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supersoil and other things in substrates

Been busy lately and struggling with a cantankerous PC. I wrestled it
onto the table today and hopefully, it will behave for a while after
much poking and reseating. Anyhow I'm a little behind...

Toan and James P were discussing Supersoil and my recommendations so I
have to stick 2 cents in.

I don't have a single recommendation actually in regards to the
fertility of substrate except that "it depends". Beginners should start
with very low fertility substrates mainly using clay (for iron and other
trace nutrients) and supplementing with a little peat and mixed with
sand (or soil which contains a suitable mix of clay and sand) and then
covering with a layer of gravel.

Those who have mastered the arts of conquering algae and nutrient
additions, can safely use more fertile substrates (still low fertility
compared to substrates suitable for a garden for example). Increasing
the fertility is easy to do by using the previously mentioned clay,
sand, peat and gravel mixture simply by adding clay fertilizer balls.
You make these by taking about 10 granules of ordinary fertilizer and
coating with a 1/2" ball of pottery clay and drying them. These little
boosters are like super chargers.

Another bit of advice from my recent experiences: its good to add N to
the water sometimes but be careful to have enough other nutrients such
as K, CO2, Mg and Ca in solution or an imbalance of N can also stimulate
algae growth. 

I've tried some calcium nitrate a month or so back.. (if that's what it
really was) It came in an unlabelled plastic bag from the Hydroponics
place. I should test it for P just in case I got the wrong chemical but
I would have expected a lot worse if I'd added P in that amount.

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!!!