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Re: bone meal


Thanks to all who responded to my question about using bone meal as a
phosphorus source.  I won't respond to the messages individually, but I
would like to respond to some of the ideas by giving a few more details
about what I wanted the bone meal to do.

I didn't consider using phosphate fertilizers like triple superphosphate
because I suspected that a slug of soluble phosphate would be too much to
handle.  I was looking more for something that was essentially insoluble,
but potentially available at low levels to rooted plants.

I currently use Jobes sticks in most of my tanks.  They work very well but
I was hoping to find a source that would allow me to add phosphate
independent of nitrogen and potassium, and preferably a source that I
wouldn't need to renew every couple months. (Gee, am I lazy, or what?)

Mark Fisher had some interesting points about the relationship between
iron and phosphorus availability and substrate pH.  That relationship is
just the kind of thing that I'd like to be able to manipulate.  For
instance, if a neutral or alkaline substrate makes the bone meal
phosphorus generally unavailable that should mean that there's little
danger of phosphorus "leaking" out of the substrate.  But then if a plant
acidifies a microenvironment next to it's roots (a common tactic, I think)
doesn't that mean that the bone meal phosphorus next to the roots will
become available to the plant?

Mark's mention here of substrate pH is the only time I can recall
substrate pH being brought up on this list, but then maybe my memory isn't
all that great.  Soil pH is an important factor in growing terrestrial
crops and ornamentals, doesn't it seem that it should be important to
rooted aquatic plants as well?  I don't even recall that any of the hobby
books say much (if anything) about it.

Roger Miller

In Albuquerque, where autumn's first snow is on the mountain.