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Marbles, Fertilizer, and Water Flow

MARC R. with marbles as a substrate asked: 1. Should I use fertilizer? 2.
Water flow - how much?

Ken G. replies: Marc, you should read the APD archives or go to one of the
following sites:
1. http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/
2. http://www.frii.com/~booth/AquaticConcepts/top.htm

All of your questions would be answered there. In the meantime: yes, you
should fertilize. You can use the PMDD formulas that you find at the first
site I listed above, or you could  buy commercial fertilizers. If you are
going to grow low-light plants (annubias, Java ferns, etc.), your fish and
their food may be enough fertilizer to get you by. I also suggest that you
add sand and/or laterite balls (with added fertilizer) to the marbles if you
have rooted plants.

Water flow below the surface is good for plants (breaks downs some type of
barrier on the leaves - I forget what it is called). You should minimize
surface agitation to prevent the escape of any CO2 you might have in the
water. However, you need to balance the agitation with how much O2 your fish
need. If you have a lot of fish and few plants, you will probably have to
agitate the surface enough to introduce some O2.

Ken Guin
AGA Member (Are you? Think about it.)
AGA Website: http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/