Aqua Rebell droppersLiquid fertilizer addition in nano-aquariums
In very small tanks that run as aquascapes or planted tanks, adding the liquid fertilizer can sometimes be a bit of a hassle. Depending on size, only very small amounts of daily fertilizer are needed, sometimes even less than 1ml. This can for example be the case with a full iron fertilizer. This means, using a dosing pump is off the table, because one stroke of the pump amounts to roughly one ml - which is way too much for such a small amount of water. But we have a solution for this as well.
The Aqua Rebell Dropper can be attached to all available Aqua Rebell bottles. This makes an addition in droplet form possible. The dispenser is still sealed upon delivery and should be punctured at the tip with a thin needle to allow for drop drop by drop dispensing. If you cut the tip off with a pair of scissors, the amount added will be too large.
To convert the number of droplets to milliliters, you use the following rule of thumb: About 20 drops make 1 milliliter. An example: the daily requirement for a nano tank with plants is 0,5 ml of Aqua Rebell Mikro Basic Eisen. This means, ten drops per dose can be administred with the dropper.
Another possibility is the addition of fertilizer using a syringe. Depending on the scale of the syringe, more accurate dosing in 0.2 or 0.1 ml increments is possible. The so-called insulin syringes are particularly well-suited for this with their very precise and fine scale. Nevertheless, the addition by means of a syringe is quite laborious. Especially with only half- or less filled fertilizer bottles you first have to pour the nutrient solution into another, smaller vessel in order to draw up the syringe. In addition, they tend to get sticky after some time, especially when iron fertilizers are administered with it. To avoid this, the syringe should be rinsed with clean water after each operation. Also in terms of cleanliness, this method has disadvantages. By handling the fertilizer bottle, cup and syringe, sometimes a drop of fertilizer may end up on the floor cabinet and cause unsightly stains.
Thinning the fertilizer
Couldn’t you just dilute the fertilizer with water and then, by implication, be able to dose larger amounts of liquid?
This is actually a simple solution, and makes it possible to set the fertilizer dose to 1ml flat, even for very small aquariums. This will enable us to use the 1ml dosing pump, whoopdeedoo! For this purpose, the nutrient solution is mixed in a certain ratio with water. As an example: A fertilizer/water ratio of 1:1 dilutes the nutrient solution by half. This allows you to administer 1ml of the dose, but effectively only 50% of the nutrient content is supplied.
Unfortunately, this method also has disadvantages. On the one hand, it is not allowed to use regular tap water for this, but 100% demineralised water, exclusively (for example from a reverse osmosis system). Otherwise, impurities contained in the tap water may undergo a chemical bonding with the elements of the fertilizer and thus impair the effect. On the other, you don’t just dilute the nutritional minerals but also the preservatives! This has a negative effect on the shelf life of the liquid fertilizer.
Retrofitting the fertilizer bottle with a dropper surely is the better solution here, especially because it is possible to fine-tune the dosage very precisely, which isn’t the case with diluted nutritional solutions.