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Re: Tom's (or anyone else's way?) Heck I'm lost

Well, you can only be lost if you're trying to get somewhere.  But,
suppose where you are trying to get to is flourishing beautiful aquatic
plants and as little algae as possible?  Most folk want both.  Oh, lots
of roads go there, right?  Fine, but not just any road, and there's the

Would anyone care to list the ways and then the tenets?  General
principles like, "Don't feed your plants too much" and "Don't starve
your plants" are wise to follow but are, generally speaking, too
general to be, well, to be useful.  The questions that those principles
beg is, "How much is too much, how much is starvation?"

I can list three:  Walstad's low-tech method (the All You Can Wait
approach), which is pretty clearly outlined in her book.  Are there
tenets that one could list for her approach?  And then there's The
Optimum Aquarium (the All You Can Spend approach).  Tom's "All You Can
Eat" approach.  And of course, the Do What Works for You approach (the
All you Can Try approach, which might not really an approach so much as
a resignation to there not being any generally applicable specific
guidelines (which I doubt is true).

It's starting to seem that tenets are actually pretty hard to come by. 
Yet, there are very different general approaches.  Maybe the problem is
trying to cover too many types of plants?  If you ask me how to grow
prunus serrulata (a terrestrial tree), I can tell you what soil type
works well, what works sort of okay, and what doesn't work.  How much
and what kinds of fertilizer to put in to the soil, how much moisture
to maintain in the soil, etc.  You can look this up in any good book on
growing ornamental trees.  But if you ask how to grow trees, or even
how to grow deciduous trees, the only applicable "guides" are a bit too
general to be really useful:  don't water too much or too little, don't
fertilize too much or too little, don't give too much or too little
light, etc.

Now actually, Tom has, a few posts back, gave a sequence of steps that
could serve as a general guide.  Good for him, and good for the rest of
us.  I'll take that, with some editing, as one List (one of it's tenets
is "add iron up to 0.5-0.7 ppm")(no, that's not the first step nor the
first commandment). And Walstad's writing could probably be gleaned for
a list (one of the tenets is "don't add iron to the water column
because the soil has plenty").  And I think Karen Randall's many essays
could be gleaned for a list (one of the tenets might be something like
"don't add N or P if you are feeding fish in the tank.")

However, specifically these lists, including any I haven't mentioned,
can be made out, I suggest that specificity is the state of the arts
(and sciences) in aquatic garden as a hobby.

Scott H.

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