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Re: bone meal

Roger S. Miller wrote:
> One of the few references to bone meal in the APD archives is a
> reply from Paul K. to a question from a woman who potted some water lilies
> in a medium that included bone meal.  He suggested that slime growth on
> her lilies resulted from the bone meal feeding bacterial growth.

I recall that now. I knew I'd read something somewhere...

> > 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
> > balls.
> I'm thinking along the experimental lines.  It seems like an interesting
> winter project. If I were to test with potted substrates then I think the
> different pots would have to be in different tanks, so that any phosphorus
> that might leak from one pot won't effect growth in other pots and confuse
> the results.

Yes, that's a good plan (separate tanks) although not always easy to do.
It would be interesting to see if the combination of peat and a small
amount of bonemeal will produce an abundance of phosphates. The low pH
of the peat should make the bonemeal break down faster. It might produce
strong growth or even an excess of biofilm (AKA slime) or even an algae
bloom. I suspect that the bonemeal + clayball approach will be the most
efficacious because the plant roots should have a sufficiency of P and
this will help to limit P leakage to the water. The plant roots can
exude acids and should have no problem at all acidifying and absorbing
the substrate P.

I chuckled when I read Michael Rubin's comments about creating a
Frankenstein's monster with all those Jobe's Sticks (that is a LOT). The
good news : just in time for Halloween Michael !!!   :-) HA HA HA!!

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!!!