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Re: TMG -- Iron -- Tom's Way - Heck I'm lost, etc.

Roger S. wrote:
That approach generally cannot work in aquariums because we are
maintaining communities of plants -- frequently 15 or more different
plants in a single aquarium.  There's a limit to how far you can bend
over to suit the needs of an individual plant.  Some people do it with
potted plants, others do it with plant-specific substrate amendments. 
Maybe there are a few other methods.  But those methods are limited. 
still have to treat the entire tank as an integrated system.

"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.

But we'll never get there with other peoples' systems and short sets of
simple tenets."

Well, I think some do.  It would be easy if they all did the same
thing.  Someone would have noticed the apparent coincidence and there
you'd have the best approach.  I also think that there is more
ignorance than knowledge in the hobby and that most of what gets
printed is just the conventional wisdom, which isn't necessarily
consistent with, for example, Tom's approach--and that means the
conventional wisdom is cockeyed, not Tom's approach.

I still think that there probably are different sets of parameters and
steps in setting up and maintaining a planted tank that can be followed
with reasonable assuredness of desirable results.  While some of these
set are mutually exclusive, in the sense that you can't do Walstad's
and Tom's approach in the same tank at the same time, they are both
consistent with the underlying science.  And any of them can be
followed.  There is a lot of hit and miss, try this then try that, that
goes on but there needn't be the haphazardness.  A good part of it
seems to come from the variety of (mutually exclusive or mutually
antagonistic) approaches that are obviously known as mutually
antagonistic or exclusive.  I believe it can be more systematic for us
schlubs (sp?) that haven't got the time, or perhaps the technique, or 
the insights, or the money, or whatever to be the leading experts in
the field.  

I'm not suggesting a three steps to nirvana, or a three steps to losing
weight program -- just do these three simple things and every thing
will be perfect every time.  But I think there are reasonably distinct
approaches that can be identified -- that we'll know more when we know
why they all work than we do now.  We might even find that some of them
work (have acceptable results) because they are weak forms of others
that have better results).

Perhaps independent of this, perhaps hand in hand with it, there is
much still to learn about individual types of plants.  However, I think
most hobbyists with planted tanks have only a few types of plants in
their tanks, so the community planted tank issue might not be a big
factor I think many hobbyists have only a few types of plants because
that's all most LFSs carry and plants by mail (or web) are still much
more expensive.  And while anubias might have different needs from
rubins, they can grow quite "happily" together under many approaches
because the differences compliment each other.  Which is all the more
reason to learn more individual plants.

Scott H.

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