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re: Muddy thoughts
Reposted due to error in APD archive:
Olga asks: is it true? "Plant grow better in mud"
All plants (even algae) grow better when they have a good supply of
Mud is a better supply of nutrients than sand. That's a fact. Mud is a
better supply of nutrients than say sand and real laterite because
laterite alone will not contain many trace nutrients beyond iron and
will contain little or no macro nutrients. This is not necessarily true
of the substrate amendments sold by aquarium outlets; they may have
ADDED nutrients or they may require you to buy additional nutrient
tablets for the substrate. I think that laterite is a buzz word that is
very popular for marketing purposes (aside from its useful properties).
But remember that mud can be a mixture of many things. Finding the best
mud or the best mixture of soil materials (sand, clay, peat etc. for
"made" soils) depends upon your objectives. Do you want rapid growth of
all kinds of plants? Do you want to minimize the chances for having
I believe that you want to use some type of clay mixed with sand that
will provide a broad range of trace nutrients. I think you want to AVOID
soils which are overly fertile in the macro nutrients nitrogen and
phosphorus. I think you want soils which will have a stable effect on pH
that is, not too high in limestone nor too high in humins.
I think its not too hard to find suitable materials to create a good
substrate but for some folks, its just too bothersome to try to read and
understand all of the "technical" details. For those folks, the best
thing is to go with something proven, low cost and readily available.
For another thing, believe it or not, growing huge plants very quickly
is not always the best objective. You need to teach yourself the basics
of light, CO2 and mineral fertilization. I think having a good substrate
(not too fertile) can really help you on the way and so that is why is
really recommend the use of clay fertilizer balls as this is easy to
dose safely and when needed.
I'm not going to endorse any single one of the several excellent soil
amendments which you can get at the LFS. I don't think that would be
appropriate. There are quite a few endorsements in the APD archives.
Steve Pushak Vancouver, BC, CANADA
Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page" http://home.infinet.net/teban/
for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!