Disclosure of Fertilizer Contents

Arturo Giacosa wrote:

>I too would like to know what Amano uses in his products, just like
>Pepsi would like to know what formula Coca Cola uses.

The original Coke formula was disclosed some time ago without impact to
Coke's business prospects.  (In fact, Coke had a little ceremony where they
brought the hand written formula out of the safe, and showed it to the
press!)  The value of "Coke" does not reside in the formula, but in a whole
bunch of other aspects of their business.

>Why would he place the Amano formula on the bottle so that it can be
>copied (PMDD)?  This would NOT make any business sense.

I'm not so sure you're right about that.  Failure to disclose contents does
very little to protect his products from being copied.  A few Ph.D.
candidates in a well-equipped lab will know a great deal about Amano's
products in a very short period of time.  I don't doubt for a second that
Amano's competitors have done/are doing exactly that.  (They just aren't
talking about it on the APD!)

And there are several negative consequences from failing to disclose
contents:  For one, those of us who tinker with our aquariums will be much
more likely to make mistakes.  Because I know that Tropica MasterGrow
emphasizes K but not N, has 0.07% iron, etc., I have a much better shot at
customizing my use of the product for my particular conditions.  If I'm
successful, I'll buy more product.  Without disclosure, I'm more likely to
try to "perfect" my use of MasterGrow, as opposed to Mr. Amano's products.

There is also an implication in the failure to disclose contents that I
particularly dislike:  An unlabeled product essentially says, here is a
single formula which will work in all situations.  (After all, it's being
marketed, perhaps worldwide, "as is" without knowing what the "as is" is.) 
But we all know water conditions vary greatly.  If we live in Germany, we
might have 20-40 mg/l NO3 in the tap water.  In other places, the water is
soft with no nitrates, or we use RO/DI water, etc.  How can a single
formulation be "optimum" for all situations?  If on the other hand the
ingredients are labeled, there is a much greater chance of matching the
product to a wide variety of conditions. 

In a more global sense, the hobby will benefit as a whole by the further
dissemination of knowledge.  If the hobby emerges from the "black art"
phase (as Paul Sears puts it), there will be many more successful
aquarists.  If the contents are disclosed, those of us who try to
understand a little bit about what is going on will be much more likely to
improve our tanks and the hobby.  The rising tide will lift all boats!

I suspect that disclosing the contents might be good for Mr. Amano's

Regards, Steve Dixon

BTW, I copied Aqua Designs Amano on this note.