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Cliff's Notes on Micros

1983 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  JCombra
The custom micro mix thread has reached nearly 100 pages and nearly 1,500 posts. Additionally, the old threads on trace toxicity are long and full of chaff. Now, I try not to be lazy and generally am willing to put some time into researching a topic, but this is a bit much. I realized I'm probably not the only one getting overwhelmed. Could someone give a summary of what we currently know about micro dosing, in particular:

1. Is micro toxicity a thing? Are there certain nutrients that we can lard on without a problem and others that we have to watch out for?

2. What is the difference between the various chelators? Do those differences really matter? Does the buildup of chelators cause harm? Is there a problem with using multiple chelators in the same tank?

3. How do you identify micro toxicities or deficiencies?

4. Tap water and soil usually have some nutrients. If you have a low-light tank, especially a dirt tank, do you still need to add micros? Does fish food have enough micros to have an effect? Do "shrimp blocks" give off anything useful to plants?

5. Is CSM+B a good or bad micro mix? How does it compare to other micro mixes?

6. Iron is usually grouped with micros. How much iron do we really need to add? Does the source matter? Is it better to add iron to the water or have it in the substrate?

7. How important are nutrient ratios? Which ones do we really need to worry about? Not just between different micronutrients but also between micros and macros.

8. Can dosing or overdosing micros be beneficial or harmful to fish or inverts?

9. Keeping in mind that plant species have different preferences, and as aquarists we're better off striving for "good enough" than "ideal", in general, what dose should we use for each micronutrient?

10. Is there anything else we should know about dosing micronutrients?

It's okay if you can only answer one or two questions. I just think the topic has grown to the point that having all the info consolidated in one thread would be helpful. Since this is also meant to help newbies, please try to keep your explanations in layman's terms. If you know of a good explanation elsewhere on the forum, please paste or quote it here or link to a particular post. It's very frustrating to sift through a dozen-page thread for a single answer or to have to go through a dozen threads on the same topic, each with only one or two pieces of the puzzle.
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I can only give a partial answer to #4 as I experimented with this method for some time.

If your lighting is very low, tap water and fish waste is enough for some plants(I used city tap water).
The tank I experimented on had an LED that I dimmed way down (I'm talking low, less than having a single T8 florescent strip), fine sand substrate, no soil.

At the time, I grew crypt spiralis, java fern, and dwarf aquarium lilies. Crypt spiralis grew beautifully with big leaves and started to become bushy over time. This plant grew best in the set up. Next was Java Fern. They did okay. Stayed small and not as green as they should be but good enough. The lilies stayed very small but still grew.

So with the right plants, it's definitely doable. In fact, I'm planning to start another tank using this method with just crypt spiralis.

Hope this helps.
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