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Re: riccia & CO2 articles in new TFH

On Sat, 29 Apr 2000, Amy wrote:

> Has anyone picked up the June copy of TFH? There are a pair of
> interesting articles on riccia and C02 that seem to contradict
> everything I thought I knew about these two topics (which isn't much).

I don't normally read TFH, but I picked it up at the pet store yesterday
when buying my 30 pound bag of cat food, because the photos looked cool
and it had three plant articles.

> * The article on riccia (p. 21) states that "when attached to objects of
> even the substrate, it develops roots and looks for all the world like
> grass." In my experience, riccia doesn't grow roots or attach to
> anything, at least underwater. 

It's interesting.  That article is written by Ed Taylor, who, as far as I
knew, isn't a "plant guy" at all.  (He's done virtually everything else in
the hobby, though).  Looks to me like the job was to cover mosses and
ferns, and having the usual level of personal experience a pro fish
breeder does (java fern, java moss, and water sprite), he just improvised
the rest based on books and such.

> * The CO2 article was a little odd. Written by Shawn Prescott it
> featured photos of the Amano-like CO2 equipment advertised by Aquarium
> Landscapes/Fish-Vet. The credit on the photos, which are obviously
> clipped directly from the ads, is Shawn Prescott.

Strange artwork too.  Looks like he actually cut them and traced the edges
with a pen on some of the photos.  Makes me think he isn't with the
company, because they would have included slicker product photos.

> a) My first concern is what appears to be the use of what is supposed to
> be an objective article to push a product. To me, this clearly violates
> the line between advertising and editorial.

Aquarium magazines have had a long history of thinly-veiled ads.  Heck, in
TFH alone, they even put the ads right in their books!  Then there's the
product influencing the text: When I used to go through old FAMA's in the
library 10 years back, I was shocked to find there just weren't any
negative reviews of products.  Don't want to upset those potential

> If the author is connected with
> the company, how do we know we're getting good CO2 advice or just the
> company's party line on CO2 systems? 

You don't. Maybe he's just a hobbyist that uses their equipment, and this
is what he's learned firsthand (or from their literature).  Certainly if
he'd included photos of HIS tanks instead of what looks like stock TFH
photos, there would have been more evidence.  If there were a blurb at the
end that talks about what he does... A lot of columnists know much less
than the people in this forum, but are columnists because they are willing
to write about it.  Anyone remember FAMA's Kevin "high tech is useless
because it didn't work for me" Osborne?  Or Dan "kitty litter"
Quackenbush, got totally blasted in person here on the APD shortly after
he wrote his infamous column?

> b) Second, the author says that C02 must be shut off at night. I use
> Dave Gomberg's setup, and he said that C02 doesn't have to be shut off
> at night. In the nine months I've been (successfully) running CO2, I've
> left it on at night with no problem.

My experience as well.  But there's this "old wives' tale" that CO2 must
be shut off at night, because, it sort of makes sense theoretically...
yeah, sure, the plants don't need it at night, so might as well buy a $100
solenoid valve and turn it off.

Now if someone with a manual CO2 system would actually do a George-like
experiment and actually MEASURE the pH of the tank throughout the day and
night with CO2 on at night or off at night... oh yeah, I suppose *I* could
do this... then we'd actually have some hard data to answer the question
once and for all.

Not all columnists are surrounded by vaccuum.  There's a corkwork
article by "our own" Tom Barr also in the issue.  And Gary Elson, the
author of the Apisto column, is a contributor and avid listener on the
Apisto e-mail list.  etc, etc..

    - Erik

Erik Olson
erik at thekrib dot com