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Jobes Spikes: NH3/NH4, Lifespan, Residuals, P


For a few months now I've been
experimenting with Jobes Fern
16-2-6 Plant Spikes (ala Karen
Randall) as a supplement to my
PMDD regimine. I have a Dupla
style 90 gallon; however, I've
placed a number of plants
including swords in rubbermaid
"pots" and it's these that are
getting "spiked" [I know, Dupla
purests will cringe :) ].

A few questions and comments for
any fellow Jobers:

1) 90 gallon, five spikes, different
   pots, few months, enhanced growth,
   BUT, elevated NH3/NH4 levels (.02
   mg/ltr and nitrate increases).
   Spikes do have urea so figures.
   Now some ammonium is ok (acid pH)
   but I think it limits me on number
   of spikes. Anyone else notice this?

2) How often do you "re-fertilize"
   i.e. what is a spike's lifespan?
   I wonder if the N, P, and K all
   run down at about the same rate.

3) I've shyed away from Osmocote
   because that polymer osmotic
   coating seems to remains as an
   unnatural empty shell long after
   its contents have been exausted.
   Anyone notice if spikes leave
   an inert remains?
4) I'm overly phosphate limited. Maybe
   I should try a n-3-k or n-4-k
   formula. Anyone else tried this?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts,
Tim Mullins - Pittsburgh