Ironite fertilizer in the substrate??????
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Old 12-03-2003, 06:46 PM   #1
hubbahubbahehe
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Hi, I found Ironite fertilizer at Wal-mart, check it out. it has a NPK ratio of 7-6-6 and it includes all the traces that plants need. It comes in little pellets and I was thinking of pushing them down into the substrate like root tabs. I have a pellet applicator. Anyone ever use Ironite before?
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Old 12-03-2003, 11:01 PM   #2
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Nope. And for good reason. It will turn your water very acidic. Also the iron is not chelated.
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Old 12-04-2003, 02:31 AM   #3
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Doesn't need to be chelated if it's in the substrate, it can work in small amounts, without turning the water overly acidic. I mix it with clay and add it to the substrate when I am setting up a tank, about a 1/4 cup to a pound of red potters clay which I used in three 30 gallon tanks as part of a soil sub-substrate.

You only need to worry about chelating iron (or any metal ion nutrient) if it is being dosed in the water column to keep it in the "plant available" ionic state.
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Old 12-04-2003, 03:16 AM   #4
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woohoo, if Sean endorses, then that's that. hehe, thanks Sean!

Okay, so now my question is...I've got a 10 gallon tank and a 20 gallon tank.... how do you suggest going about applying it into my substrate? i.e. 1 tblsp every inch..... every 6 inches?? or just under the crypts and swords?

Thanks again Rex and Sean for your replies.
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Old 12-04-2003, 11:15 AM   #5
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The idea is to make iron available to the plants, not to choke them with it. What else is in the your substrate, to be honest I wouldn't use it without the clay and soil. I used the mix under my entire substrate, everything seems to appreciate it, swords, crypts, hairgrass, sag, vals, I have Limnophila sending out runners, and the Lace plants are still flowering.
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Old 12-04-2003, 04:22 PM   #6
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Hi Sean, I have one inch of soil substrate and an inch of play sand over the soil substrate. the plants seem to do okay once they are ESTABLISHED with some roots. It's always the initial planting....that they grow perhaps too fast that they show some nutrient deficiencies..after a couple of weeks, they green up. i'm just tired of water column fertilizing because of all the algae it produces..perhaps because the phosphate content is so high in ironite...i was thinking if i put it in the substrate where the algae cannot get access to it, it would be much better.

if i may ask, why wouldn't you use it without clay and soil?
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Old 12-04-2003, 05:00 PM   #7
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Another question Sean, how often do you add more ironite to your substrate? every month?
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Old 12-04-2003, 05:37 PM   #8
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The bio-chemical processes that have to occur to make the Ironite usable by the plants works better in a soil substrate than in a gravel or sand only substrate. I'm still trying to peg down why from the scientific literature, but I've found that plants in a soil substrate can overcome anoxic conditions where plants in a gravel substrate have a harder time. It has something to do with the rhizosphere and the pore space of the soil. The clay binds any excess production from these processes until the plants have a chance to take up the released nutrients.

I haven't added anything to my substrate (other than new plants) in about 5 years, all I've done is reap a harvest.
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Old 12-04-2003, 07:39 PM   #9
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what's the rhizosphere?
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Old 12-04-2003, 08:05 PM   #10
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Why did I have the feeling I might be getting too technical.

If I find a song lyric that explains it I'll let you know. :roll:

j/k

Aquatic plant roots are "leaky", in that they release O2 to the substrate. The area that is affected by this O2 release is called the rhizosphere. In an anoxic substrate this is the area that has aerobic metabolism occuring.

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Old 12-04-2003, 08:10 PM   #11
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haha I'm lovin it...tell me more tell me more...haha

i think i see what you are saying....you are saying that with all the roots in the substrate, it becomes aerobic...and there are no anaerobic areas to make iron in an available form for plants.... but in a soil substrate.. despite the oxygen richness of it all, iron is still made available vs. a gravel substrate?

anything i left out?
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Old 12-04-2003, 09:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hubbahubbahehe
haha I'm lovin it...tell me more tell me more...haha

i think i see what you are saying....you are saying that with all the roots in the substrate, it becomes aerobic...and there are no anaerobic areas to make iron in an available form for plants.... but in a soil substrate.. despite the oxygen richness of it all, iron is still made available vs. a gravel substrate?

anything i left out?
You don't quite have it but you don't really need to know it to grow plants. Neither substrate is oxygen rich at all, but in a gravel substrate the plants can't form an effective rhizosphere, and can't get the process going to get nutrients into an available form.
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Old 12-05-2003, 05:17 PM   #13
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Sean, have you ever had your soil substrates "go bad"?? i read about it online every now and then from people who say that it turns into a "green stinky mess" or "went anaerobic and caused all the fish to die" ?? what are your experiences?
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Old 12-07-2003, 12:27 AM   #14
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I've never had a substrate go bad. I even set one up, filled the tank, and let it sit for a year before planting a couple dwarf sag and a crypt spiralis in the tank, I was a little distracted at the time. I also put some rotala rotundifolia on the substrate and held it down with a rock. All three plants took to this anoxic substrate, spread, and turned it over. You have to remember I don't use a topsoil with any organic material in it, it is mineralized.

Actually the ten gallon tank that I show the picture of in another thread is that tank, with that same substrate today, some of the plants are gone and others are planted in there now.

My substrates are lasting, at last count which is present day, 9 years. And that tank had a massive die off because of a heater malfunction, is got stuck on. However, everything that had below gravel biomass came back after a water change. I was very glad to see that because my 9 year old Lace plants are in that tank (at the time they were 6). Other plants that came back are Crypt parva, Crypt spiralis, Crypt walkerii, Crypt willisii, and an Amazon sword I don't know the species of.
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Old 12-07-2003, 02:08 AM   #15
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so thsi mineralized topsoil is the same one that you get at home depot right? 40 lbs for like a dollar?
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