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[APD] Chelating Agents

Guys there has been a lot of talk about chelation lately, not that anyone really cares what I say, but I think we're missing the mark here. Chelating iron is still controversial in terrestrial plants, let alone aquatic environments. They aren't magic compounds that do all sorts of wonderous things, and despite most of us having strong science backgrounds none of us are experts on iron transport in aquatic environments. I don't even think Tom has looked as these chemistries in much detail, his livelyhood is in this area. In other words I think we're fooling ourselves if we think we understand any of this - the devil is in the details, all the factors that effect iron availability are way too complicated to distill into some amateur theory - there is pH, dissolved oxygen levels, substrate interaction, humic compound interactions, and on and on, and lastly chelation. Iron is involved in all sorts of very complex equilbria, even without a chelating agent, I don't think this discussion is helpful or relevant.

The reason I mention this as that I don't think it matters, the problems people are seeing are likely light and CO2, in some case macronutrients, in even fewer cases problems with traces unless they are not adding enough. This is the important point - Until someone actually does a controlled experiment, all of this discussion is worthless - its too complex to theorize. Wu from the DFW club now is switching the iron sulphate, no chelating agent and I would not be suprised if he reports absolutely no change in his tanks, I'm eagerly awaiting his results.

Light spectrum, substrate heating, substrate composition, trace element mix, I don't think that any of what I just mentions matters at all. Making a big deal of out stuff like this because we think we know what we're talking about,

1) scares newbies away and removes the focus from the important issues, light and CO2, secondly macros, thirdly and lastly, stuff like trace mixes

2) discourages experimentation because people think you need to do it a certain way, because XYZ who posts an awful lot said so. So much of our hobby is based on bunk info that got printed once and then re-cited through the years... (see the dump-and-squirt method of acclimation for an example of this, phosphate causes algae, etc) Do the experiments! Have fun! There is no one way.

K.I.S.S., Occam's Razor, Bayesian Inference, it has many names but lets not make it overly complex without the facts to back it up. :)

Jeff Ludwig
Elkton, MD
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