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Trace element supplementation

James Purchase wrote:

>"PMDD can work very well - IF you know what you are doing. If you DON'T know
>what you are doing, it is better to stick with commercial preparations which
>are designed for aquariums."

Tom Wood wrote:

>The trouble is, commercial preparations that don't disclose ingredients
>leave you in a state of perpetually never knowing what you are doing,
>whether you think you do or not.  I moved quickly to PMDD to overcome that
>commercially enforced state of ignorance.  At the time I didn't know any
>more about what I was doing than what I gleaned from the Sears-Conlin paper.
>Plant fertilizer is really simple stuff once you know what is in each
>component of a fertilizer regime and why it is there.  

The thing that amuses me about this sort of statement is that I have yet to
hear of any of the PMDD advocates actually formulating their own trace
element mix.  People simply use whatever hydroponic mix they can get their
hands on, whether the ratios of different elements make sense for our
purposes or not, and use it.  While it makes a great deal of sense to me to
fine tune the dosing on N, P & K based on your own tank conditions,
(calcium and magnesium too, depending on your local water supply) to think
that you are doing things "more scientifically" by mixing your own
hydroponic trace element mix with distilled water is only fooling yourself.
 Now if you're doing it because you want to save money, or because you
can't find a well balanced commercial trace element supplement in your
area, those are legitimate reasons.  But if you're using _anybody's_ "trace
element mix" and you think you are "fine tuning" in any way that you
couldn't with a commercial product, your just fooling yourself.