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Ronnie <fedental at cyberway_com.sg> wrote:
> 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.
It is usual to supply K, Mg and Ca by water. N, P can be supplied by
substrate or by water although you can use higher dosages in the
substrate and get higher growth rates without danger of algae.
If you want to supply nutrients to the substrate, you would not use
laterite balls since laterite is devoid of almost every nutrient with
the possible exception of iron. True laterite (not clay of lateritic
origins) would be rock like, not clay like in texture and would not be a
good source of iron. Clay on the other hand, is often an amorphous
mixture of minerals of very fine texture and is a good source of micro
nutrients. You can also add fertilizer pellets to your muddy clay balls
and dry them before putting them into the aquarium. In this way you can
supply, NPK and other nutrients directly to the roots. Of all nutrients,
only CO2 and Ca are not absorbed well by roots. CO2 can be absorbed by
the roots of certain plants growing in swamps but most aquatic plants
don't do this I think. Ca is difficult to transport through the plant
tissues and so it is much easier to supply it in the water. In fact, it
won't stay out of the water if you have adequate Ca in the substrate in
the form of limestone or shells.
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!!!