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[APD] Re: new tank fertilizing

Peter Hiscock, in his book "A Practical Guide to Choosing Your
Aquarium Plants", says the following:

"Moving and introducing plants is stressful and damaging, and at
first they will need to expend energy on producing new roots
and becoming established. The nutrients provided by fertilization
are used in the greatest quantities when the plants are healthy and
growing (already established), so plants are unlikely to need many
nutrients during the first week or two. For this reason, fertilization
(apart from the introduction of CO2) should be avoided during the
first week, and given at a reduced rate in the second week. If the
aquarium is over-fertilized, algae will quickly grow and become
a significant problem."

To me, his reasoning is back to front. I agree that moving the plants
is stressful and damaging. I also agree that nutrient uptake is largest
when the plants are established. But to conclude from this that,
therefore, plants don't need nutrients in a new tank setup seems wrong.
After all, if the newly-planted plants "will need to expend energy on
producing new roots", how the hell are they supposed to do that
without nutrients? He is reversing cause and effect. Just because
the nutrient uptake of newly moved plants may be lower, that doesn't
mean that they don't need any nutrients!

Also, the warning at the end of this passage about algae seems to
assume that algae can be controlled by starving them of nutrients,
something which Tom has been preaching is impossible (and I
believe him).

To add some practical experience to this discussion, I set up a
new 150gal tank weekend before last. I followed Tom's advice
and dosed NO3, PO4, and traces from day one, keeping CO2
at 20-30pmm. The results are spectacular. The plants are growing
unbelievably well. I planted a few stems of Rotala Wallichi that
have turned over the past ten days into a beautiful bush of branching
stems with intensely red shoots, and a rather bedraggled Aponogeton
Ulvaceous with four leaves has put out ten new leaves that are looking
extremely healthy. Blyxa Japonica is doing extremely well too, as are
all the other plants.

And there is almost no algae. I initially had a little bit of beard/staghorn
algae that got imported with the new plants. I cut of the bits I could find
and, as of five days ago, that algae is nowhere to be seen. The only algae
growth I can see is a minute amount of fairly harmless green hair algae.
I've removed two leaves that had longish threads hanging off them, and
the Otocinclus Affinis in the tank stay are staying on top of the rest.

So, I'm with Tom on this one: add fertilizer and CO2 from day one,
and sit back and enjoy the show!



Michi Henning              Ph: +61 4 1118-2700
ZeroC, Inc.                http://www.zeroc.com

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