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Re: No CO2

> Oh, my - I face burning at the stake as a heretic? <g>

With the zealotry put forth in this group, it could happen:-)

>  Actually, I know
> that CO2, or carbon, is essential to plant life.  It's just that I prefer
> more natural and simpler ways to get it, like from fish food and decaying
> organic matter.

Well adding CO2 via my gas tank ain't exactly rocket science. It ain't the
least bit complicated, nor do I really even touch it once it's set up. It's
like my lights on timers, really don't mess with it. I add it to 5 tanks
also. The other non CO2 injection method works fine also.

  It seems that if one doesn't force his plants with excessive
> lighting, the CO2 from those processes is enough for many plants, and one
> doesn't have to be concerned much about nutrient deficiencies developing,
> particularly if he adds Flourish or something like it every now and then.

It's not "force" or driven etc. It's simply there's a lack of diffusion of
CO2 into the water from the air. Water is thicker and more difficult to get
CO2 and other nutrients to and from the plant. The plants are actually being
"forced" to live in a CO2 limited environment that is *very tiny* and has
many plants/CO2 competitors. Not very natural. There are a few ponds out
there but very few like that.

But the main thing to consider is a deep substrate and that the growth is
slow enough to for transport of nutrients via the roots. At higher CO2
levels and light etc you'll need to add something to the water column. If
your using a non CO2 approach do not add anything to the water column unless
your tank is doing very well.
> Much of the other advice you gave I found that I had followed.  Hard,
> alkaline well water poses challenges but they can be met.

After a few weeks the Egeria will soften it up. Think about what would
happen without KH as a carbon source when the plants suck out all the CO2
when the lights come each day(no CO2 or KH(HCO3))? Better to have that hard
water. Adding that hard water for the top off's can keep this from getting
out of hand.

> I don't use 
> Flourite but a few of the plants are in Tupperware containers with garden
> soil in the bottom.  I have some of the plants in your recs, too.  I use a
> foam filter, I have more fish than you recommend (large angelfish waiting for
> love to strike).

Anything with surface area. Much of your CO2 is from bacterial respiration,
not the soil itself.
You can also try the turface/profile etc in place since your using the pot
method. Use that, lots of mulm(the more the better), and some ground peat. 5
inches deep would be good.

Plant tanks that use CO2 and get high levels of O2 also get high levels of
bacterial action in this rich O2 environment. They also give off a lot of
CO2. In well aged tanks you'll see less and less pH rebounding from plant

> BTW, William T. Innes, in his classic "Exotic Aquarium Fishes" which was
> first published in the 1930's, observed that he had seen ". . . many well
> planted aquariums degenerate without the presence of fish only to revive
> beautifully upon the reintroduction of fishes".  He also was opposed to
> fertilizing plants, but if someone really wanted to do that, they could make
> a liquor from pulverized sheep manure and inject it into the gravel with a
> pipette.  

The sheep dog would bite you first.
> That's probably good for the skin, too.
> Tom, thanks for your kind and informative comments.

Well as long as you get a good feel for the positives and negatives for each
method. It will take time. This can be greatly enhanced by using good
filters, deep gravel, mulm, surface plants(no CO2 issue for them), KH users,
few water changes, good algae eating crew, moderate 2 watt a gallon
Tom Barr