Chemistry 101

On Mon, 15 Jan 1996 Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com wrote:

> Aquatic Plants Digest      Monday, 15 January 1996      Volume 01 : Number 194
> 	PMD drops and heaters
>   1 Tbsp Chelated Trace Element Mix (7% Fe)
>   2 Tsp K2SO4
>   1 Tsp KNO3
>   2.5 Tbsp MgSO4.7H2O
>   300ml distilled H2O
>   0.5ml 9M HCl
> But can you please explain what the letters and numbers stand for and where
> one can get them? (I know what the H2O is.) Would one go to a hydroponics

	Hi, Roger here. Besides being a Hoosier, I'm also a Chemist, or 
at least that's what the degree states.  Here is what I make of the 
hieroglyphics above:

Chelated trace elements (7%Fe):  "Miracle Grow" without the Nitrogen, 
Phosphorus and Potassium.  "Trace elements" include Iron (Fe), Boron, 
Copper, Zinc and Magnesium for the most part.  "Chelated" means there's 
probably EDTA added. Thats "EthyleneDiamineTetraAcetic Acid" - this is 
what forces the iron to stay in sollution and not settle to the bottom as 
rust.  I kind of doubt you have access to a lab, so the next best place 
to look is a gardening center and ask for some trace element mix.  Be 
certain there are none of the macronutrients added, such as Nitrogen, 
Potassium or Phosphorus - these are supplied by the remaining list of 
ingredients, except Phosphorus for some odd reason.

K2SO4: Potassium sulfate.  This is one of the sources of Potassium in the 
mix.  I'll bet you used to be able to get this in drugstores at the turn 
of the century (when they sold Heroin and Cocaine as well), but these 
days you'll need to see a commercial chemical manufacturer.  There's 
probably one where you live.  Tell them Roger sent you.  BTW: don't 
worry, the stuff is pretty inert - I use the Sodium equivalent of it to 
dry gasoline all the time.  I'd keep it off the french fries, though..

KNO3: Potassium Nitrate. Saltpeter.  One of the three ingredients in 
gunpowder.  The major source of Nitrogen in the mix, plus extra 
Potassium.  Ammonium Nitrate was the end of the federal building in 
Oklahoma, so you might get some funny looks if you start asking around 
for Potassium nitrate.  Try an agricultural Co-Op.  Tell those old 
farmers you need some saltpeter to help control the sexual urges in your 
wild teenage kids.... Seriously though, rest assured this compound is not 
particularly explosive by itself and sollutions are pretty inert.

MgSO4.7H2O: Fully hydrated Magnesium Sulfate.  Epsom salts.  If you 
can't get Epsom salts over the counter in a drugstore anymore, then 
America really HAS gone to hell in a handbasket!  If and when you dig 
some up, check the ingredients list, the stuff ought to be pure Epsom 
salt without any bath oils or perfumes.

9M HCl: Hydrochloric Acid.  Stomach juice.  You will find this in hardware 
stores under the shop name of Muratic acid.  If you can't find it here, 
try a swimming pool supplier.  This is the only ingredient on the list I 
would advise some caution using.  Muratic acid has an acrid, suffocating 
stench and while not quite as bad as some acids, it will still burn you 
if you let it.  Therefore, use it in an area with ventilation and running 
water close by.  You may want to wear glasses to protect your eyes.  
Remember, to dilute, add it to water, DONT add water to it.  I expect 
this is added to adjust the PH (acidity) of the mix and keep all those 
"trace elements" chelated in sollution.

ml: milliliter, a standard metric unit of measurement instituted by the
French in their 400 yearld old trade war with the British.  Liters or 
Gallons, mon amie?  Frankly I use the Sieloff system: 0.2 ml = 1 leaky 
faucet drop.

Bottom line: sounds to me what you're after is "Miracle Grow" without the 
Phosphorus.  Perhaps phosphate encourages too much algae. 
		Hope this was a sollution,

			Roger L. Sieloff