-glut in 2 cups of water.

The plants in my 75G look sad so I'm now adding 1/4 tsp every other day. I'll report back the results.

Last edited by mistergreen; 05-06-2018 at 12:47 PM..
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

Very interesting experiment! I can understand not wanting to deal with Metricide - knowing it has some negative effects on humans can explain that. I use it, but take as much care using it as I can, including immediately washing my hands every time I get any on my hands. Are those chemicals you are trying all non-toxic?
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

Yes, potassium glutamate is akin to sodium glutamate which we eat all the time in flavored chips. All the chemicals I listed are human consumable, easy to get on Amazon. Of course you can overdose these chemicals like any.

Both AminoButyric Acid & glutamic acid have an ammonia molecule attached to the carbon chain. I guess it's good if your plants need Nitrogen.
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Old 05-07-2018, 02:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

Monsodium glutamate (MSG) is an amino acid we eat everyday. It's the most common food additive to enhance taste and found naturally in cheese, tomato, mushroom and all meat. Monopotassium glutamate is another form of glutamate and I didn't know it's sold in health store. Is it sold as a supplement for K or glutamate as our body need both to function.

MSG is sold in food store under trade name Accent, Taste Powder or Ajinomoto. MSG isn't cheap and I imagine potassium glutmate won't be cheap either. In comparison. I bought a gallon of generic glutaldehyde, Metricide 14 for $21 that will last over a year dosing 2x daily to my 75g. I am dosing glut not so much for carbon, but as an algaecide. Seachem markets Excel as liquid carbon but I have yet seen scientific data to back it up. I guess dosing any organic compounds will provide some carbon as all organic matters contains and will break up into carbon at some point.

I don't worry about the toxicity of glut for myself, plants or fish at the dosage used. The difference between toxin and medicine is the dosage. Even NaCL is a toxic at high dosage, but at low dosage, it's food additive and remedy for sore throat and ich in fish.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

MSG & KG is actually pretty cheap. I bought a pound of K-Glut powder for $12 or so. I'm working out the dosing, right now 1/4 tsp every 2 days. It'll last me a year probably at this rate.

You can get cheap MSG at the Asian market btw. I don't want to dose Na so I'm not going that route.

The amount you dose glut is enough to affect daphnia (kill off or stop reproduction).... It doesn't affect fish but I know it affect more sensitive critters. There are studies that glut affect fish fry as well.

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The difference between toxin and medicine is the dosage.
Glut is not a medicine btw so the comparison is not appropriate. It's straight up a bio-toxic cleaner.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

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Originally Posted by tiger15 View Post
I don't worry about the toxicity of glut for myself, plants or fish at the dosage used. The difference between toxin and medicine is the dosage.
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Old 05-08-2018, 05:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

Glut is a medicine in metaphorical sense because it can cure algae infection. Glut is not a human medicine but a fish medicine as glut is an ingredient in Seachem Paraguard to cure fish of ich and parasitic infection.

"Dose makes the toxin" is a fundamental principle in toxicology:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dose_makes_the_poison

Glut is twice as toxic to daphnia than algae, but only 1/10 as toxic to fish. So one needs to over dose 10x to kill fish.

I feel saver to dose glut to my fish planted tank than gaseous CO2. I dose glut manually, but if my regulator or light timer malfunctions, there is a chance my fish can be gassed to death.

But I wouldn't dose glut to shrimp tank, as glut is more toxic to invertebrate than fish. So if you can find a non-toxic substitute for glut, it will be valuable for use in shrimp tank.

However, Glutamic Acid is only one of 5 organic ingredients in Flourish Advance, and has the lowest level. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamine C), Mannitol (sweetener) and one amino acid have higher levels.

Alanine 0.06%
γ-Amino Butyric Acid 0.15%
Glutamic Acid 0.04%
Mannitol 0.14%
Ascorbic Acid 0.14%

So you have to find out if Glutamic Acid actually works, and how does it compare with others. Are you aware that Vitamine C has been used as an alternative and cost effective dechlorinizer, so if it also provides liquid carbon, it doubles the function.

https://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/html/.../05231301.html
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Old 05-08-2018, 05:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

Agreed, there are issues with dosing CO2 as well and I wouldn't does glut in a shrimp tank knowing that it kills off daphnia.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

It's curious that Advance uses 3 different carbon chain chemicals

γ-Amino Butyric Acid 0.15%
Glutamic Acid 0.04%
Mannitol 0.14%

They may want to cover as many different ways plants absorb these carbon molecules I guess. Something to think about.

Hmm, I'll give Mannitol a try too. I can get 1lbs for $18. I'll mix a 1:1 with my K-gluconate..

Last edited by mistergreen; 05-10-2018 at 04:51 AM..
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY carbon source, not CO2

So the Mannitol arrived. The consistency is powdered sugar. It clumps too. It doesn't dissolve in water immediately like the K-gluconate.

I mixed the two together and will now dose everyday.
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