Laterite and Micronized


 >>  I don't know much about micronized iron or laterite. Could you fill me
in? Is that the stuff used for salt water reef set-ups? What is laterite? a
kind of mineral or just coarse sand/gravel? Is it possible to find less
expensive supplies from regular plant retail outlets than the high priced
aquarium stuff? <<

 Laterite is an iron rich tropical clay.  It serves two purposes.  First it is
a source of iron.  Second, it serves as a chemical attachment point or
chelator for trace elements that enter the substrate through supplementation
at a later date.  This is probably the more important purpose.  Peat, potting
soil, etc can serve a similar purpose, because of their organic component can
cause algae problems, particularly in high light situations.

 Micronized Iron is a terrestrial plant supplement specifically used for
African Violets made by Lusterleaf Co.  It is basically very fine iron

 For use in a pot for potting up a specific plant, I use laterite as an iron
source more than as a chelating site. In my experience, the average potted
plant needs repotting often enough (due to rapid growth) that it stands little
chance of exhausting the original nutrients supplied to it. This is why I
often use Micronized Iron instead of laterite in this application.  It's a lot
cheaper, and it doesn't "hurt" when I have to throw it away!<g>

  E-mail from: Karen Randall, 12-Apr-1995