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re: steel wool ;)

At 3:48 -0400 10/11/98, BlackNet Runner <br at ldl_net> wrote:

>hmm, I once used steel wool for a source of iron.  Now I use a much
>better product that's called ironite (see www.ironite.com) I have a 25
>lbs bag on the porch.
>What convinced me that ironite is much better is a little experiment
>that I did.  I used 2 test tubes and filled both with tap water, in one
>I tested  just water by it self (for a basis of change), in the other I
>added 2 grains of ironite.  Results?? :) the ironite drove the iron
>level WAY high.  Now I use ironite in the tanks after measuring the iron
>levels.  These so called "plant fertilizers" that you get in the local
>shops are mostly bogus for iron usage.  They may contain iron but not
>enought for a densely planted tank, maybe for trace elements..

No doubt, but you want the iron in the substrate, not the water column. The
idea is that only the rooted plants should have access to it - not the
algae. Roots can liberate bound up iron from the substrate.

Also, regarding Steve P's observation that the surface area of clay is much
grater than steel wool, this is true. Form my observation of a bit of steel
that ended up against the glass in the gravel of my tank, a large rust
stain grew around the piece, and now doubt this stain greatly increased the
iron exposed surface area.