where do plants eat? i.e., where should we feed them?
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:59 PM   #1
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where do plants eat? i.e., where should we feed them?

I did a little searching in the archives, but didn't see much on this idea, although I am sure it has been discussed to death, so feel free to redirect me to other threads or sources.

My idea is that there are certain things that plants have to get from the water where competition with algae can be an issue. Light, for sure. Probably CO2 as well. But what about other nutrients? Can they absorb everything else they need (nitrogens, iron, calcium, etc.) from their roots? If so, feeding them there, at the roots, would certainly tip the algae-competition in the favor of rooted plants. I have to assume that is one of the main ideas behind 'root tabs' (that and maybe a little laziness, as in they require less frequent tweaking than dosing the water). But what I'm thinking goes a little further.

What if we bring back the undergravel filter concept, not for encouraging flow through the gravel bed (down or reverse), but just around underneath it. It would be sort of a split level aquarium with most of the water in circulation above the gravel bed, but another pool circulating below it. Then we can dose the water down there and, while there will surely be some diffusion through the bed, many of the nutrients would remain down there and out of reach of the algae. You could access the undergravel pool in a couple different ways. One would be through something like the old riser tubes from the UGF, just make sure they rise above the water surface. Another would be to install a couple bulkhead fittings in the bottom of the tank, and then you could literally circulate/pump that water from one end to the other, maybe even with a sump tank (at the level of the water level in the main tank above so you don't drain the tank, LOL!) that you could easily test and dose for whatever nutrients. What do you think? Crazy? Waste of time? Let me have it. thanks!
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:21 PM   #2
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Lots of plants are great foliar feeders, in fact, much more so than many people believe. In fact, I was reading the other day in a bonsai book of mine that even trees are able to absorb nutrients through their leaves in surprisingly efficient manner.

Of course, our aquatic plants are both foliar feeders and root feeders, some more than others. For example, a plant such as HC or Marsilea minuta relies mainly on its extensive root system to survive, whereas broad-leafed Ludwigias and other stem plants rely very much on foliar feeding as well. This is why a loose stem of Ludwigia or Rotala floating around can survive almost just as well as one planted securely in your substrate (provided you have sufficient fertilization).
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:25 PM   #3
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This discussion is about phosphorus, mainly about bacterial process at the root level in wetlands where there is times of submersed and emersed growth.

Read the links provided in the discussion.

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