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RE: Substrate alternatives - for Edward Venn



I've posted this twice already, but it hasn't shown up - if it shows up
multiple times, sorry.....

Following a post I recently made about Profile/Turface/Flourite type
substrate materials (crushed fired clay products), where I expressed my
doubts about the bioavailability of the nutrients native to the materials,
Edward Venn wrote:

"James, I was wondering about the flourite, here in Tokyo (Land of the
Unstable ) I can't find a similar product. I really don't want to use
Amano's goods (I'm not independantly wealthy) as he doesn't pay me enough to
deserve product loyalty. (8,000 a page for written copy). I'd also like a
source for some of the Jobes stiks, fertilizers here are all of the liquid
type or fast disolving types."

Mmmmmm..... so, what's your question? I live in Canada and have never been
to Japan, so I don't really know what might be available to you locally.
Have you investigated the various products designed for the bonsai hobby?
From my limited web surfing of several bonsai sites, it appears that there
_should_ be products of this type there (in Japan). I have seen mention made
of man made ceramic products used in the bonsai hobby as well as Oiso
(spelling???) sand, which is something that Amano has used, and you _should_
be able to find volcanic materials (related to pumice) which are denser and
less resistant to floating than the types of pumice available here in North
America (apparently, this is the basis of both Power Sand and Aqua Soil).
One of the prime things I personally look for in a substrate is
density - I like to have a material that will hold the plants in place
(pumice and very light materials like Profile are borderline in this
regard). While I have used (and love) Flourite, I'm still primarily in the
"laterite camp" (and will be until my supply of it runs out).

As for the Jobes sticks (I assume that you mean the Palm and Fern spikes,
16-2-6) I can get them easily enough at my local supermarket. Send me your
address privately and I can send you a couple of packages with no problem.

Also, remember that one of the "theories" of our segment of the hobby is
that a high CEC substrate is able to capture and sequester nutrient ions
from the water column and hold them in the substrate bed, where plant roots
may absorb them. If this "theory" is correct, either Profile or Turface
_should_ be among people's top choices for aquarium substrates, as they have
very high CEC numbers. The judicious use of liquid fertilizers in the water
column would seem to work in concert with this, especially in situations
where substrate heating is providing a very slow circulation of water
through the substrate. [Please, nobody extrapolate this to slow flow
undergravel filtration]

James Purchase
Toronto