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aging substrates

I think there are a few factors; George mentioned a few. Let me add a

1) substrate becomes filled with roots to the point where the roots are
releasing too much oxygen and therefore the anaerobic zones are too
small to release enough iron. (root bound)

cure: chop the roots up a bit.

2) substrate gets depleted of nitrogen compounds by plant roots.

cure: add nitrates and phosphates via clay fertilizer balls

3) accumulation of toxins (this is not known for sure)

cure: avoid high organic substrates; keep organic content to 5% by
weight or less. 5% by weight of peat is a LOT. More than I find
practical. I'd recommend avoiding organic materials except peat or humus
from very well aged soil. (i.e. natural soil, not compost that has aged
for many years) River mud works pretty well I hear although I've not
used it.

My website is down right now due to problems with my ISP. They say they
had a hardware failure but a notice on the website says otherwise. Seems
as if they've switched away from the reliable Unix webserver back to
more MS trash. They didn't learn the lesson from the last time they used
NT servers. >:-<.  If anybody knows where I can host my website with my
own domain name for no charge, please let me know. I figure its time to
move house and switch ISPs.
Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Don't Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"      http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!
It ain't working right now! >:-[  Grrrrr!