Im gonna go ahead and answer some of the Q's here that dont require an actual chemist to answer. i know the reason why some of you are asking squiggly is because you trust him to give out correct info, since im new here you might not trust my answers as much but maybe squiggly can give them the approval or denial so we can speed things along here.
While they may have different amounts to get different ratios, do they not all dissolve to the same elements: N, P, K, Ca etc etc.
you are correct.
Granted not all salts are created equal and I'm sure thy are not all 100% pure, I think it's safe to say that when it comes to most commercial nute company's they all probably use relatively the same purities and I dn think there is anyway to determine if one company uses a more pure salt than another.
You can look at fertilizer databases at products levels of contaminants that were found in the products to give you a decent clue. but most companies just use basic fert grade salts.
For instance i know that H&G uses Yara to source their salts (can be seen at 0:20 in this video of their manufacturing process)
Yara is NOT a particularly 'pure' or 'quality' source of salts. nothing wrong with them, basic fertilizer grade salts, no food or reagent grade though so they could be giving us purer for the huge price markup.
So finally to my question, is all the debate about which is the best nutrient really just about strain and ratio. Which strain fits which nutrient. IMO most nute company's, GH, Botanicare
, canna, HG, even AN, base nutrients are probably all created very similar. And while their supplements, labeling practices, *AN cough* and customer service may be different because they are using all similar ingredients the only thing u are choosing between is a ratio.
I just can't see why, from a chemical stand point, GH is better then HG or what ever besides that their ratio fits your strain better. Again this is not in regards to supplements as all the extra chemicals and unlabled things that go into them make them essentially impossible to compare, just strictly base nutes. I apologize if that was hard to understand I'm on my phone and its quite hard to edit this and review it
well you never asked a question (lol), but i think i see where you're going here...
As long as were not talking about supplements and unlabeled chemicals as you put them, the differences between nutrient companies mainly fall upon the sources of N that they use (NH2, NO3, or NH4) and the micronutrient package and chelation of said micronutrient package.
For instance Fe (iron) can be unchelated, or it can be chelated with EDTA, DPTA, EDDHA, humic acid, fulvic acid, glycine, citric acid ect. The same is true for Cu, Zn and Mn (minus DPTA and EDDHA), so some products have superior chelation which can give you more flexibility with your mediums pH without seeing 'nute lockout'.
Also some micronutrients are heavily under appreciated in formulations (Zn and B particularly), many products have a Fe:Zn ratio of 10 or more!
about N sources. Cannabis likes the majority of its N to be in the source of NO3 (except possibly for mature cannabis in elevated CO2 but thats for a different discussion), but some companies (AN *cough*) like to use cheaper N sources that use lots of NH2 (form of urea) instead that can often lead to slowed growth, so that is another thing to take into accnut that isnt in the basic NPK ratio.
But in the end its just all about providing available, adequate amounts of each of the 16-18 nutrients essential for growth, it can be achieved with the cheapest dry salts (JACKS or PETERS) or the most expensive products out there (AN, H&G etc.). As you put it, they all dissolve into the same elements, the plant doesn't care how much you pay for them.
hope that answers that Q you never asked.