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Re: Schultz African Violet Food

Of Schultz "African Violet Plus" liquid plant food, Cavan wrote:

>I have a bottle here now and it says
>that the nitrogen component is made up of .7%
>ammoniacal nitrogen, .4 nitrate nitrogen, and 6.9%
>urea nitrogen.  The ammonia and urea parts are ok?
>SAE's are sensitive to ammonia I think, but I doubt
>that would be enough.  My tank uses a LOT of nitrate
>and phosphate, so I imagine I'll be using up to two
>drops per day.
>Do you get enough nitrogen from this stuff as well as
>the phosphate?

Nope...not even close, nor would I advise trying to get much N out of it at 
all.  As far as I know, KNO3 and bio-activity are the safest sources for 
N.  I'm just using the Schultz fertilizer for PO4.  I'm leery of the urea 
common in terrestrial fertilizers because I'm ignorant of urea's effect on 
algae growth or animals or anything much for that matter.  A little bit 
seems harmless in my experience, but a sizeable dose might have dire 
consequences as far as I know.  That's why this Cactus Plus stuff I found 
has me interested...at equivalent levels of P, only 2.0% urea is added by 
Cactus Plus instead of the 6.9% in the AV fertilizer.  You do end up with 
1.0% ammoniacal nitrogen instead of 0.7%, however the total nitrogen added 
is only 4% -- i.e., compared to African Violet Plus, Cactus Plus adds half 
the N and the same amount of P, but it takes twice as much per dose to do 
it so your doubling the micros added.

Fortunately, the dosage required to get a decent P level out the Schultz 
fertilizers seems to be so small that the effect of the added nitrogen, 
urea or otherwise, is negligible as far as I can tell, so both products are 
proving to be reasonably safe PO4 sources thus far, though I admit my use 
of them is still relatively young.  But using a terrestrial fertilizer as 
the main supplier of _N_ in the water column is scary to me and gives me 
bad dreams filled with raging, demonic algae and screaming fish.

After my recent experiences with it, my advice with dosing any PO4 
fertilizer is to start slowly and watch things closely until you find the 
right dosage for your tank.  Any pre-existing algae colonies (whether you 
see them or not) will be quick to take advantage of phosphorus the plants 
can't handle.  Big jumps in P levels from accidental overdosing seems to 
really perk the algae up too.  Of course, my perspective is colored by a 
tank that has lately been experiencing a fairly severe P deficiency 
(calcium too, I think) and it's probably more susceptible to these kind of 
problems right now than a thriving, totally healthy tank would be.

>Still add kno3?

Yep...what seems like a ton of it, especially since I upgraded the lighting.

>If I still need more
>N, could I just use the regular house plant kind with
>10 N?

You'll still need some nitrate or other "safe" source of nitrogen.  I'd 
stick with KNO3 personally.  As I said earlier, the idea of using a 
terrestrial fertilizer as the main supplier of N gives me goosebumps -- all 
of the house and garden fertilizers I've looked at use urea and also 
ammonia as key nitrogen sources.  I fear this fact could have disastrous 
consequences even at the levels of N we're after.

Hope it helps and good luck...sorry the reply's a little late.  Keep me 
updated on your experiences with the African Violet food.
Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee