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[APD] Re: substrate vs the water column

On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 14:03:10 -0500 (EST), Richard J. Sexton <richard at aquaria_net> wrote:

At 12:42 PM 12/22/2004 -0600, somebody wrote:
So, if the plants are indifferent to the location of nutrients,
then why bother with any sort of fancy substrate at all?


This does explain why plants grow in new tanks with fresh inert silica quartz
aquarium gravel.

The question I have is will they (and again I'm really referring to crypts)
grow better if they ALSO have substrate fertilization.

No - they will grow no faster (according to the studies quoted by Barr) if water column fertilisation is good. That's what he's been saying! Substrate fertilisation of macros will have absolutely no effect on growth rates, in fact (at least in some species, no reason not to extend to others) cutting off the roots makes no difference to growth rates. This is what Tom Barr is saying. And, except for NH3/4, you can pump up the macros in the water column without algae.

So why is Flourite, say, better than plain silica sand/gravel? Not because of nutrients (except traces?), but because they provide something else to do with the texture of the material, and the aerobic and anaerobic parts of it enabling reduction (?) and/or binding (?) of water column nutrients; I don't actually know what, but it is definitely something like that.

Andrew McLeod
thefish at theabyssalplain_freeserve.co.uk

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