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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't see a lot of discussion about the use of specific ratios for the different growth stages of aquatic plants. This is a major premise in ADA's Green Brighty series but they are the only ones that use it.

For example, in the early stages of vegetative growth, greater amounts of nitrogen are needed to promote vigorous development. Potassium helps with root formation so increasing it's proportion in the early stages makes sense.

What are your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Edward,

From my recollection, Green Brighty is a series of steps, Step 1 (0-3 months), Step 2 (3 months to a year) and Step 3 (1+ year). There is also Brighty K (potassium) and Lights (for light loving plants) and Shade (for shade loving plants). Lights and Shade contain N and P and is to be used as a supplement to Step 2 or 3.

As with all liquid fertilizers, it is ADA's proprietary formulation. The series is meant to provide for the complete nutrition of plants. Perhaps Ryan can tell us if ADA has released the formulation in one of the Aqua Journals. However, I've never obtained it.

In the end, it doesn't matter to me. What I find interesting is that they have different formulations for the growth stages of plants. I think this is an area that we haven't focused much on but I think is important.
 

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I had a course in plant nutrition back in the 1960's, and it was taught that ratios were not important, but that concentrations of individual elements were. There existed a concentration for every nutrient below which, the plant could not get enough for maximum growth and above which, it could. The amounts of other elements did not affect significantly these concentrations. As long as all nutrients were above their critical concentrations, ratios could vary widely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Paul,

What about toxicities? Isn't it true that too much of a certain element can actually block uptake of another?

Also, could the concentration needed of a particular element be different at different growth stages?
 

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Hi

We do know the basics what each element provide, or at least we can speculate. In a simple way;

N foliage
P roots
K health
Ca structure
Mg structure
C structure
TE complex enzyme process

Step 1 (0-3 months), Step 2 (3 months to a year) and Step 3 (1+ year)

0-3 months
We can expect increased demand for P and K, lower demand for N

3 months to a year
Need for regularly balanced fertilization

1+ year
My speculation is that this Step is due to the chemical characteristic change of the relatively unstable substrate used with this line.

Lights (for light loving plants) and Shade (for shade loving plants)

Lights (for light loving plants)
Demand for higher N and TE, lower demand for P

Shade (for shade loving plants)
Demand for higher Mg, lower demand for N and TE

The PPS fertilization was designed to follow these plant stages and at a variety of lighting conditions. Solutions containing NPK, NP and PK. By a simple combination of NPK+NP or by NPK+PK one can adjust to any plant demand.

Edward
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi,

P plays an important role in the production of DNA and, hence, cell development. Deficiency results in very poor growth.

K plays a role as an activator of key enzymes controlling metobolic pathways among other things. It is also important for root formation.
Edward said:
1+ year

My speculation is that this Step is due to the chemical characteristic change of the relatively unstable substrate used with this line.
Their substrate line is stable, as I define the term. Why do you say it is relatively unstable? I think Step 3 is a general formulation for long-term maintenance.
 

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The substrate is actively involved in the chemical process and it does change with time as many have experienced. The fertilization must reflect this change to continue the proper balance.

Edward
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My experience with the substrates has been a very good one. The substrates create the right environment for nutrient cycling so my substrate got more stable as time went on. The impact on KH/GH is initial and is due to the primary component, clay.

To enrich the substrate further, ADA does sell nutrient pellets that are used for targeted feedings.

The above notwithstanding, I do feel that the nutritional needs of aquarium plants change over time. This is something that we should do some experimenting with.
 

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HeyPK said:
...As long as all nutrients were above their critical concentrations, ratios could vary widely.
I consider this assumtion basic to the Estimative Index values.

I am very surprised that no one has taken ADA products to a lab for analysis.
 

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"They" probably have. But would you expect that "someone" who had the money to invest in lab analysis to publish the data free of charge?

Andrew Cribb
 

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Art_Giacosa said:
I don't see a lot of discussion about the use of specific ratios for the different growth stages of aquatic plants. This is a major premise in ADA's Green Brighty series but they are the only ones that use it.
Are we not already doing this, even though we don't explicitly say so? The way that I see it: with the exception for those who follow the Estimative Index to the letter, we all adjust our nutrients (N, P, K, and to some extent micronutrients & C) according to plant growth...ESPECIALLY those who are testkit users. In the early stages of a tank or after major prunings, less nutrients are dosed to maintain X ppm while more is needed to maintain the same concentration as plant mass increases. Even those who don't partake in testkits dose accordingly. Estimative Index users are the only exceptions in that they dose a fixed concentration weekly regardless of plant mass/etc. and flush the left overs at the week's end.

