DIY root tabs

Discussion in 'Anything DIY related' started by f-fish, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    The thread that started this was probably http://www.tropicalaquarium.co.za/showthread.php?8510-What-is-the-goal-Easy-planted-aquarium-method! I started looking at an alternative to things like PFP, chemicult etc fro DIY even tried the earth worm castings. This lead to me asking about osmocote http://www.tropicalaquarium.co.za/showthread.php?9057-I-am-looking-for-Osmocote-Plus and now the inevitable.

    How to make DIY root tabs? Now @tracyp has hinted at doing something similar, but I need a bit more input (and a place to post pics ;-)

    The plan - make an additive that is long lasting - easy to add to an existing tank, will work with all sorts of substrate - from ADA - Silica.

    Must have trace and NPK (would have like to boost the trace a bit - might still do that)
    Reduce the need for water column ferts.
    Should hopefully not make the tank toxic to fish.

    Since my only test gear I own is a ph meter - I will ignore all wisdom and I will try this over a period of time in various tanks. (Sorry but colour based test gear does not work for me and I do not have access to something that will spit out an LCD result)

    So what do I have at present?

    I have osmocote pro 12 - 14 month slow release granules as the fert - basic NPK MG and some trace (I have no clue how true this is for something that is fully submerged but the claim is that it is temperature based release)
    I need a clay medium of sorts (looking for a supplier of red potters clay - would prefer something that air-dries) - first price I think would be some Amaco Mexican Pottery Clay
    Might want to supplement the above with some koiclay ala Bentonite / montmorillonite clay but I am still looking in to this.


    I did do a search for DIY root tabs on TASA and was surprised that the topic has not been covered (or I missed the link).

    Later Ferdie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
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  3. azurekoi

    azurekoi Loaches & Gobies

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    My DIY root ferts has always been Rabbit dung - one "pellet" per big root plant every 6 weeks or so works wonders...will be good for NPK,but not trace I should think - Windfire used this advise on her Pixy Lillies - so far she is all for it.... I have done it for years and years - cheap,works...nuff said
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  4. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    he he - I can see the other 1/4's face when I start keeping bugs bunny for poop ...
     
  5. azurekoi

    azurekoi Loaches & Gobies

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    Get the kids in on the chorus..... Mommy,we want a bunny - Mommy,we want a bunny - Mommy,we want a bunny - Mommy,we want a bunny - Mommy,we want a bunny - Mommy,we want a bunny - Mommy,we want a bunny - Mommy,we want a bunny....

    One week of this and you got "Root Tabs" on tap will be home and hutched....No kids? Rent one or two...lol or just ask Your LPS if you can clean their bunny cage for free....lol
     
  6. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    noooo that is a sure cure for MTS ... always say a small deposit with a escalating ROI does not always make for a good investment. This does raise an interesting question.
    Should one consider adding organic matter into my current mix i.e. clay, osmocot and a pellet or two? - hmmmm
     
  7. CharlieB

    CharlieB

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    I actually have a bunny and spend forever finding these little pellets everywhere so you mean now I can actually use them for something :) I am starting my first planted tank so was just wondering how exactly you use them as root tabs. do you bury them in the substrate by the roots? sorry dont mean to steal a thread just a quick q thats all.
     
  8. Henk Hugo

    Henk Hugo

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    Ferdie with all the products currently available on the market why would one still want to go the DIY route? The MicrobeLift Bloom and Grow dosage rate is 5ml per 113L - so a 240ml bottle treats something like 5400L
     
  9. Skye01

    Skye01

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    @Henk Hugo, I think that what @f-fish is trying to do is keep the costs down as low as possible. All the fancy stuff, no matter how many litres it treats is still expensive, and when money is tight, it all comes down to pennies and cents... Believe me, I speak from experience.

    @f-fish, I think you may be on to something here, and I will be following it with great interest.

    @tracyp, why don't you offer your 'tabs' for sale, at least you can earn some pocket money to support your addiction...:blink1:

    @CharlieB, yes you just push the 'pellets' into the substrate as far as you can and as close to the roots as you can too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  10. Henk Hugo

    Henk Hugo

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    All that i am saying is that you are spending all this money buying various things to make the DIY stuff when there are products out there which already has all of what you need combined. I am pretty sure if you work out the per unit cost the commercial stuff works out cheaper
     
  11. tracyp

    tracyp Lotus

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    Well... I've got a little something to add here! (Suprised, anyone?:laugh:) First off, I LIKE experimenting, I've grown plants all my life, and sometimes, experimenting has been the only way to learn how to propogate tricky plants etc. While I totally see the point of view of why re-invent the wheel, when commercial products are available, some of us live FAR from suppliers & this (now historical lack of access to those products, thanks to TASA friends and TASA networking) initially led me to begin thinking about substrates, DIY roottabs etc.

