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Re: My tank can't get enough iron!

In response to one of my posts, Tom Wood asked:
"Hey, am I being condescended upon here!?!? LOL By that rationale, Einstein
was trying to paint by numbers when he tried to devise his unified field
theory to explain the workings of the universe. ;)"

Certainly not, Tom.... ;-)

My cautions are merely to point out that ther is no ONE formula which will
lead to success for everyone, in every situation. Going back to the
different trace element formulations, if you read thru the guidelines on
various agricultural websites regarding soil supplementation, you will see
that a full analysis of the soil is required BEFORE any fertilization
product or scheme is adopted. All of these products are designed to
supplement or "fill in the gaps" of what might be present or missing in the
plant's environment naturally. Intelligent use of any fertilizer product (be
in micro or macro, organic or chemical) requires that you know what you are
starting with as well as where you want to go. This holds true in an
aquarium as well - you have to consider what your plants might receive from
the substrate and from the water supply as well as from fish food inputs
before you decide on a fertilization scheme and no one recommendation is
going to be right for everyone.

I suspect, from religious reading of the APD and from talking with many
people over a long period of time, that a lot of us sometimes honor that
maxim in word more than in deed. Sort of like "well, if Mr. Expert uses xxx
amount of this and gets good results, I'm going to do so as well, because I
want the same results....". This quite often doesn't work because the
starting points for two different tanks might be different (i.e. different
substrates, different water supplies, different bioloads, etc. etc.) and
what one might need could sometimes be totally wrong for another tank.

Tom Barr has posted some "aim points" for various nutrients, I guess that
they are as good a set as any. Neil Frank followed up with the reminder that
regular and sizeable water changes are recommended. This is, in my view
vital, especially for tanks that are being run hard (i.e. high light, high
nutrient levels). These water changes can flush out any build up of
nutrients beyond what are useful to the plants. [....and I just _know_ that
someone, somewhere, is going to follow up with a post about how they haven't
changed water in years yet everything grows like a weed for them.....;-) ]

A number of years ago, when I was deeply into the "numbers game" as far as
nutrients are concerned, I laid out the money for a complete set of LaMotte
and Hatch test kits. I'm certainly not sorry that I have them, but most
don't get used very often any more. I spend most of my time now just sitting
back watching the jungle of C. crispatula var. balansae and bunches of
Limnophila sessiliflora wave to and fro in the alternating currents that
wash thru the tank. The plants seem a lot happier than when I was constantly
fiddling with parameters, and to tell the truth, so am I...... Of course,
not every plant grows well for me, those that don't respond to my current
approach get replaced by those that do. I used to have a magnificient stand
of C. pontederiifolia but about a year ago they took a nose dive and have
been doing poorly ever since. Life is to short to sweat it....;-).

One point made by Tom which I would like to totally agree with is the need
to change only ONE parameter at a time. It takes a lot of patience and a
willingness to wait to accurately measure the success or failure of any
approach to plant husbandry. How many posts do you read where someone has
set up a tank 72 hours ago and they are already freaking out about this or
that and they have begun adding any number of additives to combat a host of
perceived problems. Most of us are impatient and we want results yesterday.
I have been as guilty of this as anyone and it took a lot of failures before
I learned to relax.

This is probably the hardest part of the hobby for most people - learning to
just sit back and watch and wait. Great for the blood pressure though.

James Purchase