I take "ratio" to mean an approach to dosing as to avoid "waste of nutrients"; and in the cases of "just-enough" dosers (I'll ignore Edward's PPS here because I'm still trying to understand the system. :D), to prolong the period between water changes. Within a certain range (and it is broad as HeyPK noted and the Estimative Index suggests), plants do not really care what ratio of nutrients are in the water column/substrate, as long as there are some for them to uptake. Up to some maximum, the rate of uptake increases as the [X] increases, assuming maximum light of course. Toxicity is a complex issue that I rather not approach at this moment. :p Speaking of which, what are some of the known/suspected toxicities in the hobby...beside potassium?

So I don't really understand the difference between ADA and US fertilization methods in this respect.

---

One thing I am confused over is the 10:1:10 NPK ratio. Does this mean that for every mol N taken up, one mol of P and one mol of K are taken up as well? Or does this ratio only apply to healthy established plants? What about a K-deficient plant that is being placed in a K-rich environment? Would it temporarily take up more K than N and P? If so, then that may explain the rationale behind ADA's reccomendation of more K during the early stages, as the plants uses up more K to produce the roots relative to N and P.

Jeff Kropp said:
I am very surprised that no one has taken ADA products to a lab for analysis.
I am very surprised that after all these years and discussions, no one has taken Flourish Excel to the lab. There has to be professional chemists among our ranks no? :mrgreen:
 

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In terms of ingredients, testing Flourish Excel would only be a case of trust and verify, in that the chemical components are already listed on the label "contains: polycycloglutaracetal". Perhaps cS means testing the efficaciousness of polycycloglutaracetal with regard to providing carbon to growing plants would be an interesting challenge to those hidden chemists amongst us. Perhaps those chemists aren't allowed to use their mass spectrometers for such frivolous use? :)

ADA fertilizer ingredients are proprietary, in that they are not listed on the label (only implied, as in "Brighty K" suggesting a potassium component), which is a means of copyright protection to ensure income for the maker.

Is it just a case of varying ratios of the already known important fertilizer ingredients such as NPK for the birth, maturity, and senility phases of aquatic plant life? or are there some other less well-known and less available chemical compounds which are of use in the maintaining plant growth during the various stages (such as Niko's current posting on root hormones used in Bonsai and terrestrial plants which relates to compounds that are used to encourage root growth)? Other compounds used in plant tissue culture might well be of use - but relatively unknown to hobbyists.

It's easy to lay ones hands on KNO3, KCL, K2SO4 etc. But when it comes to more complex items which we can't buy, perhaps it is then that a company with financial and research resources such as ADA can bring to market an additional component focused on fertilizing for a specific growth phase. Maybe ADA just uses the "usual" ingredients and brands the mixtures. Maybe they also make some additions.

Do fertilizers just amount to NPK + TE + Fe? Does the compound in which the important elements are delivered matter? Does the balance of secondary elements in those compounds (such as Cl and S) make any difference? There are a few permutations which have been explored already and some more work to do.

Unless Japanese hobbyists are secretly importing Green Light Stump Remover and Fleet Enema, it seems pretty certain that the stepped ADA fertilizer line works in conjunction with the substrate.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Art_Giacosa said:
What I find interesting is that they have different formulations for the growth stages of plants. I think this is an area that we haven't focused much on but I think is important.
My reading of ADA's supplementation product line is that it targets dynamic biosystem development rather than growth stages of plants. In the first 3 months a tank is prone to rapid changes of biological balance with the N cycles most affected. As a tank matures bio-activity curves level off and the substrate begins to contribute to bio-cycle influences. For example, the pumice in ADA substrate layering starts out sterile and slowly develops reductive capacity. After a year passes the substrate begins to play a major role in nutrient recycling. ADA's product line seems targeted to these bio-cycle stages rather than particular stages of plant growth. It's focus is on dynamic biological systems not how to grow a particular sort of plant.
 
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