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Ten or fifteen years ago everyone talked about how aquatic plants were
iron limited in an aquarium... all sorts of strategies were developed to
ensure an adequate supply for the plants and an inadequate supply
for the algae. Four or five years ago the focus switched to
nitrogen and phosphorus and the consensus became that limiting phosphorus
in the water column and supplying it to the plants via the sediment was
the one true path to success. Lately, CO2 advocates have become preeminent
... the same language that was used for iron, nitrogen and phosphorus is
now being stridently proclaimed whenever CO2 is discussed.
What you need to remember is that aquatic plants exist and grow quite
aggressively in the natural environment with no supplemental CO2 at
all. The place to start is with a fertile substrate and adequate
light. All the rest comes later as you become more practiced in observing
the health of your plants.