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Re: Proper feeding of Plants

Allen <allangm at hotmail_com> wrote:
> Subject: Proper feeding of Plants
> I have noticed that there are two "camps" on plant fertilization. One says 
> to fertilize the water column and the other says to never fertilize the 
> water column, but to fertilize the substrate (there are also some "fence 
> sitters" that admit to doing both).
> My question is, if I were set up a tank with substrate fertilization, for 
> root feeders, and not fertilize the water column will my fish load provide 
> the necessary fertilization of the H2O column to provide food for the H2O 
> column feeders, like Java fern, Java moss etc. As long as the fish load 
> matches the H2O column feeding plant load, we should have some equilibrium, 
> right? So then it would not be necessary, in fact advantageous to not 
> fertilize the water column. It may still be necessary to add trace elements 
> to the H2O column as the H2O changes may not supply all necessary nutrients.
> Have I got this all wrong? Is it necessary to fertilize both H2O column and 
> the substrate for aqautic plants to survive?

Well, you're pretty close. First, to answer your questions, it'll help if 
you can get a nitrate test kit. If the NO3 is below 5ppm, you will 
need to fert the water column or the fern and moss will suffer. If 
growth is real good, some PO4 may need to be added periodically. 
You stated you just started the 55gal. If that's true, I'd monitor the 
water levels and wait to add fert to the substrate. You'll want to do 
some re-arranging to start with (6 months or so, folks usually do) 
and the Jobes will get into the water column, which is not good. 
Once everything setles in and you're happy, add some substrate 
fert. Less is better than more.

You will need to keep the trace elements in check, via PMDD or 
the like. The water changes (our's is like DI water) usually don't 
replenish the lost analytes. It's a balancing act. The fence-riders 
usually wait until growth problems are detected (stunted leaves, 
loss of color, etc.) before they act. Others start day one with 
chemical additions. However, the fast adders usually convert to the 
fence-riders after a few bouts with GW and hair algae. So, in the 
act of balancing, it may be wise to add less and add more as 

Jamie    <"\\\>< Aquatic plants, water chemistry, and cichlids
Greenwood, SC     http://www.ais-gwd.com/~jjirons