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Plant fertilizers and loaches - warning

Posted By: JD <dietsch@voicenet.com>
Date: Monday, 22 January 2001, at 2:09 p.m.

This is in addition to a post below. I want to start this by saying I always use liquid fertilizers in all of my tanks, and all have loaches. I will say that for good plant growth, as BB said, balance is required. With higher light levels the plants will quickly run out of food. I would recommend proven additives for those that have little experience in planted tanks. But all in all there are numerous plant fertilizer and trace element additives on the market that will allow you to maintain the health of both your fish and plants. As I have said before a properly maintained plant tank is the best environment you can provide your fish. I have been using a mix of trace elements in the powder form that are made for hydroponics, not fishtanks, but I know it works since I have been adding it to my tanks for about 4 years now with no ill effects. The Krib's plant section has all the info you may want and more then you need to make an informed choice on what fertilizers are right for you. However I do have some words of warning, and I hate to mention it here, but I feel it is something that should be in the archive. I am CC this list on a post I will make to the Aquatic plants digest latter. Again I say this in no way invalidates the proper use of approved fertilizers, but this should be viewed as a discouragement for experimentation. Again adding trace elements to your tank is not an experiment but adding one you no nothing about is. Adding to much of anything, even good things can be harmful. Anyway on to the post.

I think I am emerging from my denial phase regarding the death of my loaches and coming to grips with my bad judgment. This little indiscretion I am about to describe has caused the death of many old loaches. While I am a plant nut, my fish of choice are loaches and I have been keeping them together for years. I'll admit the relationship is imperfect, the loaches seem to get the better half of the stick. I mean the plants uptake of fish waste and have provided the fish with an excellent environment for years. Along with that clean water, my swords provided, the loaches specifically, with hours of leaf popping fun. Anyway, this aquatic playground all came crashing down one day this past summer ('00) when I screwed up. While I was outside tending to the gardens I had an idea. I had thought of this on a few occasions before, but discounted it for the fear of the unknown. I had a nice bottle of organic "wonder potion" that will revive the most pathetic of plants. If it's so good on the stuff in my yard why not try a little on the plants in the tank! Damn if I hadn't talked myself out of this the few times in the past, but in the moment of weakness or daring, I went for it. The solution was an organic form of trace elements, an elixer of sorts, the extract of kelp. Hell, take a ton of kelp, make a kelp tea and then reduce it to a concentrate, what a good booster for the common house plant. Add a teaspoon of this liquid plant life to a 90 gal plant tank, and well, it was certain death for my loaches. Within a day or two they ALL developed Ick! Now I am sure there are a few of you here shaking your heads saying, of course it does. If I had erred on the side of caution like I had done so many times in the past, I too would be shaking my head today listening to this from someone else. But this time I did it, and there is the stress indicator! I quickly did water changes, added carbon and did more changes. I feed them medicated foods, and did more water changes, but to no avail, they are all gone, Clows, Botia rostrata, and B. striata. Surprisingly enough, through all this pain, and not a lick of stress in the other fish. I have a 4 year old Farlowella no issue, a trio of panda cory, still spawning to this day even the ottos are fine. There are two bristle nose plecos, a plekolota, an angelfish, and a 3 year old hummingbird tetra that all made it through this onslaught of heavy metals. I did however loose 2 of my 4 year old SEAs while one of them managed to survive. I was surprised at what happened and then again I was annoyed that I could be so stupid. I am writing this to get it into the archives, that it is a bad idea to add Liquid Kelp Concentrates to your plant tanks if you have fish in there. Without a little more research into the root cause I will place this very high on the "never do" list. During all that death, I paid little attention to the health of my plants. I never noticed any appreciable improvement, and I know they look none the worse for ware. I would say that, understanding loaches to be a particularly sensitive species, if the application of kelp stressed them to the point of ick, then I am sure it was a load on the other fish as well. It has been said that Botia are sensitive to Copper and I know there is Cu in the elixer, maybe that was at to high of a level for them. Maybe it was Cu and another metal, maybe it's a bunch of them I am unsure. I am relatively confident that the kelp was the primary environmental change that brought on the ick. My water parameters all were within normal ranges, and the temperature stable, also my pressurized CO2 setup was producing with normal parameter. I am not going to try it again in an attempt to disprove my supposition, but anyone else is welcome to prove me wrong:) I will stick to my normal PMDD mix and leave the kelp for outdoor use.

Thanks for listening,
Jeff(JD)

 

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