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Old 05-06-2014, 11:59 AM   #1
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Mebbid's DIY root tabs

Every few weeks I see discussions pop up about making root tabs and since my experience with the ones I made is spread amongst three or four different threads I figured I would make a new thread with all the information on it that I can Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.

These root tabs are made with a mixture of terrestrial time release fertilizers inside size 00 gel capsules.

These root tabs will need to be placed at the very bottom of your substrate. If they aren't placed deep enough they can potentially cause an ammonia spike. They can also deposit the fertilizer balls over your tank when you uproot plants. They can easily be pushed back into the substrate at that point though. I would put 1 per 6"x 6" area in gravel or 1 per 3" by 3" area for sand. Instead of depositing them all over my tank I generally place one underneath the plants that benefit from root feeding. Each tablet should last approximately 2 - 3 months.

These are commonly referred to as O+ tabs or Osmocote+ Tabs. However the Osmocote + is a discontinued product and suitable replacements have been found.

My personal mixture:


This is a 50/50 mix of Miracle gro Tomato, fruit, and veggies along with Osmocote Flower and Veggie

The miracle gro is a 9-4-12 fertilizer with added micro nutrients and calcium.

The Osmocote is a 14-14-14 fertilizer that lacks the micro nutrients that the miracle gro has.

I picked these two because they are what I had available locally. Another good stand in is Dynamite flower and vegetable. It has everything the plants need so won't need to be mixed. The total cost per tab is approximately $0.02



Results:
I measured the results of the root tabs in the growth of an amazon sword plant that I tracked over time. There were a few small changes in my plant regimen at the time but the only major change to affect the sword was the introduction of the root tabs. The tank is a 55g with dual t5ho bulbs. EI dosing and 10ml of excel per day. The substrate is black diamond blasting sand.

6 - 10 - 2013
This seemed to be the maximum size my amazon sword would reach given my setup. It was approximately 4 months old at this point and I used flourish root tabs for it on a monthly basis.


7 - 25 - 2013
This is to show the change in the amazon sword after a little over a month. This was the day I started to use the DIY root tabs I had made.


8 - 9 - 2013
2 weeks after the introduction of the root tabs. I had added some new plants at the time but the main ones stayed the same. Amazon sword, water wisteria to the left, Temple leaf hygro further left. and Star repens in the front.


9 - 23 - 2013
6 weeks after the last picture


10 - 30 - 2013
1 month after last picture.

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Old 05-06-2014, 12:02 PM   #2
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We'll it's about time!!! Thanks for sharing
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:06 PM   #3
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Hehe no problem With school kicking my butt i'm getting too lazy to type out this much in individual threads. Sadly my plants are paying the price for it as well
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:20 PM   #4
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How often did you add a new tablet?
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:57 PM   #5
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Nice thread.. and I love the tank progression. Tank looks great, BTW. One thing to note, O+ went from discontinued to back on shelves again. Just another option.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:27 PM   #6
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Well done Mebbid. Should be stickied!!!
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:28 PM   #7
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The timing of this is perfect as I was looking to make the switch to DIY root tabs and was thinking about creating yet another "How do I..." thread.

Does it matter what kind of gel caps I get? I see them made from gelatin and cellulose.
Also, I dont really understand how they are sized? 0? 00? What size do you recommend?

Edit: I just re-read the original post and saw that you're using the size 00 caps.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:49 AM   #8
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Beautiful tank! How deep should the sand be to ensure the capsules stay sunk?
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:55 AM   #9
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Did you use a capsul machine? And how did you get those long drift woods?

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Old 05-08-2014, 07:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyne View Post
The timing of this is perfect as I was looking to make the switch to DIY root tabs and was thinking about creating yet another "How do I..." thread.

Does it matter what kind of gel caps I get? I see them made from gelatin and cellulose.
Also, I dont really understand how they are sized? 0? 00? What size do you recommend?

Edit: I just re-read the original post and saw that you're using the size 00 caps.
It shouldn't matter. I use the cellulose ones simply because that's what I have available locally. Health food stores usually carry a variety of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tangs27 View Post
Beautiful tank! How deep should the sand be to ensure the capsules stay sunk?
Thanks!

I would suggest using about 2" or more of substrate. You don't have to worry about the capsules staying sunk but rather keeping the ammonia in the substrate and out of your tank.

Quote:
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Did you use a capsul machine? And how did you get those long drift woods?

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Nope, I just filled them by hand.

The driftwood was just picked up from a local river. When the snow melts the river floods and dumps tons of driftwood everywhere. This was last years haul

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Old 05-08-2014, 10:51 AM   #11
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Mebbid, how often did you add new tabs to the tank?
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:43 AM   #12
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It says they should last 2-3 months in the original post.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyne View Post
It says they should last 2-3 months in the original post.

That's what happens when I scan vs thoroughly read and re-read. Thanks.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:29 PM   #14
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Hey mebbid they are making O+ again but im still using dynamite.

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Old 05-22-2014, 03:28 PM   #15
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Great thread! Did u just do a 50/50 mixture of the fertilizers? And if I make enough for a year, would I just store them in a Tupperware with a silica packet be okay?
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Great thread! Did u just do a 50/50 mixture of the fertilizers? And if I make enough for a year, would I just store them in a Tupperware with a silica packet be okay?
I skipped the silica packets but that's a good idea. They will hold for quite a long time either way.
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mebbid View Post
I skipped the silica packets but that's a good idea. They will hold for quite a long time either way.

Great thank you!
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:13 PM   #18
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I remember trading info with mebbid last summer on this topic lol

Great results and super easy to do. The only difference is that I used 0 size gel caps. My Rangeri sword loves it.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:18 PM   #19
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Can any ferts be used? I'm not sure if those were ratios posted?
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:28 PM   #20
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Can any ferts be used? I'm not sure if those were ratios posted?
I would say any of the time release ferts like the ones I mentioned can be used. I would just try to make sure they have a good balance of NPK as well as a comprehensive micro fertilizer list.
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