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>Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 10:22:00 -0500 (EST)
>From: "Richard J. Sexton" <richard at aquaria_net>
>Yeah but how else could I goad you into posting, George ?

Yeah, I guess simply asking would have just gotten the usual web site

>You still think they're worth the bother? 

What bother? Once they're in, you forget about them. Far less bother than 
inserting Jobe's sticks when things look bad or making little clay balls with 
micronized iron fertilizer or gravel vacuuming or any other methods to
the substrate.   

Of course, *finding* commercial cables in the U.S. is a bit of a bother now 
that Dupla blew us off. I've heard that Eddie at Monolith Marine Monsters is 
looking into cables from someone. 

But, whatever, do I think they are worth it? Yep. In My Humble Experience 
(IMHE) they are absolutely critical. My Humble Experience includes my local 
conditions, of course, YMMV. You can re-read my experiences and justification 
by visiting my website or The Krib (look at the last part of my SST article
The Krib). Other folks, with other conditions, have determined that heating 
cables are not critical or even necessary. If you read the APD archives, you 
will, of course, realize that there is no scientific proof that cables work
or even a solid hypothesis of what they actually do. But I did the
comparisons under my conditions and I am convinvced of the benefit. 

We had tanks without coils and had trouble with all of them: specifically
problems and plant growth problems. The problems could be temporarily
with various procedures but would come back. 

We have had four different setups with coils and all have worked very well
the three current setups continue to work well. All are very stable without
special efforts. No "substrate maintenance" what-so-ever. No algae problems
no growth problems. All the setups are "low light" compared to some recent 
postings ("only" 1.6 watts/gal) but we can grow just about any plant in any
the tanks. 

We aren't even using Dupla fertilizers any more; our stock was finally 
depleted. We now use Tropica MasterGrow and it works to our satisfaction. We 
notice less intense colors on some plants compared to the Dupla regimen but 
perhaps that is just a transition as the plants adapt to whatever proportions 
of trace elements that TMG offers. 
Would I use coils if I set up a new tank or redid an old tank? Certainly. I 
have a method that works for me and I've outgrown experimentation. We had to 
redo our tanks in 1995 when we did a house remodel and all tanks got coils. 
Luckily, Dupla was still available. 
>Did you ever find a less than dupla priced way to do it that didn't end up 
being a 1/4 joke ?

No, but I didn't look, either. I could build cables myself, which takes time 
that I have little of, or I could pay "big bucks", which I have enough of,
Dupla. No brainer. Other folks have built cables; perhaps they could chime

George Booth, Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth at frii_com)