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Plant weights? Why?

>> ... solder for drinking water plumbing is no longer > allowed to contain 
>lead (I have no idea what they have > used instead - silver and some other 
>	I think it's 95% Tin and 5% Antimony.  I suppose that since this was
>the formulation chosen for household plumbing, it must not to be too
>toxic.  Still, Antimony is in the same periodic table column as Arsenic,
>which gives me pause.
>	What about using thin soft steel wire?  The local hardware sells 75' of
>#19 (that's skinny -- 1mm) annealed steel wire for $1.50.  It's not as
>pliable as lead, but being thin, is very easy to work with, and it's
>oxidation products are unmysterious and beneficial.
>	Just a thought... personally, I just jab everything into the Flourite
>and hope for the best (which is why there's a long strand of Ludwigia
>floating around the tank tonight :)

I don't understand the need to find a solution to a non-problem.  If your
stem plants (or crown plants for that matter) won't stay down when you
first get them, siply pile a few small stones right around the base.  With
good growth conditions, they will be well enough rooted within a week or
two that you'd need to give them a good tug to remove them.  If they
HAVEN'T rooted in that length of time, you've got more serious problems to
deal with, and plant weights are, at best, a short term "bandaid" type fix.  

Most of the time, the reasons plant won't root are:

1. Too large substrate - solution: replace it with something more suitable
2.  Poor substrate makeup - solution: plants have to "want" to get their
feet into the substrate (otherwise your chances are just about as good as
they guy who tried to hold his cat in the tank ;-)
3.  Large boisterous fish - 
     Solution A.: Remove large boisterous fish
     Solution B.: Establish plants before introducing large boisterous fish

Plant weights, no matter what the material can easily cause damage to
tender tissue, which in turn can cause the stem to rot off just above the
weight.  You end up with shorter and shorter pieces floating to the surface
as you continue to damage the part of the plant that should be allowed
develop and form roots.  

With a really stubborn piece of stem plant, simply lay it on the gravel and
pin it down with a series of stones placed along the length.  The plant
will send roots down from the bottom of each leaf node, as it sends a shoot
up from the top side of each node.

If you've got a large buoyant plant with short roots, (sometimes "Jungle
val" and some Sag's come this way) I have found that a good way to anchor
them until they get themselves rooted is to unbend a large paperclip until
it looks like a croquette wicket.  Slide this between the leaves, arching
above the crown, making sure that it does not press on the tender plant
tissues.  Insert the paperclip into the substrate deeply enough to hold the
roots down against the substrate surface.  If you need more stability,
place a few stones close to the plant.

I can't think of a single use for plant weights that can't be handled
better with another method.