Re: Potash and Muriate thereof

>> I thought that Potassium chloride (KCl) is the same as Potash. The latter
>Not quite...  Pot Ash is actually impure Potassium carbonate, or what can 
>be leached out of a heap of fireplace ashes.  Besides the carbonate, this 
>material also contains some of the hydroxide, known as caustic potash. 

My mistake!! The bag says "Muriate of Potash" (soluble potash (K2O), 60%, ,
Chlorine, not more that 48%). This is the fertilizer I obtained from the
garden section of the hardware store. As you say, Webster says that potash
is "potassium carbonate, esp. from wood ashes"; The dictionary also says
muriate means "chloride of", as in muriatic acid (HCl or hydrochloric acid).
From the percentage of K and Cl, I am pretty sure the salt I have is
Potassium Chloride, KCl. This is a salt mined in the western US.
The bag of MURIATE of Potash (KCl) cost $2.00 for 4 pounds, and I have been
using this agricultural grade fertilizer in my tanks for years. I have not
worried about the small impurites (~ 1 %), supposedly mostly NaCl. Regular
water changes will handle most impurities. And my philosophy is that
anything from the ground (and uncontaminated with pesticides, PCBs, heavy
metals, etc) should be OK to add into an aquarium which gets water changes.
Never had any problems with fish or plants in those tanks (except for my
difficulty with C. affinis; is it possible??)

Roger, sorry to send you down the path of ashes <g>. It was not intentional.
Any other comments are welcome.


Neil Frank                 Aquatic Gardeners Association,  Raleigh NC