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Iron, Copper, K2SO4, Chlorine, GH

Caleb wrote:
"I use Chelated Trace Mix from Homegrown Hydroponics.  I believe it contains
the following: 7% Fe, 1.3% B, 2% Mn, 0.06% Mo, 0.4% Zn, 0.1% Cu, EDTA,

Your trace element mix contains Iron (most do, because its so important), so
please tell my why you don't just go with the "accepted" wisdom of dosing it
to a level to give you a 0.1 mg/l level of Iron in your tank and increase or
decrease from this level slowly, over a period of weeks and/or months based
upon how your plants react? Follow your tank with test kits if you wish and
also start keeping a tank journal and maybe taking some photos to put in it.
Over time, the combination of the 3 together should help you develop your
"eye" for the level of micronutrients that is right for your tank.

Also, go to
http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1997/nov/aquatic/default.asp, and
http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1997/dec/aquatic/default.asp. These
are Parts 1 & 2 of a great Plant Nutrition article that Karen Randal wrote
for Aquarium Frontiers. Pay attention to what she had to say about copper
and how you shouldn't obsess over Fe levels when starting to dose.

It _isn't_ necessary for you to attempt the level of micromanagement you
seem to want to attain. There isn't any ironclad rule which says that Iron
should be at "this" level and Copper shouldn't exceed "that" level. Some
plants need or can use more Iron than others and some plants are more
sensitive to Copper than others. Every tank is going to be different and
that's where a notebook, a camera, a critical eye and lots of time and
patience are just as important as all the test kits in the world.

If, as I suspect, you're trying to follow through with the suggestion you
made that since Iron levels can be so "fleeting" in a tank and it can be
hard to test for Iron in the first place, why not pick another micronutrient
to use as an "indicator" of trace element levels, then I think that your
search is doomed from the start. The other micronutrients are needed in such
tiny amounts in most tanks (O.K. - if you exceed 10 W/gal with your
lighting, all bets are off) that accurately testing for them is going to
become a very expensive process. And the hobbyist level test kits for Copper
are really designed with the use of copper as a medication and/or a snail
preventative in mind, and not for Copper's use as a plant micronutrient. I
just don't think that they are sensitive enough for that purpose.

And finally, your tank has only been set up for 3 months and its doing fine.
Don't sweat the details that you can't hope to control so minutely.

As you can see, I have _again_ deliberately not given you a "number" for
"dangerous" levels of Copper. Your first post in this thread mentioned a
number that Karen had posted some time ago. Her suggestion seems good to me.

"My plants have SEEMED to do better with both KNO3 AND K2SO4, even though my
Potassium level is extremely high."

I have read here that Potassium levels upwards of 50 ppm don't cause any
problems, and you said that your measured level was 40 ppm.

You are possibly listening to too many "experts" and not depending enough on
your own observations - you said that your plants seemed to do better when
you used both - why did you change? Because someone said that 40 ppm K was
too much? Did you see any indication in the tank that this level of K was
causing a problem?

"My water utility does use Chloramines."

In that case, use a product that will specifically deal with the chloramine.
You can add it to the water before you put it in the tank, but if I'm only
changing 10% of the water at any one time, I generally just squirt it into
the tank.

James Purchase