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Re: aquatic compost

>From: "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill at rt66_com>

>Is there some way we could return the nutrients from our cuttings and
>removed plants to our tanks - doing for our tanks what composting does for
>our gardens?  This could reduce or eliminate the need for some

As usual Roger has some interesting ideas to present. In this case it is
"aquatic food for thought."

>The direct approach would be to just dump it into the tank.  Most would
>settle and form a layer on the substrate.  The rest would get filtered. 
>Snails and other detritivores would probably think this was manna.  Some
>herbivores might like it too.  The direct approach would be risky because
>it returns all of the nutrients (including nitrogen that probably isn't
>needed in a tank with fish) 

Adding large concentration of soluble phosphorus will be worse than adding
N and probably result in an immediate algae bloom.

>You could also put the soup into a media chamber in a filter.  That would
>keep the detritivores and herbivores out of the picture and allow slower
>breakdown, but you're still likely to get a big slug of nitrogen that you
>don't want. 

This will also add a big slug of P, right?

>So how about taking the soup through a decomposition step outside the 
>tank - the aquatic equivalent of compost pile?......   Some of the mineral
>will be in the water, and some will remain in the partly decomposed plant 

Unless I am missing something, the P will still be in the water, right?

......  I think you could 
>filter the solids and return a useful trace element mix to the tank.  The 
>solids would be kept in the bucket until they reach a nice, stabilized 
>form and then used for a substrate amendment.

It would be nice if you can remove the soluble phosphates. What about
discarding the liquid part from the solid mush .... or adding soil (and/or
small amount of iron sulfate) into your aquatic compost. The idea would be
to form insoluble iron phosphate. Then figure out a way to get it into the
substrate and out of the water column.