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RE: Scott: TMG/SeaChem

Scott, it seems that at .1ppm and from everyone else that ran their levels
that low/tight that when they added more(a lot) more something strange
happened that seemed counter intuitive at first.
The algae went away and the plants did much better. I was alone in this
perhaps in the past but there are many cases of the plants doing much better
if you add a lot more. Then you ask why? How is this possible?

Folks had been watching/worrying(about) the algae instead of the plants.
I'm real good at getting rid of algae. So I just kept going until I saw
little point in adding more for the plant's need. You repeat it enough times
and try it out on other folks, you have to ask yourself if what other folks
are saying is indeed true and why. The plant's needs are being held back
when it's real low from what I've seen. You can have decent growth and have
a nice tank doing it at .1ppm but if you have decent lighting(even low
lighting set up did well) and most importantly good CO2 levels then it's
worth a try to add more traces if your algae is well under control. "Power
through it" is perhaps the phase that I guess describes it. This works in
both soft and hard waters although harder waters seems to handle more
traces. A number of folks tried the "west coast lean" in the sfbaaps group.
I was the only "richy". But now many are trying it. Claus C.(VP of Tropica)
had mentioned most of the tanks he had seen where deficient and in need of
Recall these are just traces and the algae often are the faster ones at
getting things at the start till something else comes along that better at
it for some reason or another. Bacterial, algal and plant successions in
newly stable ecosystems have a pattern. I think the same can be said for our

Using a specific trace such as SeaChem's iron supplement for an "iron spike"
seems to help according to some once or twice  a week in addition to the
regular higher doses of a general trace. Some try this method with PO4
supp's. Not a bad idea for skeptics. Then they can later try higher amounts
and get their toes wet.

Invariably folks that say they run a everyday dosing often flub up and do
not remember to add it. Some claim absolute perfection in all they do:) I
make mistakes and am far from any form of perfection in this. Some folks are
really damn good at being religious on their dosing. A little stress from
the plants may happened(or be very likely to happen) by missing a day if
your running real tight levels( sort of like the KH's that go below 3 or a
NO3level of 1 ppm). It's fine if you want narrow ranges but allowing for
slight mistakes is a better notion from a practical standpoint. You can miss
the target easy if things get too anal. Planted tanks are not this anal. We
may be. Those that use the liquid dosing pumps cannot account for everything
and tailor things as they need to sometimes unless they do the regular large
water changes along with it to correct for the plants use vs the amounts
added. Then testing "what is used" is still an issue about what is being
tested vs used. That bugs me. Dosing pump are only as good as the user. I
used them also. An IV dripper works just fine in place of a 150 $pump. A 2-3
day dosing by hand is easiest for me. Perhaps others like the stuff but it's
not going to help you any more than if you add it by hand.
I do not like taking only a visual cue of the plants to base a measurement
of a trace level reading. For now that's all I have though. I need a better
understanding and method of what's being used. There's the dry weight
analysis and using the ash to determine the amounts of iron in the plant
etc. I'd rather have some method of usage/depletion in the water column
itself from the plants(or at least a large % thereof). I'll find a method
soon enough.

I suspect your a candidate for adding more traces if your macro's are good
and the CO2 is decent as well. Shoot for .5ppm-.7ppm. My water is real hard
and even moderately hard water can handle more than this easily if well
run(macro's). Mine sit at a factor of 10 times yours(1.0ppm). Go through and
check out why. See if the CO2 is what you think it is and keep checking it.
See if the macro's are in good shape, then if all checks out well, add
enough trace to get close .7ppm or so. Then you tell me what happens. Do not
forget to add macro's during the week of treatment if they are low or check
them so they don't run out if you keep a low range of N or P. 5ppm-10ppm
ofNO3/some PO4 present the whole time. Keep the K high ->20-30ppm. Enjoy all
the pruning:)
Tom Barr