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RE: iron, blood worms and hair algae

> Tonight when I took at look at the vial, the contents were 
> very pink.  The
> reading indicates a level of 0.5mg/l iron.  This was not meant to be a
> quantitative experiment, merely a test to determine whether a 
> significant
> amount of iron would be released from blood worms as they thaw.  Since
> haemoglobin is a protein molecule, the iron contained would 
> be released
> through bacterial activity into the water column.  In tanks where I no
> longer add iron through direct fertilization and where there are slow
> growing plants, hair algae (the coarse kind) grows in 
> profusion.  This may
> be the explanation.

The hemoglobin of bloodworms contains one heme (and thus one Fe atom)
per molecule, and the molecular weight of their hemoglobin is
approximately 16,000.  Iron has a molecular weight of 55.4, so bloodworm
hemoglobin is about 0.35% iron.

In order to achieve 0.1 mg/l Fe in 100 gallons of water solely by the
addition of bloodworms, one would need to add 38 mg of iron, or 38/.0035
= 10,857 mg of hemoglobin.

Lets assume the blood of a bloodworm is about 5% of their total body
weight, and that blood is about 10% hemoglobin.  To get 10,857 mg of
hemoglobin, one would need 108,570 mg of blood, or 2,171,400 mg of
bloodworms.  This is 2.17 kilograms, or 4.8 pounds, of bloodworms.

I don't believe that the normal feeding of bloodworms is a significant
source of iron for aquarium plants.