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Re: More Stargrass Stuff

I do think your stargrass could use the water column KNO3. I have 
found Jobe's sticks to help these plants, but they respond to the 
KNO3 too. I have flag fish and an SAE poking around through my 
plants all the time, but causing no damage, so I doubt your shrimp 
are to blame. In fact, when I prune these plants I do so with my 
fingernails rather than bothering to clip with scissors. They respond 
by growing out again. There are sometimes blackened areas where 
a stem has lost its rooting (due to my machinations in the tank). 
The fact that your other plants are doing well doesn't mean there's 
enough of everything for the Heteranthera. These plants grow very 
quickly so they use proportionately more nutrients than, say, 

As for using fish food instead of ammonia/nitrate, yes that would 
work IF you could feed enough to supply the plants' needs. I doubt 
you could do that. You have high light and fast-growing plants. 
They are going to outstrip whatever your fish produce. Plants prefer 
ammonia, but they can use nitrates, either through leaves or roots. 
If I recall correctly, the Jobe's sticks list urea ammonia as one of 
the nitrogen sources. That's one reason why we bury them deeply! 
Plants prefer to absorb potassium through the leaves, but I suspect 
they can use it via roots as well. 

Bottom line: for Heteranthera under high light it is a good idea to 
supply lots of everything, in both water and substrate. I think that's 
what they are telling you in your tank.

Cathy Hartland
Middletown, MD