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Re: Opinions on substrate and fertilizer choice

> Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 14:56:49 +0200
> From: "Davy Cleys" <davy.cleys at skynet_be>

> For the substrate, I have chosen for the Dupla approach:
> Duplarit G laterite mixed with 1/3 of the gravel. Is this
> a good substrate for growing the typical Amano plants?

IMHO, it's good for growing just about *any* aquatic plants. And don't
forget to use the gravel/laterite mix as the bottom 1/3 of the substrate.
The top 2/3 should be plain gravel. Unless you like red water...

> Any suggestions regarding this substrate?

Well, I would suggest substrate heating coils. See back issues of PAM or my
web-site for the reasons. But that is optional and potentially expensive.

> I don't know yet which fertilizer I will be using, but I have already
> the Duplaplant tablets which - according to the instructions - should be
> added to the newly set up tank and with every water change...


> These Duplaplant tablets should be combined with the daily liquid
> Duplaplant24...

Correct, they complement each other. The tablets add trace elements that are
stable for a longer term (i.e., two weeks) or can be addded in larger
amounts and are not toxic to fish. Potassium is a good exmaple of this. The
drops add trace elements that are unstable or toxic in larger doses. For
example, the ferrous state of iron is not stable in water and would become
unavailable if only dosed occasionally.

> However, adding fertilizer every single day seems a little
> bit too time consuming for me...

Gosh, think about this for a second. You feed the fish every day (I hope).
Why not feed the plants every day? You intend to *look* at the tank every
day I hope. It literally takes 10 seconds to add a few Dupla drops (it comes
in a very nice dropper bottle). If you see this as an onerous,
time-consuming chore, you might rethink the hobby in general.

> And just to be sure: are the Dupla fertilizers any good?

The best I've used in 15 years as an aquatic gardener.

> So I am wondering if there are any
> fertilizers which shouldn't be added daily, but weekly or
> bi-weekly instead.

Most fertilizers seem to recommend weekly or bi-weekly (or don't recommend
anything). I suspect there is some physcology at work here: "If you only add
it periodically, it will last longer" ... and thus seems cheaper. Compared
to other fertilizers, Dupla is actually less expensive per dose than any
others (at least, those that are worthwhile). That means cheaper overall.
They just seem expensive because of initial purchase price. They go a
loooong way.

> What about the Tropica fertilizer? Should this be added
> daily? Is it a good fertilizer?

TMG should be added weekly. It is good if you supplement it with potassium
(thus all the discussion of KNO3 and such).

> Does it have the same results as the combination of the
> Duplaplant tablets and Duplaplant24 drops?

If used alone, I found it did not produce good results. And when used in the
right dosage, it was actually more expensive then Dupla. It needs to be
supplemented with potassium. And adding a teaspoon or so of KNO3 every week
seemed a little too time consuming to me. <g>

> Can it be combined with the Dupla laterite substrate?


> And, finally... If I decide to use Tropica fertilizer
> (with the laterite substrate), should I still add the
> Duplaplant TABLETS together with the Tropica fertilizer,

No - pick a complete product and don't mix and match.

> or will the Tropica fertilizer alone be enough?

TMG plus potassium works for many APDites.

George Booth in Ft. Collins, CO (booth at frii dot com)
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