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Re: iron and TMG etc

S. Hieber wrote:
>> However, I suspect that if I had no
iron (0.0ppm), this difficiency would show up in the plants.  This
doesn't appear to be the case unless iron deficiency causes plants to
grow large, fast, and green  :-)   .    Also, some iron is present from
the tap water and from the substrate. <<

If the iron is 0.0 ppm at any specific time, it doesn't mean plants don't
have access to it at all. It could mean that they are consuming all of the
Fe that is being dosed to the water column, however little. In this case, it
would suggest that you're not dosing enough. But this would not necessarily
show up as a deficiency. In addition, the iron present in tap water is
negligeable. Usually, it's far less than 0.1 ppm, and it might not be in a
form that plants can use.

>> I hadn't heard that others scoffed at red sea test kits -- that's good
to know.  Good test materials are much rarer than the number offered
for sale. <<

Really? Just search the archives or the aquaria newsgroup for Red Sea kits
and you'll be surprised. I have a negative opinion about all of their test
kits. I've used the freshwater lab set of test kits that they sent me for
free and what I can say is that it's not worth the box it came in. Even when
some of the tests produced reasonable results, it was hard to compare them
against the color charts.

>> The red sea test came with a CO2 test that was pretty worthless -- it <<

I agree. Their CO2 kit is the worst.

>> If I understand the basic point that he is making, it is that algae
might show up when I change a regimen, such as adding traces with iron,
but the plants will keep getting better and the algae will subside.  I
presume the subsidence is do in part to the plants eventually (more
slowly than algae) get better at consuming the nutrients and in part to
appropriate anti-algae tacks (40% weekly water changes, shocking algae
with off-days before adding back nutrients after a water change, etc). <<

Don't try to explain it. As he said, the method is not intuitive, but it
worked for me. In fact, for me, his advice worked better than anyone else's.
I just try not to limit my plants in anything other than light, and the
algae is almost invisible. I suspect the remaining algae is due to my low
iron level, which is between 0.1 and 0.2 ppm. I'm just not willing to add
more than 2x the recommended amount of TMG, which is how much I'm adding

>> ON the other hand, if might plants were growing any better, I would
have to prune at least twice a week.  I'm looking for more pruning.
But if Barr's method will eventually reduce the total level of algae,
I'll give it a try, adding some TMG with K and maybe a few other things
too after I get more test kits.  However, the algae levels are not bad
right now, but less algae is always better (at least visually). <<

I think one of the points of Tom's advice is that you don't have a choice on
the plants' rate of growth. If you try to limit the growth by low nutrients,
the plants suffer and you get algae. Some of my plants grow so fast, I have
to prune at least twice a week to keep my aquarium from getting grossly
overgrown. I think you should worry more about nutrients getting too low
than too high.
Alex R