    I also applied the following logic: ADA, Microbelift, Seachem to mention but a few, have all "developed" substrates. If they could, then why should it be impossible for someone else? I've found many other substrates offered on the web too. I have NOT spent anything on my roottabs... a potter friend donated some clay, and I had a high quality slow release fert on hand. I've had some in my tanks for months now, and certain plants DO show improvement. and as there have been no ill effects...
     
  12. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    It is a hobby, Yes I will probably "invest" in off the shelf product, but for now the experimentation is what is keeping me in the hobby. Now if this was my only tank, I shared it with the rest of the family in the lounge - well then I would probably have a tank and a cupboard of commercial stuff. Where I am at this stage - tinkering is what keeps me doing WC every few months.

    Does DIY cost real money - yes. Is it more than commercial stuff - no clue never done the calculation. Will doing the commercial stuff be as much fun?
     
    Saibot and azurekoi like this.
  13. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    And back on topic ...

    Found some potter clay at a craft shop .. got +- 1.5 kg so it did not break the bank.

    Now while looking at APC I noticed that osmocore as root tabs is actually very popular, 4 methods of adding to the tank seems used.

    1) Add to substrate at setup.
    2) 1/4 spoon in a ice cube - freeze and insert substrate of existing tank (fertcicles)
    3) gel capsules (pills) and insert it under the substrate (rootcaps, maybe something like rootmedic's?)
    4) clay ball - this I have the least amount of info on ... I have no clue if it needs to be baked or what, so lets try that first.
    roottab01.jpgroottab02.jpg

    ic .. since the scale is +- 1 g I used 4-3grams OC+ per creation.

    I have no clue what will work better - sticks, balls or discs. Since I do not have access to a kiln these will sun dry before I use them.

    I am gonna start a batch of fertcicles also, just to see what works better.

    Later Ferdie

    roottab02.jpg

    roottab01.jpg
     
  14. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    And here they are ... my first batch of fertcicles ..

    I have 4 gram and 2 gram cubes.

    roottab03-fertcicle.jpg

    roottab03-fertcicle.jpg
     
  15. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    Cubes have frozen and seem OK ... but I need to take pics so will do that tomorrow.

    Been reading up on RootMedic and its origins on plantedtank dot net ... seems like OC+ 12-14 was a good choice for what I want to do ... what is also clear is that he recommends going for a gelatine capsule and then add the prills to that vs the two methods I have tried till now.

    Q: Anybody know where I can get gelatine capsules?
     
  16. Rudi

    Rudi

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    Get gel caps from pharmacy.Works well,easy to fill and insert into substrate.Push it down really deep to prevent leeching.
    I've tried making laterite cubes but the cubes melt very fast and I had to realy move quick.
     
  17. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    @Rudi ... cool will try Dischem in the morning - Thanks Ferdie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  18. gdt78

    gdt78

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    Allmost looks like home made biscuits.

    Just ad icing powder.
     
  19. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    LOL - yeah, actually that is why people do not liek the fertcicles .. kids might consume them!!

    roottab04-fertcicle.jpg

    I have a tank that was / is to become a ADA tank, moved it out-side a few weeks ago, just been keeping it running. It is the perfect candidate for the root tab experiment, substrate is a bit shallow but it will need to do for now.

    rt-test-Dec2011-23.jpg

    I added 2 4g cubes ... Internet wisdom says it will take two weeks to kick-in.

    Later Ferdie

    roottab04-fertcicle.jpg

    rt-test-Dec2011-23.jpg
     
  20. OP
    f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    OK I am getting a bit obsessive about these tabs ... while getting ready for work - I spotted what might be the perfect solution.
    roottab05-fertcicle.jpg

    I shall call it the osmocote-plus-pill-prill-firt-cicle or ocpppfc for short ;-)

    Add some water and will let it freeze ... nice thing is - this is about 1 gram per pill.

    Later Ferdie

    roottab05-fertcicle.jpg
     
  21. tracyp

    tracyp Lotus

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    .....
    :laugh: I wonder what I should call my pies? :stupid: Torte de Ferticoat Supreme! TdFS? :fisheye:
     

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