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Re: : Re: Heck I'm lost

Roger wrote:
>>I think you have pinned down where the literature in our hobby needs to
go.  We are swamped with general articles on how to set up a planted
tank.  What can be said has been said.  Over and over.  The literature
now needs to address the needs of individual plants or genera, or plant
communities and to grow beyond the beginner level.  It needs to address
specific natural histories, culture methods and life histories in the
same way that the literature on aquarium fish address the origin, care
and breeding of individual species.  Once we're beyond basic
horticultural methods we can get into design and concept and put the
aquatic gardening hobby on the same plane with more traditional
gardening hobbies.<<

Part of the problem as I see it is when people have ventured past the basic
principals of growing aquatic plants to more scientific methodology, what
gets lost is the practical application. Last month I got Dianas book, and I
love it. It is full of so much great and interesting information that
obviously took a tremendous amount of research and study. But it leaves me
wondering how to interpret this information, and how to make pratical use of
it. How does it really affect the day to day use of my hobby?  For example
her section on allelopathy. Its fascinating reading, but how does this apply
to the plants I am growing together in my aquarium? Some of the species she
uses as examples are not typically used in aquariums anyway.  I found many
more examples of this in her book that left me wondering what does this all
really mean?

Jamie Johnsons excellent comparison study on substrate materials kinda left
me the same way... how on earth to interpret all that massive data. So X
substrate material has .058% iron and substrate material Y has .031% Which
is better? Does anybody really know?  Is it better to have a nirate limited
tank, iron limited, or P limited?

The optimum aquarium and the ten golden rules approach was wonderful when it
was first introduced because there was no other well defined methodology at
the time. But it was designed as a branded system, to use Dupla products in
each and every stage. The Amano approach is the same principal, to build a
dependencey on using Amano products.

There has always been a big attration for low tech low cost methods. Dan
Quackenbush developed a following based on that principal with his kitty
litter/osmoscote method. Why spend $15 to $20 for a box of laterite for
every 50 gallons, when you can go out and buy a bag of kitty litter and a
small box of osmoscote? This reasoning became more obsolete when Seachems
Flourite came out, and when it became known that a 40 pound bag of Schultz
cost less than kitty litter.

What has evolved how out these different methodologies are commonalities
that people recognize as pratical applications, which is what I think Roger
is basically saying. When people introduce new methods into conversations in
this forum, they are argued, debated, discussed, and re-discussed for
months, or even years and along the way it evolves into pratical use as more
people adopt or modify the principals. But along the way beginers and other
people get confused or frustrated.

I think everyone agrees what the basic requirements are for plants. Going
beyond that becomes somewhat esoteric. There are a number of basic tennants
that could be plainly stated:

a)moderation achieves balance, balance achieves a healthy enviornment.  A
moderate light source puts less of a demand on a system than excessive
light. A moderate to light fish load puts much less of a strain on the

b)All plant nutrients both marco and minor can be supplied naturally, (by
sediment, water supply, and animal population) as well as by supplimenting.
Finding a happy medium for both sources assures greater success.

c) water current and circulation, I think it is generally well accepted that
over all plants can not maintain good health in stagnant water. Circulation
carries nutrients across the tank to plants, it prevents a build up of gunk
on the leaves of plants that will impede the plants photosynthesis and
nutrient intake. Its well known some plant species such as Bolbitis thrive
more readily directly under the path of the filter outtake. And so on...

I agree with Roger that literature needs to expand more on specific plant
specie needs and their natural enviornment history and more advanced methods
of addressing these needs, as long as it comes full circle back to pratical

Robert Paul H
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