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Re: Dosing pumps

> Even with multiple manual dosing, I found that, e.g., the
>iron concentration can drop from 0.2 to 0.1 ppm in the course of 12 hours.
>Granted this is precipitation as well as uptake, but nontheless the water
>concentration falls rapidly. I assume some other metal micronutrients have
>a similar fate.

A few question come to mind.
At which point the plants can obtain the iron from the laterite as water
column concentrations fall? Do the plants prefer one source over the other?
Do the plants do better when dosing or is it something else/source? And
compared to what growth standard?  Lots of questions here. This 0.1 drop in
12 hours is not unusual especially during good growth. I keep my iron levels
at a very high range(in the form of TMG). Mine have dropped at a further
rate than this over the course of several days. I think such tight control
over a nutrient is unnecessary (+ or - .1ppm over 12 hours) for good growth.
Test kit accuracy comes to mind also. Dosing pumps are fun and neat to play
with but are expensive toys. 
Dosing pumps are  maybe like a PH controller or heating cables etc but they
are way down on the list of needed items for all aquatic plants to really
thrive. For folks who have to have it all IMO. I have a few folks that are
this way, I cannot say that it helps or not. I have not rigidly tested it to
see or not but general observations do not indicate that I need one. FWIW,
plants can do fine without iron for up to three weeks. If you have
laterite/flourite/soil amendments etc even longer and in several tanks I
have yet to add any iron to the water column but I have blood red A
reineckii and many other plants that do great. They'd do a little better
with some iron added to the column though. Weather or not this due to iron
directly I do not know, since I add TMG which has other things besides iron
that may contribute to the plant's better health rather than exclusively
attributed to iron. The soil amendments also may have other nutrients
besides iron that are/get bound up in biological or CEC cycles. This may be
an issue also.

Spectapure do make good products and we have a few dosing pumps/evaporation
top offs. I would recommend them. Very good quality/reliable.

IMO automation can be helpful, but.........A careful eye on your plant's
needs will be most helpful.
You can't get around plain old fashioned work. Their needs, like ours, can
change day to day, week to week etc. Automation cannot make up for this
attention. I went down the auto-doser road sometime ago. My results were
inconclusive at best. I.V. drips can be done for cheap and are good/close
enough for almost the same dosing process. If IV's are good enough for us,
they should be good enough for dosing our planted fish tanks? 
Tom Barr