re: plant sticks

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 06:15:58 -0500
To: Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com
From: Neil Frank <nfrank at mindspring_com>
Subject: Re: plant sticks (Jobes, M Grow)

>>From: crom at cris_com (Crom)
>Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 03:07:25 GMT
>Subject: re: Amazon Sword in declining health
>>Another trick you can try to improve the swords growth is
>>to break a couple of Jobe's plant stix in pieces and shove
>>these deep into the substrate around the roots of your sword.
>Why Jobe's?  As long as you're going to be sacreligious and use a
>terrestrial fertilizer ;), use MiracleGro sticks.  They contain trace
>elements; the Jobe's I've seen don't.  My sword and crypts love 'em!

Jobes sticks look like Miracle Gro, but (according to the label) their are
several important differences:
(1)Jobes do not contain sulfates. 

(2)Jobes is listed as (13-4-5) and MG as (6-12-6). MG  has 3 times as much
phospate. Jobes probably has too much for aquarium tanks already. <g>

(3) MG gets their potassium from potassium sulfate; Jobes from potassium
nitrate. Adding sulfates to the substrate could lead to problems (i.e. turn
to hydrogen sulfide (H2S)).

On the other hand, MG does list micro-nutrients (Fe, Mg, Mn, Bo, Cu, Zn)
which are good. Jobes does not list them. I never had the product tested and
often wondered if they might also contain them. I don't think it is required
to list the micronutrients....I think only the N-P-K.

In any case, sword plants (and others) will perk up with the addition of
small pieces of these sticks in their vicinity.  Jobes will definitely do
the job, and in my case it appears to be due to the N or P. (I know some of
my tanks are low in these nutrients becasue they don't get much fsh food). I
occassionally use a few small 1/4 inch piece near my chain swords. (I once
used MG, but have switched to Jobes.)

Make sure the sticks are buried deep enough so that pulling out plants will
not bring the sticks up. Otherwise, you could be introducing a lot of
phosphates into the water column which might cause an explosion of
unicellular algae.

Neil Frank      TAG editor         Raleigh, NC