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A semi-serious experiment....urine as fertilizer

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  • A semi-serious experiment....urine as fertilizer

    Just to make you smile, I made a stupid experiment; I have a small 20 gallon aquarium, very neglected with only a few macro-algae inside, the aquarium has been there for about two years with no fish inside.
    I knew that I had to provide once in a while some type of dosing for the algae survival but any time I tried to pour inside a few drops of Phosphate, due to the natural alcaline reaction of the environment, it instantly precipitates making the dosing useless, this chemical reaction does not happen in Fresh water aquariums with neutral pH.
    As for this tank I had no Nitrogen nor Phosphate sources, I started looking for Urea and chelated Phosphates from retailers but I actually did not find them.
    One day I starded thinking: What about "pee" ? What happen if I try to put my own urine as a source of Nitrogen and Phosphorus ?

    I managed to take some vitamine-mineral supplement the evening before with a proteic meal in order to make a customized better fertilizer.
    And so I did, I poured a very small amount of urine inside and just two days later I saw the life coming back again !!!!!
    I hope I made you not feel bad for my experiment... !

  • #2
    The use of your urine as a fertilizer does not gross me out. As long as you are healthy and don't have an infection, your urine is okay. I think you need more information though. The products of urine include ammonia which is alkaline, not acidic. It is a good source of nitrates and phosphates. It is also a rather unbalanced way to fertilizer. All living things, plants and animals, need more than just nitrates and phosphates to thrive. You might want to consider a more balanced form of fertilizers like the Macro Micro Nutrient Mix we sell at aquariumfertilizer.com. We also have articles on Water Chemistry and How To Set Up a Planted Tank.

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    • #3
      Thank you, I know, but as it is understood by this marine section, I was making an attempt to fertilize a marine aquarium with no fish inside and all the fertilizers for fresh water I have (in particular the one for Phosphates), did not go well into salt water, which is alcaline. It was instantly having a chemical reaction (I don't know the exact technical word) that was making the Phosphate to "precipitate", falling out from the water solution. No matter the amount of Phospates I add into the water, when I was trying to check them, the measure was not detectable.
      After adding my urine, the measure of Phosohates and Nitrates finally became detectable and most of all, the macro algae started growing again.

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      • #4
        Please, the Macro-Micro nutrient mix is it specific for sea water or for fresh water ?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Julia Adkins View Post
          The use of your urine as a fertilizer does not gross me out. As long as you are healthy and don't have an infection, your urine is okay. I think you need more information though. The products of urine include ammonia which is alkaline, not acidic. It is a good source of nitrates and phosphates. It is also a rather unbalanced way to fertilizer. All living things, plants and animals, need more than just nitrates and phosphates to thrive. You might want to consider a more balanced form of fertilizers like the Macro Micro Nutrient Mix we sell at aquariumfertilizer.com. We also have articles on Water Chemistry and How To Set Up a Planted Tank.
          How alkaline is urea? U got a pH level for it? Reason I ask is I'm getting back into soft water and I will be dosing pinches of urea
          Eat, sleep, breath PLANTS!
          -D. Singh

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          • #6
            Urea is contained into "Urine", I know for sure that eating a lot of meat, diary products and sugar, the urine will be very acidic, my urine after eating eggs the evening before was 6.5.
            I think that the amount of an Urea dosing (even though alcaline) into an aquarium should be neglectable.

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            • #7
              Ty

              can't tell if u r serious or not though
              Eat, sleep, breath PLANTS!
              -D. Singh

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              • #8
                Hi

                Newbie just getting post count for full site access.

                however I do have some imput on the thread,as had similar idea myself. Tank on its way got one of my filters and some bog wood soaking in a big plastic big. So stuck filter on it with the carbon filter in it to help remove tannis. Then to help prime the filter did the same trick. Get to bacteria going on the filter substrate.
                But male urine much better than female urine as the former if heathly is virulently bacteria free compared to the later. All due the the length of the ureatha i.e. Very short in females that's why suffer more UT infections. Or is it the wiping technique

                sorry for the hijack of thread but I'm sure you understand

                Zeus

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                • #9
                  Thank you for your hint, as I explained above the only reason why I tried to use my own urine it is because the Phosphates fertilizer I was using was having a "wrong chemical reaction" of "precipitation" with the alcaline pH of the marine aquarium, for this reason I could not administer a proper phosphates fertilization to that tank. Whith my urine properly prepared for the purpose, (I ate plenty of proteins the day before and the same day) the problem of the precipitation did not occurred and the plants/algae were finally fed.
                  For what is concernig bacteria into the female urine, I think that since the amount of liquid used is very very small, the ones entering into the aquarium through this method would just not find the proper environment to survive and perish.

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                  • #10
                    brrrpr you have misread my post and it was all my fault

                    I had just joined the forum, but need to five posts to get full site access.
                    unfortunately there wasn't a sub forum I could post in to get my access - humm.. might send admin an idea
                    Back on track- I could off made a pointless new thread and posted in it four times but I choose five threads I could Hijack in a small way, without going to far off topic, stick in a little info etc info the people in the thread of my reasons for the hijack
                    hence the post.

                    Concerning bacteria into the female urine - again a little info relating to the anatomy of the male and female of the human species. The male has longer ureatha four times longer(nothing to do with its length of the male penis per se. More to with the evolution the male and female of the speices over millions of years from the first primordial soup) so because of the length the a mans ureatha his urine is virtually sterile ( if healthy) where as a woman urine has less chance of being sterlie due to the length of the ureatha.

                    Sorry again if I a fended you in any way as it wasn't my intention.

                    Zeus

                    (I do have another little anecdote but don't what to push my luck being a newbie)

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                    • #11
                      Did you consider the positive and negative side of the experiment on your macro-algae? How much information did you have from the specialists? I wish you could explain the further how you arrived at using urine as a fertilizer without further processing it or adding some substances.

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                      • #12
                        What else could I use as a fertilizer ? There are no specific Phosphates and Nitrates for marine tanks. The amount I used was very small. The results were I woud say "decent". I finally saw Caulerpa growing and I could detect Phosphates and Nitrates that before were close to 0 ppm. In my tank there are no fish or any animals bigger than worms or Gammarus.

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                        • #13
                          I have not been to the forum in a long while. This feed is funny. It turns out that the pH of Ammonia is in the 11-12 range which is alkaline. But the pH of urine is in the range on either side of 5 which is acidic. If you feel your tank needs phosphates, I suggest Monopotassium phosphate, but I would caution against using large amounts as the phosphates can build up in a tank and contribute to an algae bloom. You can add nitrates in the form of calcium nitrate or potassium nitrate.
                          All of these nutrients are required by most living creatures from micro to massive. As long as you get the right form of the nutrients (our ferrous gluconate is food grade) then people could live on these nutrients. It would not be a very interesting diet but it would work.
                          Part of the problem with the male versus female source of urine is the hormones in the female urine. And that would depend on the age of the woman.

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