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New folks are using lots of light

This seems to be a big trend. New folks getting intense lighting for their
tanks. This drives the plants as the energy input to the system. Uptake is
much faster if the plants are given the right CO2 levels(this also is used
up faster hence the distinction between 10-15ppm(old) and the (newer)
20-30ppm range that I choose.

DIY compounds this issue since CO2 production and rates can vary widely
among users. DIY and/or CO2 is often the Achilles Heel for most folks with
all this light. Folks are easily sold on high light systems but any mention
of CO2 enrichment makes them complain about the cost and trying to find ways
around it.

 You don't get high light without also getting CO2. Yes, you can use DIY but
many find it difficult or too much work. If you mess the CO2 up you'll get
algae with high light. It would be better to get the CO2 system first, then
the lighting. Cheap lower watt lighting is easy, cheap and will grow plants
quite well. 

The old day? We had a difficult time getting 2 watts a gallon over a tank.
These were most often home made hoods with regular T-12 FL bulbs. If we were
a little off here and there we had a fair amount of wiggle room with our
parameters. But as lighting became more intense, the margin for error

Some folks saw this as a bad issue. More pruning, addition of nutrients but
many saw it as the "Cadillac" of lighting, more is better, bigger is better,
the American plant tank was born. "You need lots of light to grow this or
that plant" etc was(is still) common advice. But to keep up with this high
paced growth from this light we needed new methods to address the narrowing
range of parameters needed for good growth.
Well it turned out that these narrowed ranges also worked well for the lower
light tanks as well. So this whole process help focus in a good set of
parameters for aquatic plants. It sped the process up to the point where we
could see the nutrients being removed from the tank and could see more
clearly what was happening before we messed up some nutrient level or did
something else to the tank.

In the past with lower lighting, you could have anumber of different levels
of PO4 or K or NO3 and still have reasonable growth. But it was more
guesswork and being sure of what was happening was not as clear as it was on
a higher light tank. But the lessons learned from high light tank also will
greatly help a moderate and a low light tank. Try it out to see for
yourself. Don't take my word for anything, prove it to yourself.

Tom Barr