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Re: Diana Walstad's book

> 2. Her methods require small tanks (<30gal) and some natural sunlight
> (therefore, tank size and placement of tank must be considered).

Not true at all. Either sun and/or artificial light do work well. Tank size
is of even less importance. Larger tanks tend to be more stable, doesn't
matter which type of tank your talking about.

> 3. Her methods require a complete breakdown of an existing tank. She offers
> a method to add soil around plants in existing tanks: Wrap it up in wax
> paper and stick it in the gravel. Try it, but be prepared for a huge
> clean-up mess.

I have used flourite and a small amount peat and had excellent results with
the substrate in this type of tank. Flourite will only increase in nutrients
over the years, has plenty of bound iron etc. It does need to be deep,
4inches or so. Less is not good for a non CO2 tank.
> 4. She won't add iron (trace fertilizer) to the water column. She admits
> that she has difficulty growing vals. Most of us have difficulty keeping
> vals _contained_. They are like weeds.

Vals do quite well in the flourite. No problem for me.
> 5. She makes blanket statements such as snails are good for planted tanks.
> Obviously, she has never had the columbian ramshorn snail (pomacea
> canaliculata).

There are far more blanket statements saying all snails eat all plants. Some
are known plant eaters but many are yet untried.
> In summary, her methods must be followed completely, from scratch, and
> cannot be combined with other methods, the choice of plants will be limited,
> the tank will not be placed where you want it (unless you luck out), the
> tank size will be limited, and some things are just plain wrong.

I disagree having done the each above, including the plain wrong stuff:)
I don't follow it completely, I used flourite in place of Soil for instance.
I have the same lazy no water change routine. I don't add iron to the water
but rely on fish food for plant fert's. Water is topped off for evaporation.
I have gloss and hairgrass among others and some nice red plants. But I do
keep a few floaters and a HCO3 user and good stocking of algae eaters.
Tanks have been up to 75 gallons.

> Let the flames begin:-)

No flames, just "yes I have" statements/experiences:-)
There are certain tenants, but there is a range of flexibility and it is
nowhere near as rigid as many seem to think. Way too many compare the non
CO2 to the CO2 enriched tank and this can get folks into trouble.
Folks need to decide which side of the fence they want to be on and approach
their tank. Or you can both types of tanks.

 I have used the flourite in place of soil which I've been weird about from
the beginning. The results are super. Aerial plants are always a good idea
in these tanks and do not expect these tanks to grow like a CO2 tank. Gloss
grows an inch a week instead of an inch a day. Some colors of faster growing
plants may seem pale but still nice looking. And yes, vals can grow, so can
sag's, A. reineckii etc. Add algae eaters and also very important=>!!!feed
your fish(this feeds your plants and is the only source of NP and micro's)
I suppose one could add a little K+ every so often but not much. These tanks
are replicatiable also.

So while your at it, get some of those old AGA TAG magazines and order
Diana's book. No plant library should be without these.
There was a day before CO2 after all..........every plant keeper should try
a non CO2 tank for at least 1-2 years.
Tom Barr

> -- 
> Augustine Rodriguez
> Rice Lake, WI USA