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To all experimenters,
It appears my mention of Osmocote has created some interest, so I
thought I would share some of my findings.
The reason I decided to try Osmocote was because of a tip from one of
my growers. Unfortunately, I threw the box out, but as I recall it's a
time release fertilizer. This is the part I hate to mention, because I'm
not very sure, but I seem to recall that the beads are plastic coated.
This is what causes the slow release.
As I write, I'm looking at a 20 High that I set up about 6-8 months
ago. Last week I sold a Mermaid plant out of that tank and when I
uprooted it, up came 3 beads. The beads are not much smaller than when I
put them in there. Part of this reason COULD be because they might have
swollen a bit. Anyway, this particular tank has no filter on it and the
water is still clear.
Actually, uprooting these beads happens often and I have never tried
to rebury them in the substrate. I mention this because I checked some
other tanks where I know I have brought up many beads, yet I no longer
see them. This might suggest they dissolve faster above the substrate or
my eyesight isn't so hot. I'll try to pay more attention to the beads I
just uncovered and see if I can see them disintegrate and over what
period of time.
I suspect it would be easy enough to see how long they last in the
substrate, if some were buried in the substrate against the front glass.
I also raise a lot of plants outside. In the last couple of weeks,
most of the plants are starting to come back from winter. As an
experiment, I have thrown the Osmocote on top of the substrate. If it
works, I won't have to uproot a lot of plants to refertilize. This is an
easy test for me, because I have running water (when needed), if all
"green" breaks loose.
Also, I have been getting a lot of e-mail on how much Osmocote to use
in the substrate. This has been a complete guess on my part, but the
Osmocote comes with a little plastic spoon (looks to be about a tsp.). I
have been using about 1 level spoon per sq. ft.
I would like to remind readers, that the criteria for my methods are
normally based on cheap and easy, not maximum growth. Lastly, my methods
come with no guarantee.