Comparison Of Traces

There are many different trace (or sometimes referred to as micro) products on the market, often with little or no information to what they actually contain, or the amounts they contain. Some of these trace products are supplied in a bottled solution, others in dry powders and even some in a concentrated solution needing diluting before use. This can all become somewhat confusing so I have tried to pull together all the trace products that are available to the UK market in one place for easy comparison.

As the traces come in solution and powder form I have had to make up solutions for the dry powders so that a comparison makes more sense. Details can be found below the table to how the solutions have been made.

Also of interest is what chelators have been used in the trace mixes. This can be important depending on the hardness of your water. DTPA and HEEDTA chelators last longer in hard water compared to the common EDTA ones. This is mainly important for the iron because whilst it is still chelated it is available to the plants, but once 'free' it readily reacts with several compounds (mainly phosphate) creating an insoluble precipitate of iron(III) that is either filtered out by the filter or drops into the substrate. This has the effect of removing iron from the plant's reach. Eventually the iron(III) compounds in the substrate are reduced to iron(II) becoming available to the plant's roots. This insoluble precipitate looks like white hazy water and can happen sometimes soon after dosing a trace solution that contains iron EDTA. The answer is to use a better quality trace that uses iron DTPA or iron HEEDTA chelate. Where known I have shown which chelator is used for the iron.

Element Tropica Plant Nutrition Tropica Plant Nutrition + Seachem Flourish Seachem Flourish Trace Haack Micro+ Haack Micro+ ProFe TNC Trace Chempak Trace Mix Plantex CSM+B
Iron (Fe) 0.07 0.07 0.32   0.10 0.175 0.10 0.04 0.08
Manganese (Mn) 0.04 0.04 0.0118 0.085 0.05 0.048 0.02 0.02 0.02
Copper (Cu) 0.006 0.006 0.0001 0.0032 0.0026 0.0024 0.003 0.02 0.001
Zinc (Zn) 0.002 0.002 0.0007 0.0169 0.0145 0.012 0.014 0.011 0.004
Boron (B) 0.004 0.004 0.009 0.0028 0.02 0.0175 0.013 0.011 0.014
Molybdenum (Mo) 0.002 0.002 0.0009 0.0003 0.00375 0.0035 0.002 0.0003 0.0006
Sulphur (S) 0.91 0.91 0.2773            
Magnesium (Mg) 0.39 0.39 0.11           0.017
Nitrogen (N)   1.34 0.07            
Phosphorus (P)   0.10 0.004            
Potassium (K) 0.8 1.03 0.31            
Calcium (Ca)     0.14            
Chlorine (Cl)     1.15            
Cobalt (Co)     0.0004 0.00003          
Sodium (Na)     0.13            
Rubidium (Rh)       0.000008          
Nickel (Ni)       0.000003          
Vanadium (V)       0.000002          

All figures are % (W/W%)


Seachem Flourish Iron contains 1% iron derived from Ferrous Gluconate.
Seachem Flourish Nitrogen contains 1.5% Nitrogen and 1.7% Potassium derived from Urea & Potassium Nitrate.
Seachem Flourish Phosphorus contains 0.13% Phosphorus and 0.17% Potassium derived from Potassium Phosphate.
Seachem Flourish Potassium contains 4.8% potassium derived from Potassium Sulphate

Chempak Chelated Iron pH 6-8 powder contains 7% Iron DTPA. Making a solution by adding 3g to 250ml water will give 0.084% Iron which can be used to supplement iron levels by dosing at normal trace amounts.


The Haack Micro+ and Micro+ ProFe traces come in a concentrate and are diluted as directed 25ml in 500ml water.

The TNC Trace, Chempak and CSM+B traces come in powder form and have been made into a solution by adding 3g of trace to 250ml of water.

These amounts are only guidelines which I used as they compare quite well with Tropica's TPN. Amounts can be changed to suit your particular needs. Most dosing strategies tend to add higher quantities of powdered trace to make up the solutions.


Tropica AquaCare fertiliser products

Seachem Flourish range

Peter Haack's PMDD website

The Nutrient Company - TNC Trace

This page was last updated 05th February 2015