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RE: Wild Goose Chases

I had written:

> >There is a very real danger here and it relates to anecdotal evidence and
> >misidentified cause/effect.  Without PROPERLY conducted
> experimentation, you
> >cannot be sure that the results you observe are due to the thing
> you think
> >you are testing. If you improperly credit barley straw, peroxide, ozone,
> >REDOX, or any of a number of other factors with a reduction in
> algae growth,
> >without being aware of ALL of the other variables which could
> play a part,
> >you haven't learned a thing and you run the risk of sending
> confused newbies
> >off on a wild goose chase.
> >
> >The answer to this sort of question requires GOOD science, not merely
> >observational accounts.

To which Tom Barr replied:
> Dupla, Amano, Dernnele and Florida State U all are wrong? Plus my Dutch
> friend also? It is possible but unlikely. The more I get onto plants, the
> more I find most/all of the Amano ideas are right. Good science on their
> part? Not learning a thing? The risk of sending confused newbies off on a
> wild goose chase? Well, you had better mention it to them too. Roger added
> some word of caution to this notion as did I regarding my query about the
> toxicity levels of H2O2.

I am not suggesting that Dupla, Amano, Dennerle and Florida State U are
either wrong or leading people down the garden path. I am suggesting that
the earlier part of this thread had the potential to do so. Your earlier
posts are full of the word "perhaps", indicating that you are thinking about
the problem, at least (which is of course, good). But to go from a thought
experiment to actually pouring a potentially toxic chemical into a show tank
without someone first performing some objective, scientifically valid tests
(and reporting those tests so that they can be reviewed and commented upon)
is, in my mind, skating on thin ice.

This whole theses IS very interesting, and worthy of both discussion and
experimentation. The companies you mention are not prone to sharing their
research data with the rest of the world except as massaged by their
advertising copy writers. If you trust them implicitly, fine, good luck. I
would rather see some objectivity here, it is as simple as that.

This actually sounds like something that the AGA might be interested in
publishing in TAG - if anyone is interested in designing and performing some
controlled tests and monitoring the results. Unless I'm wrong, the
organization will usually help finance the costs associated with applied
research, if it is likely to help further our understanding of how to grow
aquatic plants.

You are careful in your posts to stress the importance of both "balance" and
"good management". People considering trying this technique should re-read
those words carefully several times. One of the things which always strikes
me as I read the APD is the inventiveness of people. If a "recipe" calls for
A+B+C and they can't find one of the components they usually substitute
something they think (or assume) is "close enough". Sometimes the
substitution works, sometimes it doesn't. But rarely, when it doesn't, do
they blame their substitution - usually they discredit the original recipe.

I'm confident that before too long, someone will post stating that they
couldn't find 10 volume H2O2 (the drugstore variety) but they had some 30
volume H2O2 under the sink, (the strength that a hairdresser might use to
bleach hair), and since their tank was such a mess, they poured the whole
bottle in. They will probably be wondering why all of their fish and plants

My reasoning for interjecting into this thread is not to stop
discussion/invention/theorizing about what we can do to limit algae. I just
want people to be aware that some things we discuss are experimental and
just because it works for Tom or Dwight or me, it might NOT work for them,
as every tank and setup is unique.

James Purchase