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Re: Dan Q pontificates on Osmocote/kitty litter
> Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 22:35:09 -0600
> From: MKA <oscar at sky_net>
> Subject: osmocote
> I went to the garden center today to buy osmocote to use after my
> aquarium revamping. I found osomocote, but there are several different
> variaties. I assume I would want the lowest nitrogen content. Anyone
> with expeience with this product please let me know which has worked
> best for you.
> Mace Arnold
I guess I'm the one most responsible for suggesting Osmocote as a
substrate fertilizer, so I guess I can answer this. This also gives me
an opportunity to relate some other stuff that's on my mind.
Before I started selling plants to the public, I sold only to pet
shops. With very few exceptions, from the time the plants hit a pet
shops water, they were in death mode. There are a lot of different
reasons for this, but most would fall under 2 headings. The first being,
they don't know anything about plants and the second they don't care to
much, because it's a very small part of their sales.
Having spent many a year in retail, I know if your going to get
beginners to try something new, they prefer to have specific guidelines.
I assumed, if I taught pet shops a simple and affordable method to teach
their customers, my plants sales would soar and I would now be retired.
So I wrote a guide. There was but a tad of interest and even less
follow through. With plans of early retirement dashed, I figured I would
submit the guide to one of the pet dealer trade magizines where I have
had many articles printed. It was rejected because it was (way) too long
for their format.
At about this time, I decided on a little different approach to a
plant tank. Amongst other names, I call it the Jack Benny method. This
is based not on his humor, but his being a most renown skin-flint. My
goal was to put together the cheapest plant tank possible, substituting
everything possible for what I still consider way overpriced aquarium
products, and still get lush plant growth.
This new guide was submitted to FAMA magazine, whom have no problems
with the length of an article. I also figured that if I mentioned as
many brand names of stuff I used, it would minimize my number of
Although, I think loam (often backyard dirt) is probably the best
substrate for aquatic plants (and dirt cheap), suggesting it is another
matter. It conjured up some scary thoughts. Like how am I going to
define loam, potential mixes, how organic, possible contamination and on
and on. Since, I was myself using kitty litter, that's what I went with.
A side benefit would be, that everybody knows what kitty litter is, and
that would be one less question I might have to answer, just in case
someone actually read the article.
Boy, did I underestimate FAMA's circulation and the interest my
article spawned. About the time I got through the peak of responses to
Part one, Part 2 responses started coming in. This was at least 10 times
heavier. Then I could tell every country that FAMA came out in.
What was the number one question asked, that I've responded to a
couple hundred times now? In North America, it was, "what brand of kitty
litter?" From other countries, it was either "what is kitty litter?" or
"is this the same as...?" At the vary least it proved to me that
beginners want details.
Thank goodness I had the foresight to mention the brand name
Osmokote. I choose Osmokote for the following scientific reasons.
1. For the same price as brand name aquarium fertilizer, I have a 10
year supply. 2. Several of my growers use it. 3. It looks neat. 4. It's
working. 5. I like it a lot. 6. I had a dream Osmokote was going to give
me a commission. (So far, I haven't even got recognition that I exsist).
Is it the best fertilizer? To that, I don't have a clue? There are
bunches of them out there that look promising.
To Mace Arnold who asked a simple, easy question and didn't get a
simple answer, I apologize. Believe it or not, I threw the jar out that
it came in, so I don't remember the N-P-K. I do know the important
middle one (P) was 6. I also got an e-mail from Australia that said he
found Osmokote there, that was used for ferns, that had a "O" for the
middle number. Maybe someone saw it this country.
Dan Quackenbush- who is still getting several e-mails a week asking when
Part 2 is coming out.