Re: a fertilizing mess

>From: Chazz Hesselein <maf01562 at maf_mobile.al.us>
>Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1997 13:53:27 -0600 (CST)
>Subject: A fertilizing mess
>The last week of November I set up a 75 gallon, heavily planted, tank.  I
>work at a horticulture experiment station and have access to many
>different fertilizers.  One of our best fertilizers is the brand
>Nutricote.  I decided I would add some 360 day, slow release formulation
>to my gravel as if I were planting a terestrial plant.  The result of
>this decision is that my ammonia levels are always up over 7ppm, however
>my fish haven't shown any signs of stress yet.  Algae hasn't been too
>bad, yet; I've got 10 SAE's, 5 otocinclus and 1 clown pl*co.  I've tried
>vaccuuming the fertilizer out of the gravel with my python but it doesn't
>provide enough suction to pull the fertilizer prills out of the tank.
>I'm thinking of attaching my gravel cleaner to my Magnum 350 to see if it
>will create enough of a vaccuum to pull the prills out of the aquarium.
>Any other suggestions?  My plants are all looking great but if I can't
>remove a goodly amount of the fertilizer I think I'm stuck with frequent
>H2O changes to keep my ammonia and phosphate levels down and my pH up.

Don't consider your experiment a disaster, yet.  Your fish are still doing
OK, although, with ammonia up around 7PPM, I might remove any expensive
ones to another tank, if possible.  For the rest, I would give the plants
as much light and CO2 as possible and see if they can't lower the ammonia
levels when they really get growing fast.  Another thing you could do is
add some rapid-growing species, such as Hygrophila polysperma and
Ceratopteris thalictroides.  Next time you try this, you could put all the
slow-release capsules into a small pot and bury it in the gravel.  If they
are putting out too much ammonia, you can pull out the pot and remove part
of the capsules.  This method of fertilizing has a lot of promise.  We just
have to figure out what quantity of capsules should be present.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
In chilly, grey, Jackson, Mississippi