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Re: Iron

> All plants whether terrestial or aquatic can ONLY utilize Ferrous iron, they
> cannot assimilate Ferric. Thus using a test kit no matter whether it
> develops slowly or quickly that does not measure Ferrous iron, will only
> cause the Hobbyist to be misled.

Brian eluded to other plants that can but there's also lots of bacteria in
all our tanks is there not?
And can't these little under represented critters reduce the ferric to
This is why you can add plain iron filings/laterite/rust/flourite to your
tank and get usable iron for the plants. When you add something that has
ferric in solution it diffuses throughout your tank and yes it goes into the
gravel where these little bacteria are hanging out. They can still convert
it to a useable form then.
> When I began our Aquarium Landscapes division now about 2.5 years ago, I
> needed to grow the plants accurate measurement of Ferrous iron, which is the
> second most utilized element after Potassium.

This is not correct. Ca, Mg, P, S and Cl **THEN** Fe in this order are the
most utilized essential nutrients in plants. Iron is far away from the K+.
I find many folks have Fe levels too low for their tanks. Claus mention this
when he saw many planted tanks here in CA. I keep mine quite high
comparatively and also use iron rich substrate in conjunction.

I think kits are useful to a certain degree with this element but....what is
actually is getting to the plant or not - is a question. My eyes tell me
more than a kit can in this area I feel. I have not needed a high quality
test kit to make sure I have enough iron etc. I do have one and also the
analyzer at school which kills any test kit. But I surely don't need it to
do well with plants consistently. I think the SeaChem kit and the like are
adequate for what we do and need.

But how much is being taken up by the roots before it ever makes into the
water column and how much is a residual ferrous that is in the water column
or is released from the gravel into the column?
How much is really needed and can be tested for then?
I'm somewhat skeptical on this whole issue of testing for Fe and what it is
we really need or don't need or testing for.

Tom Barr