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>Is this absorption particular to specific plants or all plants in
>general?  I was under the impression that root-feeders like Echinodorus
>and crypts rely on substrate fertilization and draw nutrients more from
>the roots than it's foliage, thus the practice of shoving Jobes' sticks,
>laterite balls and whatnots into the gravel.
Gee, my Swords and Crypts do just fine without* any sticks added or any
other stuff* in the gravel. I flowered C. var blassii in plain gravel + TMG
and K+ and fish waste not long ago. Did the same for C. parva &beckettii
.............with an UG filter too ( It was a reverse UG BTW). My beckettii
regularly flowers submersed in these tanks. Either they are very happy or
very confused plants.

Flourite gives the best of both worlds IMO. Simple, one shot homogenous
substrate that grows Crypts and Swords extremely well and if you forget to
fertilize the water column( who doesn't?) the plants don't suffer hardly at
all from what I've observed so far................ 
I have a small 10 gallon that doesn't get any fertilizer for months at a
time ( or water changes! I know!)except fish food for 2 SAE's and a few
snails but it has flourite. The A. reineckii is always deep red, the hygro
has no holes, E. tenellus is going to town with great color and the tank is
packed with plants. No signs of a deficiency for over a year of abuse.
Tom Barr