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[APD] RE: substrates/water column

You are right, it is impossible to tell unless more is known about this
person's setup. What I mis-interpreted was the statement that "substrate
fertilization is not required because you have a flourite substrate", I took
that as a general statement which I feel is incorrect or not something
written in stone. I also used some wording that was incorrect in my previous
posts, when I said I agree about high light tanks not requiring
fertilization I should have said besides what the Flourish substrate
provides. And when I said liquid ferts in reply to SH I should have said
fertilizing the water column....... well that's what I meant :-)"

Cool with me:)
Sorry, I could have made it clearer, pleading for clarity is often in great
demand behind the typed word.
The spoken word is much better for communicating.

"trace element is to blame, but increasing my trace mix dosage brings my
level a little on the high side and I get an increase in dust algae at
times. I then add some flourish tabs in the substrate and the problem goes
away. I'm not saying that there is a big problem at all, I just notice  a
better quality of growth when I use these tabs in the substrate along with
the regular "Tom Barr" method of dosing only the water column. I guess I'm
just not as good with dosing my micros by eye than I am with measurable
macros, or I should seek a trace mix that contains less iron in relation to
the other elements..."

If it works in your tank, do it. The plant's health should be the focus
There are other factors, like the tap, fish load, plant types, substrate
depth etc.

"I also believe in preferences that plants may have as to where to get
certain nutrients from, not because I know anything about plant uptake :-)
but because I've been told and have read the same thing over and over for
many years."

So have I, does not mean they are correct.

" My own experiences have shown me that in many cases, keeping
certain nutrients under the substrate seem to either work better or be less
critical/dangerous when it comes to maintaining certain levels."

Depends on the balance. If you are out of whack  in another area or have
another source of nutrients from somewhere, this can change things.
I use to feel this way in the past also.

I'd argue you'll have less troubles at lower light, promise:) 
Both methods will and do work, but one is a little easier to deal with.
And importasntly: we all use both methods at some level(Substrate and water

" I guess it's
also been easier for me to follow some basic precautions with the substrate
rather than careful dosing of the water column. I only pull plants out
before a large water change and I am very careful to wiggle them out so to
not bring anything up into the water column, never had green water nor
problems doing it this way. I simply make the nutrients available in both
places and let the plants choose where to get them."

That's great! It's more than just a method by itself, it's the whole
routine that will help.

"When it comes to low light tanks, I have my own tried and tested method
been using for more than 10 years, as I'm sure we all do! Not trying to say
that one method is better than the other, I'm one of the one's who have had
success growing plants using this "old" method of keeping nutrients (mostly
traces) in the substrate. I guess if something isn't broken why fix it....
Besides having replaced my iron rich substrates or semi-soil substrates with
flourite in the last couple of years, nothing much has changed in my methods
of keeping low light planted tanks for some time."

No, but you can improve it if you chose/it's in your habit routine to do so.
Many are fine with their systems. 

"Well, first of all I'm sure your plants would look just as good as Amanos'
regardless of the method you used :-)"

Well this has more to do with me than the method. That's something to
always consider when judging a contest aqauscape rather than a method.
But he has pretty much many of the same elements for his substrate as I
Peat, mulm and iron rich porous cooked clay.
These are most of what's in his soils. 

"I don't think I'm blindly adding all sorts of stuff to the substrate, nor
would I suggest anyone to do so."

You also have 10 years in.
You ain't no newbie.
Still, a newbie won the AGA contest:)

" I think when it comes to dosing traces, you
are just as blind in the water column as you are in the substrate."

How do you test the substrate for nutrient levels?
How do you re set the tank consistently?
You generally wait till you see a problem with the substrate, the water
column is like preventitive Dentisity, don't wait till you have a

" It's true
that if we do run into an overdosing problem, a large water change will
easily correct the problem if it was added to the water rather than having
to vacuum everything out of the substrate. But I have yet to run into any
issues with fertilizing the substrate, on the other hand I have accidentally
messed up dosing the water column in the past and like you said, you see
faster results this way, including faster development of problems when you
screw something up. So in the end I do a little of both and have found it to
be a little more forgiving this way, perhaps as you say Flourite will absorb
these elements from the water and therefore it will become pointless to add
more to it, perhaps as my flourite substrates age more I will start to see
this occurring and will need to adjust my methods."


" In a brand new flourish
substrate however I consider a little peat moss, mulm and crushed up
flourish tabs in the lowest layer to work wonders."

There you go, you got it!

"I don't mean to contradict your methods, which by the way have helped me
considerably in the last couple of years since I started keeping high light

Your methods really don't contradict anything.
I think you'll find the more you know, the more you will see that most
methods have the same fundamentals underneath them. 

 "I just didn't think the original statement was accurate, ...actually
I still don't :-)"

>>You don't need Flourish tabs if you use Flourite?

I'll stand behind this.

  " In my case I have adopted mostly your methods for high light
tanks and integrated them into my old methods for keeping low light tanks,
so far so good, perhaps in the future I will adopt better ways."

Let's figure why it works. Tap water? NO3 and PO4 and water change routines

"Thanks, and best wishes to all for the holidays!
Giancarlo Podio"

Tom Barr

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