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Old 09-01-2006, 11:19 AM   #1
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OH NO! Another first time Greg Watson customer w/no brain

Help!

I ordered some potassium nitrate, and some potassium chloride, and the CSM+B ferts from Greg. They arrived, but how do you guys do your conversions for example... lets say I already have 5ppm nitrate in the tank how do I know how much to dose to make it 15 for example

How do you read the NPK thing for example one bag says 0-0-50. Does that mean 50% Potassium by weight?

If you mix the above with X ml of H20, how do you know what ppm you will reach when it is added to X gallon aquarium...

I do have chucks calculator, and will use it, but I guess I would love to know more w/o relying on additional tools.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:29 AM   #2
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Chuck's calculator is EXACTLY what we use.

GregWatson sells the chemicals used in Chuck's calculators.

so put in X grams or X teaspoons, Y ml of water, and it tells you how much that raises ppm.

if you only use the online calculator, you need to set the dosing solution to 1ml and then that'll tell you how much X grams dosed directly in your tank will give.

I prefer the downloaded version, but its Windows only.
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:18 PM   #3
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Thank you for asking this, I just ordered the 4 ferts from Malkore's guide and was wondering the same thing. I also got one of the nice (and cheap) measuring glasses he was selling.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:28 PM   #4
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i wish I had gotten more of the measuring bottles. Also becareful when dosing nitrate, mine went outta control and i had to do major waterchanges. Dose a little at a time and test until you can fin d the average amount you will need and how often
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:14 PM   #5
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and another thing I forgot to ask "What does CSM+B" stand for?
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:25 PM   #6
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The +B stands for "plus Boron" if I remember correctly. Not sure about the rest.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:56 PM   #7
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The 3 numbers set apart by dashes are traditionally used in the agriculture trade for fertilizers. These are N-P-K (nitrogen, phoshporus, potassium). Depending on your soil conditions you might need more or less of each, so all those winter mix ferts for your lawn will be much different (tend to have a larger amount of phosphorus for root growth and stability) then the quick grow formulas that tend to have high nitrogen levels (for that quick green growth).

For our purposes we normally dose individually (not counting KNO3) since with PWC's and different plant/fish levels and food, the N-P-K ratio is always changing. So your KCl will be 0-0-50 because as you said 50% of the components by weight is potassium. Had you waited to order I would have suggested getting potassium sulfate instead of KCl since adding salt to the tank is not always wanted, while the sulfate will have no affect on the fish.

This is where it gets dangerous for people that don't know these different ratios because something like KNO3 (potassium nitrAte) has about 2:1 nitrAte to potassium, so if you calculate to dose 10ppm of potassium, you are also adding in over 20ppm nitrAte.

I don't have to dose nitrAte because of my high fish load, but if I did, I would only use KNO3 for dosing nitrAte, the potassium would just be an added bonus.

Nice thing about potassium is that there really are no drawbacks to dosing heavily. The chances of causing calcium lockup are virtually nonexistent unless you have EXTREMELY soft water. But I wouldn't overdo it with KCl, pick up some K2SO4 next chance you get.

HTH,

justin
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:12 PM   #8
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Yeah I intend to fishless cycle and then fully stock my tank so I'm hoping I don't need to dose nitrate, I did get a pound of it to keep around in case I do need it though.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frostby
How do you read the NPK thing for example one bag says 0-0-50. Does that mean 50% Potassium by weight?

If you mix the above with X ml of H20, how do you know what ppm you will reach when it is added to X gallon aquarium...

I do have chucks calculator, and will use it, but I guess I would love to know more w/o relying on additional tools.
I agree that Chuck's Calc is sweet (real sweet), but it's great you want to figure this out for yourself.

You're correct about the NPK thing, as 7Enigma said. Pure KCl is really ~52% K by mass, but such specifics aren't so important unless you want them to be.

To calculate dosing solutions manually, it's easiest to use two steps. First calculate the solution to get grams of nutrient per mL, then the resulting ppm of the mL dose into the tank.

1)
mg fertilizer = milligrams of dry compound from Greg Watson.
%nutrient = % using that NPK rating
mL solution = how much water you're using for the mix

mg fertilizer * %nutrient / (ml solution * 100) = mg nutrient/mL solution

2)
Then calculate your resulting ppm (mg/L) from whatever dose.

(mg nutrient/mL solution) * mL dose / (tank gallons * 3.785L/gal) = ppm nutrient

For example:

Let's say you want to mix 150 grams of KCl into a 250mL bottle, and you want to know how much 1mL would add to a 20gal tank.

150,000mg KCL * 50% K / (250mL * 100) = 300mg K/mL solution

300mg K/mL solution * 1mL dose / (20gal * 3.785L/gal) = 3.96ppm K

Make sense?

Lets say instead you want to use the above mix, but find out how many mL you need to get 20ppm K into 20gals.

target ppm nutrient * tank gallons * 3.785L/gal / (mg nutrient/mL solution) = dose needed for target ppm
20ppm K * 20gal * 3.785L/gal / 300mg K/mL solution = 5.05mL to reach 20ppm K

(As you can probably tell, its way easier to just dose KCl dry. If you want the formulas for this let us know. If this isn't clear or someone could explain better, please let us know.)

Run these calcs by Chuck's and you'll see some difference. Replace the NPK rating with true mass percentage, and you'll have Chuck's Calc's output. (In this case, replacing 50% with 52% for K from KCl.) Chuck uses best practice by calculating true mass percentage using atomic weights. You could do this with a periodic table, but here's a handy calc.

If you want to use teaspoons and such instead of grams, you'd have to start with some conversions of course. Steve Pituch's calculations page is a great resource for this and calculations in general.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma
Had you waited to order I would have suggested getting potassium sulfate instead of KCl since adding salt to the tank is not always wanted
Only for your info, Tom Barr's recent newsletter and study finds salt and effects from chloride aren't so important nor dangerous for our purposes.

I've only used KCl and, while people I greatly respect suggest K2SO4 for exactly the reasons you describe, find it fine. I still have 20 or 30 pounds of KCl after spreading it amongst my club and stuff, and plan on sticking with it until I run out. Other people seem to like it too.

Hope this helps.
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