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Re: Root Feeding Question

Cavan asked:

"I have a question about the Jobes Spikes.  Is there
already nitrogen and phosphate in sufficient quantity
in the substrate from mulm and such?  My plants seem
to like the Flourish Tabs, but I was wondering if the
extra N and PO4 would help them, specifically my
macrandra.  I do have some potassium tablets as well."

Are you using the Jobes 16-2-6 Spikes (For Lush Ferns & Palms)?

It's impossible for anyone to say how much nitrogen and phosphorous is in
your substrate without knowing how much mulm is there and how long the tank
has been set up, but the Flourish Tabs are mainly Calcium (20%) and Sulfur
(35%) and Iron (2.8%), with a host of other micronutrients present in trace
amounts (as you would want them to be). I don't think that you would hurt
anything by the judicious use of Jobes Spikes in addition to the Flourish
Tabs - just take it easy at first and watch the response of your plants for
a few weeks after the insertion of a couple of the spikes. Inserting the
spikes (or the tabs) deep into the substrate should minimize any potential
of the nutrients leaking into the water column and causing an algae bloom.

If you have potassium tablets, what type are they? The generic dietary
supplements available in drugstores? If they are, they are probably
Potassium gluconate (check the label). This is the same stuff that is in
Flourish Potassium and either can be added to an aquarium without much worry
of overdosing (just don't throw in the whole bottle!). Potassium is one
nutrient that is easily absorbed by aquatic plants through their leaves and
stems, so there is no need to bury the potassium tablets - I just dissolve
them in a glass of water and then pour it into the tank. I've never heard of
Potassium causing algae problems. Be aware that this can sometimes cause a
"snow storm", but it's a harmless precipitate and will dissolve and
disappear in a few hours to a few days.

James Purchase