Re: Lead plant anchors

Wright Huntley writes...
>Zeb Swinney wrote: 
>>I've seen the small lead stips that are wrapped around the stem of plants to
>>keep them ancored down.  Will the lead harm the plants or leach into the
>>water and hurt the fish?  It is toxic to humans and I am leary of putting it
>>in my tank but it would be useful to ancor the plants without using the peat
>>blocks.  Are there any other alternatives?
>Zeb, I think you may be mistaken about the toxicity of lead to humans (and 
>plants or fish). I don't know where you got your information, but it keeps 
>cropping up, and I would like to find out where it's coming from.
>Lead is very inert in water that isn't fairly acid. Sure, a child (or 
>painter) eating a *lot* of lead-oxide paint can slowly develop some 
>heavy-metal poisoning symptoms, but that's not the same thing, at all. This 
>paint problem has lead ( :-) ) to a hysterical press reaction comparable only 
>to the asbestos scare, and a regulatory zeal that provides jobs for a huge 
>number of government employees, certified lead-removal contractors, etc. 
>To my knowlege, the deadly form of lead is propelled by an explosive 
>discharge, at high velocity, through some vital organ. Hundreds of people 
>have lived long useful lives with unremoved bullets somewhere in their body. 
>Toxic? Why do doctors leave them in, then?
>If someone out there can document the toxicity of metallic lead, not 
>dissolved by gastric acids, I would like to know of it. Then I can shut up 
>about this little piece of urban folklore. Until that happens, I'll happily 
>use lead anchors when I need them (which is almost never). I'll also repond 
>whenever anyone uses that emotion-laden press word, "toxic," without 
>justifying the use of such a scare word.
>Please don't feel I'm picking on you, Zeb. I am just sick of being told what 
>to do by a bunch of control freaks that use misinformation to get more 
>control over our lives. These urban myths become their strongest tool in 
>getting what they want, if left unchallenged.

It was a good question, and it was a question. Lead from automobile
emissions, old paint, soldered food containers, and glazed pottery have
been shown to cause brain damage to children and illness in adults. One
doesn't have to ingest a "lot" of the stuff. The acidity of gastric juices
as compared with aquarium water at even pH 6.0 is a point well taken. That's
probably why bullet fragments are harmless. They don't dissolve at the pH
of the blood (7.?).

Phillip An Sheppard WRITES...
>I am looking for grass-like plants that will thrive in 5.5 inches of water.

You might try microswords (lilaeopsis sp.).