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[APD] Potassium bicarbonate

George,I'm just a rookie at this myself and I'm afraid I don't have any 
answers foryou. I was curious to know where you obtained potassium bicarbonate, 


I got the potassium bicarbonate food grade from a local chemical supply 
house.  They don't like dealing with me on an individual basis and would prefer to 
ship to a business.  So I gave them a business address to ship to.  I've also 
will called a few items.  The potassium permanganate I got from another place 
to disinfect my plants is now on the federal watch list!  You can also use 
alum for this but it takes longer to kill snail eggs with alum than it does with 
KMnO4.  The down side of course is that potassium permanganate can kill your 
fish or you or your kids if your not careful.  According to Handbook of Fish 
Diseases, by Dieter Untergasser, pg. 59: "If the whole fish population should 
perish due to an epidemic, it is advisable to disinfect...[the tank 
and]...Destroy the plants.

Anyway, the point is the chemical supply places are concerned about your 
safety and would not want to see bad chemicals fall into the hands of bad people.  
For example, potassium nitrate is one of the chemicals with which you can 
make bombs and that happens to be one of the things we fertilize are plants with. 
 And they don't seem to differentiate much anymore between a potentially 
dangerous chemical like KNO3 or something kinder and gentler like KHCO3, although 
it should be stated here that potassium can give your heart a major jolt if 
too much is ingested, so maybe it's not as harmless as it seems. What's a poor 
aquatic gardener to do?  I mean I don't think your going to find KHCO3 at a 
gardening center like you can some of these other chemicals we use.

Everytime I call different chemical people about chemicals they get harder 
and harder to deal with and I know it's not just me, although I am mildly 
annoying.  Some people use potassium sulphate.  They use it for the potassium but 
the sulphate is already supplied by the magnesium sulphate MgSO4 in your water.  
I like the potassium bicarbonate because the bicarbonate is useful for 
buffering the water so you can inject CO2 and not have problems with your pH.  
Apparently, it's easier to run down KSO4 than it is to get KHCO3 because when I 
called the chemical supply house they had to special order it.  Not many people 
need it I guess.  Aquaculturists use baking soda NaHCO3.

And so to make a long rambling answer even longer.  What I did was to get on 
the internet and look up "chemicals."  I then found local suppliers.  I don't 
remember exactly how I found them.  I started to call them and they acted 
strangely.  They wanted to know what company I was with and what I wanted 
chemicals for.  Several of them told me they would not sell me anything but I 
persisted and asked them for the names of there local distributors.  The distributors 
treated me pretty much the same as the suppliers.  I had to scratch several of 
them off my list.  But in the end I found a couple of places grudgingly 
willing to do business with me.  My relationship with them is tenuous at best.  
Those of you with businesses know how this goes.

The guy at the welding supply store got mad at me when I told him I was 
growing aquarium plants because he thinks I'm growing pot with my CO2.  He acted 
like a man that thought he was being lied to.  I could see the anger in his 
eyes.  Alas, we are such a misunderstood lot.

Sincerely, George Mangen
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