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Re:Plant food

Steve writes:

> I still believe in the school of thought that small water changes instead of
>  adding chemicals are better.  I'm in favor of laterite in the substrate 
>  a UGH for plants requiring more iron than is present in the water supply,
>  but I have never used any fertilizer or other additives, except for a small
>  fish population and fish food.  I've seen remarkably fast growth at times,
>  enough to completely fill up the tank in a month, and very poor growth if
>  any at all at other times.

When I lived in Western NY, I also had good growth of my plants.  Now I live 
in Idaho, and without fertilizer, NOTHING grows, not even reasonable amounts 
of algae.  The difference?  Not the kind of fish I keep or the type of fish 
food I use.  The water is the reason.  Locally, the water contains sodium, 
calcium,magnesium, slilcate, carbonate, iron and chloride.  The 
concentrations vary from one season to the next.  I currently have 3 GH out 
of the tap.  In September I have 6.  The fish aren't providing enough boron, 
zinc, or probably a number of other micronutrients.

  If you get great growth at times and poor growth at times, it may be 
seasonal.  Track it for a year, and see if it is.  If so, then you should 
consider fertilizing at those times of year when your water changes aren't 
giving your plants everything they need.

Bob Dixon
Cichlid Trader List Administrator        o
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