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Re: [APD] Aquatic-Plants Digest, Vol 71, Issue 7

Stuart, you stirred up a storm!  But the list needed re-vitalizing, whether
brief or not.  Unlike some forums, this list may reach a consensus -
sometimes - but does not by management have a monolithic viewpoint.  That to
me is invaluable.   I hate to see it so idle and underutilized.


Linda expressed thanks for my response on nitrite and ammonium, which is
appreciated and gratifying, but not really needed.  This and most other web
info sites are subject to (thankfully!) constant revision and or expansion.
No response is or even can be complete.

Re: [APD] Nitrite toxicity and GH

Stuart replied with more detail on the tank which started the discussion.

Bio-Orbs are peculiar tanks, to say the least.  But the handling as seen to
date still has issues to me.  I don't like nitrate that high, but that may
depend on the water source for the upkeep.  I don't consider 25% partials
adequate, but that does even for me depend on the rate of nitrate
accumulation in the tank - that is relatively easily determined by hobby
kits.  If the source water is 15-20 ppm NO3, then pre-change titers of 20-40
ppm are likely as good as most hobbyists are willing to go.  Then again, if
the source water has such high NO3 levels, the Seachem or other
nitrate/bio-available nitrogen is not needed and may be counter-productive.
I'm glad that you corrected the (all too common) mistake of disturbing the
plants during routine cleaning.  Light surface vacuuming is good routinely,
but plants rarely benefit from such disturbance.  Rooted rosette and
bulb/corm/tuber plants rarely need more than annual division and thinning,
replanting, and substrate clean-p in other than the highest tech tanks.
Stem plants likely need more frequent attention by their nature, especially
in such limited containers.  If the plants are being counted on for
ammonium/nitrate utilization (quite reasonably), then keeping them
metabolizing normally is key. Plants do not metabolize normally with routine
root disturbance.  Several commonly used rooted rosette plants (such as many
crypts and Vallisneria) tend to need to re-grow new roots after any root
disturbance.  Routine feeding is appropriate where light and grow rates
require it.  But if the water is already nutrient rich, added supplement may
be unnecessary or even counter-productive.  That unfortunately is not the
easiest tank handling to learn.  I tend to large frequent partial water
changes myself, as it reduces nutrients building up in the water, and
replaces minerals utilized from the source water.  In effect, it re-sets the
tank to near source-water levels.  Then, if supplements are needed, they can
properly be added after a change, or as required to maintain the desired
nutrient levels. I do like the Seachem products for that use - they allow
individual nutrient addition as required.  New setups are nowhere near
normal in just a month, other than in the hands of an experienced hobbyist
and aquatic plant grower.  Experienced multi-tank folks can set a fresh tank
with existing plants and substrate and fish from other setups and never see
such issues.  But that is asking too much from less experience folk with
less familiar material on hand.

Re: [APD] NO3

Stuart asked (tongue-in-cheek, I assume ;)) about adding ammonia to tanks as
a nitrogen source.  The proper response is that of course you can - provided
that you have a clean, frequently calibrated ammonia probe on the tank in
parallel with a pH probe of equal quality and are prepared to partial out
any hobby-kit detectable ammonia concentrations.  That is exactly what the
fish do, isn't it? They do so without the extra technology, of course. But
they are relying or plant and/or bacterial detoxification by oxidation of
the ammonia in the unnatural environment of a transparent container.

Re: [APD] Chloride test kit

Stuart asked about a field-grade test kit for chloride.  Yes, I am not
familiar with that brand (I use Hach or LaMotte field-grade tests), but
there are many choices.  For hobbyist use at the experimental level, such
tests are great, and most can be compared to normal hobby-grade kits for
on-line discussion.  Any dip strips need to be used with care - the test
strips are not very stable.  The single strip-packaging is to me the way to
go for less than constant use, as they are better protected by the
packaging.  Unfortunately, that is the much higher cost option from most
companies, but worth it for me. Even then, storage is non-trivial.  These
things should no be on a self in the tank room. They need even temperature
and low light and humidity to get even minimal lifespan before they give
erratic readings. The same cautions apply to specific strips for the
electronic readers as well. The field grade kits and devices are not for the
average hobbyist to my mind. They are expensive and require much more care
and perhaps skill than the hobby-grade tests.  But they do give information
otherwise unavailable at the hobby level. 

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