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Re: Opinions on substrate and fertilizer choice

Arthur recently shared some thoughts and asked some questions regarding
Dupla fertilizers.

"Why does Duplaplant 24 last longer than any other
fertilizer?  Because it has a different chelator?  And
what chelator would that be?"

The archives of the APD and the material archived by Erik Olson on the KRIB
are a GOLDMINE that everyone here ought to take more advantage of.

The answer to at least part of Arthur's question above can be found here:

Regarding the daily dosing of Duplaplant 24, Arthur said:

"I have this product and I forget to add it all the
time.  Or rather, I only add it once in a while, when
I happen to spot it next to my tank."

Maybe you should transfer a small quantity to a small brown glass dropper
bottle and leave it next to your aquarium, so that it is always handy. Of
course, this assumes that you don't have young children who might get to the
bottle and accidentally ingest it. Now, if it were made by ADA, maybe there
would be an elegantly hand blown glass vessel to hold the stock solution,
but since Dupla is a German company I think that they would probably go with
Bohemian Crystal. Still very elegant, and very convenient.

"First of all, do we even know what is in Duplaplant
24?  It says that it is not meant to be a "base
fertilizer."  Only that it complements the "Duplaplant
base fertilizer."  I'm not sure what the base
fertilizer is?  Are those the tablets, or another

Dupla's fertilizers are part of the Dupla "System" and the whole thing was
designed to be used together - one part complimenting the other. The whole
system is described in the book "The Optimum Aquarium" which is
unfortunately out of print (at least in English). However, the salient
points are summarized on the Dupla web site. Dupla doesn't make public the
contents of their fertilizers, but American hobbyists being the resourceful
and curious creatures that they are, figured it out (at least in part). The
results are archived here:

George Booth's analysis:

Several years later, Christopher Coleman had a similar analysis done. The
numbers differ due primarily to the different concentration of the solutions
tested. This may be found here:

Original post by Christopher Coleman:

There are a number of follow ups here:

Neil Frank compared the concentration of numerous fertilizers here:

No discussion of Dupla's fertilizers would be complete without considering
Duplarit G (or K), Dupla's brand of laterite. This may be found here:

And we all owe Jamie Johnson a vote of thanks for his comparison of
substrates which was published last year in PAM. Duplarit G was among the
substrate materials tested. The article may be found here:

There is also some info from Jamie archived here:

In answer to George Booth's suggestion that the easiest (best?) route to
success with plant fertilizers, Arthur had some questions as well as some

>>No - pick a complete product and don't mix and

"Frankly I'm a little puzzled at this suggestion.
Dupla, as far as I know, doesn't even tell us what the
contents are.  Whereas TMG and Flourish do, right?  I
myself dose with all three.  TMG, Flourish, and
Duplaplant.  But mostly I use TMG (because I was given
a supply of it and the Duplaplant24).  To extend the
fish feeding analogy, why not vary your plants diet?
The shortcomings of one fertilizer may be compensated
by another."

The last sentence in Arthur's statement is very appropriate - "the
shortcomings of one ... may be compensated by another." That is the whole
idea behind every "system" which contains a range of products designed to be
used together - Dupla, ADA, Aqualine Buschke, Seachem, etc...... different
nutrients might be in different products within each range, due partially to
the amounts needed of each individual element and the length of time they
might remain active within an aquarium environment. The manufacturers intend
(hope?) that you use their complete line, thereby providing for the complete
nutritional needs of your plants.

Of course, every tank is different and I don't think that _any_ manufacturer
has the answer to _every_ hobbyist's needs. Each manufacturer bases their
products and their dosing recommendations based upon what they feel to be
the average tank's needs. Your tanks might need more (or less) than the
recommended dose - that is something you learn with experience and using the
products. It is also quite possible to "mix and match", using products from
several manufacturer's lines, or even rolling your own, like PMDD. At this
point in time, we _know_ what is in a lot of products and we also _know_ at
least the basics of what plants need, so it is possible for the careful
hobbyist to pick and choose and design their own menu for their plants.

"For me, adding Duplaplant is a bit akin to voodoo,
since I don't even know what is in it.  I am somewhat
skeptical that 3 drops a day really does much.  But
having said that some friends of mine gave a client
Duplaplant 24 to add every day (in addition to weekly
or biweekly TMG) and saw improvement in plant

Well, if its voodoo, there are thousands of hobbyists all over the world who
are enjoying great success with it. They still make the stuff and it still
sells well and those that use it tend to swear by it (as opposed to swearing
_at_ it). Remember that the dosage is a guideline _only_, and Dupla recommen
ds that you regularly test your water for Iron levels - you dose Duplaplant
24 sufficiently to maintain a target of 0.1 mg/L of Iron in your water.
Again, that's only their _guideline_, individual tanks might vary in their
needs and that can only be determined by actually watching how your plants
react to the stuff over time.

"I've mentioned this before--I dose to deficiency.
Plants showing signs of micro deficiencies?  Add some
TMG.  It works for me.  And it is rational.  Or at
least it feels that way.  :)"

Mmmmm.......that sounds like you intentionally keep your plants on a
starvation level diet - you don't give them a nutrient until/unless they
demonstrate, through stunted or deformed growth, that they need something. I
guess that's one approach, and one which many people follow.... but there
_are_ other approaches, equally valid.

James Purchase