Substrate fertilization

Three quick observations from my experimental Webb-Kelly tank.

Used Paul Kromboltz bleach treatment on some cuttings of rotalla
rotundifolia covered in beard algae. Seven minutes in the bath instead
of two resulted in the eventual decay of all of the leaves, but the
stems survived and the plants recovered. Six weeks have passed and
there is only a bit of brown algae on the glass of their new home,
probably from the unsterilized filter. Bleach works.

I purchased what's locally called a Blue snail to combat a terrible
infestation of beard algae. It eats the damned stuff and may be the next
best thing to a SAE, which as everyone knows, can't survive the nine
month winters up here. This was following a report by John Ching that
he found Apple snails to be useful in this regard. The shells of these
snails are round, brown and 1 to 1.5 in diameter. They probably go by
another common name.

I decided to try adding the hydroponic mix to the tube of the RUGF.
I carelessly overdosed. ALL apparent plant growth stopped and cryptocoryne
rot began to develop among the wendtii. However, oxygen bubbles were
still being generated. A quick 80% water change saved those plants. The
beard algae withered and the lilaeopsis emerged. It had undergone a
transformation from an 18 ounce carpet of greenery to a 55 ounce plush
Saxony. Guess what was producing the oxygen. The other plants took a
week or so to recover. I still don't know whether the nutrients passed
through the substrate of clay and vermiculite, or whether they just
burned the root systems. This illustrates the difficulty of ever deter-
mining what's really going on. It sure didn't hurt the lilaeopsis roots.
I now add a little mix to both the substrate via the lift tube and to
the aquarium proper. Things are more or less fine now.