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Re: bone meal
I've never tried using bone meal as a substrate amendment in aquariums.
I use it with my roses and fruit trees. I would wonder if bone meal in
the substrate might encourage the growth of bacteria? I read with
interest an article in the latest TAG about the problem of excess
bacterial growth in newly submerged organic soil aquariums. The author
highly recommended the use of snails and detrivores like catfish
especially Otocinclus and Plecostomus. The author said that excess
bacteria can form a slime coating on the leaves of the plants and this
can severely inhibit their ability to absorb nutrients and light. I had
something of a problem like this when I set up my 50 gallon tank earlier
this year however after a few months, the slime seems to have
disappeared. I wouldn't use garden soil in large amounts again since the
topsoil in my back yard seems to have been quite enriched with compost.
I've used it in pots in much smaller amounts with good success.
Roger, why don't you try using bone meal in a ceramic pot with sand,
clay and peat or some other mixture? It might be interesting to set up 3
or four pots with different mixtures to compare results. You could also
experiment with fast and slow growing plants. I think Crypts benefit the
most from substrate amendment since they are normally slow growing. If I
fertilize a sword plant in the substrate, the darn things just try to
take over even with a moderately infertile subsoil substrate.
As another alternative for providing P in the substrate, I've used
14-14-14 Osmocote pellets (10 granules to the ball) in clay balls. One
of these balls is like rocket booster fuel to most aquatic plants! The
clay seems to prevent the diffusion of the P into the water quite
nicely. You could do the same thing with bone meal, mix it into clay
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!!!