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Re: aquatic composts

Roger Miller wrote:
[snip the Krombholz soil compost details]
> This is a slightly different idea from my suggestion, because it uses
> material from sources other than the aquarium.

You can still use trimmings from your aquarium but since its most
efficient to process more material at a time, using kitchen waste gives
you a more concentrated extract. Paul experimented with many materials
but I think he liked bits of dried liver and tomatoes since they
produced strong elixers.

> I started a batch of this stuff with the trimmings from today.  I'm
> aerating the "green soup" in the bottom of a 2-liter pop bottle.  So far
> its turned black and it looks... well, it looks a lot like sewage.  I
> figure I'll cycle the bubbles on a off for a few days, then check the
> ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and phosphorus levels in the liquid.  A
> practical process might need two steps, one anaerobic and one aerobic.

The advantage of composting aerobically in soil is that the smells are
minimized and you don't need an air pump to keep the process aerobic. If
you choose an anaerobic process, the products are different. For one
thing you'll be releasing nitrogen gas.

Regarding Neil's comments about P, I suspect that any decomposition
process is going to result in a liberation of P and so if you're adding
it to the aquarium in any form, it should be done cautiously and in
small amounts. We've certainly heard about dramatic growth following
addition of P in the substrate or in small doses in solution. 

As an example of how much nutrients can be released by decomposing plant
material, I've experienced algae growth following a fairly major Crypt
meltdown which undoubtedly released a significant amount of nutrients.
But then my lighting was a lot stronger at that time since I had
replaced an old MH bulb with a new 5500k one.

Some of my large Crypts still seem to be experiencing limited melting on
the leaves directly exposed to the light so this seems to indicate to me
that Crypts do not really acclimate to stronger lighting conditions
unless it is by developing stronger vascular systems to deal with the
byproducts of photosynthesis which might be resulting in the melting.
That theory of Crypt melting was recently explained in the latest TAG
(no commercial this time). I'm drifting off the thread... Someone want a
new thread on Crypt melting?