Re: Flourish

> From: morven at YKnet_YK.CA (Kathy Morven and Darrell Roze)
> This tank has not been going well.  The substrate is composed of about of an 
> inch of vermiculite, mixed with a small amount of black topsoil.  I have 
> about an inch of fine gravel on the top of this.  I have been using the same 
> 15 watt light I used on my 20 gallon tank in Vancouver.  The water here is 
> quite hard and the pH is around 7.8.  I received a water analysis from the 
> city, but have found it quite useless;  I have an analysis over several 
> years and it shows that water  here changes continually and quite drastically.
> I have been trying to grow wisteria in the tank, but the plants are starting 
> to look pretty sad.  The lower leaves are falling off and there are yellow 
> and brown spots on many of the leaves.  I have been adding a small amount of 
> chelated iron gardening product and Epson salts to the tank but do not know 
> how much of this I should add, or can safely add.

That can be common behaviour with this plant when under moderate to low
lighting conditions such as yours. With a smaller tank, it might be difficult
to get adequate light for the lower leaves. This plant can tolerate very
high light intensities and will grow very rapidly given the soil substrate
and a chance to develop roots. Is the top healthy looking (no yellow areas
near the veins or leaf edges) and growing well? Try doubling or tripling
your lighting and reducing the photo period initially until the plants
start to fill the tank and grow emersed. Once the tank is nicely filled
with healthy plants and vigorous roots, you can increase the photo period
without risk of algae. Its also important to use CO2 if you have strong

On the other hand, you could switch to amazon sword plants or the smaller
Cryptocoryne or Anubias which don't need strong light to look nice.

> Now for my questions:
> 1.  There was talk a while back about Flourish, an aquatic plant fertilizer. 
>  Has anyone out there been using this product and would you recommend it?  I 
> am a little concerned that the product seems a little too good to be true.

I am very pleased with it. The H. difformis shows very good leaf development
now. Ludwigia shows nice red leaves. The product is just much more concentrated
so instead of using up a large expensive bottle in 3 months, you might
use a $10 bottle up in a year if you use it heavily in multiple tanks.

> 2.  For the people out there that have used peat for a substrate, how is 
> this done?  Do you mix it 50/50 with sand in the bottom half?  Do you mix it 
> throughout?

Check Neil Frank's recent contribution on peat substrate. Yes, mix it
in the lower half. Neil, are you recommending peat substrates as general
purpose? (plant types, lighting intensity, CO2 or not, beginner, experienced)

> 3. Though I have read of some people using mercury vapor lamps, I have read 
> very little on how effective they are.  I saw an ad today for a 175 watt 
> mercury vapor lamp for $60, including the bulb.

It might not be as energy efficient as fluorescent or MH but I think it 
would work. Doesn't mercury vapor have a strong single color (red?) which
might not look too aesthetic?