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Searles trace element mix


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Hi Guys,

Well i decided to do a bit of a DIY trace element fertiliser as have many before. The trace element mix i picked up from the nursery was caleed "Searles trace element mix"

Ok so its rundown is 7% magnesium, 3.5% iron,1.2% copper, 1% zinc, 0.08% boron as borax, molybdenum and sulphur, the first ones are as sulphates.

Anyway, people have used the yates trace element mix in their tanks with no worries, so i thought i might find out if anyone has used the searles one with any success? I started trying it and i dont know if it was coincidence, but i have lost 2 fish in a week and another looks as though it has some form of body fingus.

So if anyone can tell me if the trace element mix could be to blame, or u have had no worries using it.


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Hey again,

Hmm let me think bout the dosage, what i came up with. I put 10 grams in 500ml water, which gives me about 20mg/ml of ferts.

Ok so iron percentage without the sulphates is 0.7% which then gives me a conc of 0.14 mg/L iron, so 20ml raised my iron by 0.056 ppm in my ten gallon tank. havent worked out raises in other elements, tell me if ya need me to work them out, and also if ya want full calcs instead of the abridged versions above.

Fish are ottos,Saes, paltys and was 2 female bettas (boh dead now).

IS that copper as sulphates or u talking pure copper? u think it could have been the copper

Thanx Guys

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Um...your calcs have gone a bit crazy there flip flopping between mg/L and mg/mL. I figure you have about 0.35ppm Iron in there, not 0.056. Also, copper levels are aroun 0.1ppm....it is generally recommended that Cu levels stay below 0.05ppm, it is particularly toxic in soft and acidic water.

You probably should be adding iron separate from trace elements, you can buy chelated iron in bunnings.

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0.35 ppm iron u say, hmm

Ok heres a full calc run down

ok so iron without sulphate = 0.7%

1 tsp ferts = 5g

ok so added 2 tbs ferts to 500ml water = 10g/500ml=20g/L=20mg/ml

So percentage of iron in that solution is

0.7% x 20 mg/ml = 0.14 mg/ml

Ok so then adding 20 ml of this solution to the tank (50L) gives me

(20ml x 0.14mg/ml) / 50L = 0.056 ppm iron added to the tank

Ok i think those calcs are right, so can u please tell me how u got 0.35ppm, iron added?

I checked these calcs against this site as well. Clints page

And it seems his calcs are the same as mine for trace elements, il lwork copper out and see what ppm im getting for them.

Ok thanx guys

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Ok...think i figured out what is going on here.

When trace elements are listed, the percentage is for the element only, so 3.5% iron usually means just that, not 3.5% iron sulphate. Also I assumed tank volume = 40L but other than that we are doing pretty much the same calc.


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Oh ok, so u think the 3.5% listed on the box is pure iron, not sulphated. Ok, so i have to change my calculation to suit that. Hmm ok, will go back and work it out using 3.5% iron and not 0.7%. The tank volume would actually be 40L, but i use 50L just so i overdose slightly, i like to overdose a little smile.gif.

Thanx guys

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