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Re: Clay balls

Sean wrote:
> This combination does not look good from the standpoint of the phosphoric acid
> with the nitrogen.  Phosphoric acid is H3PO4 when the hydronium ions (H+)
> break off it will lower the pH of the tank and also leave phosphate anion left
> over.  The combination of nitrogen and phosphate would set the algae on a wild
> growth spurt.  From my experience I make phosphate the limiting nutrient for
> algae so I never add anything with phophate with the exception of the small
> amount that I get from my well water.  I also believe that the urea nitrogen
> is a precursor for ammonia but am not sure.

Used in suitable doses in clay balls, there is no problem with pH when
using fertilizer which contains phosphoric acid. The point of mixing the
fertilizer with clay is to prevent it becoming mixed into the water and
causing algae growth. This is certainly far superior to adding phosphate
to the water column or to adding labile organic materials to the

Phosphate is an important macro nutrient for plant growth. Strictly
speaking, you can grow aquatic plants fairly successfully without
supplementing substrate phosphates however many people want to stimulate
the growth of certain aquatic plants especially during the initial grow
in phase (2-3 months) when the plant density may be low.

Nitrogen sources found in natural substrates will predominately be in
the form of ammonia/um. Concentrated ammonia or other strong chemical
salts can burn plant roots if over fertilized. Appropriate dosing
instructions are on my website. I think the plant guild may have some
guidelines too.

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!!!