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Re: An abrupt about-face?

George wrote:
> >In fact, IMHO, about the best fertilizer you can use for aquatic plants
> >is to take ordinary house plant fertilizer (14-14-14) containing trace
> >nutrients and mix it in a ratio of about 200 mg with a clay ball about 1
> >cm in diameter and add this to the substrate near the roots of your
> >plants. This supplies trace nutrients including iron and macro nutrients
> >including phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. This approach can be used
> >with ordinary aquarium gravel alone; no need of using laterite, clay,
> >vermiculite, soil or kitty litter!!
> So this means that the highly touted HTBASS regimen is yesterday's news?
> The carefully constructed layers of soil, peat and other fertilities are
> not needed? Simply use plain gravel with a few of Steve's Clay Balls stuck
> in it? Well, this certainly makes things more simple. 

It's entirely possible that there are SEVERAL good ways to grow aquatic
plants. The advantage of clay/soil & peat is that this method has been
tested and shown to provide iron for rooted and floating aquatic plants
for a long term by Paul Krombholz. I can endorse it because I use it.
I'm not testing a gravel substrate using only clay fertilizer balls at
the moment but I think it would produce very dramatic results. I don't
know if its a particularly good approach to use with Crypts but I do
know the clay & peat method works well with Crypts especially when
supplemented with clay fertilizer balls. Heck, I use almost everything!
In fact, part of what I LIKE doing is trying out DIFFERENT ways of doing
it. ;-)

I think it would be a great experiment for someone to try just gravel
and clay fertilizer balls (not too many) and probably some plain clay
balls too. It's not my original idea so please don't credit me. Karen
forwarded me an article by a fellow in Germany a few years back which
described the method and I've been working with it but not exclusively.
I'm afraid I lost the original references from Karen when my Hughes Unix
account expired. She also got it from somebody else third hand so if
anybody has the original reference, I'd love to have it.
The Plant Guild folks have a lot more experience with clay pellet
fertilizing and probably are in touch with several people who have tried
using clay fertilizer pellets exclusively with gravel. 

Checkout http://www.familychest.com/plantguild/ or
mailto:"Bill_Terburg"<terburg at familychest_com>

The theme that I've tried to convey on my web page is that there are
several nutrient/substrate methods which are suitable depending upon
several factors. One of the most IMPORTANT factors is personal BIAS.
Many people feel more comfortable when they buy a product in an aquarium
store which is marketed specifically for use in aquariums. I understand
WHY they feel that way so, for them, using aquarium products is safer
because it FEELS safer. In the end, its the FEELINGS that count because
most of us keep aquariums to get enjoyment. There are just a few folks
(researchers mainly) who keep aquariums purely in order to torture
themselves ... ;-) 

I realize that I also said that laterite (shudder) is also an excellent
substrate amendment. Am I now to be pilloried and burnt at the stake for
heresy??? ;-)

George also asked if fertilizers also contained macro nutrients such as
C and S. Indeed they do, sulphate and carbonate are both usable by many
aquatic plants. As for Ca and Mg, I don't know. I think most gardeners
would use dolomite lime for that purpose if their soil had none. Of
course, CO2 is not something we can easily provide in a solid
fertilizer. James (the original reference) was referring to the lack of
N and P in aquatic plant fertilizers as opposed to garden fertilizers I
think. I was trying to balance his comments.

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!!!